Zimbabwe rules out giving white farmers their confiscated land

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The Zimbabwean government will not return to white farmers the land confiscated in a controversial land reform of former President Robert Mugabe, new head of state Emmerson Mnangagwa warned on Saturday.

“There are journalists who write that the new regime wants the farms to be returned to the whites, it will not happen,” Mnangagwa said in a speech in Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe (center), broadcast. live on national television.

“The agrarian reform is irreversible,” assured the new president, resuming the remarks of his opening speech in November.

“Our land must be productive. We need to mechanize and modernize our agriculture, “he added.

Thousands of white farmers were forcibly evicted from their land in the early 2000s for the benefit of black farmers, at the behest of the ruling Robert Mugabe government.

The aim of this initiative was to correct the inequalities inherited from British colonization.

But, poorly organized, this consolidation was done for the benefit of relatives of the regime and farmers without equipment or training, causing a brutal collapse of production.

This reform has plunged the entire economy of the country into a catastrophic crisis which he has still not recovered.

Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe in November following a military coup, pledged to revive the economy.

In December, his government ordered the evacuation of illegally occupied farms and the highly symbolic return of land confiscated to a white farmer, Robert Smart.

At the end of January, it also decided to extend from 5 to 99 years the duration of the lease of the white farmers spared by the agrarian reform.

Mnangagwa also announced Saturday that the general elections, scheduled this year, will be organized “around the month of July”.

The presidential candidate of the Zanu-PF party (in power since independence in 1980) has again insisted on the holding of “peaceful elections”.

The previous elections held under the Mugabe regime had been tainted by violence.

Mr. Mnangagwa recalled Saturday that his “priority number one” was to “resurrect” the economy.

“Our economy is struggling. Unemployment is high (…), many people are not able to buy basic products for their families, and our infrastructure is dated, “he said.

The unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is around 90%.

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