- Mugabe's violent land reform programme forced many white farmers off their land and took the jobs away from thousands of Zimbabwean people
- Robert Smart's farm was the first to be returned but it may not set a precedent
- Mnangagwa was clear when he said that white farmers would not get their land back
Mary Mhuriyengwe's life collapsed when riot police forcefully removed the owner, Robert Smart from the farm using tear gas while brandishing AK-47 rifles.
Briefly.co.za learned that Mhuriyengwe, 35, is a widow and a mother of two children and her sole source of income was her job as a general labourer at Smart’s Lesbury Estates farm in Headlands, 160 kilometres east of Harare according to thesouthafrican.com.
"It’s the only job I had and I had no husband to turn to,” she said, “I found myself with nothing.”
In a surprising turn of events, Mhuriyengwe is back at the farm and her modest house. Smart was allowed to return to his farm after Robert Mugabe fell from power.
His farm was to be given to a close ally of Mugabe but the deal disintegrated when Mugabe resigned and Smart's farm was returned. This however proved to be the exception and not the rule as Mugabe's successor Mnangagwa said that land seizures were “irreversible”.
What white farmers could do was lease land on other farms in an attempt to boost the agricultural sector and create jobs in a hope to revive the economy.
The land grabs started in the 2000's with scores of white farmers being forcibly removed from their land by mobs.
Mugabe has said that the land reforms would help the impoverished people of Zimbabwe but critics have said that the land reform programme was the reason the economy collapsed.
Mhuriyengwe is happy that the farm was returned and Smart has recalled 40 of his 300 permanent staff and casual workers and he gets ready to plant the first five hectares of his 120-hectare farm.
“It pained us when Mr Smart was evicted and we were ordered to leave,” said Mhuriyengwe. When workers learned that Smart was returning they organised a welcome home party for him.
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