Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s government has reportedly continued to “tighten the screws” on the remaining white farmers as it came up with a somewhat “discriminatory policy” that “limits their leases to just five years while their black counterparts will enjoy 99-year-long leases”.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, lands minister Douglas Mombeshora said over the weekend that resettled black farmers will be issued with the 99-year leases “which are immediately bankable” while the remaining white farmers would have theirs reviewed every five years.
“There are white farmers who have been approved by provincial officers to continue farming after satisfying a number of requirements.
“We will be giving such farmers five-year leases that are subject to renewal upon meeting certain conditions at the expiry of the documents. This will enable us to collect taxes from these farmers,” Mombeshora wa quoted as saying.
This came 17 years after Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party launched a controversial land reform programme.
Thousands of white commercial farmers and their employees were displaced and left without sources of income during the fast-tracked agrarian reforms in 2000.
Fresh land grabs
Some of the farmers lost their lives during the chaotic land seizures.
Mugabe in June threatened to embark on fresh land grabs targeting the few white commercial farmers still remaining in the country.
Addressing thousands of his supporters in the farming town of Marondera, the nonagenarian said white commercial agronomists who still remained on the farms should be removed from their properties because most Zimbabweans were in need of land.
“We told (former British premier) Tony Blair to keep his England and we keep our Zimbabwe because land is our heritage. We have discovered that in Mashonaland East province alone, there are 73 white commercial farmers who are still occupying some farms when our people do not have land,” said Mugabe speaking in the local Shona language.
He continued: “We are going to take those farms and re-distribute them to our youths, some of whom did not benefit from the land reform programme but the land would not be enough for everybody.
We are also going to take away the land from small scale purchase farmers who are not utilising those farms for re-distribution.”