Journal of Asian and African Social Science and Humanities, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2018, Pages 22-35

THE COLONIAL LEGISLATION, CURRENT STATE OF RURAL AREAS IN ZIMBABWE AND REMEDIAL MEASURES TAKEN TO PROMOTE RURAL DEVELOPMENT.

 

Tinashe Mitchell Mashizha,1 Jephias Mapuva2

 

1Community Capacity Building Initiative Centre for Africa (CCBICA), RTG Centre, Harare-Bulawayo Highway, Kadoma, Zimbabwe. : tmashizha@gmail.com

2Department of Geography (Development Studies Stream), Bindura University of Science Education, P Bag 1020, Bindura, Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

Keywords:

Rural; Development; colonial; legislation; Economic; empowerment; indigenous;

 

 

This paper reviews remedial measures taken to achieve the objectives of rural development in the post-independence Zimbabwe. The research looks at colonial legislative and how it hindered development in rural communities. Colonial state undertook some legislative measures concerning land management that disadvantaged Africans. The black community becomes disempowered, disenfranchised and landless. Land polices alienated indigenous people and created livelihood insecurity. This desktop research collected data from published and unpublished literature. The paper identifies a number of policies implemented after 1980 and examines their impacts in enhancing food security, employment and growth in rural areas of Zimbabwe. The aim of these policies is to correct imbalances created by white settlers and inject economic empowerment in rural communities. In particular, the review claims that rural communities are impacted. Whilst these policies are attempts to bring the long awaited rural development, they have heavily flawed. Despite this, rural development needs support from indigenous black Zimbabweans. The conclusion reflects that if policies are implemented properly, the goals of rural development can be achieved.  

 

 

Publisher All rights reserved.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Zimbabwe was a British colony from 1890-1980 and during that period, the country was called Rhodesia. During this period, the policy of racial segregation dominated all spheres of life and was enforced by legislation that includes the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 and the Land Tenure Act of 1931. These two legislation demarcated land as being European or African and the urban, mining and prime farming rural areas were designated for Europeans and Africans were confined to the more marginal Tribal Trust Lands (TTL) which were later called Communal Lands ( Kurebwa, 2015). They provided a platform for land alienation. The period of 1890-1980 saw laws being put in place to ensure total subjugation of the black people and race become a key factor in many aspects, therefore, bringing inequalities between blacks and whites. As a result, the whites who constituted 4% of the country’s population controlled over 90% of the economy in terms of owning the means of production while list blacks who accounted for 96% of the population only controlled 10% of the economy (Mazingi and Kamidza, 2009). Ultimately, the black community becomes disempowered, disenfranchised and landless, while the white community usurped more and more power and resources (Simensen, 1999). A new political dispensation was ushered in 1980 and indigenous people generated lot of expectations towards the reversal of colonial inequalities. The government sought to address the imbalances of the past by providing services which were development oriented. The newly government crated policies that sought to reduce inequalities and it aimed to provide infrastructure and services in predominantly black areas. According to Mazingi and Kamidza (2009), the new government prioritised the provision of health, education and sanitation in marginalised areas and this led to the crafting and implication of legislation and social and micro-economic policies. It is against this background that this review sought to analyses the impacts of socio-economic policies on rural development in post-colonial Zimbabwe.

 

EFFECTS OF COLONIAL LEGISLATION ON

RURAL AREAS IN ZIMBABWE

The colonial land tenure can be looked at in the context of a sustained and continuous deprivation of indigenous black people’s right to land. White settler’s forcible seizure the most productive land from indigenous people and shared it among them-selves. The colonial legislation manifested the Native Reserve order in Council in 1898.  By 1905, under this new land allocation policy, there were about 60 Native Reserves, occupying about 22% of the country (Chinamasa, 2001). White settler faced labour shortages and the government decided to expropriate land from Africans. The colonial government decided to create artificial poverty among the local African population so that the latter could be forced to look for employment in the industries and white farming areas (Moyana, 2002). Black Zimbabweans were dispossessed of their prime land and it is within this background that Tribal Trust Lands (T.T.Ls) were created. Tribal Trust Lands were established as a way of accommodating and keeping black people for cheap labour. Zvobgo (1986) cited that the colonial government used an Order-In-Council to establish colonial land segregation through the Tribal Trust Lands in 1898. This resulted in the present day communal areas such as Gwayi and Shangani where land is not fertile and erratic rainfall is experienced.

A legal framework known as the Land Apportionment Act was put in place in 1930. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 was a legislative instrument that led indigenous people to completely lose their land rights. Maposa et al (2010) cited that in passing the Land Apportionment Act (1930), the colonial government hoped to meet two main objectives. The first was that the colonial government wanted to curtail the random mobility of local Africans in the communal areas. Secondly, the act wanted to end the traditional land tenure system and introduced the individual ownership system. Whites farmers were give land for commercial farming versus peasant production areas which did not benefit Africans. Through the Land Apportionment Act, there was inequitable land distribution that forced indigenous people to submit to overexploitation of resources, hence, environmental degradation and insecurity as livelihoods become threatened. Africans were sacrificed on the altar of the colonial land management policies and the Land Apportionment Act led to ‘sponsored poverty’ upon Africans (Maposa et al, 2010).

The Rhodesian government introduced the Native Land Husbandry Act (1951). This piece of legislation sought to confer individual tenure rights on specific parcels of grazing land presuming that individual tenure would lead to more efficient land use (Chinamasa, 2001). Indigenous black people were only allowed five head of cattle and eight acres of land.  By instituting the Native Land Husbandry Act of 1951, the colonial government aimed at encouraging Africans to protect natural resources in their communities through limiting the number of animal stocks in reserves within their ecological areas’ carrying capacity ( Makanyisa et al, 2012). Although agricultural production increased immediately after the Land Husbandry Act, the pressure of overstocking of animals and overpopulation created problems. Subdivision of plots was done to meet the increasing demand for land by Africans in rural communities. Maphosa et al (2010), argue that de-stocking and giving individual plots to people within the boundaries of the Land Apportionment Act did not increase land that could have ameliorated the dire economic situation in the African reserves. What Africans needed was extra land in order to deal with existential issue of poverty due to land degradation and landlessness.

In 1969, the Land Tenure Act was established and it provided a platform for land alienation. This piece of Act favoured the white minority race at the expense of the black majority. The Act enhanced white settlers to seize 18 million hectares of prime fertile arable land in agro-ecological regions. Black people were subjected to low lying areas with poor soils. Chemhuru and Masaka (2010) cited that colonial settlers targeted areas which are classified in natural region 1, 2 and 3 with good rainfall and most communal areas are in the region 4 and 5 which had the least potential to support small scale farming. It is clearer that the formation of land management acts were dictated more by colonial economic considerations rather than by consideration on sustainable land utilization in reserves. Evidently the land management policies had far reaching consequences for black rural folks.

 

CONCEPT OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Rural development refers to the process of improving quality life and economic well-being of people in relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas (Menes, 2005). Traditionally, the development of rural areas centered on agriculture and forestry. However, due to a new political dispensation and globalisation, rural development has shifted its attention to mining, tourism and manufacturing. Rural development also caters for locally produced economic development strategies and rural development programmes has also seen a shift from a top-down approach to a bottom up approach form. The bottom up approach allows for participation of rural people and it has been adopted for rural development. A rural area is a countryside area where the major economic activity is largely agriculture and has less than 500 people per square mile (Conyers, 2001).

 

REMEDIAL MEASURES OF POST COLONIAL

ZIMBABWE TO PROMOTE RURAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Decentralisation

Decentralisation started in 1980 after independence and it was a post colonial local government strategic policy which sought to address colonial imbalances, improve the participation of rural folks and transfer power from the central government to rural councils. At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwean government sought to introduce wide-ranging reforms which were aimed at removing some of the racial overtones in the local government system (Makumbe, 1998). The context of these reforms included the removal of restrictions based on race, the participation of all races in local government elections and redistribution of resources. The government of Zimbabwe wanted to create a democratic local government system which responded to the needs of the people which were neglected by the Rhodesian government and created imbalances. Kurebwa (2015) further explained that the government increased its level of fiscal support to rural councils to enable them and government to embark on massive provision of services and the major reconstruction of the war ravaged infrastructure. A single local government ministry was created and it brought all the three types of local government institutions that was there before 1980 (urban, African and Native Councils). The Zimbabwean government sought to increase the decision-making powers of local authorities and transfer added functions to them so that they could respond more effectively and efficiently to the needs of local citizens (Chatiza, 2008). The centralised government system before independence gave no room for disadvantaged people to participate within the governance system hence decentralisation paved a way of participation and an option towards poverty reduction as local authorities are closer to the people and can be better positioned to deal with the needs of the people.

 

The Growth Pole Policy

In 1980, the new government introduced what might be called a state socialist approach or statist approach to development (Conyers, 2001). The government played a vital role by being directly involved in economic production and by regulating actions of the private sector. The objective and the intentions of the government were to increase the economic growth and reduce the inherited racial inequalities. Hence, in 1981, there was the introduction of the “growth with equity strategy”. Conyers (2001) explained that the growth with equity policy resulted in a number of polices designed specifically to reduce regional and spatial inequalities. This meant that there was going to be an introduction of more growth points. A growth centre was designated in every district   and the established centres included Nyika, Murehwa, Mupandawana and Murambinda. The designation of the aforementioned was to be adopted, after independence, as part of the government’s policy that embodied growth with equity, as it was felt that for general economic development to succeed at a national scale, regional inequalities had to be drastically reduced (Manyanhaire et al, 2009).

 

THE TRANSITIONAL NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

 PLAN AND THE FIRST FIVE-YEAR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Development planning was seen as an instrument for achieving rapid socio-economic development by the new government. This led to the launch of the Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) of 1982-1985 and the First Five-Year National Development Plan of 1986-1990. The main trusts of the policies included economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction, and in the process ameliorate inequalities (Government of Zimbabwe, 1991).  In 1991, the government launched the Second Five-Year National Development Plan and the priorities of the plan were rural development, land reform, economic expansion and employment creation (Government of Zimbabwe, 1998). Rural planning of the (SFFYDP) aimed at constructing infrastructure in rural areas, and in most rural areas, clinics, roads and schools were constructed.

 

ZIMBABWE PROGRAMME FOR ECONOMIC

AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION

The Zimbabwe Programme for Economic Transformation (ZIMPREST) was launched in 1998 though it was expected to run from 1996 to 2000. The programme was succeeding ESAP, and according to the Government of Zimbabwe (1998), adopting ZIMPREST was clear evidencing that the government was after the adoption of neoliberal approach to economic development. This new programme was aimed at overcoming the constraints to economic growth, employment creation and poverty alleviation (Mazingi and Kamidza, 2009). The ZIMPRSET policy aimed to restore macro-economic stability by (lowering interest rates, low inflation and stable exchange rate). It also aimed at facilitating public and private savings, pursuing economic empowerment and poverty alleviation by generating opportunities for employment and encouraging entrepreneurial development. More to the above, the policy aimed at providing a safety net for the disadvantaged (Mazingi and Kamidza, 2009). 

 

LAND REFORM PROGRAMME

In 1980, the government could not acquire land due to the Lancaster House Constitution of 1979 which did not allow for the compulsory acquisition of land until after a decade of independence. According to the Lancaster House agreement, the government could only acquire land that was on offer on a willing seller- willing buyer principle. This meant that the government had to wait for farmers to put their farms up for sell. In an effort to improve the land acquisition process, the Government of Zimbabwe made a series of alterations to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Land Acquisition Act (Moyo, 2000). Even with the amendments of laws after 1990, which allowed for compulsory purchases, the central land redistribution approach used by government between 1980 and 1997 remained market-based (Marongwe, 2002). The land reform sought to address the lack of social justice and re-dress the land imbalances. In 1997, the government of Zimbabwe initiated a process of radical land reform based upon extensive compulsory land acquisition and redistribution, targeting 5 million hectares for transfer. This occurred in the context of a growing fiscal deficits and exchange rate collapse, following the allocation of increased pensions to war veterans, and related political conflict within the ruling party (Moyo, 2004).Owing to the failure of other forms of land reform implemented since 1980, the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) was officially launched in 2000; where local communities, under the leadership of war veterans and local traditional leaders, invaded and seized white owned farms. Later in the year, government jumped into the bandwagon by targeting several white-owned farms for acquisition, excluding those owned by indigenous black people and churches (Shumba, 2014). According to Moyo (2004), under the radical compulsory land acquisition process, the land targeted for transfer was shifted from 5 to 10 million hectares by 2001. The government aimed to decongest communal lands and increase the number of black farmers involved in commercial farming enterprise (Mazingi and Kamidza, 2009).

 

INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC

EMPOWERMENT

In 2008, the government of Zimbabwe introduced the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (IEEA). According to the context of the act, it mandates all foreign owned companies operating in Zimbabwe to cede 51% of their share to indigenous Zimbabweans, through partnership with business people, community share trust and work share trust (The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, 2008). The government looked back at the injustice of the colonial period and noted that there was lack of resources control among the indigenous black people and this limited the capacity of black people’s participation in the mainstream economy (Chowa, 2013). The colonial period brought some of the racially skewed developments.  According to Matunhu (2012), the indigenisation policy mainly targets residents from rural areas, and aims at the improvement of their socio-economic conditions through infrastructural developments, small and medium enterprise development, local ownership of natural resources as well as improve academic standards. The policy seeks to ensure that black people (indigenous people) own their resources and broaden the Zimbabwe’s economic base.

 

 

IMPACTS OF REMEDIAL MEASURES TO

RURAL DEVELOPMENT

 

The Growth Pole/Centre Policy

The focus of the growth pole or centre policy was on rural areas, where these areas receive public sector investment to improve physical and social infrastructure. The infrastructure developed included water retaliation, internal roads, electricity, sewage and other community services (Chirisa et al, 2015). Complemented by the Small Enterprise Development Cooperation (SEDCO), the policy saw a number of cooperatives and small commercial and industrial enterprises being established at growth points. Growth points received state support to invest in energy, water supply and social and administrative infrastructure (Chirisa et al, 2015).  This study noted that growth points triggered production and promotion of social services, hence, ensured the improvement in the quality of life in rural areas. However, the growth pole policy failed to achieve its aims and ensure positive cycle of rural development. Many scholars claimed that growth points have been relegated to dormitory towns (Mashuku and Takuva, 2013; Manyanhaire et al, 2009). The argument of this review is that no meaningful capital investment is seen in most growth points, and most growth points have been turned into residential areas. This is conquered by Mashuku and Takuva (2013) who argues that most centres designated for growth poles do not have the requisite potential or strong human resources base from where to ignite the process of cumulative causation and subsequent growth. The impact of the policy towards rural development has been disappointing.  Significant economic growth occurred only in a few of the growth points, like Gokwe and Sanyati located in areas where agricultural output was expanding rapidly, thus creating a market for secondary goods and services (Manyanhaire et al, 2009; Conyers, 2001: Mashuku and Takuva, 2013) . To support this claim, Rambanapasi (1990) noted that significant economic growth occurred only in a few of the growth points in the country, the case of Sanyati and Gokwe. Henceforth, this study argues that growth points have remained as more than small service centres with government offices and shops.  

 

TNDP AND FFYNDP CONTRIBUTIONS

TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Both policies emphasized on economic growth, employment creation and poverty reduction. The ten year period of the implementation of the policies saw growth rate of 3.2 %. According to Government of Zimbabwe (1991), productive sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing grew by 3.1% over the same period. Jobs were created in non agricultural sectors (health, education and public sectors) which enhanced rural development. Mhisi (1995) stated that between 1982 and 1987, peasant farmers recorded a dramatic increase in the share of the marketed agricultural produce, especially maize and cotton. The study note that many families to come out of the poverty trap as they were able to access health and educational services. Some families especially from Gokwe and Sanyati area sent their children for tertiary education using money they had earned from the white crop (cotton). Agricultural potential of communal areas improved, and it accounted for most food supplied on the market. Communal farmers accounted for 65% of maize production in 1985 (Mhishi, 1995). Although the two polices (TNDP and FFYNDP) enhanced rural development, they were setbacks. Mazingi and Kamidza, (2009)  alluded that the Government admitted when it launched the Second Five-Year National Development Plan (SFYNDP) (1991-1995) that rural development and land reform, economic expansion and employment creation, which were the priorities in the development planning of the first decade of independence, had not achieved the desired potential mainly due to the low levels of economic growth. None the less, significant progress in redressing social inequalities in the health and education sector was recorded.

 

ZIMPREST AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

The Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Transformation, a neoliberal approach to economic development aimed at reducing inflation, facilitate public and private savings and investment and provide safety nets for disadvantaged people in rural areas. Matunhu and Mago (2013) cited that ZIMPREST was adopted as the successor to the ESAP program and it was seen as a home-grown programme for poverty reduction. However, this study noted that there is little evidence that suggest the success of ZIPREST. It is worth noting that ZIMPREST was a disaster and resulted in socio-economic problems for the country. The poverty trap deepened in rural areas (Matunhu and Mago, 2013).  The argument of this review is that without the finance to fund any programme designed rural development, there inevitably many shades of grey. 

 

LAND REFORM AND RURAL

DEVELOPMENT

The Land Redistribution and Resettlement programme in the form of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) of 2000, has created an expanded number and array of small, medium and large scale farms, and effectively transferring ownership from the minority, white farmers to new indigenous farmers. According to Harvey (1991), fast track land reform programmes are important because they relive population pressure on over-crowed communal lands, provide people with enough land for them to farm profitably and provide a means of livelihood for the unemployed and landless. This is supported by Magede and Mukono (2014) who argues that the land redistribution programme has an instrumental role in the promotion of sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Female farm workers gained various life skills which would assist them in making informed decisions and responsible choices in life. The programme or policy covered critical issues with regards to emancipation of women and female farmers confirmed that they have seen their participation as a worthwhile (Magede and Mukono, 2014). The programme has increased productive capacity of small scale farmers and this has yields positive effects to rural development.  The argument of this review is that some families have manage to embark on irrigation, purchase more livestock, build houses, send their children to school  and embraced technology using the money earned from their farming activities. This is supported by Mandizadza (2010) who states that the provision of land has also had the positive impact of enabling some beneficiaries to acquire certain assets “they did not have before they resettled, or that they would not have been able to accumulate in the areas they previously stayed”.

These new farmers are, however, vulnerable to drought and other natural disasters, since they are sorely dependent on this and lack of capital assets, to efficiently increase the productive capacity of their land, has caused them to remain poor (Sconnes, 2008).The FTLRP brought mixed fortunes as the process was politically affiliated and disorganised. Pazvakawambwa (2012) asserts that some invaders moved from farm to farm vandalising farm equipment. Agricultural production has plummeted since the program was initiated in 2000; in fact, by 2004, it had dropped by 30 percent (Richardson 2004). Given the importance of agricultural output in the viability of the manufacturing sector, the manufacturing sector also experienced a contraction and the whole economy had shrunk by 15 percent by 2003 (Richardson 2004). Although Zimbabwe has the potential to be food secure at national and household levels, the country faces severe food shortages, due to a combination of factors, including policy deficiencies throughout rural areas. There are several limitations in terms of access to agricultural inputs, credit and equipment that households face. These, in turn, severely restrict the potential of livelihood enhancement arising from land redistribution (Mandizadza 2010).

 

INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

 ACT AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Indigenisation and economic empowerment act as a policy of addressing inequalities brought by settler regimes is justified. Indigenisation principles are premised on the need to eliminate poverty and promote economic development (Mawowa, 2007). In accordance with the requirements of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act of 2008, Community Share Ownership Trusts (CSOTs) were established in Mhondoro/Ngezi, Zvishavane, Hwange, Shurungwi, Gwanda, Bindura, Marange, Umguza and Bubi. These communities were awarded 10% stake in mining companies that operates in their areas. A report by NIEEB showed that community trust nation-wide received seed capital valued at USD 114 million by 2013 ( NIEEB,2013). The underlining argument of this paper is that some of the money has been used in the development of infrastructures such as roads, schools and clinics. This is supported by Mapanzure (2013), who states that the Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Scheme received USD 2 million from Mimosa mine, which has been used to construct classroom blocks enabling local children to have access to quality education. Not only did the trust constructed classroom blocks, it also drilled boreholes, reconstructed the Chirume dam and provided electricity to several households. The Mhondoro-Ngezi community also benefited from the policy as their livelihoods improved. Zimplants mine has been involved in a number of schemes enhancing access to income for rural people. The indigenisation policy has also brought employment to the area, as youth are now working as wage labourers at Zimplats (Mkodzongi, 2013). More to the above, Zimplats has provided for women empowerment through equipment and training, for women to start their own projects; this has strengthened the economic position of women in the area (Chowa, 2013). These employment prospects provided by Zimplats have also improved the capability of new farmers to utilise their land; their salaries from the mine also enables them to invest in agricultural production (Murombo, 2010).

In any case, the indigenisation and economic empowerment act has generated great debate on whether it has achieved its mandate of empowering communities. Like any other policy that has been implemented after the year 2000 by Zanu Pf, the review noted that the policy has been implemented inappropriately, leaving scares of underdevelopment still visible in rural communities. The underdevelopment in rural areas has remained so despite the fact that these areas are endowed with natural resources most of which are being exploited by conglomerates for selfish gains without benefiting the communities (Ndlovu, 2015). They are sentiments from others who argue that the programme is not benefiting communities, instead it was designed and being implemented in such a way that it benefits a few elites in the Government or those who are politically connected to Zanu Pf.  In implementing the indigenisation policy, emphasis has been put on the land reform, community share ownership schemes and employee schemes, as way of benefitting the majority but with limited efforts made towards achieving broad based economic empowerment and sustainable growth (Sibanda, 2013). Traditional chiefs saw the policy as a platform to enrich them-selves, hindering the much needed development by rural flocks. According to Chiketo (2014), some traditional chiefs in Mutare got a battering from villagers who accused them of benefiting from diamond exploration while they continue to languish in poverty. More to the above, in 2012, the then Local Governance minister Dr Ignatious Chombo ordered chiefs form the Zvishavane Tongogara Community Share-Ownership Trust to give back USD 2 million they had corruptly pocketed form the trust ( Maguwu, 2013). This review noted that the policy is a created platform meant to rationalize acts of economic banditry and expropriation, rather than a platform of economic growth and rural development. If it can be implemented properly, the policy has the potential of empowering local communities, reduce the poverty levels, reduce the gap that exist between rural and urban areas and speed-up rural development.

 

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Considering the major findings mentioned above, the study concludes that generally, post colonial policies/ programmes brought some form of success as far as rural development is concerned. Fighting rural development is the responsibility of the government and the people of Zimbabwe. No external support will achieve the goals of rural development if Zimbabweans do not take full responsibility. As this review has shown, there is much going on in some parts of the country to achieve the goals of rural development, but also a lack of it in other parts. Yet despite this, the poverty level of rural communities remains high and underdevelopment persist. The study shows that the implementation of policies has been negatively affected by social and economic challenges. Corruption has been cited as the chief factor hindering positive impacts of programmes being introduced to achieve the goals of rural development. In that regards, the researchers holds the view that a new approach in the implementations of programmes meant to uplift rural communities is urgently needed as the old model has lot of consequences. Curbing corruption is the solution and it gives pathway for positive development. More to the above, the government needs to strengthen institutional structures that monitor empowerment programmes in order to guarantee that objectives are achieved. Extensive monitoring of programmes is needed and an independent structure/board should take the responsibility of monitoring such programmes. 

 

 

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