28 August 2015
The Zimbabwe government took a major step towards eliminating the once-thriving white commercial farming sector this week by gazetting 23 of the remaining 300 farms owned by white Zimbabweans for expropriation.
The planned seizures in the Matabeleland North and South provinces were announced despite an admission by Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party that it had failed to compensate more than 96% of white farmers already dispossessed since 2000, regardless of a constitutional obligation to do so.
Recent public statements by Mugabe and government officials point to a calculated decision to annihilate the white farming sector with or without compensation.
“Don’t be too kind to white farmers,” Mugabe said at a recent Zanu-PF rally. “They can own industries and companies, or stay in apartments in our towns, but they cannot own land. They must leave the land to blacks.”
Hendrik Olivier, the director of the Commercial Farmers’ Union, which represents white farmers, said, despite efforts at dialogue, it was clear to his organisation that the government wanted to acquire all white-owned farms.
“We are in shock to see that government has listed the 23 farms. It’s quite clear to us that the government of Zimbabwe wants to take over all white-owned properties,” he said in an interview.
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