Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Annex A


Key Points

    —  Land reform is central to Zimbabwe's development.

    —  The UK remains a strong advocate of effective and well-managed land reform.

    —  Since Independence, the UK has provided £44 million for land reform; and £500 million in bilateral support for development in Zimbabwe.

    —  The UK Government has also contributed to development in Zimbabwe through international financial institutions and the European Union.

    —  There was no provision in the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979 to establish a specific fund to support land reform. At Lancaster House, the UK Government made clear that the long term requirements of land reform in Zimbabwe were beyond the capacity of any individual donor country.

    —  The UK Government took a leading role with other donors in the 1998 Land Conference in Harare. All participants including the Government of Zimbabwe agreed that land reform in Zimbabwe should be transparent; respect the rule of law; reduce poverty; be affordable; and consistent with Zimbabwe's wider economic interests.

    —  Participants at the Commonwealth Abuja conference in September 2001—including the UK and Zimbabwe—agreed that "land reform must be implemented in a fair, just and sustainable manner, in the interest of all the people of Zimbabwe".

    —  The Zimbabwe Government's "fast track" programme is inconsistent with the 1998 Harare conference and Abuja 2001 principles. The United Nations Development Programme's recent report on land reform in Zimbabwe bears this out.

    —  The UK Government has always been open to discussion on land. It has honoured its commitments at Lancaster House and it remains willing to contribute to a land reform programme in Zimbabwe which makes a sustainable improvement in the lives of Zimbabwe's rural poor.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


UK/Zimbabwe: Lancaster House and Land Reform Since Independence

Introduction : Why Land Reform?

  1.  At the time of Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, the best agricultural land was owned mainly by large, commercial farms, often of more than 1,000 hectares each. Poor families were crowded into the less productive communal areas, on land holdings that were often less than one hectare.

  2.  The British Government believed then, and still believes now, that land reform is central to Zimbabwe's development. Britain has been a strong advocate of effective and well-managed land reform in Zimbabwe since Independence. A more equitable distribution of land is essential to reduce poverty and to contribute to the country's long-term economic and social future.

  3.  But, to be effective, the British Government believes that such reform must be carried out within the rule of law; be transparent and fair; and within a well-managed economic policy framework that contributes both to poverty reduction and Zimbabwe's economic prosperity. This approach is shared by all major international donors and has been endorsed by the UNDP and agreed, on numerous occasions, by the Government of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, the Government of Zimbabwe has consistently failed to apply these principles to practice.

Lancaster House Agreement, 1979

  4.  The 1979 Lancaster House Agreement brought Independence to Zimbabwe in 1980, following Ian Smith's illegal Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. The Agreement (signed in December 1979) covered the Independence Constitution, pre-independence arrangements, and a ceasefire. The parties represented during the conference were: the British Government, the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Administration and the Patriotic Front led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo.

  5.  There were discussions on land reform at the negotiating conference preceding the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement. The UK expressed understanding of the need for a land resettlement programme. The UK agreed to contribute to the costs and to rally the support of the international donor community. The UK's position was set out by Lord Carrington, the Conference Chairman, in a statement made to the plenary session on 11 October 1979. He said:

    "We recognise that the future Government of Zimbabwe, whatever its political complexion, will wish to extend land ownership. The Government can of course purchase land for agricultural settlement, as we all have seen. The Independence Constitution will make it possible to acquire under-utilised land compulsorily, provided that adequate compensation is paid.

    Any resettlement scheme would clearly have to be carefully prepared and implemented to avoid adverse effects on production.

    The Zimbabwe Government might well wish to draw in outside donors such as the World Bank in preparing and implementing a full-scale agricultural development plan.

    The British Government recognise the importance of this issue to a future Zimbabwe Government and will be prepared, within the limits imposed by our financial resources, to help. We should for instance be ready to provide technical assistance for settlement schemes and capital aid for agricultural development projects and infrastructure. If an agricultural development bank or some equivalent institution were set up to promote agricultural development including land settlement schemes, we would be prepared to contribute to the initial capital.

    The costs would be very substantial indeed, well beyond the capacity, in our judgement, of any individual donor country, and the British Government cannot commit itself at this stage to a specific share in them. We should however be ready to support the efforts of the government of independent Zimbabwe to obtain international assistance for these purposes."

  6.  There was therefore no provision in the Lancaster House Agreement to establish a specific fund to support land reform. However, as promised at Lancaster House, the British Government did play a full part, both before and after the international Zimbabwe Donors' Conference (ZIMCORD) of March 1981, to encourage international donors to take part and to respond generously to Zimbabwe's requirements. Donors pledged £636 million at ZIMCORD for development in Zimbabwe, including land reform. The Constitution of Zimbabwe agreed at Lancaster House entrenched protection for property rights for the first ten years of Independence. The Government's acquisition of land was limited to the willing buyer/willing seller principle. Thereafter, the Zimbabwe Parliament would be able to alter the Constitution in accordance with its own legislation.

Land Reform

  7.  In 1980, the Government of Zimbabwe established the goal of acquiring 8.3 million hectares of land from the white commercial farming sector and resettling 162,000 households by 1990. In this period, with UK Government financial support the government resettled 66,000 households—mainly refugees, displaced people and the landless poor—on approximately three million hectares of land. Some beneficiaries were given small plots while others were grouped onto small cooperatives. The co-operatives generally failed.

  8.  In 1990, with the lapsing of constitutional restrictions on land acquisition, the Government of Zimbabwe formulated a new land policy. It enacted the Land Acquisition Act in 1992, which enabled it to limit the size of farms and compulsorily acquire land by paying "fair compensation." The Government of Zimbabwe also reoriented its land policy to favour "more capable" farmers at the expense of the landless poor. Additionally, the policy aimed to establish a strategic black commercial farming sector through distribution of large plots to blacks (many of the black business elite). The scheme lacked transparency and was perceived in some quarters to be a mechanism for rewarding party officials and cronies. Ultimately, there was very little resettlement of poor Zimbabweans in the 1990s. Academic studies have found the government's performance on land reform to be inconsistent, ineffective and inegalitarian. The Government of Zimbabwe failed to make land reform a national priority and lacked the vision, and technical capacity, to appreciably advance the needs of the landless poor. The Government of Zimbabwe also failed to grant small black farmers secure tenure or free-hold title.

Fast Track Resettlement Programme

  9.  The Government of Zimbabwe launched its "fast track" land reform programme in July 2000. Its aim, to resettle 162,000 families on five million hectares of white owned farm land within four years, was patently unattainable. It was not a rational programme but a politically driven move to attack those whom the ruling party judged to support the opposition MDC and to bolster President Mugabe's chances of winning the Presidential election in 2002. In both respects, it misjudged the consequences on Zimbabwe's already fragile economy.

  10.  The "fast track" programme lacks transparency and fairness (about half of the land titles have been allocated to pro-government public servants and politicians) and without the required infrastructural inputs (seed, water, fertiliser) has proved unsustainable. In addition, there is little apparent consideration of the effect of resettlement on farm workers and their families who were made homeless. Furthermore, the fast track programme has been associated with state sponsored violent occupations of land by war veterans, the slaughter of livestock, the

destruction of seed-beds, the spread of bovine diseases and the destruction of wildlife sanctuaries. A state of lawlessness still prevails in rural areas. The consequences for Zimbabwe's food production and tourism industry have been huge. Even if the policy were reversed tomorrow Zimbabwe now faces severe food shortages for several years to come.

  11.  The United Nations Development Programme Experts Report (October 2000) confirmed donors' concerns that people were being dumped on land without support and without important infrastructural and tilling inputs. The report found that there was no land reform plan as such and that the fast track approach was not feasible. For these reasons the international community has been unable to offer support.

UK Support for Land Reform in Zimbabwe

  12.  Between 1980 and 1985, the UK provided £47 million for land reform: £20 million as a specific Land Resettlement Grant and £27 million in the form of budgetary support to help meet the Zimbabwe Government's own contribution to the programme. This Land Resettlement Grant was signed in 1981, and substantially spent by 1988.

  13.  An evaluation of land resettlement in 1988 by the then UK Overseas Development Administration (ODA) showed that some real progress had been made. The report suggested measures for further improving the UK-funded programme. The 1988 report was sent to the Zimbabwe Government, but ODA received no response.

  14.  The UK Land Resettlement Grant finally closed in 1996 with £3 million still unspent. The UK Government sought proposals from the Zimbabwe Government on spending the remaining balance. A further technical mission by the ODA in 1996 resulted in new proposals for UK support for land reform. The Zimbabwe Government responded towards the end of 1996, but no agreement was reached before the UK General Election of May 1997. Discussions with the new UK Labour administration began later that year.

  15.  ln September 1998, with UK encouragement, the Zimbabwe Government hosted a Land Conference in Harare, involving all major international donors and the multilateral institutions. Issues raised in the ODAs 1996 report were considered at the Conference. The UK participated constructively and endorsed the basic principles for land reform agreed at the Conference, as did the Zimbabwe Government. Those principles included the need for: transparency, respect for the rule of law, poverty reduction, affordability and consistency with Zimbabwe's wider economic interests.

  16.  The 1998 Conference agreed a two-year Inception Phase, during which Government resettlement schemes would be tried alongside ideas from the private sector and civil society. In May 1999, UK-funded consultants began work to identify ways in which the UK Government could provide further support for land reform in Zimbabwe. Terms of reference for a follow-up visit were agreed with the Zimbabwe Government in September 1999. But work on donor support for land reform in Zimbabwe was interrupted by the illegal farm occupations and the subsequent violence in the run-up to the 2000 Parliamentary elections. It has not resumed, despite efforts by the donors themselves and the UN to re-engage.

The UK's Current Policy on Land Reform

  17.  The UK remains willing to support a land reform programme that is carried out in accordance with the principles agreed by donors and the Zimbabwe Government in 1998. This is also the position of the broad donor community. We are not imposing any new conditions.

  18.  In the absence of a Government-led programme which we felt able to support, the UK's Department for International Development (DFID, ODA's successor) established in March 2000 a £5 million Land Resettlement Challenge Fund to support private sector and civil society-led resettlement initiatives. Unfortunately, the Zimbabwe Government has not allowed such private sector initiatives to proceed.

UNDP Initiative on Land Reform

  19.  In late 2000, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) proposed to the Zimbabwe Government a slowing down of its fast track resettlement programme to fit Zimbabwe's implementation capacity; independent monitoring of the situation in commercial farming areas; the promotion of internal dialogue; and the possible resumption of UNDP technical assistance. UNDP stressed the importance of a transparent, just and fair land reform that respects the rule of law and in accordance with the principles agreed at the 1998 Land Conference and laws of Zimbabwe. The Government's reply suggested that it was not willing to move on the major issues blocking re-engagement by the international community.


  20.  A meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers met in Abuja on 6 September 2001 to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe. On land reform, they agreed that reform must be implemented in a fair, just and sustainable manner, in the interest of all the people of Zimbabwe, and that any land reform programme should be on the basis of the UNDP proposals of December 2000. The Government of Zimbabwe agreed to honour the principles enshrined in the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, to prevent further occupation of farm lands, to restore the rule of law, to take firm action against violence and intimidation and to honour the freedom of expression. At that meeting the UK re-affirmed its commitment to a significant financial contribution to such a land reform programme and gave an undertaking to encourage other international donors to do the same.

  21.  In November 2001,the Government of Zimbabwe amended its Land Acquisition Act to allow it to allocate land without giving owners the right to contest the seizures. This contravened the letter and spirit of Abuja.

  22.  And regrettably, the wider credibility of Abuja has been damaged by Zimbabwe's scant regard for its commitments since the agreement was signed. In the run-up to the flawed Presidential election in March 2002, the ruling party intensified its campaign of violence and intimidation against the opposition and introduced draconian legislation (Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information Act) to suppress freedom of expression. Amnesty International have reported over 100 politically motivated killings in 2001, the vast majority opposition supporters. The violence and killings have continued since the election. The EU, the Commonwealth and the United States have all imposed sanctions on the Harare regime.

  23.  But the UNDP has remained engaged. Its recent report on land concludes that Zimbabwe's fast track land reform programme is chaotic, unsustainable and lacking transparency.

Wider UK Support for Development in Zimbabwe

  24.  Since Independence the UK has provided more than £500 million in bilateral support for development in Zimbabwe and around 18% of European Union development spending there. The UK continues to provide significant support for emergency relief and to alleviate HIV/AIDs suffering in Zimbabwe. The UK has also contributed to development in Zimbabwe through the international financial institutions.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Small Grants Scheme administered by the British High Commission in Harare

Projects in Financial Year 2002-03

Project NameProject Description ProvinceDistrictBudget
Family Support TrustMedical Equipment HarareHarare$84,370.00
Tsolotsho District Hospital Waiting Mothers ShelterMatebeleland North Tsholotsho$300,000.00
Bhale Community Water   Project BoreholeMatebeleland North Hwange$100,000.00
Kapfunde Secondary School Borehole DrillingMashonaland West Hurungwe West$102,800.00
Mzinyathi Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Matebeleland SouthUmzingwane $75,000.00
Tokwana Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Matebeleland SouthBulilamangwe $450,000.00
Dekezi Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Matebeleland SouthInsiza $450,000.00
Muterere Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Hande Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Two-Tree Hill Secondary   School Dual Classroom BlockMashonaland West Makonde$300,000.00
Runene Secondary School Dual Classroom BlockMashonaland West Makonde$300,000.00
Gwindingwi Secondary School Piped Water SchemeManicaland Makoni$500,000.00
St James Chivamba Secondary   School School ElectrificationMasvingo Zaka$300,000.00
Gwanda Provincial Hospital Hospital EquipentMatebeleland South Gwanda$400,000.00
Brunepeg Mission Hospital Mortuary FridgeMatebeleland Bulilamangwe$300,000.00
Jairos Jiri Childrens Hospital Bakery EquipmentMidlands Gweru$250,000.00
Nyika Secondary School Home Economics Block and
Mashonaland WestMhondoro$280,000.00
Kuwadzana Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Mashonaland WestBanket $320,000.00
Zimbabwe Albino Association Sunscreen Lotions and SpectaclesHarare Harare$300,000.00
Harare HospitalHospital Linen HarareHarare$300,000.00
Zimbabwe Downs Syndrome Association Classroom FurnitureHarare Harare$275,000.00
Rubatsiro ZIMCARE School Roofing MaterialMashonaland West Kadoma$275,000.00
Setshanke Primary School Classroom FurnitureMatebelelend North Nkayi$150,000.00
Chandipwisa Primary School Classroom FurnitureMasvingo Masvingo$150,000.00
Lutumba Primary School Classroom FurnitureMatebeleland South Beit Bridge$150,000.00
Mudzidzi Primary School Classroom FurnitureMidlands Mberengwa$150,000.00
Hope Alive trustTraining/Equipment Mashonaland CentralMt Darwin $600,000.00
AFFORESTTraining/Equipment Mash WestZvimba$240,000.00
Dzivaresekwa Extension Water and Sanitation ProgrammeHarare Dzivareskwa$600,000.00
Mabhikwa Secondary School Laboratory Fittings and

Mat NorthLupane$450,000.00
Zhombe Mision Hospital Mortuary FridgeMidlandsSilobela $420,000.00
Siansundu Secondary School Classroom FurnitureMat North Binga$250,000.00
Gokwe Community Centre Training EquipmentMidlands Gokwe$250,000.00

Hama Secondary School Piped Water SchemeMidlands Chirumanzi$750,000.00
Nyaje Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Kenzamba ProjectElectrification Mash WestMakonde$500,000.00
Chironga Secondary School ElectrificationMash Central Mt Darwin$280,000.00
Young Africa Skills Centre Training EquipmentChitungwiza Seke$650,000.00
Nenchilibi Secondary School Classroom BlockMat North Hwange$380,000.00
Micro Enterprise Department Factory ShelterHarare Glen Norah$850,000.00
Nyagundi Primary and Secondary School ElectrificationMaincaland Mutare$750,000.00
Gonawapotera Secondary School ElectrificationMidlands Mvuma$475,000.00
Perth Farm SchoolBorehole Drilling Mash WestZvimba$350,000.00
Zimbabwe Nat Ass For Mental Health Borehole PumpMash East Seke$750,000.00
Chiredzi General Hospital Emergency Room EquipmentMasvingo Chiredzi$750,000.00
Dowa ClinicMedical Equipment MaincalandRusape$600,000.00
Batanai Secondary School Dual Classroom BlockMash West Hurungwe$450,000.00
Ridziwi Secondary School Administration BlockMash West Makonde$450,000.00
Fort Rixon Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Mat SouthFort Rixon$650,000.00
Glory Garden Greens
Irrigation EquipmentManicaland Rusape$600,000.00
Morgenster Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Tafara Secondary School Piped Water SchemeMasvingo Bikita$580,000.00
Mhondoro Secondary School Consists of Girls DormMash West Mhondoro$800,000.00
Kwayedza Womens
Sewing MachinesMidlands Kwekwe$100,000.00
Simbamaoko Womens
Floor Polish Making EquipmentMidlands Kwekwe$150,000.00
Delta—BHCClassroom Furniture
Upenyu Kushanda Candle   Making Candle Making EquipmentManicaland Mutasa$500,000.00
Heifer ProjectLivestock Restocking MidlandsLower Gweru$5,500,000.00
Gungwe Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Mat SouthGwanda$1,200,000.00
Karai SecondaryRoofing Material Mash CentralGuruve$550,000.00
Better Schools Programme Equipment for District CentreManicaland Mutasa$1,700,000.00
Angwa Secondary School Dual Classroom BlockMash Central Guruve$850,000.00
Sojini Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Mat NorthUmguza$1,100,000.00
Ntalale Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Mat South$1,300,000.00
Nyamhingura Secondary School Library Shelving and FurnitureMaincaland Mutasa$750,000.00
Osborne Fishing Co-operative Boats and Deep FreezerManicaland Mutare$850,000.00
Usher Secondary School Science Laboratory Equipment
  and Fittings
Mat SouthBulilamangwe $5,500,000.00
Mother Of PeaceConsists of Three Rooms and
Chinuwi Horticulture Project Irrigation EquipmentMash Central Mzarabani$2,100,000.00

Jairos Jiri Association Wheelchair Making VentureHarare Harare$2,500,000.00
Mundenda Secondary School Piped Water SchemeManicaland Mutare$1,500,000.00
Hope FoundationFreezit Making Equipment Karoi$ 500,000.00
Chinyahumba Primary School Double Classroom BlockManicaland Makoni$3,500,000.00
Nyajezi Water Catchment   Project Completion Irrigation SchemeManicaland Nyanga$5,600,000.00
Tashingirira Carpentry
Completion of FactoryChitungwiza Chitungwiza$3,500,000.00
Muchape Primary School Classroom FurnitureMidlands Zhombe$2,000,000.00
Ipa/Hatcliffe Extension Water and Sanitation ProgrammeHarare Hatcliffe$6,500,000.00
Handpaper Making Project Paper Making EquipmentHarare Hatcliffe$3,800,000.00
Mabika Secondary School Piped Water SchemeMash East Murehwa North$3,800,000.00
Bulawayo Carpentry
Industrial Furniture Making
Mbuya Nehanda Childrens   Home Refurbishments of Girls HostelMash East Seke$3,400,000.00
Wildlife Environment Zimbabwe BeekeepingMidlandsZhombe $1,000,000.00
Jiti Secondary School Piped Water SchemeMash Central Shamba$3,600,000.00
St Marys Secondary School Classroom FurnitureManicaland Mutare Central$1,600,000.00
Working Hands for the Deaf Carpentry MachineryMash East Goromonzi$2,500,000.00
Harare Childrens Home Kitchen equipmentHarareHarare East $2,000,000.00
Silundika Aids Health
Sewing MachinesBulawayo Nkulumane$1,000,000.00
ChildlineCapacity Building 5 Provinces$2,800,000.00

EU Statement on Crackdown on Opposition in Zimbabwe

  1.  The EU strongly condemns the unprecedented violence and repression against the opposition after the protest actions of 18-19 March 2003. The EU is especially concerned by the recent events and condemns the wave of arbitrary arrests of approximately 400 opposition supporters many of whom have suffered ill treatment and even torture by security forces. At least 250 people had to be hospitalised, dozens are reported missing, at least one MDC member has died.

  2.  The European Union calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the constitutionally guaranteed right of the Zimbabwean people to protest peacefully. The stay away of 18-19 March was predominantly peaceful. While, in spite of MDC's calls for peaceful action, serious incidents took place at the margins of the protest actions, under no circumstances can this justify this unprecedented violence against opposition supporters.

  3.  We strongly condemn President Mugabe's recent appeals on 21 and 22 March to smash any democratic opposition. These appeals actually triggered this new wave of violence.

  4.  The EU reiterates her call on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect human rights, to immediately cease its campaign of violent repression and to call to account those responsible for the use of violence and torture.

  5.  To this end, the EU calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that the results of the by-elections in the constituencies of Kuwadzana and Highfield reflect the freely expressed choice of the electorates there.

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