Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Transforming Fallow Lands into fields of plenty through Property rights- A case of Zimbabwe


There have been food riots in Haiti, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Indonesia and several other African nations. This has caused a lot of pressure and panic to an already injured Africa burdened by wars, diseases and extreme poverty.


The current global food shortages should enable third world economic planners to revisit land ownership models currently at work with the view of informing economic strategy and planning rather than waste time and effort by focusing debate on Euro-centric notions that obbese Americans should diet themselves to reduce food consumption and save more for Africa. The present scenario represents both danger and an opportunity for Africa.


Africa cannot afford to endure food shortages given its geographic endowment underpinned by fertile lands and a climate suitable for crop production. Food security is critical because of its link to poverty, health and sustainable development.


The colonial system despite practicing a dual agrarian system informed by a racial apartheid successfully managed to create wealth and a capitalist system which benefited its subjects. The miracle of this dictatorship was based on a viable land tenure system which was based on the exclusive enjoyment of property rights by the minority minus the black majority. This helped to power the dictatorship by building a vibrant productive and financial structure as a pillar of the colonial system.


At the core of the property rights doctrine practiced by the colonial system was a serious and committed discrimination against the black majority, a system of direct ownership of land based on title deeds, a court process that recognized and resolved land based disputes and the ability for the land to be tradable as a market commodity. This allowed the colonial system population to look beyond subsistence agriculture and be more commercially oriented in production. This conferred upon the farming sector the ability to engage in more environmentally sound production whilst the farmers were to a larger extent able to source local and offshore funding.


Farmers were assured of a going concern a critical success factor for any successful venture. It allowed investors to operate and develop their farming enterprises without fear of the state intervening by reallocating or repossessing their land holdings.


Land reform provides Zimbabwe with an opportunity to counter the food shortages and benefit from the spin-offs of high global food prices given that we are currently a net importer of food. It is only in Zimbabwe were vast lands are allotted a net value of zero. We need a paradigm shift and look beyond the communal system of land ownerships and embrace a system of title deeds as a final nail to the constraining land tenure system.


This will allow more agri-business players worried about risk management to take part in agricultural development since it has been proved beyond doubt that government lacks the strategic capacity to carryout a successful land reform programme. This will create an agro-based industrialization drive by linking the food industry and the farmers into a competitive value chain.


Because of policy bankruptcy the Zimbabwean authorities have been reluctant and slow in recognizing that the colonial state was powered by strict observance of property rights, this consequently makes the constitutional amendment number 18 irrelevant -which prohibits courts from hearing challenges on land related matters. The current 99 years lease is not only historically misplaced but a mockery to historically disadvantaged Zimbabwean farmers.


The horizon of ownership is limited to just over three generations yet we have classic examples of powerful and successful multinational corporations like Barclays bank whose life spanned centuries. For us to realize the African dream of owning our destiny and creating wealth for our people we need to look beyond three generations and create value for our selves by returning land back to its prime status of a tradable and transferable market commodity.


By Hillary Kundishora

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Xenophobia And The Proudly South African Brand.

P. Drucker the father of modern management in the text Managing results coined the term ‘Cost addition’ in place of value addition because he thought in a business value is not added to a product but that cost is only added, while the beneficiary of the product creates value-the customer.

Consequently we can derive a theory about national brands from the words by Drucker. Concerted efforts by citizens, governments and the private sector to define, construct and position their national brand is not value addition but cost addition or effort addition. The ultimate value and positioning of the national brand occurs on the customer (In this case a foreigner) hence the definition of a national brand is asserted as ‘how others see the country’.

Foreigners measuring the performance of a particular national brand and comparing it to a set of expectations derive brand value and/or brand Loyalty for a specified nation. This will then help foreigners to pass more generalised comments such as such a country is full of philanthropy, such a country is hospitable, such a country is inhabitable and so on.

Almost three and a half generations since the independence of the first African nation, Ghana. It is now certain that Africa belongs to Africans and no one will author our destiny. Africans after travelling the path from colonialism to the post colonial era should ask themselves what kind of African society do we need? What values should inform our society? What democratic order should define the African brand? Is our society sustainable in a competitive world?

Democracy is not alien to the African context. At the core of a democratic order is respect for choice and freedom. Klaus Nurnberger in the book-A democratic vision for South Africa argues that for democracy to thrive there is need for respect for equal human dignity and society need not to prescribe special privileges to some people that are not accessible to others.
Anyone who is constructive will argue that the recent spate of xenophobic horror and bloody violence endured in South Africa is a cause of concern to all those who love Africa and are concerned about transforming the African dream into reality. The independence and self determination of South Africa was only celebrated less than a decade ago as the birth of a rainbow nation led by the icon Madiba Nelson Mandela, not only did people not notice that mammoth challenges lie ahead of the rainbow nation.

We need interrogate ourselves whether it is still the same South Africa we all loved and celebrated for? And to carry out a serious post-mortem of these events given that it is in the next coming two years only will South Africa make history by hosting the first soccer world cup on African lands; an event which will attract more than a million international visitors of all origins. How will they treat the foreigners given such precedence on treating fellow African brothers coming just across their borders?

This xenophobic horror is a symptom of lack of a clear and well-communicated migration policy on the continent for African nations to be able to internally utilize and exploit African labour for the benefit of Africa. It is incumbent upon African leaders to carry out a post-mortem of theses events in order to get to the root cause of such horror and inform the strategic policy making process.

The migration of Africans on the continent has never occurred within any strategic policy framework from the country of origin of the migrants and/or the receiving countries. Hence the presents of a vast number of Zimbabweans doing menial jobs in South Africa yet they are trained Doctors, Teachers, and Engineers just to name a few, who could have contributed to the South African economy by plugging the skills gap. This shows the policy bankruptcy of African leaders in failing to locate issues of strategic concern on the continent.

As a Zimbabwean I was deeply saddened to learn that my countrymen were among the worst hit by the xenophobic violence. The movement of Zimbabweans into South Africa has occurred in a serious policy vacuum notwithstanding the reality that the large-scale movement of Zimbabweans into South Africa has been only a symptom of a socio-economic and political melt down. The movement has been characterised by denial from both the Zimbabwean authorities and South African authorities, with the later going as far as denying the emigrants voting rights.

The unfortunate Zimbabweans have been caught up in the no-mans land with nowhere to shelter the bullets. The South African authorities have resorted to en masse deportation of Zimbabwean nationals without a clear policy of detecting and handling issues case-by-case and/ or based on special circumstances. Hooligans and unruly South Africans who authored yesterday’s bloody xenophobic horrors have extended this unfortunate state based doctrine of large-scale deportation of the skilled, professionals and unskilled Zimbabweans based in South Africa to proudly xenophobic.

In the name of African solidarity, the doctrine of sovereignty and the principle of non-interference the South African authorities have refused to offer a blanket refugee status to Zimbabweans fleeing the socio-economic and political melt down often opting to call it manageable crisis. This was done as a cover up to avoid Zimbabwe from facing the wrath of the international community under the flagship of the United Nations Security Council and/ or other hostile external forces waiting for an opportunity to strike the unpopular regime.

As a result of this blunt policy Zimbabweans have endured a harsh legacy never seen before and the historical coincidence of the xenophobic violence has been that it has coincided with the presidential run-off elections bloody violence campaign against Zimbabweans who voted for the opposition Movement for democratic change (MDC). This historical coincidence has left Zimbabweans severely injured without nothing-constructive coming from SADC and the international community.

The South African government need to re-look its foreign policy on Zimbabwe if the proudly South African brand is to get a decent position in the mind of global citizens. And indeed Drucker was right that only the customer creates value. South Africans only have themselves to blame if they let such a rainbow nation drown to the levels of failed nations such as Zimbabwe, Somalia or Sudan by shouting proudly xenophobic to the world. South Africa paradigm model of African hopes lets all save it.

By Hillary Kundishora. He can be contacted on and join more discourse on other various articles about vision prosperity at