Zimbabweans should have been taken aback last week when one of their own traditional leaders, Chief Nhlanhla Ndiweni, called on the United States of America and the European Union to increase illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Chief Ndiweni who is said to have been angered by the Government’s decision to resettle an indigenous farmer at a farm in Ntabazinduna previously occupied by a white family, called for tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe. He appealed to the international community to escalate sanctions on President Mnangagwa’s Government claiming it has failed to pursue democracy.
He said the US and its western allies should increase travel restrictions against President Mnangagwa’s administration because the present sanctions are not punitive enough. When Government resolved to redistribute the land under its land reform programme, the objective was to correct the skewed land ownership which was in favour of whites.
The whites, despite being a minority, used to occupy the greater part of Zimbabwe’s arable land while most blacks were confined to barren and unproductive land. It is this anomaly which the Government has since corrected by redistributing the land.
More than 300 000 families have since the start of the fast track land reform programme in 2000, been resettled on fertile land which used to be a preserve of the white commercial farmers.
It is therefore mind-boggling when a traditional leader like Chief Ndiweni protests against Government’s decision to resettle the landless.
Chiefs are supposed to be the custodian of the land and should therefore be in the forefront of fighting for the land to be given back to its rightful owners who are the indigenous people of this country. We don’t want to be persuaded to conclude that Chief Nidweni has been so brainwashed by his many years stay in the United Kingdom to the extent of wanting to fight for the interests of the whites at the expense of those of his own kith and kin.
What does Chief Ndiweni intend to achieve by calling for increased sanctions on his own country where his subjects are already suffering as a result of the illegal and unjustified sanctions?
Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Sadc region have repeatedly called on the international community to unconditionally lift all sanctions imposed on the country yet we have within our midst our own community leaders who are celebrating the imposition of sanctions like Chief Ndiweni.