Zimbabwe: To Keep People From Starving, Mugabe Hands Back Land to White Farmers

Zimbabwe’s government has for the first time suggested it
may give official permission for some white farmers to stay on their
land, 15 years after it sanctioned widespread land grabs that plummeted
the country into an economic crisis.
Douglas Mombeshora, the Zanu-PF Lands Minister, said provincial
leaders had been asked to draw up a list of white farmers they wanted to
stay on their farms deemed to be “of strategic economic importance”.
“We have asked provinces to give us the names of white farmers they
want to remain on farms so that we can give them security of tenure
documents to enable them to plan their operations properly,” Mr
Mombeshora said.
Beneficiaries of the land grabs that started in 2000, mostly
President Robert Mugabe’s officials and allies, will in future also have
to pay a small rental per acre which will be used in part to pay
compensation to evicted white farmers.
More than 4,000 white farmers lost their land after Mr Mugabe lost a
referendum to the new Movement for Democratic Change party and, in a bid
to regain popularity, authorised land grabs by disaffected war
Today, fewer than 300 white farmers remain on portions of their original land holdings in Zimbabwe and many of the

seized farms lie fallow, meaning the former Breadbasket of Africa has to import food to feed its population.

Among remaining farmers who have been recommended for a reprieve of
Mr Mugabe’s edict that whites can no longer own land in Zimbabwe is
Elizabeth Mitchell, a poultry farmer who produces 100,000 day-old chicks
each week.