Original Post Date: 2002-01-05 Time: 21:21:54 Posted By: Jan
Zimbabwe Politicians, Journalists Get Seized Land
Last Updated: January 04, 2002 09:15 AM ET
HARARE (Reuters) – The Zimbabwean government published Friday more names
of new land owners, including politicians and journalists, who have
benefited from President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms.
The latest list published in the state-owned Herald newspaper includes
dozens of leading personalities, many of them associated with Mugabe’s
ruling ZANU-PF party.
The government began this week releasing the names of new land owners who
have sought commercial farm plots seized under a controversial program of
redistributing white-owned farms to landless blacks.
Friday’s list included Transport and Communications Deputy Minister Paul
Mangwana, four ZANU-PF members of parliament, and Paul Madzore, a
parliamentarian from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
It also named seven journalists working for state media, a prominent
musician and a town mayor.
The Herald has published more than 1,000 names a day since Monday and the
government says more than 100,000 applicants have sought commercial farm
plots under the program.
The first list included Agripa Gava, an executive member of the
independence war veterans association,
and former local government deputy minister Tony Gara.
“NOT FOR CRONIES”
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made says the lists of names would show the
world that land reform enjoyed national support and was not merely for
cronies of government leaders.
The land drive began in February 2000 when self-styled war veterans
invaded hundreds of white-owned farms. Two months later, the government
began listing farms targeted for seizure under the “fast-track
To date nearly 5,000 farms have been listed under the plan.
Critics accuse Mugabe of using the land issue to win votes ahead of
presidential elections scheduled for
March in which he faces a stiff challenge from MDC leader Morgan
Last Friday, Zimbabwe’s High Court ordered that a white farmer evicted
from his two farms under the land program be allowed to retrieve property
from the farms.
Guy Watson-Smith appealed to the High Court after he was evicted in
September from his Elim and
Alamein farms, among the largest white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.
Watson-Smith said in court papers the eviction was instigated by retired
army commander Solomon Mujuru, a senior member of ZANU-PF party.
The Commercial Farmers Union, grouping 4,500 mostly-white farmers, said
Mujuru was among ZANU-PF officials, including civil servants and army
officers, who are taking up farming plots under the land reform program.
White farmers say the government has failed to honor a pact brokered in
Nigeria in September to implement a fair and orderly land reform program
in exchange for funding from former colonial power Britain.
Mugabe’s government has insisted it is complying with the agreement.