The party opposed to Robert Mugabe, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the Zimbabwe president of owning over 14 farms, an allegation that contradicts the country's constitutional policy of owning just one.
According to New Zimbabwe, the PDP alleged that Mugabe owns almost 40,000 acres of land combined across 14 farms, including game parks that evicted farmers during land reforms. PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume claimed the farms violated section 293 subsection 2 of the country's constitution, which states that "the state may not alienate more than one piece of agricultural land to the same person and his or her dependents," News24 reports.
“Mugabe’s grabbing of the country’s resources is reflected in how he has managed to seize multiple farms across the country in total breach of the country’s constitution,” Mafume told New Zimbabwe. “This is why Mugabe is against the setting up of a land audit commission that will, among other issues, deal with the issue of multiple land ownership.”
At least 4,000 white commercial farmers were evicted in the land seizures conducted by his Zanu-PF party in 2000, which Mugabe initiated to correct colonial land ownership imbalances, according to News24. Critics of the reforms have attributed low production on Zimbabwe farms in recent years to beneficiaries of the reform, who lacked the skills and means to work the land upon receiving it.
The proposed audit, New Zimbabwe reports, would ensure no farm owner is holding onto idle land when others have nowhere to farm, as the case currently stands for many evicted farmers in the country. While many Zimbabweans have expressed need for the audit over the years, the commission would also investigate the issue of ownership of multiple lands, as Mugabe is currently being accused of doing.
In recent years, Mugabe has faced scrutiny by disgruntled Zimbabweans contesting his “clueless” misrule, The Guardian reports. Modern day Zimbabweans have protested for an alternative candidate to run against Mugabe’s political party, which has been in power since the country's formation in 1980. Citizens also question the future of Zimbabwe as the aging Mugabe begins his run for reelection in 2018.
But Mugabe has no intention of backing down, Reuters reports. The 92-year-old president was recently quoted in comments to U.N. Chief Ban Ki-Moon saying that he will not stop step down from power “until God says come.”