An investigation of the socio-economic effects of the fast track land and reform programme: the case of hope fountain mission farm in ward 1 of Umguza District,Matabeleland North.

Author: Mpala, Kizito

Hope Fountain Mission farm has been affected by land conflict that has drawn in the church and the community. The conflict manifested itself during the fast track land reform program that commenced in 2000. Prior to fast track land reform programme the mission farm had a committee known as the Mthombothemba Community Cooperative Committee which was responsible for demarcating and allocating land to people who deserved to be settled on the mission farm. Because of the fast track process that was used during this resettlement phase many land administrative regulations were overlooked. This includes the exemption of mission farms from being acquired and redistributed for resettlement. It is during this phase that parts of Hope Fountain Mission were occupied by new settlers. Land occupation by new settlers at Hope Fountain Mission Farm worsened the negative socioeconomic impacts on this community by reducing the area of land that old settlers needed to sustain their livelihoods. New settlers also occupied land reserved for church projects. This resulted in a land conflict that the church and the community have been trying to resolve. A hidden political hand has been identified as a stumbling block in this conflict resolution.