Tsvangirai pleads for Zimbabweans to return home

HARARE – Zimbabwe's prime minister has made an impassioned appeal for people to get over their obsession with his longtime enemy President Robert Mugabe.

Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the millions who have abandoned the country to return to help rebuild its ruined economy.

He says victims of repression and the perpetrators of the crimes should reconcile.

Tsvangirai told an audience at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand on Friday that he has resolved nearly all outstanding issues dogging the government of unity that he has set up with Mugabe.

He said an announcement will be made on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Friday that a special land commission will be formed to oversee the country’s troubled land reform programme.
"We are going to conduct a land audit. We also want to establish a land commission where everyone can apply for land," Tsvangirai said in a public debate.

"Land is a complex issue, it needs to be handled with care. We must deal with this issue once and for all, otherwise it will come up every time there is conflict," added Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai last month decried fresh land protests and warned that those responsible for farm disruptions risked arrest.

President Robert Mugabe has denied such action was taking place, but vowed to continue land reforms.

"The land invasions and other sporadic acts of violence were undermining the efforts of the unity government to source investments from other African countries and abroad," said Tsvangirai.

The land reforms launched in 2000 aimed to resettle blacks on 4,000 white-owned commercial farms, but the process was marred by politically-charged violence.

The scheme has drastically reduced agricultural production, which once accounted for 40 percent of the economy.

Now more than some seven million people, more than half the population, rely on international food aid.

"There is a small minority of people in Zimbabwe who benefited from the previous regime and refuse to accept the efforts made by the new government," Tsvangirai added.