Sunday, May 13, 2018

(GUARDIAN UK) Maasai herders driven off land to make way for luxury safaris, report says

COMMENT - This is what happens when there are no limits on what politicians can 'sell' from under the feed of the people of the country under neoliberalism/globalisation.

(GUARDIAN UK) Maasai herders driven off land to make way for luxury safaris, report says
Tanzanian government accused of putting indigenous people at risk in order to grant foreign tourists access to Serengeti wildlife

Jonathan Watts Global environment correspondent
Thu 10 May 2018 11.00 BST Last modified on Thu 10 May 2018 11.02 BST

The Tanzanian government is putting foreign safari companies ahead of Maasai herding communities as environmental tensions grow on the fringes of the Serengeti national park, according to a new investigation.

Hundreds of homes have been burned and tens of thousands of people driven from ancestral land in Loliondo in the Ngorongoro district in recent years to benefit high-end tourists and a Middle Eastern royal family, says the report by the California-based thinktank the Oakland Institute.

Although carried out in the name of conservation, these measures enable wealthy foreigners to watch or hunt lions, zebra, wildebeest, giraffes and other wildlife, while the authorities exclude local people and their cattle from watering holes and arable land, the institute says.

The report, released on Thursday highlights the famine and fear caused by biodiversity loss, climate change, inequality and discrimination towards indigenous groups.

Losing the Serengeti: The Maasai Land that was to Run Forever uses previously unpublished correspondence, official documents, court testimonies and first-person testimony to examine the impact of two firms: Thomson Safaris based in the United States, and Otterlo Business Corporation based in the United Arab Emirates.

It says Thomson’s sister company, Tanzania Conservation Limited, is in a court battle with three Maasai villages over the ownership of 12,617 acres (5,106 hectares) of land in Loliondo which the company uses for safaris.

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One Maasai quoted in the report said Thomson had built a camp in the middle of their village, blocking access. “Imagine, a stranger comes and constructs a big building in the centre of your home,” reads the testimony. “Our livestock cannot go to the waterhole – there is no other route for the villagers or their livestock.”

The report says villagers have been driven off, assaulted or arrested by local police, park rangers or security guards.

The restricted access to land has made the Maasai more vulnerable to famine during drought years, the report says, noting appeals that locals have made for the government to change policies because of growing numbers of malnourished children.

A Maasai villager contacted by the Guardian said access remained blocked and that uniformed agents had beaten, threatened or tied-up and driven off pastoralists, as recently as December.

Thomson strongly denies these accusations. It says Tanzania Conservation Limited employs 100% Maasai staff, allows cattle on the property to access seasonal water, and works with local communities and the government to conserve the savannah, improve access to water and formulate a sustainable grazing policy.

The company blames past conflicts on NGO activists who they say stirred up villagers and led to staff being assaulted by young warriors armed with clubs, spears, knives and poison arrows.

“These interventions have been played out to attract attention, provide stories, and to disrupt the working relationship between company and communities on the ground,” Rick Thomson, a director of Tanzania Conservation, wrote in an email to the Guardian. “In these events the endangered staff have a protocol of disengaging any way they can to avoid escalation, and reporting to the authorities any situation where any people and property, are physically threatened. These situations have been rare and no such events have occurred for the last four years.”

He said the company was not connected to government evictions of illegal residents in the national park, which is reserved for wildlife.

The report also claims Maasai have been driven off land as a result of government ties with Otterlo Business Corporation, which organises hunting trips for the royal family of the United Arab Emirates and their guests who fly into a custom-built landing strip in Loliondo.

Since Otterlo was first granted 400,000 hectares of land for hunting, the government has mounted successive eviction operations.

The company has warned the area needs greater ecological protection because herds are increasing while water sources are drying up due to climate change.

Despite past government promises that the Maasai would never be evicted from their land, the report notes Serengeti national park rangers burned 114 bomas (traditional homes) in 2015 and another 185 in August of last year. Along with other demolitions, local media report more than 20,000 Maasai were left homeless.

Maasai protests, an international outcry and domestic allegations of corruption have forced a reconsideration of this policy. In November 2017, the tourism minister revoked the hunting licence of Otterlo, suspended the state director of wildlife, and ordered investigations into the links between foreign firms and former officials.

But the authorities appear divided. Locals told the Guardian this week that Otterlo continues to operate safari tours in Loliondo to the detriment of villagers.

A tourist takes pictures of Maasai villagers.
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A tourist takes pictures of Maasai villagers. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
Lawyers representing the Maasai communities in a court claim over the land said the policies of the government were tilted towards foreign tour companies.

“The evictions are not justified because more and more land is being taken away from the villages without due process or compensation even though they have legal titles,” said lawyer Rashid S Rashid. “The policies of the government are based mainly on the arguments advanced by Thomson and Otterlo because they have more political influence than the villagers.”

The report’s authors say the problem dates back to the era of British rule. From then onwards, Maasai have been steadily dispossessed of land on the Serengeti. They urge the government to take urgent action to alleviate the risk of famine, establish a new model of land titling and an independent inquiry into disputes over ownership.

“Without access to grazing lands and watering holes, and without the ability to grow food for their communities, the Maasai are at risk of a new 21st-century period of emutai (eradication),” said Anuradha Mittal, the director of the Oakland Institute. “But it does not have to be this way. Unlike the emutai of the 19th century, the hardships and abuses currently faced by the Maasai can be halted.”

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Sunday, April 01, 2018

(THE MAST ONLINE ZM) M’membe is SP’s 2021 presidential candidate

“It’s either socialism or death and we are choosing socialism. Zambia has become completely capitalistic, the ruling elite is a mere conveyor belt of capitalism, and these conveyor belts receive kick-backs from the capitalists. No change should be expected from today’s elite, we must actually stop them. We must stop the ruling elite from ruining our country and that is our mandate and that is why we are here. We shall never surrender until victory becomes possible,” said Dr Musumali.

(THE MAST ONLINE ZM) M’membe is SP’s 2021 presidential candidate
By Tobias Phiri
on March 31, 2018

THE Socialist Party has announced that former Post Newspapers editor-in-chief Fred M’membe is their presidential candidate for the 2021 general elections.

Speaking during the launch of the party in Lusaka, Socialist Party deputy general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali said the majority of Zambians were in desperate poverty, which he said his party was resolved to end once voted into office in 2021.

He pledged that his party would transform the country once ushered into office.

“With this launch, we are declaring our total commitment and undivided attention to transforming Zambia along socialist lines in 2021. For the time being, to spearhead this process, I will serve as the party’s general secretary. And then we have Comrade Fred M’membe who will serve as deputy general secretary. Comrade Fred M’membe is also suggested as our presidential candidate for the 2021 elections,” Dr Musumali said.

“2021 comrades, you are getting state power. We commit and dedicate ourselves to solidarity with oppressed people wherever they may be, including beyond our artificial boundaries.”

Dr Musumali said the formation of the Socialist Party was based on the cries of the people from around the country.

“The party was finally registered on 16th October 2017 [and] we have since embarked on a campaign to recruit members to set up structures in all corners of our country and the birth of our party is a direct response to very strong and clear calls from the people across the boundaries of Zambia to chart a call out of capitalism. You will see a dramatic change in the Zambian politics starting from today, we will not compromise in terms of our principles…change must come,” Dr Musumali said.

“The majority of Zambians today are destitute, poverty has increased and the living conditions of Zambians are very desperate. The system that we have blindly glorified so much has never been and shall never ever be a system that will emancipate the poor from want. Capitalism is inherently a corrupt system that strives on greed and exploitation of the masses to benefit a few.”

He stated that the current government was corrupt and no change should be expected from them and they must be stopped before they destroy the country.

“It’s either socialism or death and we are choosing socialism. Zambia has become completely capitalistic, the ruling elite is a mere conveyor belt of capitalism, and these conveyor belts receive kick-backs from the capitalists. No change should be expected from today’s elite, we must actually stop them. We must stop the ruling elite from ruining our country and that is our mandate and that is why we are here. We shall never surrender until victory becomes possible,” said Dr Musumali.

And addressing Socialist Party members who turned up in numbers for the event also attended by Cuban Ambassador to Zambia Nelson Pages, Dr M’membe said the only hope for the Zambians was socialism because capitalism was only taking turns while changing shape exploiting the people.

“They say chameleon achinja fye colour but inkanda imo ine; a chameleon changes colour but the skin remains the same. That is how all exploitative systems are, that is how capitalist exploitation is. As long as capitalist exploitation is not totally uprooted, eradicated it, will just change form and all its evils will remain \ intact,” Dr M’membe said.

He recalled how over 120 years ago, Mpezeni’s son, Nsingu, the commander of the Ngoni forces, was assassinated for resisting capitalist takeover by Cecil John Rhodes.

“In December 1897, the British forces stationed at Kota Kota in Malawi attacked the Ngoni people for refusing to hand over their land so that Cecil Rhodes’ companies could prospect for and mine gold in the area…Capitalism kills, steals, subjugates and humiliates. It killed Nsingu and his 10,000 young Ngoni fighters, it stole their cattle and imprisoned and humiliated Mpezeni in order to exploit, subjugate, colonise them,” stated Dr M’membe.


“Many things seem to have changed since then, but the fundamentals, the key things remain intact – our people are still being killed, robbed of their land and minerals, neocolonised by capitalism, its enterprises and states…It is a struggle we have to continue in honour of commander Nsingu and his fighters; it is a struggle we have to wage for the future generations of this nation and indeed for our own liberation from today’s capitalist exploitation, subjugation and humiliation. Just as Nsingu and his comrades chose to die from Maxim-guns and Seven-pounders than to live under capitalist exploitation, subjugation and humiliation, we today commit ourselves to a struggle without respite against capitalism and for establishment of a more just, fair and humane society in our homeland. It is socialism and only socialism that can truly free our people, Nsingu’s people and homeland and all humanity from capitalist exploitation, subjugation and humiliation.”

Dr M’membe has been playing a background role in the political arena until last week when the Socialist Party announced his active involvement in their party and the subsequent announcement of his intentions to run for presidential office in 2021.


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Monday, February 26, 2018

(THE MAST ZM) Haabazoka calls for repossession of mines

COMMENT - On a small note of disagreement, I don't agree with prof. Haabazoka about economic targets if that means 5 year plans, and I don't think PAYE is a great idea, however those are just two prescriptions that I think there are more modern variations to. It is unacceptable that the mines, for instance through the illegal practice of transfer pricing, declare a loss year in and year out, or that dividends are not paid to ZCCM-IH, which today is a holding company with a very conflicted board of directors. They also neglect to collect dividends from the mines. I completely agree that the mines should be state owned. And there should be cheap credit for small businesses, farmers, consumers - official lending rates are prohibitive and have been for decades.

1. CopperCoin

How about a local crypto currency backed by copper?

https://www.themastonline.com/2018/02/23/iran-russia-consider-own-cryptocurrencies-after-venezuela-success/

2. Drought proofing farmland

Which can probably be promoted under the banner of combating the effects of climate change. The army probably has enough equipment to train recruits, a skill that can carry over into civilian life. And prevent the yearly flooding by storing water in the soil.

https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/2016/11/27/brad-lancaster-with-warren-brush-co-water-for-every-farm-earthworks-for-resiliency-in-an-era-of-drought-april-5-8-2017-hyder-az/

Brad Lancaster learned a lot from the Zimbabwean dry land water pioneer Mr. Zepheniah Phiri Maseko.
https://permaculturenews.org/2016/07/28/evolutions-mr-phiris-water-harvesting-plantation-1995-2016/

There are a lot of things that can be done in agriculture, manufacturing and education.

3. Manufacturing from locally grown agricultural products

How to make a HQ handmade Cigar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohVnoo2DC0g
Notice the prices
https://www.jrcigars.com/

Turning maize surpluses into storeable and exportable distillates, which would also help create a permanent market for maize surpluses for local farmers:

How to
http://www.whiskeyprof.com/basic-distilling/
Bourbon sells for $4,000 to $15,000 per barrel
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmccarthy12/2017/04/04/how-to-buy-a-barrel-of-bourbon/2/#7f985b681bfb

4. Horticulture

There are crops that can be grown besides maize and that have a very high return or are labour intensive.
https://modernfarmer.com/2017/07/5-valuable-crops-can-grow-us-grow/

If a market for small to medium sized farms is created, there has to be technology developed to meet their needs, rather than technology for giant corporations. The universities can be of help here. For example:

Quick Cut Greens Harvester (Official)
Farmer’s Friend
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPIfw5_WoLU

5. Redistribute land

" The Northern Rhodesia (Native Trust Land) Orders-in-Council of 1947 created Trust Land as a result of pressure from the white settlers who demanded security on the land they occupied. Trust Land constituted about 58%. This was actually an extension of crown or state land to 64% while the reserve land for the local people was reduced to 36%. "
http://maravi.blogspot.com/2017/12/land-reform-in-zambia.html

6. Universal Basic Income

This is how you really stimulate the economy:
https://twitter.com/MrK00001/status/827872456035663872

There has to be a serious discussion about the end of 'jobs' which is universal, including in mining, a relentles tide caused by automation and innovation. People still need incomes, even without jobs. There has to be a concerted effort to eliminate poverty.

7. Democracy

The government has to do what the people want it to do. No more capture by the IMF, or corporations. Major decisions have to be put to a referendum - taking on debt, negotiating trade deals, going to war, etc. This is the only way to prevent rogue governments. It should be illegal for NGO's to take money from for instance Freedom House or the Open Society Foundations.

- MrK

Haabazoka calls for repossession of mines
By Chambwa Moonga on February 21, 2018

ECONOMIST Lubinda Haabazoka says Zambia’s mines ought to be under government ownership because the current model of private ownership is a failure.

And Dr Haabazoka, who is a University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturer, has noted that the current trend where Zambians are being over-taxed by authorities will not culminate into development for the country.

Speaking on The Assignment programme on Muvi TV on Sunday night, Dr Haabazoka inferred that mines under the current ownership model were not substantively contributing to Zambia’s economy.

“What we need to do [is that] the current model of mines being under private ownership is a failure. I don’t know how much taxes the mines are paying but when you look at ZCCM (Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines) in 1991, it made net profits of US$191 million. When you look at the mines from 1998 to today, all the taxes put together that they have paid are less than US$191 million! They (mine owners) are always saying ‘we are making losses’. So, they have failed. We need to get the mines under ZCCM again,”

Dr Haabazoka noted.

“Foreign investors can come and build malls, they can come and build factories – build motor vehicle manufacturing plants, we are not against that. But they should not run the mines! The mines should be under government. I’m a capitalist but also I’m for a mixed economy and I borrow from Russia… Look at our mines! Cobalt, I think, is selling over $40,000 per tonne. But where is that money going to? You cannot be running a shop for 15 years and continue making losses.”

He recalled that under ZCCM ownership, mines did more in terms of corporate social responsibility.

“When my father was a mine captain…my father just went up to equivalent of Grade seven. Our grandfathers and fathers took over the mines when the former president Kaunda was in charge. We didn’t have educated people but ZCCM built schools, roads, clinics and all the infrastructure that was on the Copperbelt,” Dr Haabazoka said. 
“FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) for Zambia, for example, contributes huge amounts of foreign exchange inflows but unfortunately there are very few countries that have developed using FDIs. A foreigner cannot come and develop your country – they can bring in new technologies.”

And Dr Haabazoka pointed out that Zambia seemed not to know where it was going.

“You need to have targets which you need to reach and those targets are beyond single digit inflation, stable exchange rate. Those [targets] are basically that of revolutionalising the way you do things; major success stories of economic development, the South Korean example, the Japanese example, Singapore, even the Rwandan experience – those are things that basically you can see going on where everyone in the nation has put their hands together and are moving the country forward,” he said.

“At the moment, we don’t know what we want to achieve; do we want just to merely stabilise macro-economic indicators? Do we want to continue accumulating debt? Are we infrastructural wise? Where is our youth policy? Where are we going? What is happening to our manufacturing industry? What of our mineral wealth? How is economic development happening?”

Haabazoka added that from independence, Zambia’s government knew that it wanted massive investments and that it created its own manufacturing industry as well as enhancing infrastructural development.

“[But] from 1991 we lost it until 2001 when we stabilised the damage that was caused…by the huge debt that we had. Mwanawasa’s period was much more of a stabilising period, trying to get rid of the debt. In my opinion, now we should have that economic development that is aimed at trying to reduce…. We have gone back; from stabilising and reducing our debt to US$600 million, we started accumulating it after 2011 and now we are in massive debt. Now, we are supposed to start doing what we were doing from 2001 – stabilise issues so that in the future we start growing,” Dr Haabazoka said.

“As a country, we are hugely divided; the country basically is divided into red and green – tribal divisions! Everything that happens in the country people see it through political lenses, through surnames of individuals – there is a lot of disunity. People might disagree with me but basically that is what is obtaining.”

He also regretted that Zambians only spoke of economic diversification when copper prices were below $4,000 per tonne.

“When you look at economic diversification per se, you need both government and citizens to actively participate in it. First of all, you have to say what it is that we are dependent on. You are going to choose the mining industry. [But] can we use the mining industry to diversify our economy? Yes, we can!” Dr Haabazoka said.

He also observed that Zambians had fallen in love with money.
“I don’t know where that has come from. When you call a Zambian to come and do something, they are going to charge…. Some people even charge $500 per hour just to come and help solve the drainage…,” Dr Haabazoka observed.

Meanwhile, Dr Haabazoka noted that what was currently obtaining in the country’s economy could not propel Zambia to development.

“We cannot develop an economy on high taxes. There is no country in the world that has taxed its way into development. The current regime can change things, there is still time. They can actually do it within one or two years. But they have to do the following;
give a breather to citizens. There is no way you can be charging toll fees at K20 per motor vehicle. In a K20, a person on the street can buy pamela (rationed mealie-meal pack), eggs and make lunch for their family. Give a breather [because] there is no way you can tax your way into development,”
said Dr Haabazoka.

“The current Minister of Finance should bring back the Pay As You Earn to 35 per cent. Actually, 28 per cent is the best rate or most optimal tax for the current situation. You are going to see increased economy growth in the future. Those days if on a Saturday you went into a hardware shop, it will be packed. But nowadays you are just a few of you and it’s not because people don’t want to build; there is no disposable income [and] this is not politics. I’m just saying what is on the ground!”

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

(BLF) Western Cape says voetsek Johann Rupert, we are coming for our land!

COMMENT -

BLF Western Cape says voetsek Johann Rupert, we are coming for our land!
POSTED ON FEBRUARY 13, 2018 BY BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST
BLF Western Cape says voetsek Johann Rupert, we are coming for our land!

Black First Land First Western Cape (BLF-WC) is not phased by Johann Rupert’s tantrums. Rupert continues to use courts to interdict BLF from the land that his family stole from the black majority. The vexatious interdicts are meant to intimidate and dissuade BLF from exercising its mission, which is to expropriate land from the likes of Rupert who continues to hoard our land and farms, while we, the landless black masses, continue to be landless, starved and hungry.

The land thief, Rupert, is clearly shaken by BLF as proponents of radical economic transformation, in particular, our strong belief in land return without compensation.

Today, 13 February 2018, the Western Cape High Court – Court Room 16, heard the matters which include 10 farms which the land thieves wish to interdict black landless masses from. The matter will return to the High Court on 27 February 2018.

Included in the list of farms are:

Hanneli Rupert’s LA Motte, which was recently set on fire. Hanneli Rupert is Johann Rupert’s daughter.

Denneguer, which BLF visited last year.

Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons. We know that Rothschild is the evil white family which former Finace Minister, the sellout Trevor Manuel, represents and works for.

The High Court refused to lift the interdicts against BLF. We accept this but we say the interdict is only for BLF members but other landless black people are free to occupy the farms.

These interdicts and court appearances are very expensive and as poor black people, we do not have the means to oppose them all. We will consult and make a decision on the best way to advance the struggle for land prior to the next court date.

Land thieves are using the courts to illegally remove President Zuma and they are also using the courts to stop black people from reclaiming the land which was stolen.

Like President Zuma, we are constitutional delinquents, and we are not afraid of these courts which seek to maintain our landlessness!

Land or Death!

ISSUED BY THE PROVINCIAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST WESTERN CAPE (BLF-WC PCC)

13 February 2018

Contact Details

Black First Land First Mail: blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com

Ncedisa Mpemnyama
(BLF-WC Chairperson)
Cell: +27 73 110 0334

Feziwe Sigqumo
(BLF-WC Secretary General)
Cell: +27 84 953 3374

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(THE PATRIOT ZW) The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010)…economic sanctions depreciate Zim dollar

COMMENT - On how ZDERA and other sanctions were intended to devalue the Zimbabwe Dollar, which is another routine demand made by the IMF/WB of every country in the world. The Zimbabwe Dollar was destroyed by a credit freeze - financial manipulation by the Rothschild controlled IMF/WB. - MrK

(THE PATRIOT ZW) The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010)…economic sanctions depreciate Zim dollar
By The Patriot Reporter - February 8, 20180108
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By the year 2003, inflation had risen to 500 percent, peaking to hyperinflation figures by 2007, with prices rising more than 50 percent every month, writes Dr Felix Muchemwa in his book The Struggle for Land in Zimbabwe (1890-2010) that The Patriot is serialising

BY July 19 2002, the Zimbabwe dollar had depreciated by more than 160 percent against the US dollar on the parallel market, and inflation stood at 144,2 percent (Zimbabwe Independent, Nov 15 2002, p.B1).

By the end of 2003, it was well over 500 percent.

Meanwhile, it was widely known in financial circles that the Minister of Finance, Dr Simba Makoni, had made it clear to the Cabinet that the Zimbabwe dollar was highly over-valued and that Zimbabwe should normalise its extremely tense relationship with international financial institutions, in particular, with the IMF, in order to get emergency balance of payment support for the local economy.

Together with the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Tsumba, Makoni had, in mid-July 2002, proceeded to highly recommend the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to the Zimbabwe Cabinet Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, chaired by President Robert Mugabe. (Fingaz, July 4-10 2002, p.1)

On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Cabinet, in particular its chairman, Cde Mugabe, was too well aware that the IMF had, from 1999 to 2002, imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe due to the Land Reform Programme and was also insisting on the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar as a condition for the disbursement of the balance of payment support. (Fingaz, October 30 2002, p.6)

Most Cabinet members were also equally aware that Zimbabwe was under financial and economic sanctions intended to depreciate the Zim dollar, the very point underlined by ZDERA Sections 4 (C) (i) and (ii) and 4 (D) (i) and (ii) whose objective was a total reversal and disbandment of Zimbabwe’s compulsory Land Acquisition and Land Reform Programme. (ZDERA, December 21 2001)

The Zimbabwean Cabinet, in particular its chairman, could therefore not understand how a Finance Minister and a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, with full copies of the ZDERA sanctions documents on their desks could ever recommend the devaluation of the Zim dollar, which in any case was already being devalued almost every second by ZDERA (2001).

It was, therefore, not surprising that when President Mugabe opened the third session of the Fifth Parliament of Zimbabwe in August 2002, he used extremely strong words against the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

He said: “Devaluation (of the Zim dollar) is dead” and he went on further to say that those who advocated devaluation ‘were saboteurs and enemies of the state’. (Zimind, August 9 2002, p.16)

President Mugabe proceeded to form a new ‘War Cabinet’, and Dr Makoni was not included.

Instead, his portfolio was taken over by Dr Hebert Murerwa. And, the biggest challenge confronting the ‘War Cabinet’ was ‘inflation’ due to the declining foreign currency inflows and the dwindling gold reserves which would otherwise stabilise the Zimbabwe dollar.

By the year 2003, inflation had risen to 500 percent (Richardson, p.542), peaking to hyperinflationary figures by 2007, with prices rising more than 50 percent every month. (Scoones et al, 2010: p.26)

The trend continued through 2007 and towards the end of 2008, it peaked at 231 000 000 percent. (Chimhowu, 2009)
The hyperinflation wiped out any value of any cash in hand for all levels of workers and any savings deposited in banks.
Cash transactions became more and more difficult, including the purchase of foreign currency.

Products became scarce amidst mushrooming black markets and, barter deals became more common. (Scoones et al, 2010: p.26)
Suprisingly, Zimbabwe’s GDP declined by only 40 percent between 2000 and 2008. (Blacking and Sachikonye, 2008)

In 2008, the UNDP gave a completely deliberate false report when it asserted that:

“Zimbabwe’s inflation is fundamentally caused by excess Government expenditure, financed by the printing of money in an economy with real GDP that has been declining for the last 10 years. Money supply growth has been completely decoupled from economic growth and the inevitable result being continued and accelerating inflation.” (UNDP Report, 2008)

The UNDP Report should have clearly stated that, for 10 years since 1998, Zimbabwe had been under financial sanctions and, therefore, had no source of foreign currency to stabilise its domestic currency, the Zim dollar, which remained the only currency to run the entire Zimbabwean economy without any foreign currency inflows.

The situation was made worse by the American sanctions law, ZDERA of December 21 2001. Foreign imports were hard hit, in particular, fuel, raw materials for industry, drugs for HIV and AIDS, cancer, anaesthetic drugs, medical equipment and even water treatment tablets.
Foreign currency inflows had declined from US$480,3 million in 1999 to US$49,3 million by 2006. Consequently, foreign exchange reserves had declined from US$830 million (three months import cover in 1996) to less than one month import cover by the year 2006.

The attendant foreign exchange shortages severely constrained Zimbabwe’s capacity to meet its foreign payment obligations and finance critical imports such as industrial raw materials, medical drugs and equipment, grain and other food imports in times of drought, as well as fuel and electricity. That way, loan repayment arrears amounting to US$109 million in 1999 had by 2006 increased to US$2,5 billion and to over US$7,5 billion by 2011.

In urban areas, water became scarce.

For the first time in Zimbabwe’s history, Harare had cholera and typhoid outbreaks because water treatment tablets could not be imported since Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe for its compulsory land acquisition for the resettlement of peasant Africans.

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) had also cut its donor funds to the Ministry of Education and some essential projects like printing of Braille books for the blind or visually challenged had come to a sudden halt in 1999. (Gono, 2007)


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Friday, February 02, 2018

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mujuru attacked after meeting Mugabe

COMMENT - I believe Joice Mujuru's account. I think it is highly telling that all of a sudden the British government doesn't talk abut Gukurahandi anymore, or that certain Ministers are making anti-landreform noises. This is an attack on the people of Zimbabwe by neoliberalism taking over both parties, like they do everywhere else (US, UK, etc.). This is anti-democratic and cheating. This is a hostile act. This is spiking the process to cheat the electorate out of their policies and candidates. This also shows the benefits of having 2 vice presidents.

“Everybody must know that this government is not a people’s government,” she said. “It came by force and if they see people doing things in peace, they are not happy.”

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mujuru attacked after meeting Mugabe

IN what some say could explain the Thursday attack on Joice Mujuru, it has emerged that the former Vice President recently reconnected with ousted former president Robert Mugabe.

Sources told New Zimbabwe that Mujuru reconnected with Mugabe on Tuesday adding that there were prospects that she could come together with fired Zanu PF members to form an alliance ahead of the 2018 elections.

According to the National People's Party leader, she was “called” by Mugabe who told her that it was wrong to fire her in 2014 as he was “misinformed”.

“He called me and I obliged. He was telling me what happened was wrong, he was misinformed,” said Mujuru in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

According to the report, Mujuru said she felt vindicated after her “constant denials of plotting to overthrow Mugabe, were ignored by the then president and his wife, Grace, who initiated the calls for her ouster”.

“You know for a start, I told him (Mugabe) that they were not … it wasn’t me…Its people who are after Mugabe who you know are doing all these things. And it has, I’ve, I’ve have been vindicated by what I said to him,” Mujuru said, according to the VOA report.

Then President and VP ... Mugabe and Mujuru

“I forgave him a long time ago, including the, the wife.”

“They (Mugabe, his wife Grace) were tricked, and mind you the same people who are now in control are the very same people who went and tricked Mugabe,” said Mujuru, in apparent reference president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“So, they knew what they wanted to do – they wanted me out of the way first, so that they will be able to get to Mugabe easily,” she said.

According to the VOA, Mujuru said “she was happy to find Mugabe in good spirits”.

“He was very happy, I think he’s resting, he’s doing fine. I was very happy to see him in that mood,” she said.

Mujuru said she didn’t think her former boss was still under house arrest.

“No, not house arrest as such,” she said. “Of course, being a former president he should have people who guard him such as soldiers, they could be soldiers and policemen all included, because that is how he used to move, even when he was still head of state.”

“Now that he is in this predicament, aaah, we were actually laughing, you know, I just said to him, ah, you know what, when you are in this situation people desert (you), and he said yes, even relatives have deserted.”

According to the VOA, Mujuru blames the new government for the Thursday attack which resulted in her and several of her members, seeking treatment at local hospitals adding that she was “not sure who attacked her or with what, but that the attackers included soldiers”.

“Everybody must know that this government is not a people’s government,” she said. “It came by force and if they see people doing things in peace, they are not happy.”

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

(FUTURE AGRICULTURES) At Davos, can Zimbabwe re-engage with the global economy on its own terms?

COMMENT - There no evidence that "an economically naïve ‘Zimbabwe first’ position just does not work in a connected world." This statement needs more clarification. First, no analysis of Zimbabwe can be relevant without starting with the destruction of the Zimbabwe Dollar through ZDERA in 2002. Then, we can talk about what happened in landreform, while and after the currency was destroyed by Bill Frist, and co-sponsors Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jesse Helms.

At Davos, can Zimbabwe re-engage with the global economy on its own terms?
Posted on January 23, 2018 by Lesley White - Our blog

As Emmerson Mnangagwa heads for the snowy slopes of Davos, Switzerland to rub shoulders with the global capitalist and political elite at the World Economic Forum, he must not forget the more radical ambitions of his background.

His recent discussion over lunch with Financial Times journalist, Alec Russell, was revealing. Zimbabwe desperately needs finance, and support from western nations, as well as China, Brazil, India and others who stuck with the country in the last years. The Investment Policy Statement and Action Plan released last week makes all the right noises. The charm offensive with the British is in full flow, and the FT interview was part of creating the right mood music.

But there are red lines it seems; and one is land reform, despite the long period of sanctions imposed from 2000 and the antagonism of many western powers to this redistributive move. Mnangagwa’s enthusiasm for getting agriculture, as the core sector in an agrarian economy, moving is clear too – although all seen through the lens of his ‘command agriculture’ experiences. The full transcript of the FT interview is available too – and it offers a glimpse of an unusually relaxed, engaging Mnangagwa.

A reminder that a commitment to a radical transformation of agrarian relations is crucial for Zimbabwe, and that the land reform was only one step, was offered in the first annual Sam Moyo memorial lecture last week. Hosted by the Sam Moyo African Institute of Agrarian Studies, the lecture was delivered by Prabhat Patnaik from JNU, India and introduced by Issa Shivji from Tanzania. The video is available here. It offers a powerful call not to forget ‘peasants’ and poor smallholder farmers in agrarian transitions in the context of globalisation.

Sam Moyo tragically died in a car accident in India in late 2015, but his work and committed yet practical radicalism lives on amongst many young scholars, and in the vibrant agrarian studies summer school held each January in Harare. Mnangagwa and his people should go along next year to learn more about experiences of agrarian transformation globally.

At Davos, the allure of much-needed capital will be strong for Mnangagwa and his ministers. The WEF represents a gathering of the high priests of neoliberal capitalism, all eager for investments and returns. Zimbabwe may soon be seen as a promising investment destination, and needs to prepare for this. Such investments need to be for Zimbabwe’s development, not just servicing global capital. A strong state leadership will be essential, as deals are negotiated.

Some 70 heads of state are expected to attend the Swiss meeting. Mnangagwa may get a chance to meet the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and many others. As revealed by his FT interview, with his predecessor, he definitely approves of female British leaders, including the Queen, so prospects of rejoining the Commonwealth are raised, for whatever benefits that might bring.

Mnangagwa may also bump into some other leaders too. There will also be a scattering of the leading authoritarian populists there, including Trump and Modi, who will be offering perspectives on new nationalist and populist versions of global capitalist relations from the US and India.

But a return to a neoliberal framework for the Zimbabwean economy would be a disaster, as would an attempt to veer towards an isolationist, nationalist populism. We all know how the supplication to the conditionalities of the international finance institutions, through structural adjustment, destroyed state capacity and undermined a diversified economy from the early 1990s. Many of the problems of today derive from this period. This was exacerbated of course by Mugabe’s populism: an economically naïve ‘Zimbabwe first’ position just does not work in a connected world.

Can Mnangagwa steer a different course? Committed to redistribution, economic justice and inclusive development, while encouraging investment from different sources – both east and west – but regulated on Zimbabwe’s terms? It may mean doing less well on the World Bank’s now discredited, ideologically-motivated ‘doing business’ rankings exposed this week, but it may be better for Zimbabwe. He has little room for manoeuvre, and having announced ‘free and fair’, internationally-observed elections for May or June, also not much time to turn things round – but this must be on Zimbabwe’s terms.

Next week the blog will offer the last of the short series for The Conversation on challenges for land and agriculture in Zimbabwe. The first two on compensation and on land administration are already out. The final one on priorities for agricultural development will be out soon on The Conversation’s platform.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland.

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Chart of the Week #3: Why the World Bank Should Ditch the "Doing Business" Rankings—in One Embarrassing Chart

COMMENT - The World Bank is an ideologically driven organisation, that is heavily influenced by the Rothschild barons.

(CDEV) Chart of the Week #3: Why the World Bank Should Ditch the "Doing Business" Rankings—in One Embarrassing Chart
1/18/18
Justin Sandefur and Divyanshi Wadhwa

Last week the World Bank's Chief Economist, Paul Romer, told the Wall Street Journal the Bank had manipulated its own competitiveness rankings to undermine Chile's socialist government, and hinted Chile might not be alone—then he retracted the claim. Romer's conspiracy theories probably aren't credible, but neither are the Doing Business numbers.
Download the data and replication code here (zip file).

The Doing Business index is one of the World Bank's highest profile publications, ranking countries on the ease of registering property, paying taxes, and clearing other regulatory hurdles. The Bank boasts that countries often design reform programs specifically to improve their rankings, and Rwanda has a whole ministry devoted to that purpose. Clearly, the Doing Business indicators carry some weight.

So when Paul Romer, the World Bank chief economist and a perennial contender for the Nobel Prize, told the Wall Street Journal that he had lost faith in "the integrity" of the process behind the numbers, people took notice (see the New York Times, Bloomberg, Mother Jones, Quartz, etc.).
Chile's peculiar fall and rise and fall again

Romer hinted at a political conspiracy. "I want to make a personal apology to Chile," he said. Questionable methodological changes had caused Chile's ranking to plummet when socialist president Michelle Bachelet was in office, rise again under her conservative successor Sebastián Piñera, then turn around and fall again when Bachelet came back to power in 2010— all due to methodological tinkering and almost no underlying changes in Chile's actual laws or policies.

To illustrate Romer's point, we went back and compared the official rankings published by Doing Business with our own attempt to re-create rankings using a consistent sample of countries and methodology from 2006 through 2018. (First we compiled the older Doing Business rankings from PDFs, as they've been conspicuously expunged from the historical data on the Doing Business website. And then we downloaded the indicator-by-indicator data from Doing Business to create our own fixed-methodology rankings. The full data and code are linked at the bottom of this post.)

Chile's Doing Business Rank

Source: Justin Sandefur and Divyanshi Wadhwa, based on data from www.doingbusiness.org and World Bank “Doing Business” reports, 2006-2018.

The bottom line: Chile's socialists have good reason to distrust the World Bank.
The World Bank’s defense: it wasn't politically motivated, just… a very unreliable index?

Despite what the Chilean numbers show, on Monday the World Bank CEO Kristilina Georgieva sent a letter to Chile's Minister of Finance pushing back. "It is unfortunate that Mr. Paul Romer," she wrote, "has questioned the Doing Business rankings, in particular for Chile. This is not the view of World Bank management."

On Tuesday, Romer posted a "clarification" on his own blog:

In a conversation with a reporter, I made comments about the Doing Business report that gave the impression that I suspected political manipulation or bias. This was not what I meant to say or thought I said. I have not seen any sign of manipulation of the numbers published in Doing Business report or in any other Bank report.

Here is the full response from Augusto Lopez-Claros, who ran the Doing Business initiative until last year.

All of which seems to leave three possibilities: (1) the Wall Street Journal grossly misquoted a senior World Bank official; (2) the World Bank CEO managed to rein in her rogue Chief Economist; or (3) Romer was just wildly speculating while on the phone with a reporter, and never had any direct evidence of political interference. Most people we've spoken to assume the correct answer is the last one.

Also, to be fair to the Doing Business team, if you replicate the graph above for various other countries, in most cases the disparities are not nearly so large (see graphs below).
Conspiracy or not, the numbers still aren't credible

Never mind the accusations of political motivations, the Chilean data alone is damning, showing massive movements in rankings due to changes in methodology, not reality.

1. The goalposts keep moving

A core element of the recent "credibility revolution" in empirical economics is a push for researchers to pre-commit to a methodology, before they look at their data, so that the results can’t influence their methodological choices. That’s the opposite of how Doing Business works. And as our colleagues Vij Ramachandran and Alan Gelb note, the firewall between Bank lending operations and research is too weak in these cases.

Perhaps nobody set out to target Michelle Bachelet deliberately. But that was the result, and it was deemed acceptable. Hypothetically, if the World Bank team had made innocent methodological choices and discovered they launched Chile to #1 in the rankings instead of #57, surely they would have revisited their methods. Did they not revisit any methodological choices on the basis of their impact on the ranking? Of course they did. Were they genuinely blind to the likely effect on countries’ scores when deciding to introduce new measures? Of course they weren’t—even if there was no deliberate plot to penalize anyone in particular.

2. The measures are unreliable

The graph also highlights a number of complaints that have been voiced for years. As an external review noted in 2013, the numbers jump around too much. The aggregate country rankings involve judgements about what makes a "better" business environment, that have little grounding in research or evidence, and the review panel recommended dropping the aggregate rankings altogether. Doing Business "makes far-reaching observations based on data gathered from sources with a relatively narrow perspective," the external review noted. Somewhat damningly, “improvements” in a country's Doing Business score don’t reliably predict any change in responses to the World Bank's own survey of businesses about the ease of doing business.

3. The index starts from an extreme ideological premise

At a more philosophical level, the index measures the costs of government regulation but none of the benefits of those regulations. It's an extreme libertarian stance, out of step with much of the World Bank's other work. Viewed through the lens of Doing Business, corporate taxes are a pure bad, with no consideration of the benefits that come from raising tax revenue. Safety regulations and minimum wages are pure bads because they slow down business, with no consideration of the benefits to workers or customers. On almost all dimensions, a Hobbesian state of nature would get the best possible Doing Business score.

Regarding this latest scandal, it's kind of funny to think the Doing Business project was somehow exposed this week for secretly trying to undermine progressive governments. That ideology was baked into the design of Doing Business from the start. But now is a good time to change course. In response to the latest debacle, World Bank management has announced a new independent review of Doing Business. Hopefully they’ll use this opportunity to develop a more balanced and constructive stance on how developing countries should regulate markets—beyond a simplistic message of cutting red tape and letting the market rule.

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(FOREIGN POLICY) South Africa's Land Reform Crisis

COMMENT - Bernadette Atuahene on land reform in Foreign Policy Magazine, the official publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, founded by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

(FOREIGN POLICY) South Africa's Land Reform Crisis
Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid
By Bernadette Atuahene

Under colonialism and apartheid, the ruling white minority stole vast amounts of land from black Africans in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Reclaiming this land became an important rallying cry for liberation movements in both countries; but in the years after white minority rule ended, it was extremely difficult for the new regimes to redistribute the land fairly and efficiently. In recent years, as the unaddressed land inequality in Zimbabwe became a pretext for President Robert Mugabe's demagoguery and led to Zimbabwe's demise, many observers have asked: Could South Africa be next?

When Nelson Mandela took power in South Africa in 1994, 87 percent of the country's land was owned by whites, even though they represented less than ten percent of the population. Advised by the World Bank, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) aimed to redistribute 30 percent of the land from whites to blacks in the first five years of the new democracy. By 2010 -- 16 years later -- only eight percent had been reallocated.

In failing to redistribute this land, the ANC has undermined a crucial aspect of the negotiated settlement to end apartheid, otherwise known as the liberation bargain. According to Section 25 of the new South African constitution, promulgated in 1994, existing property owners (who were primarily white) would receive valid legal title to property acquired under prior regimes, despite the potentially dubious circumstances of its acquisition. In exchange, blacks (in South Africa, considered to include people of mixed racial descent and Indians) were promised land reform. But the new government upheld only one side of the liberation bargain: South African whites kept their property, but blacks still have not received theirs. Political apartheid may have ended, but economic apartheid lives on.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND

South Africa's failure to rectify its land inequality is like a sea of oil waiting for a match. In one of the most impressive public opinion studies ever conducted in the country, in 2009 the political scientist James Gibson surveyed 3,700 South Africans and found that 85 percent of black respondents believed that "most land in South Africa was taken unfairly by white settlers, and they therefore have no right to the land today." Only eight percent of white respondents held the same view. Gibson's most alarming finding was that two of every three of these blacks agreed that "land must be returned to blacks in South Africa, no matter what the consequences are for the current owners and for political stability in the country"; 91 percent of the whites surveyed disagreed.

According to Gibson's data, most blacks, whether they live in rural or urban areas, see the land as stolen and want it back even if redistribution will provoke political unrest. In spite of these findings, not everyone expects instability to actually materialize, because land inequality in South Africa does not affect livelihoods as it did in Zimbabwe. For example, only about three percent of South Africa's GDP is based on agriculture, whereas before the 2000 land grabs in Zimbabwe, agriculture contributed about 20 percent of that country's GDP.

Such optimism overlooks two important considerations, however. First, although agriculture does not contribute significantly to South Africa's GDP, about 35-40 percent of the nation's population resides in rural areas, so access to land is necessary for the survival of many poor families. Second, unlike other complex social issues in South Africa (such as unemployment and inadequate health care), land inequality has roots that are easy for South Africa's majority to understand. The refrain that "whites stole our land and now we deserve to get it back" is a simple yet rhetorically powerful one that resonates among marginalized, poor populations in both rural and urban areas. Theft of land has come to symbolize the more extensive theft of wealth that occurred under colonialism and apartheid. It is possible that one day a charismatic populist leader could use the land issue to rally the vast army of poor and frustrated black citizens from both rural and urban areas to reclaim the stolen wealth, making the focal point all whites and not, as in Zimbabwe, primarily white farmers.

Yet instead of equitably redistributing land, the ANC has underfunded land reform efforts, implemented Section 25 of the constitution in a way that reinforces inequalities between the races, and failed to assist the beneficiaries of the land reform in obtaining the capital and skills necessary to use their newly acquired land productively.

According to South African President Jacob Zuma, land reform ranks at the top of the ANC's agenda. In 2009, Zuma said, "During the election campaign, we made it clear that rural development and land reform would be one of our key five priorities." And in an April 2011 speech, he declared, "We are committed to seeing that those communities that were wrongfully evicted during the apartheid era receive just compensation for their loss. Our aim here is to ensure that poverty alleviation goes hand in hand with the return of land."

But Zuma has failed to put his money where his mouth is. In 2010, the Land Restitution Commission, an agency pivotal to the land reform efforts, placed a moratorium on buying land claimed under the restitution program because it had run out of money to honor those sales agreements it had already entered into with landowners. The commission asked the South African Treasury for 5.3 billion rand (approximately $757 million), partly to honor outstanding commitments to landowners, but it was allocated only 1.9 billion rand (about $271 million). This has led several landowners to sue the commission for failing to honor its sales agreements. Even worse, it has sent the message that the ANC is not serious about land reform.

REINFORCING INEQUALITIES

In the process of trying to remedy inequality, the ANC has instead exacerbated it. The apartheid government often took land from black communities without just compensation and transferred it at nominal cost to white farmers. If the ANC decides to return a particular parcel of land to a dispossessed black community while the white farmer to whom the apartheid government sold it is still alive, the state is constitutionally mandated to pay the farmer just compensation, despite the unfair circumstances under which the farmer acquired the land in the first place. Yet blacks do not get just compensation for land previous governments stole from them. The constitution states that South Africans whose property was dispossessed after 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory business practices are entitled "either to restitution of that property or to equitable redress." By 2008, however, 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the land restitution program had received no land at all, only small, symbolic financial awards that bore no relation to the past or current market value of their confiscated property. This is not equitable redress.

For instance, the Land Restitution Commission paid each dispossessed landowner in Paarl, a scenic town in the Western Cape's wine country, 40,000 rand (about $5,700), whereas it paid six current landowners in the same province 14.5 million rand (about $2 million) for about 250 acres of land. From its inception in 1995 through March 2008, the commission spent 7.8 billion rand (about $1.1 billion) to acquire property for land reform, which was paid mostly to white farmers, but only 4.9 billion rand (approximately $700 million) to distribute as financial compensation, which was paid primarily to dispossessed blacks. Such disparities only reinforce apartheid-era inequalities. To be sure, the South African government has a limited budget and many other important priorities, such as health care and education. But if the state cannot afford to give both blacks and whites just compensation, then both blacks and whites should receive only symbolic compensation.

Another problem with the land restitution process is the commission's failure to follow Section 25(3) of the constitution, a provision deftly negotiated by the ANC to ensure land reform is fair for both blacks and whites. This provision requires the state to compensate present landowners based on fair market value but also to reduce the price paid based on several equity-enhancing factors, such as direct state investment and subsidies for acquisition and capital improvements on the property. If, for example, a white farmer acquired land from the apartheid government at a greatly reduced price but then made capital improvements to the land, then when that land is expropriated, the postapartheid state is required to pay the farmer fair market value for the capital improvements but can discount the underlying land because it was not acquired at market price. Yet according to a recent interview given by Thozi Gwanya, former director general of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, when the commission acquires land from willing sellers, it pays the fair market value without discounting the price based on the equity-enhancing factors. Gwanya noted that the commission does not even research the factors to allow it to negotiate a just price.

The problem is compounded further by the fact that when the government does redistribute land, it does not give new landowners the support they need to succeed. Poor black farmers require financial and technical support to access markets, credit, technology, infrastructure, and training. But as research conducted by the Program for Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape has shown, the state routinely fails to give newly resettled communities even the basic irrigation tools and electricity resources they need. The state instead gives large, resource-poor communities land that was formerly used by single farmers for large-scale, capital-intensive commercial agriculture. This is a recipe for disaster.

Providing resettled communities with access to capital, infrastructure, and the training necessary to take over a commercial agricultural enterprise requires a significant investment of state resources. A less costly alternative would be for the state to abandon the idea of redistributing capital-intensive agribusinesses and give communities land for subsistence farming, which can be done without significant government intervention. The dream of seamlessly transferring a thriving citrus farm, for example, from a white farmer to a black community is dead. The state must accept this and begin to look for new solutions.

NO OPPOSITION, NO REFORM

The ANC’s failure to address the needs of its political base by allocating more funding for land reform, giving equitable compensation, and providing support for new landowners strikes many political observers as puzzling. But the government can afford this failure because the short-term political costs of inaction are low. The ANC totally dominates South African politics, so it faces no real competition for its constituents' votes. It controls 66 percent of the National Assembly, eight of the country's nine provinces, and five of the six big-city governments. During the last election, in 2009, there was hope that the Congress of the People (COPE), a party started by breakaway ANC members opposed to Zuma, would provide a viable alternative, but COPE only managed to secure eight percent of the seats in the National Assembly and has since effectively dissolved. There is no one to punish the ANC if it fails to deliver on land reform.

The danger, however, is that over time, leaders within the ANC who advocate radical land reform policies will become increasingly powerful and, for personal or political purposes, will encourage the party to exploit the issue just as Mugabe and his ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) did in Zimbabwe. In fact, last year, Julius Malema, the controversial yet popular president of the ANC Youth League, visited Zimbabwe and lauded "Comrade Bob" for successfully returning much of that country's farmland to its "rightful owners." Malema said, "In SA we are just starting. Here in Zimbabwe you are already very far. The land question has been addressed. We are very happy that today you can account for more than 300,000 new farmers against the 4,000 who used to dominate agriculture." For the moment, Malema and his like-minded comrades remain at the fringe of the ANC, and the party has no need to rely on manipulative populist tactics. But both things could change.

Moreover, although the ANC may be politically invulnerable now, it is not economically invulnerable; indeed, it relies on capital from white South Africans and foreign investors to maintain economic growth. If the ANC pursues policies that alienate these sources of capital, there could be disastrous economic consequences. This is a lesson the party learned early on. In his book Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC, the South African journalist William Gumede notes that shortly after his release from Robben Island, Mandela attended a private lunch with prominent businesspeople where he said that only nationalization could address the inequalities created by apartheid. Soon thereafter, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's all-gold index plunged, falling by five percent.

Thus, Mandela changed his tune, telling business leaders in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1991, "Let me assure you that the ANC is not an enemy of private enterprise. . . . We are aware that the investor will not invest unless the security of that investment is assured. The rates of economic growth we seek cannot be achieved without important inflows of foreign capital. We are determined to create the necessary climate that the foreign investor will find attractive." The ANC's fear of upsetting markets and alienating its sources of capital explains the disparities in the compensation for property paid to current owners (who are mostly white) and the compensation for dispossessed owners (who are mostly black).

Markets may indeed react adversely if the ANC moves away from its policy of purchasing land at market prices from willing sellers and adopts a more aggressive land reform policy that relies on court-based expropriation consistent with Section 25(3) of the constitution. But proceeding slowly on the grounds that some justice must be sacrificed for the sake of stability risks creating major political turmoil down the road. If nothing is done to correct the fact that whites presently own about 77 percent of the land while constituting less than ten percent of the population, unrest could result. The ANC must realize that aggressive land reform would be far less destabilizing than a violent revolt.

MAKING LAND REFORM WORK

The international community has also been slow to help out, despite the potential explosiveness of the issue. Gwanya, the former director general of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform; Judge Fikile Bam, president of the Land Claims Court; and Blessing Mphela, former chief land claims commissioner, have all agreed that the primary obstacles to achieving the government's land reform objectives are bureaucratic inexperience, ineffective policies, and organizational inefficiency.

The example of the Popela community in the northern Limpopo Province is a case in point. The Popela community is resource poor, and its land rights were progressively eroded under colonialism and apartheid. The community had full rights to use its ancestral land until 1889, when the British expropriated it and gave title to a white settler who forced community members to provide free labor if they wanted to remain there. In 1969, the community was stripped of all its formal rights to use the land. In a landmark decision delivered in June 2007, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that certain community members were entitled to restitution of their land rights. Four years later, however, the Land Restitution Commission, which was charged with implementing the court's decision, has yet to purchase the land as mandated by the court.

According to the official managing the case, there are several reasons for the long delay. One has to do with problems getting land valuations and obtaining various approvals. In addition, because of the commission's failure to spend money allocated for prior projects, it could not get additional money from the national budget for new projects (including the Popela claim), and it is prohibited from transferring monies allocated for old projects to new ones. The net result is that the Popela community has been forced to pay the price for bureaucratic incompetence and rigid regulation.

The international community could help South Africa address these deficiencies. The country's government officials are well aware of the lack of coordination between relevant agencies, ineffective procedures, and inefficient processes that are hampering the land reform program, but they do not know how to solve these problems. They need the help of consultants with experience in evaluating dysfunctional government agencies and providing viable solutions. Senior government officials leading the land reform efforts would also benefit from a well-crafted, donor-funded international exchange program that allowed them to study past land reforms in Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, and several eastern European nations with relevant experiences. Furthermore, those bureaucrats serving as the foot soldiers would benefit from intensive training programs focused on how to most effectively implement existing policies. The international community could fund international experts to develop a series of courses designed to give these bureaucrats the skills they need to succeed. The ANC would undoubtedly welcome these interventions because the assistance would not involve more aggressive policy changes that could cause markets to react adversely; instead, the assistance would ensure that the existing programs were run more efficiently and effectively.

Whatever policies the ANC adopts, the bottom line is that land reform in South Africa must move quicker and more efficiently. Thus far, South African citizens have waited patiently for the ANC to transfer land from whites to blacks to remedy the massive land theft that happened under colonialism and apartheid. But without significant progress, there may come a point when these citizens will tire of waiting and take matters into their own hands. The outside world played a significant role in helping bring about a democratic South Africa; it should once again lend a hand to put the legacy of apartheid to rest at last.


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Thursday, January 04, 2018

(LUSAKA TIMES) Installation of six solar powered hammer mills completed in Solwezi

COMMENT - Solar is the way forward. - MrK

(LUSAKA TIMES) Installation of six solar powered hammer mills completed in Solwezi
January 3, 2018

The installation of all the six solar powered hammer mills for Solwezi district under the Presidential empowerment initiative to local farmers has been complete.

The hammer mills were installed last month and are expected to be operational as soon as the Zambia Cooperative Federation trains operators.

Acting Solwezi District Commissioner Christopher Nyungila has confirmed the development to ZANIS in Solwezi today.

Mr Nyungila said the hammer mills have been strategically located in areas with high maize productivity and population.

He named the areas to benefit from the solar powered hammer mills as Kakombe, Kyafukuma, Mbonge, Sandang’ombe, St Francis and Zangamenu.

Mr Nyungila said the hammer mills will not only create employment for the local people but will also provide a readily market for farmers to sale their maize and also lower the cost of mealie meal.

Meanwhile, Mr Nyungila says government has topped up e-voucher cards for 3,550 farmers out of the 3,934 who have deposited their K400 contribution for the 2017/2018 farming season.

He said 4,380 farmers have been authorized to deposit the K400 contribution out of the targeted number of 5,780 farmers in the district.

Mr Nyungila said the redeeming of inputs has been relatively slow because most farmers are giving incorrect national registration card numbers and passwords thereby being rejected by the system.

He has since appealed to farmers to ensure they submit correct details to agro dealers and redeem their inputs.
Related Posts:

Government buys solar powered hammer mills to be set up in the 10 Provinces
Solar Powered Hammer Mills starts arriving in the country
128 solar powered hammer mills to North Western Province as part of the Presidential Empowerment Initiative
ZCF installs 500 solar powered hammer mills so far
Co-operatives should apply for solar hammer mills-Dora Siliya

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Monday, December 25, 2017

(BLACK OPINION SA) ‘Hands off President Robert Mugabe’ – BLF

(BLACK OPINION SA) ‘Hands off President Robert Mugabe’ – BLF
By admin Posted in Featured Politics
Posted on September 8, 2017
BO Staff Writer

Radical black consciousness movement, Black First Land First (BLF), has come out in defence of Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, after African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, dismissed Mugabe’s comments about the ANC selling out its people during the 1994 negotiations.

Mugabe has on numerous occasions told his Zanu-PF party supporters that Mandela only negotiated for his freedom from jail and not for the economic emancipation of the majority black people.

Read BLF’s full statement below:

BLF says President Mugabe is correct about South Africa

Black First Land First (BLF) stands with the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, in his observation that the South Africa struggle was compromised, firstly by a very poor understanding of the national question.

The ANC in its whole articulation of what the central contradiction in South Africa is, has been wrong. It was wrong from its establishment, it was wrong in Kliptown 1955 and again proven wrong in 1994 with the massive compromise with the settler colonial regime.

As a result of the failure to understand what is the central contradiction in South Africa, the ANC has put black people in a situation where we are a landless majority, a powerless majority, a majority without dignity, freedom and our land. President Mugabe is therefore correct to conclude that it was wrong for the ANC and all its former presidents, including the late O.R. Thambo, late N.R. Mandela, to have conceded so much to the white settler population.

It is nonsensical for Gwede Mantashe to speak back in his neo-liberal response to President Mugabe.

Zimbabweans have their land back through a Chimurenga, led by President Mugabe which has brought real independence to the country. Zimbabwe stands as a beacon of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism in Africa.

The ANC has failed in the past 23 years to return land to black people. The ANC has failed in the past 23 years to end racism and white supremacy. Only now has President Jacob Zuma of the ANC attempted to chart a different path toward Radical Economic Transformation. We are aware that even he does not have the support the of the full ANC.

That is why in the 2017 ANC Policy Conference the party failed totally to resolve on important question such as:

1. Land expropriation without compensation

2. The fact that the central contradiction remains the power of White Monopoly Capital

3. The ANC fails to endorse the fairly moderate Mining Charter as articulated by the Minster of Mines, Mosebenzi Zwane

BLF is absolutely clear that the ANC has to redeem itself by focusing on addressing the central contradiction in South Africa and stop wasting its time in speaking back to President Mugabe. He deserves our respect and reverence, not stupid tit for tat responses.

BLF says Hands Off President Mugabe. We call upon the faction led by Mantashe and other agents to follow the example of President Zuma and focus on RET, the return of the land and the sharing of the land through the mining charter.

The ANC has no moral right to speak back against President Mugabe. He is, and remains, a hero to the African revolution.

The ANC must still prove itself. Up to now it has sold black people to white settler colonialism.

Land or Death
Izwelethu!

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT (BLF NCC)

8 September 2017

Black First Land First Email:blackfirstlandfirst@gmail.com
Facebook: Black First Land First
Twitter: @black1stland1st
Website: www.blf.org.za

Zanele Lwana
(Deputy President)
Cell: +27799867225

Lindsay Maasdorp
(National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 79 915 2957

Brian Tloubatla
(Deputy National Spokesperson)
Cell: +27 82 216 7664


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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Land Reform in Zambia

COMMENT - And even I didn't understand the extent of land theft outside of South Africa (87%), Zimbabwe (43%) and Namibia. Even in Zambia/Northern Rhodesia 64% of the land was alienated by the colonial administration and a small number of 'settlers'.

1. Crown or State land in Zambia has always been associated with white farmers/colonials
2. Crown land was expanded with Trust Land into a total of 64% of the country.

" The Northern Rhodesia (Crown Lands Reserves) Orders of 1928 created crown or state land which was 6% out of the total landmass for the white settlers. This, of course, left 94% for the local people.

...

" The Northern Rhodesia (Native Trust Land) Orders-in-Council of 1947 created Trust Land as a result of pressure from the white settlers who demanded security on the land they occupied. Trust Land constituted about 58%. This was actually an extension of crown or state land to 64% while the reserve land for the local people was reduced to 36%. "

(LUSAKA TIMES) An Analysis of the Lands (Acquisition) ACT CAP 296 of 1970 – Chitimukulu
December 20, 2017
By Henry Kanyanta Sosala

The above is the law that deals with absentee landlords who may appear sometime later and claim land ownership with the cunning intention of gaining compensation on the idle land which they never developed. (Ba katyetye mwenda mwalimwa).

And in this case we must first look at our country’s land history. In accordance with the trade treaties signed by the British South African Company and which were later endorsed by the British government with traditional leaders, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) was a Protectorate. The British did not wage war to conquer the people of this country and therefore the whole landmass belonged to the local people.

The Northern Rhodesia (Crown Lands Reserves) Orders of 1928 created crown or state land which was 6% out of the total landmass for the white settlers. This, of course, left 94% for the local people. We must note that the 6% was land mainly covering the copper-belt since the British South African company was only interested in the mining of copper.

However, when the mines were opened in 1932, there was demand for the production of food to feed mostly the African population working on the mines and the related industries. And hence, this therefore attracted white South Africa farmers to come and grow maize. And they established their farms in central Province, which became known as maize-belt.

‘’I would like to hear what we have done to violate the agreement with Queen Victoria, that we should live under her and be given protection. We look upon Federation as a proposal to bar Africans from advancing in the administration of their own Government. My people will not, in any way accept Federation.’’

The Northern Rhodesia (Native Trust Land) Orders-in-Council of 1947 created Trust Land as a result of pressure from the white settlers who demanded security on the land they occupied. Trust Land constituted about 58%. This was actually an extension of crown or state land to 64% while the reserve land for the local people was reduced to 36%. There was, however, a provision for government to consult traditional leaders before land in the Trust Land was accessed for any purpose.

However, there was discontent among Africans for that development in the land policy. And in 1952 a delegation went to London to present a protest memorandum to Her Majesty’s Government which was led by His Royal Highness Paramount Chief Chitimukulu Musungu and which included His Royal Highness Senior Chief Musokotwane; Mr. Harry Nkumbula, President-General of the African National Congress; Mr. Robinson Nabulyato, Secretary-General of the African National Congress and Mr. Lawrence Chola Katilungu, President of the African Mine workers Union.

And here is part of the memorandum: ‘’The placing of the final decision in the hand of the Secretary of the State for Colonies has to the safe guarding of the land rights of the Africans is no security even under the Protectorate Government…..Section 5 (1) of the Northern Rhodesia (Native Trust Land) Order-in-Council of 1947 allows the government to grant rights of occupation in Native Trust Land to non-white and Order-in-council (Native Reserves) of 17th August 1951 allows the Governor to grant land to corporations in Native Reserves.

Provision is, however, made for the prior consultation of the Native Authorities in the case of Native Trust Land, but not in the case of Native Reserves. The African people of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) are much concerned about the safety of their land under the Protectorate Government. The laws which protected their land rights have been altered so as to make it possible for the Protectorate Government to alienate land.’’

His Royal Highness Paramount Chief Chitimukulu was interviewed by a journalist from Nottingham journal on 5th May, 1952: ‘’I would like to hear what we have done to violate the agreement with Queen Victoria, that we should live under her and be given protection. We look upon Federation as a proposal to bar Africans from advancing in the administration of their own Government. My people will not, in any way accept Federation.’’

After we attained our independence in 1964, the 58% of Trust Land was only in theory restored back to customary land i.e., to the original 94%. The point I must make clear is that after converting customary land to leasehold land, there is no provision to revert it back to customary land again. And hence it is gone forever. And so it was only the land that had not been converted to leasehold that was added to customary land and there are no statistics available so far to indicate the percentage of the actual physical land out of 58%, the Governor had allocated to corporations in Reserve Land. In other words, customary land only constituted to 94% from 1928 to 1946.

It is unfortunate we always hear even from officers at the Ministry of Lands claiming that customary land is 94% and I suppose it only requires minimal common sense to guess that customary land cannot be stagnant at 94% since 1928. In fact, the Lands and Deeds Registry Act 185 of 1996 edition was to establish accurate records for the proper transfer of ownership of lands. But this Act is so far defunct.

In fact, the white farmers bought those farms at 3 ngwee per acre, but when the new government wanted to buy the farms back, the owners demanded K100 per acre.

And stated earlier the white South African farmers had come to settle in Zambia, but they left the country just before we attained our independence since they could not accept to be ruled by Africans. However, their farms were on title and therefore the black government could not in anyway tamper with them since the white government had made laws to protect their interests i.e., there were clauses which barred the new government from taking over shops and the vast tracts of land of absentee ownership. In fact, the white farmers bought those farms at 3 ngwee per acre, but when the new government wanted to buy the farms back, the owners demanded K100 per acre.

But since the nationalists knew that it was their birthright land and unlike today when we are being pushed around by foreigners because we are being blinded by ‘’foolish democracy,’’ since our ears hitch for praise as ‘’good boys’’ maintaining ‘’democracy’’ from the capitalist-exploiters. For example the Daily Nation of 18th July 2017 came out with the headline: CHINESE DEFY MINISTER and story went on: ‘’Shumeite Investments limited, the Chinese firm erecting a four-storey building in Kalundu residential area has defied Lusaka Province Minister Japhet Mwakalombe and the National Council for Construction (NCC’s) directive to halt the project until construction procedures are followed..’’

The UNIP radicals led by Mr. Simon Kapwepwe launched a campaign towards the Referendum to end all referenda and to which the people consented in their votes of 17th June 1969. Thereafter was born a radicalized law which gave power to the Republican President under Lands (Acquisition) Act Cap 296 of the Laws of Zambia to compulsory acquire any land in the public interest. I must, however, make it clear that according to Professor Michelo Hansungule’s paper, Simplification of the 1995 Land Act stated in Article 7.15: .. there is no provision in the law for the President to compulsorily acquire customary land, the powers of acquisition can only be invoked for leasehold land….’’

This is how law dealt with the white absentee landlords and is applicable to anyone who abandons his undeveloped land. And it is only up to the legal team at the Ministry of Lands to prepare documents for the re-entry for the President to sign.

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Friday, December 15, 2017

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mnangagwa: sanctions crippling Zimbabwe

COMMENT - 'Targeted measures' is are weasel words, intended to imply that economic sanctions only extend to and therefore impact government ministers - they mean economic and financial sanctions, which are of course targeted at everyone. Sanctions like ZDERA that destroyed the Zimbabwe Dollar affected everyone. - MrK

MDC Alliance principals said they were for economic and social reforms, stabilization and international re-engagement that will give Zimbabweans a fighting chance in the crucial and landmark 2018 general elections.
They said a lot more than that.

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mnangagwa: sanctions crippling Zimbabwe

JUST two days after the US announced that sanctions imposed on Harare would remain in place until the new administration implements political and economic reforms, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called for the lifting of the targeted measures.

Mnangagwa, speaking during the Central Committee meeting held in Harare on Thursday, said the sanctions were hampering economic development.

The US and the European Union nations imposed sanctions on former President Robert Mugabe’s government for gross human rights violations and electoral theft.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is now ready to re-engage with the international community and start re-building the country’s economy which collapsed more than a decade ago.

The President re-affirmed his commitment to re-engage with new nations whilst keeping old friends who have given a hand to Zimbabwe during its trying moments (liberation struggle period).

Sanctions must fall ... President Emmerson Mnangagwa

“We call for the unconditional lifting of the political and economic sanctions which have crippled our national development. We realize that isolation is not splendid or viable as there is more to gain through solidarity, mutual beneficial partnerships which however, recognise our unique national interests.

“Government will thus pursue a robust re-engagement process to fully affirm our belonging to the family of nations. The re-engagement strategy will seek to create new relations whilst holding steadfast to those countries that stood by us during our darkest years.

“In this regard, measures will be put in place to attract foreign investment ensuring that Zimbabwe is a place where capital feels safe. It has already begun,” Mnangagwa said.

The US government on Tuesday told MDC Alliance principals who were visiting Washington that sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe two decades ago would stay whilst the country monitors Mnangagwa regarding reforms especially the electoral and economic reforms.

MDC Alliance principals said they were for economic and social reforms, stabilization and international re-engagement that will give Zimbabweans a fighting chance in the crucial and landmark 2018 general elections.

MDC-T Vice President Nelson Chamisa who is part of the delegation has denied accusations by Zimbabwean government that they have pressured the US not to remove the sanctions against Harare.


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Thursday, December 14, 2017

MDC Commits Treason In Washington DC

COMMENT - Real Zimbabweans see through the MDC and their rhodesian handlers like Peter Godwin. They are busy in Washington DC to call for more and continued sanctions against their own country and government, even under the new government of former VP and now President Mnangagwa. Why aren't they arrested for treason the second they set foot back in Zimbabwe? They are making foreign policy in a foreign country, testifying against their own country before foreign legislators, while they are the opposition? - MrK

(YOUTUBE) USA Wanted to Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions, WATCH Tsvangirai Delegation ask for more Pressure on Zim
TV7 Live Zim News and Buzz

(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T denies Trump sanctions appeal

THE opposition MDC Alliance has rubbished claims that it urged the United States (US) administration to maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The allegation follows a diplomatic campaign by Alliance officials Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti who are in the US to canvass international support ahead of next year’s crunch elections.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said although his party believes the new government should implement political reforms, it does not believe in using sanctions to pressure the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led Harare administration.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim sanctions to remain, says US govt

THE Trump administration will maintain sanctions the United States imposed against Zimbabwe despite the change of leadership in Harare, a senior official has confirmed.

Washington imposed a raft of sanctions against Zimbabwe nearly two decades ago supposedly to force then president Robert Mugabe to change course amid allegations of gross human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

Mugabe rejected the allegations, maintaining instead that Harare was being punished for its controversial land reforms which were meant, he argued, to correct historical injustices in ownership of the key resource.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

(THE ECONOMIST ASIA) For Asia, the path to prosperity starts with land reform

COMMENT - The Economist Magazine states the obvious, that land reform is extremely popular, and highly effective in fighting poverty. "And while smallholder agriculture is hugely labour-intensive, that makes sense when labour is abundant." I would add to that, that automation doesn't need to pass small farmers by. It just takes a different kind of machinery. What if UNZA had a department specializing in inventing/producing/patenting small farm tools? Example. - MrK

(THE ECONOMIST ASIA) For Asia, the path to prosperity starts with land reform
Countries that did it properly have grown fastest
Print edition | Asia
Oct 12th 2017

NEARLY as striking as Asia’s dynamism is how unevenly prosperity is spread—in contrast to Africa, Latin America or Europe. First-world Japan (with a GDP per person of $38,900) is in effect part of the same island chain as the Philippines ($2,950). Rich Singapore ($53,000) is little more than an hour’s flight from Myanmar ($1,275). On the Korean peninsula, the division is even starker. Two economies that started out in identical circumstances have diverged so wildly that South Koreans are between 3cm and 8cm taller than their North Korean counterparts on average, depending on their age, thanks to better nutrition.

A voluminous literature ponders the causes of the East Asian miracle, in which first Japan, then the four original “Asian tigers”—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan—and then China sustained bounding growth for decades. Most studies point to market-friendly policies that encouraged exports of manufactures and the rapid accumulation of capital, including the human sort. Others emphasise the importance of institutions. Yet one crucial factor has been relatively underplayed: restructuring agriculture.

“Land reform” sounds innocuous but involves great upheaval: seizing land from those who have it and giving it to those who do not. Yet radical action may be necessary in countries with big, impoverished, rural populations. As Joe Studwell points out in “How Asia Works”, farm yields often stagnate in such places. As populations grow, making land scarce, landlords jack up rents and lend at extortionate rates. That leaves poor tenant farmers mired in debt, with no means to invest.

China provides a stark example. By the 1920s, a tenth of the population owned over seven-tenths of the arable land. Three-quarters of farming families had less than a hectare. Mao Zedong’s Communists reallocated land in every new territory they seized. After the defeat of the Kuomintang (KMT) in 1949, they rolled out land reform nationwide. Landlords, some with scarcely more land than most, were blamed for everything. In the decade after 1945 millions of them were beaten to death or shot, or left to starve. Revolution, Mao said, was not a dinner party.

The effect was immediate. Grain output leapt by perhaps 70% in the decade after the war. When farmers can capture most of the value of their land, they have a powerful incentive to produce. And while smallholder agriculture is hugely labour-intensive, that makes sense when labour is abundant. (Only a few years later the Communists embarked on the madness of collectivisation. China emerged from that disaster in 1978, after Mao died. North Korea is starting to do so only now.)

China’s early success challenged Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. These countries, pressed by America to carry out land reform, showed that it does not require mass murder. By the war, half of Japan’s arable land was worked by tenant farmers, and rent was never less than half the crop. After the war, farm size was limited to three hectares. Land committees on which tenants outnumbered landlords oversaw a reapportionment that took land from 2m households and gave it to 4m others. Compensation fell short (and was gobbled up by inflation), but there was little violence among farmers. Perhaps it helped to be able to blame the occupiers when politely taking over someone’s paddy field. At any rate, agriculture boomed.

South Korea had the most unequal land ownership in the region, and resistance by the elites was strongest. Some landlords lost as much as 90% of their land. But Taiwan under the KMT shows the clearest benefits from land reform, which started with rent controls and reforms to tenancy. Sales of formerly Japanese-owned land followed. Then, in 1953, came appropriation. The share of land tilled by the owner rose from just over 30% in 1945 to 64% in 1960. Yields on sugar and rice leapt. New markets sprang up for exotic fruits and vegetables. Household farmers dominated early exports. Crucially, income inequality shrank thanks to the new farmer-capitalists. Less spent on imports of food, more money in Taiwanese pockets, a new entrepreneurialism: farming was the start of Taiwan’s economic miracle.

Cheap at half the price

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand could have followed Taiwan’s example, but didn’t.
Their economies have done far worse. With between 25% (Malaysia) and 48% (Thailand) of their populations still living in the countryside, land distribution matters. The state favours agribusiness and plantations over small farmers. There is a yawning gap in income between countryside and city.

The situation is worse in the Philippines, which had a similar income per person to Taiwan’s just after the war. Before independence in 1946, America auctioned off the Catholic church’s huge estates. Only the local elites could afford them. These became the hacienda class that thrives today, forming the basis of many political dynasties. Admittedly, after the People Power revolution (led by Cory Aquino, from one landed family, who married into another), political pressure for land redistribution culminated in a reform law passed in 1988. Nearly 30 years on the law, replete with loopholes, is still being implemented. The operations of many big estates have hardly been affected, while household farmers still lack technical and financial support. Many of those given plots have had to lease them back cheaply to the big planters, becoming wage labourers on their own land.

There are political consequences too. In South Korea and Taiwan inclusive agricultural growth prefigured the inclusive politics of today’s thriving democracies. In South-East Asia, by contrast, cronyism and inertia are consequences of an economy that is unfair to those at the bottom. The Philippines and Thailand have most clearly paid a price, in the form of insurgencies and rural unrest, for keeping poor people down. When weighed against the costs, land reform, done well, starts to look cheap.

This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline "Land to the tiller"

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