White Farmers Banned From Owning Land In Zimbabwe

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe reportedly wants all of the nation’s white farmers to relinquish their land to black Zimbabweans.

President Mugabe, 90, made the announcement last week, proclaiming that whites may no longer own any land in Zimbabwe, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

“I have been given a list of 35 white farmers in Mashonaland West alone,” Mugabe said to a crowd of farmers in Mhangura, a town north of the capital Harare. “We say no to whites owning our land and they should go. … They can own companies and apartments…but not the soil. It is ours and that message should ring loud and clear in Britain and the United States.”

The white farmers union is upset that racial tensions in the country are rising again.

"We'd like to move forward and work with the government of the day," Commercial Farmers Union director Hendricks Olivier said.

"Don't be too kind to white farmers. Land is yours, not theirs," Mugabe said.

At this time between 100 and 150 white farmers remain in Zimbabwe.

The comments made by Mugabe are surprising to BBC Zimbabwe analyst Stanley Kwenda, as the government officially ended its land reform program nearly two years ago.

Kwenda believes Mugabe is trying to deflect attention away from the country’s economic crisis that includes worsening unemployment and the closure of firms.

“The problems with our country at the moment are dictatorship, [bad] governance, corruption, kleptocracy and other all forms of prejudices,” said Barnabus Thondlana, editor of Zimbabwe’s weekly “The Observer.”

“We should be fighting these prejudices like tribalism, regionalism and racism. I say no to racism.”

Sources: The Christian Science Monitor, BBC