Natural Resource Management in the Communal Areas: From Centralization to Decentralization and Back Again

  • Marja Spierenburg
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The Communal Areas are a heritage from the Rhodesian white minority regime, which divided the country in to ‘European Areas’ and ‘Tribal Trust Lands’. After independence the new government promised the return of the stolen lands to the African farmers and developed plans for an ambitious resettlement programme. The first post-independence development plan envisaged the resettlement of 162 000 families on to former European Land before 1986. By 1991 about 48 000 families had been resettled (von Blanckenburg 1994, 30) and by 1998 about 73 000 families, while almost 525 000 families were still awaiting resettlement (Government of Zimbabwe 2000a). Though quite an achievement, it was far less than the target set. During the first years after independence, the government had been able to acquire a substantial amount of land from farmers who had abandoned their farms during the war or who wanted to leave the country just after the war, uncertain of the new government’s intentions. However, after a number of relatively stable years far less land became available for sale (Palmer 1990, 169–170). During the first decade after independence, confiscation seemed no option. The rights of property owners had been guaranteed for 10 years under the Lancaster House Agreement, and despite its Marxist orientation, the new government was keen to assuage the worries of international and local investors.


Natural Resource Management Communal Area Land Reform District Council Traditional Authority 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marja Spierenburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Amsterdam School for Social Science ResearchThe Netherlands

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