If all the potential fault–lines coincide, the land issue can be very damaging. Historically, access to land was part of the attraction of liberation movements in countries where white ownership was an issue – Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and also Zambia, Mozambique and Angola. There is always the possibility of politicians using land reform for populist appeal. They may pay little attention to the very real complexities of the issue and the collateral damage that can follow poorly managed change.
Many of Zimbabwe’s neighbours share its key characteristics. There is a history of white rule, greater or lesser reliance on agriculture, large semi–arid areas with fragile ecologies and economic growth barely keeping pace with population.