Protest planned over contentious land-grab book

Dr Joseph Hanlon

By Alex Bell
28 January 2013

A demonstration has been planned to protest a contentious new book about ZANU PF’s land grab campaign, which is painted as a ‘success’ by the book’s authors.

“Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land” was written by three scholars and aims to counter “the dominant media narratives of oppression and economic stagnation in Zimbabwe.”

The authors are Dr. Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa from the University of Zimbabwe and Dr. Teresa Smart. The book’s blurb reads that a decade after the land grabs started, “the land reform story is a contrast to the dominant media narratives of oppression and economic stagnation. Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land offers a more positive and nuanced assessment of land reform in Zimbabwe. It does not minimize the depredations of the Mugabe regime; indeed it stresses that the land reform was organized by liberation war veterans acting against President Mugabe and his cronies and their corruption.”

The authors are this week in London discussing their research findings, collated after spending a month in the country last year.

London based protest group the Zimbabwe Vigil has now planned a demonstration outside one of the events where the authors will be speaking, insisting that the information is misleading and the book “sanitizes” a devastating decade of abuse. The demonstration will take place on Thursday evening at Chatham House.

The Vigil’s Dennis Benton told SW Radio Africa on Monday that, after reading the book, he found the information to be “contentious,” and “misleading,” saying the book is written from an inherently “racist basis.”

“It is full of statistics that are impossible if you have spent such a short time researching the details. It is also written from the basis that if you are white, you are not Zimbabwean,” Benton explained.

In its open letter to Chatham House, the Vigil said: “We believe the illegal and violent seizure of commercial farms is an abuse of human rights. British courts have found this to be the case.”

“If, as claimed in the book, agricultural production is returning to former levels, the Vigil warmly welcomes it. But this assertion does not square with the statement by the UN that 1.6 million Zimbabweans are facing starvation – some 12% of the population – and for yet another year Zimbabwe needs international food aid.”

The letter adds: “Whether or not the agricultural situation is improving, and it could hardly fail to, the land seizures were illegal under international law and the SADC treaty. This has fatally undermined agriculture sector finance, especially since Zimbabwe has yet to meet its legal obligations to pay compensation.”

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24 Responsesto “Protest planned over contentious land-grab book”

  1. super mondo says:

    when settlers came to rhodesia there was land no farms just land.now the farms have been taken so compensation for buildings and inputs is justified.now the settlers are leaving…no farms just land.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      And how about the trillions of dollars the so-called white commercial farmers generated from our stolen land? Who is going to pay us for the plunder of our natural and more importantly human labor they used without paying a penny? Of course, the British government should have an answer for these questions which should be debated at the International Court of Justice. Surely Zimbabwe deserves to be paid reparations for the plunder and exploitation of our natural and human resources for nothing for all these years. We need the international community to assist Zimbabwe achieve this goal, the goal being to be paid reparation for the abuse, deprivation, tyranny, murder, and the plundering of our human and natural resources the country suffered at the hands of the colonial power for close to two hundred years.

  2. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    The letter adds: “Whether or not the agricultural situation is improving, and it could hardly fail to, the land seizures were illegal under international law and the SADC treaty. This has fatally undermined agriculture sector finance, especially since Zimbabwe has yet to meet its legal obligations to pay compensation.”

    These are all blue lies being propagated to the outside world. I would like to know which international law is being talked about here. Land that was stolen at gun point by the white settlers can be described as having been done legally. No international law can allow the subjugation of the indigenous people by foreigners for hundreds of years. And no government in the civilized world can pay compensation to thieves. A thief can never be a legal owner of stolen goods. The so-called white commercial farmers of Zimbabwe have no legal claim to the farms that were taken by government to resettle the landless people of this country.

    There is no SADC treaty to talk about as the SADC Tribunal that attempted to resolve the Zimbabwean land crisis has since been suspended when it took a wrong stance against the country. All the SADC countries and Africa in general support our cause that Zimbabwe took a principled stand for taking our land that had been stolen by foreigners for close to two hundred years. And nobody in his/her wildest dreams can reverse this. It is what I have always described as the endgame.

    I would like to thank the authors of the book, Dr. Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa from the University of Zimbabwe and Dr. Teresa Smart for a book well written. I will soon be buying a copy for my self to read. This appears a good book that has been written from the perspective of European and Zimbabwean authors and written by academics who obviously have carried out an intellectual research around the land question in Zimbabwe.

    • boring … since when does the landless include politicians mps brigadier generals and police commissioners , including the wives of politicians ??? … I do not need a lecture on the history of the land from you what i would like is a simple straight foward answer if possible

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        I am not giving you a lecture because you are not one of my students. If you read my work, it is your problem as you do not need to mate. I do not even know you Babi, so do not get excited, mate.

        • Exactly the reply i expected..
          No sooner does man discover intelligence than he tries to involve it in his own stupidity

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            If you have ‘issues’ say them in ways that are rational and intelligent. The idea of communicating with others is for you to be understood. It serves no purpose to appear sophisticated when you are just Nhamodzenyika. Try to be precise and to the point and not bush about the bush. Pamunhondo nepamusasa kwete blazo. Buda pachena semhecheeeey yemombe kana mbudzi.

          • The term you require is beat around the bush . not even worth a reply ..

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            The terms are not only ‘beat around the bush’. While I am not an English man but black Zimbabwean who struggles like any other ‘African negro’ with the language, it is equally correct to say, ‘beating around the bush’. You should check the correctness of your English grammar before you criticize others mate.

          • Yes you can say beating around the bush but in context to your paragraph beat around the bush is correct

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            Your head is full of ‘nuts’ mate

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            If you have ‘issues’ say them in ways that are rational and intelligent. The idea of communicating with others is for you to be understood. It serves no purpose to appear sophisticated when you are just Nhamodzenyika. Try to be precise and to the point and stop beating around the bush. Pamunhondo nepamusasa kwete blazo. Buda pachena semhecheeeey yemombe kana mbudzi.

  3. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    The letter adds: “Whether or not the agricultural situation is improving, and it could hardly fail to, the land seizures were illegal under international law and the SADC treaty. This has fatally undermined agriculture sector finance, especially since Zimbabwe has yet to meet its legal obligations to pay compensation”, Benton said.

    These are all blue lies being propagated to the outside world. I would like to know which international law is being talked about here. Land that was stolen at gun point by the white settlers can never be described as having been done legally. No international law can allow the subjugation of the indigenous people by foreigners for hundreds of years. And no government in the civilized world can pay compensation to thieves. In international law, a thief can never be a legal owner of stolen goods. The so-called white commercial farmers of Zimbabwe have no legal claim to the farms that were taken by government to resettle the landless people of this country. They never bought the land and if they did they were just giving each other money and they never gave a penny to my people who are the legitimate owners of the land. They just took the land they wanted from my people and now want to be compensated, compensated for the abuse and tyranny my people suffered at their hands?

    There is no SADC treaty to talk about here as the SADC Tribunal that attempted to resolve the Zimbabwean land crisis has since been suspended when it took a wrong stance against the country. All the SADC countries and Africa in general support our cause that Zimbabwe took a principled stand for taking our land that had been stolen by foreigners for close to two hundred years. And nobody in his/her wildest dreams can reverse this. It is what I have always described as the endgame.

    I would like to thank the authors of the book, Dr. Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa from the University of Zimbabwe and Dr. Teresa Smart for a book well written. I will soon be buying a copy for my self to read. This appears a good book that has been written from the perspective of European and Zimbabwean authors and written by academics who obviously have carried out an intellectual research around the land question in Zimbabwe.

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    • Anon says:

      Three words : Go to School.
      This whole mess is because the Farmers Sons after the War were never going to own that land. ZANU should of made that fact, known.
      Less Whites would of died and more blacks would be starving.

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        I have sufficient education to propagate the truth. It is you who has no clue of issues at stake who has a definite need to go to a night school. You need to read about the Berlin Conference of 1884 when Africa was partitioned by the European powers to satisfy their ego and to read the history of colonialism in Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1980. You can also be one of my history students if you like.
        The land has been taken and taken for good. And to add icing on the cake, no compensation will be effected for stolen land by the government of Zimbabwe. We are an educated and learned people who are fully acquainted with our history, sir/madam.

      • GBZ says:

        You wasting your time, may as well speak to a brick wall which can make a lot more sense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You don’t demonstrate against a schoarly research. You challenge the methodology and if you can prove it was flawed then regard the finding as spurious.

  5. Lawrence says:

    When after you’ve hit rock bottom there is only one way, up. To say the Zanu pf’s land grab was a success, is absolutey naive.

  6. Mike Rook says:

    Don’t be surprised or pay too much attetion to the rantings and ravings posted by the incorrigable and verbose Cde Chimbwedes. Hiding behind that Chimurenga nome de plume is most probably the rabid and self opinionated George Shiri a British
    based academic – or that’s how he’s described. Shiri has been in the UK for close on twenty
    years, he is in effect the ruling party’s spokesperson in London and can always
    be relied on to parrot the party line.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      You are just a hopeless, silly, funny and old English man, Sir. The young generation of the British folk are more progressive than you. They are open minded unlike you who thinks inside the box and can not venture outside it. I must say your views are outdated and have no place in this 21st century.

      Chimbwidos Warvets is not an intellectual and neither is he an academic as you would want the readership to believe. Please do not shower him with accolades he does not possess.

      Chimbwidos Warvets is just an ordinary Zimbabwean man who strives to tell the truth, for only the truth will set us a free people. Chimbwidos has only seen George Shiri on television but does not know him at all and neither does he know who he represents and what he stands for in Zimbabwe. In fact, I have not bothered to find out as it is non of Chimbwidos Warvets business, you silly old English man.

      • Mike Rook says:

        Cde Chimbwidos when reading your posts I am reminded of the sheep in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The Sheep–true to the typical symbolic meaning of “sheep”–represent those people who have little understanding of their situation and thus are willing to follow their government blindly.

        • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

          I am sure you are as blind as a bat if you characterize Chimbwidos as stooge. That is further from the truth mate. Chimbwidos does not think ‘inside the box’ but is open minded. He does not have the luxury of following any government blindly but to propagate his message to the world in ways that are truthful and to the point. Chimbwidos Warvets is the truth, mate. And by the way, you should not patronize him by calling him Cde Chimbwidos. Chimbwidos Warvets are names he just picked somewhere for convenience sake and have no connotation attached to being a comrade-in-arms. These names are not even closer to his real names, so do not be excited for nothing, sir. You should address Chimbwidos Warvets by his correct name and designation, you silly old loser of a farm in Zimbabwe. Your farm as well as my own have been taken over, gone and gone forever. Chimbwidos Warvets can not get his own back and neither can he assist you as it is too little too late. While I was not given a chance, I am fully aware, you were given a chance to negotiate with the Mugabe led government, but you bungled thinking you were too clever and now we are all crying like babies. My farm was taken for resettlement purposes way back in 1998 when government had not initiated the land acquisition programme but I was just unfortunate. That is life mate.

  7. Mike Rook says:

    The statement below from Chimbwidos Warvets admitting his Chimurengs name has no foundation is given freely and without coercion, and suggests he has an identity crisis of major proportions. He regards the political and historical statements he posts as infallible doctrines and any dissension as either foolish or provocative. The only message he propagates is intolerance, racism and bigotry.

    Chimbwidos Warvets: I am sure you are as blind as a bat if you characterize Chimbwidos as stooge.

    That is further from the truth mate. Chimbwidos does not think ‘inside the box’

    but is open minded. He does not have the luxury of following any government

    blindly but to propagate his message to the world in ways that are truthful and

    to the point. Chimbwidos Warvets is the truth, mate. And by the way, you should

    not patronize him by calling him Cde Chimbwidos. Chimbwidos Warvets are names he

    just picked somewhere for convenience sake and have no connotation attached to

    being a comrade-in-arms. These names are not even closer to his real names, so

    do not be excited for nothing, sir. You should address Chimbwidos Warvets by his

    correct name and designation, you silly old loser of a farm in Zimbabwe. Your

    farm as well as my own have been taken over, gone and gone forever. Chimbwidos

    Warvets can not get his own back and neither can he assist you as it is too

    little too late. While I was not g iven a chance, I am fully aware, you were

    given a chance to negotiate with the Mugabe led government, but you bungled

    thinking you were too clever and now we are all crying like babies. My farm was

    taken for resettlement purposes way back in 1998 when government had not

    initiated the land acquisition programme but I was just unfortunate. That is

    life mate.

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