- The new Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced that the land seized during Mugabe’s land reform will not be returned to white farmers
- He maintains that the land reforms are irreversible but did say that the new land owners need to be more productive
- Mnangagwa has his work cut out for him as he endeavours to right Zim’s flailing economy
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, dubbed ‘the Crocodile’, announced that the country would not be returning seized land to the former white commercial farmers. This comes despite Mnangagwa’s inaugural promise to compensate white farmers for the past land seizures.
Briefly.co.za learned that this declaration comes not long after white farmer Robert Smart reclaimed his land after he was evicted by Robert Mugabe’s government. Zimbabwe was the tableau of a violent land reform program in early 2000 where white-owned farms were seized for resettlement for landless black people.
Thousands of white farmers were forcefully removed from their land under the caveat that the reforms would aid those marginalized by British colonialism. Critics apportion the blame on these reforms for the collapse of the agricultural sector in the country and the food shortages that followed.
The government announced that it would issue 99-year leases to beneficiaries of the land reform. Mnangagwa did, however, indicate that although the reforms were irreversible, the landowners must be more productive.
"Our land must be productive. We must mechanise and modernise our agriculture," he said.
The new Zimbabwean president, who usurped power from Mugabe last year, intimated that elections would be held in July. This could shed light on the decision not to reclaim land for white farmers, as ZANU-PF need to hold the majority.
Despite the unsettling move, the president said that his priority was to revive Zimbabwe’s economy.
"Our economy is struggling, unemployment is high, our youth lack opportunities, too many people are unable to afford essential goods for their families and our infrastructure is stuck in the past," he said.
How exactly he intends to do this, remains to be seen.
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