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Zimbabwe to give white farmers five-year leases, blacks 99-year leases

Zimbabwe will give white farmers five-year leases while blacks will be given 99-year leases and is scrapping the provision that said they would only be given the leases after three years when the government had assessed their production and investment in infrastructure.

Lands Minister Douglas Mombeshora told Zimbabwe’s traditional chiefs that the country still had white farmers who had remained on the land and were quite productive but did not have legal documents.

“There are white farmers who have been approved by our 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 land taxes from these farmers,” he was quoted by the State-controlled Sunday Mail as saying.

Mombeshora, however, advised the farmers not to evade ownership restrictions by going into partnerships with black farmers.

 “There are many cases of… unapproved deals that have come to the attention of the ministry. We have directed provincial land committees to investigate such cases as they conduct the current land audit. We do not want a situation where we repossesses land from a white farmer and then wake up to see that farmer back again under the guise of a partnership,”  he said.

The same point was echoed by President Robert Mugabe.

“Ivhu redu rirambe riri mumaoko edu. Vanenge vagoverwa minda vasafunge kuti vapihwa ivhu. Ivhu haripihwe munhu, rinoyera. Ivhu nderenyika. Iva munhu anoshandisa ivhu chete, mangwana rinopihwawo mumwe,” Mugabe told the chiefs in Shona meaning that land is given to the people but it does not belong to them, it belongs to the nation so they must use it and pass it on to the next generation.

“Kuti bhunu tarirwisa, tari tanda muno munyika ronzi rakuda kudududza kuuya nenjere; ‘tokupai matractor ekurimisa, tokupai macentre pivot ekudiridzisa. Ahh, tinongoda kukubatsira kurima, garai zvenyu kudhorobha kana muchida; kana takohwa togovana’.

“Aiwa, hapana izvozvo. Kutengesa kwatava kuita kuti nyika itorwe nemabhunu zvakare. Hatidi, hatidi, hatidi! Vari kuzviita vana venyu (vemumatunhu enyu ma chief), vakangopihwa mapurazi, kupihwa mazita chete kuti vatiwo tine mafarm asi vasingagone kumashandisa, vasingade zvakare kumashandisa nekuti vanenge vaine mabasa, vamwe vachomumadhorobha, voti rimai tozogovana mari. Hatidi izvozvo, hatidi kutengesa. Ngazvirege kuitwa,” Mugabe said stressing he would not tolerate black famers giving back land to the whites, emphasizing NO, NO, NO!

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