Zimbabwean commercial farmer Tommy Bayley rides an old bicycle ahead of war veterans and villagers, who invaded his farm at Danbury Park outside the capital Harare, in this file picture taken April 8, 2000. REUTERS/Howard Burditt/Files
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly said that his government is “ready to seize any idle land owned by some of the ruling Zanu-PF party heavyweights”.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Mnangagwa told traditional leaders in northern Zimbabwe that the country’s often violent land reform programme was “done and dusted”.
He said his government had embarked on a land commission audit that unearthed that some of his party’s heavyweights owned more than one farm, which was in violation of government policy that state one-man-one farm.
Mnangagwa said his government was also going ahead with its plans of downsizing farms that were considered too big and repossessing some of the farms for redistribution to other Zimbabweans who were left out from the land reform programme.
Mnangagwa’s remarks came months after Lands and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri said that Zimbabwean authorities wanted to address “injustices” committed during land reforms.
“Our government is firmly committed to a process of the need for corrective measures to deal with the consequences of past injustices,” Shiri was quoted as saying by the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper.
Starting in 2000, thousands of white Zimbabwean farmers were forced off their land by violent state-backed mobs or evicted in dubious legal judgements, supposedly to help black people marginalised under British colonial rule, reported AFP.
The farms, however, were often allocated to former president Robert Mugabe’s allies and fell into ruin, leaving tens of thousands of rural labourers out of work and sending the economy into a tailspin as food production crashed, the report said.