The new regime in Harare, installed in 1980 and led by Mugabe and his party, Zanu, called for the purchase of eight million hectares to resettle 162,000 land-poor farming households from communal areas.
But the ban on compulsory purchase drove up land prices and encouraged white farmers to sell only the worst land.
As the 1980s wore on, land transfers actually declined, dropping from 430,000 hectares per annum during the first half of the decade to 75,000 hectares during the second.
In reality, however, the agreement drew a line under settler privilege.
The inadequacy of the Lancaster House provisions for the decolonisation of land ensured that it remained the focus of politics in independent Zimbabwe.
In 1979 I began to realise that whatever they made of Amin’s brutality, the Ugandan people experienced the Asian expulsion of 1972 – and not the formal handover in 1962 – as the dawn of true independence.
The people of Zimbabwe are likely to remember 2000-3 as the end of the settler colonial era.
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