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Harare Undertaking Another Audit Of Agricultural Land Ownership

The government of Zimbabwe is preparing to conduct another land audit – the eighth such study of ownership since the launch of its land reform program in 2000.

Results of earlier land audits have not been made public, including one leaked audit that showed a number of government officials owning multiple farms. Critics say land reform gave the best land to ruling party officials while peasants were dumped on poorer farms with little or no financial support to develop farming operations.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo last week as saying the forthcoming audit “would help to resolve a pile of outstanding disputes over land ownership.”

But farmer and agriculture expert Mandla Nkomo told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the methodology used for the audits is flawed so that the results are unlikely to resolve the fierce controversies over land reform.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...