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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Land Settlement

Land Settlement.

A few words may be said on the subject of the land settlement.

Under the Rudd Concession the grantees obtained the complete and exclusive charge over all metals and minerals within Lo Bengula's dominions, and authority to exclude from his dominions all persons seeking lands, metals, minerals, or mining rights, and an undertaking by Lo Bengula, to render them such needful assistance as they might require for the exclusion of such persons, and to grant no concession of land or mining rights from that date page 89 without the grantees' consent and concurrence. The Company was advised that under the clauses of their concession they might grant occupation rights over vacant lands, which would be good as against any other white claimant, though they did not enable them to effect a permanent land settlement, as it was clear that under this concession the land could not be completely dealt with without the joint consent of Lo Bengula and the grantees. In these circumstances, when it was ascertained that Lo Bengula had parted with his rights in the land to the representative of a group which had long taken a part in Matabeleland affairs, the Company acquired the rights so granted, which, along with the previous ones of the Company under the Rudd Concession and the ratification of these grants by the British Government, invest the Company with full power to deal with the land throughout Lo Bengula's dominions, subject of course to a full recognition of and respect for native tenures.

Precautions have been taken by the Administrator to stamp out the diseases known as lung-sickness and foot-and-mouth disease, which have appeared in Mashonaland, probably brought into the country by colonial and other oxen, and stringent measures have been taken in Bechuanaland to prevent the spread of the disease. No effective remedy has been found for horse-sickness, which is similar to that known in the Cape Colony and Transvaal, but with the advance of civilization it will doubtless gradually disappear here, as it has done elsewhere. It is the low country adjoining the high veldt that is so much subject to this awkward disease, so expensive and annoying to travellers.