For decades the land question remained a topical issue in Zimbabwe. Two decades after independence in 1980, discontent was now constantly and increasingly expressed against the Government by the rural population and war veterans who were demanding the fulfillment of the promises made during the liberation war of taking the land from the mainly white commercial farmers and returning it back to the black majority. Inevitably, contradictions in the Zimbabwean society were coming to a head. Then at the turn of the twenty first century, came the “Jambanja” era, heralding a landmark in Zimbabwe’s struggle to redistribute the land. The white farmer had to be replaced by the native black farmer and inevitably some violent skirmishes became part of the “Jambanja”. The British Crown and its Western allies were up in arms against the Government of Zimbabwe and sanctions were visited upon the country. Who was to blame? As long as the white minority remained on the land, was justice being served? Were the land reform proponents able to confound all predictions and accomplish what was deemed impossible? Were the consequences worth the trouble? In the final analysis, when you discard the politics and separate the facts from the propaganda you will find Zimbabwe a traumatized nation.
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Published November 23, 2011