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Zimbabwe : The Battle for Land
Liberation leaders Mugabe and Nkomo

African Independence map
Independence saw the transfer of power from whites to blacks, but not land. Thousands of settlers opted for Zimbabwean nationality after independence.

Britain gave the new government £44m for resettlement projects. But the UK says much of the land ended up in the hands of Mr Mugabe’s associates rather than the poor. Other international donors have stopped funding government land reform for similar reasons.

Under the Lancaster House constitution the Zimbabwe Government could only buy white land from “willing sellers”. When this expired after 10 years the government passed a law empowering it to make compulsory purchases.

But there have been few transfers in the last decade, with the government failing to budget for serious reform.

In 1997 Mugabe announced a hit list of 1,500 farms set for compulsory acquisition. He said Britain should foot the bill for compensating the white farmers because Rhodesian colonists had stolen the land from blacks in the first place.

Mugabe wins elections, 1980
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Watch the independence celebrations, 18 April 1980
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