January 23, 2007

Goodwill white farmers will get farms, minister says

White farmers who have shown goodwill to President Robert Mugabe's government will be allowed to keep their farms, security minister has announced. Security forces have been directed to identify white farmers who have shown goodwill towards the government so that they can retain some land, Didymus Mutasa told the official Herald newspaper. Besides publishing notices in the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper saying it would return land to some white farmers, the government in November also gave land to about half a dozen whites who were part of a group of about 100 black farmers given 99-year farm leases by the state. However, Mutasa said despite whatever policy pronouncements or other actions taken in the past, the government was clear about the future of farming in the country and that future was black. "The confusion is being caused by those who can't read the future. There are black people still landless out there, and as long as those people remain, we will continue to take farms for resettlement. White farmers do not represent the future of farming in this country, blacks do. At the end of it all, I don't expect to see any more white farmers, just successful black farmers. But of course like with everything in life, there are the lucky ones. Only the lucky ones among the outgoing farmers could remain," he explained.

Before, government has ordered 15 of white farmers remaining in the country to vacate their properties. The largely white-representative white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said the government had stepped up displacement of farmers with the latest eviction notices bringing to about 80 the number of farmers ordered to leave in the past five months. Between 400 and 600 white farmers remain on land out of the about 4.000 who were farming in Zimbabwe before the land redistribution has begun. (Zimbabwe Online, South Africa)


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