Zambian President Hichilema Hakainde has hinted on his country embarking on a land reform process to empower citizens in the neighbouring country.
Posting on his Twitter handle Friday, the newly elected leader said arming Zambians with land will allow them “leverage for negotiations with foreign capital”.
“We cannot think of joint ventures if we don’t give Zambians land to use as leverage for negotiations with foreign capital. Land reforms is on my priority list,” he said.
We cannot think of joint ventures if we don't give Zambians land to use as leverage for negotiations with foreign capital. Land reforms is on my priority list.
— Hakainde Hichilema (@HHichilema) October 15, 2021
His comments however invited different sentiments from Twitter users on his trade with some warning the Zambian leader not to imitate Zimbabwe’s violent land grab under late former President Robert Mugabe who sponsored hordes of war veterans aligned to his Zanu PF party invade white owned farmland at a big cost to both lives and livelihoods.
Commenting on Hichilema’s thread, another Twitter user said “Land reform does not need knobkerries, catapults and axes. No one has to die. It also doesn’t mean that connected individuals become multiple farm owners. Otherwise it will end up being a land grab exercise. To reform is to change and make better and not make worse.”
Mugabe’s chaotic land grab which started February 2000 was waged under the ostensible attempt to correct colonial era land imbalances which saw white Zimbabweans of European descent sit on vast tracts of arable land at the expense of poor natives.
Despite being defended by fellow Africans as an attempt to right a colonial wrong, no other country on the content has replicated the process, let alone a bloody one.
Mugabe’s land reform process was often described as a disastrous knee jerk reaction to the emergence of a formidable opposition, MDC which wrestled nearly half of a then entirely Zanu PF 120 seat legislature during its inaugural contest in nation polls.