The Politics of Land Redistribution and its Implications for the Effectiveness of Land Reform Programmes: Evidence from South Africa and Zimbabwe
Land reform programmes around the world are often geared towards the accomplishment of a set of diverse goals. The process of land reform per se epitomizes a set of measures among which the redistribution of land among the poor takes center-stage and is generally regarded as the most consequential pre-requisite of an effective and successful land reform programme. This article seeks to examine the centrality of land re-distribution among the poor and the implications thereof for achievement of the broader set of goals through an analysis of land reform programmes carried out in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The findings demonstrate that in each of the two cases, the provision of land among the landless poor was overshadowed by political considerations during the process of distribution of land amongst the beneficiaries. The inequitable distribution in turn thwarted the accomplishment of the broader set of goals thus calling into question the effectiveness and success of such land reform programmes in each of the two countries.