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Sunday, November 28, 2010

From Ben Freeth

There is a fellow called Mr. Schoons from Sussex University in the UK who has recently put out some statistics trying to prove that the land reform program In Zimbabwe has been OK. He suggests the new system is efficient and it is working.

I don't know whether he has ever taken a drive around the former commercial farms and seen what is actually happening? Is the infrastructure improving? Are the cropping areas thriving? Are the cattle sale pens full at the sales? Are the people looking better off?
Are the agricultural towns blossoming with new growth?

Perhaps he discounts the realities and has closed his eyes to the truth.

What is per capita income compared to ten years ago? What has the tax base fallen too for the funding of education, health etc. since land reform began? Why have nearly a third of Zimbabweans fled the country?

Is the fact that we have needed more food aid per capita in the last ten years just a myth?

Mr. Schoons has always been an apologist for ZANU PF policies. It is sad that clever academics can massage statistics to support dictatorship and prolong the suffering of ordinary people who need to be free from fear and the system of feudal patronage that has been set up to control them.

I wonder if Mr. Schoons has ever tried to farm himself under a feudal system with no security?

Africa doesn't need academic idealists. We need practical people who are going to help create an enabling environment for the poorest continent on earth to break out of its poverty and feed the world. That is our great challenge; and we all need to take it up if the African people are going to stop getting poorer and realize their potential.

Ben Freeth

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