AS finance minister Patrick Chinamasa struggles to compensate land grab victims, President Mugabe has yet again threatened the few remaining white farmers with eviction, saying it was improper for them to remain in their properties when many war veterans were still landless.
Addressing war veterans in Harare Thursday, Mugabe said there were white farmers still occupying farms around the country and his government would not hesitate to evict them to pave way for those who did not benefit from his land seizure project.
Among some of the grievances presented to Mugabe, war veterans expressed disappointment over their failure to access farming land, saying most of them did not get any during the resettlement programme.
“Tichiine mabhunu (we still have white farmers) in some farms and we will not hesitate to chase them away if you are saying there is insufficient land for resettling you,” Mugabe told the more than 10 000 war veterans gathered for the meeting.
Mugabe also added that there were conservancies where animals could be removed and turn the land into residential and farming areas if the situation was as critical as reported by the war vets.
Admitting to corruption in the controversial exercise, Mugabe said the line ministry was no longer going distribute any land without his knowledge or approval.
“There is too much dishonesty in the way land has been distributed by those responsible; so from today onwards, no one will get land without my knowledge,” he said.
Critics says as Mugabe’s allies have more than one farm each his encouragement of more seizures may only help to accelerate corruption instead.
Experts say about three quarters of the seized land remains underutilized 16 years into the land grab exercise owing to lack of knowledge, farming equipment and capital. This has led to food insecurity with more than 3 million Zimbabweans facing starvation.
Mugabe’s government however, blames the current hunger situation on drought climate change.
Since the turn of the century, Mugabe has used the land rhetoric to drum up support for his tenuous rule. But of late, it has become clear that his ministers acknowledge that the chaotic seizure of farmlands from whites was at the centre of the country’s decline with Chinamasa openly admitting that compensation was necessary.
- New Zimbabwe