July 6, 2014
Speaking to farmers in Mhangura, a small mining town about 120 miles north of the capital Harare, Mr. Mugabe, said all remaining white farmers should leave.
“I have been given a list of 35 White farmers in Mashonaland West alone and in just a few districts that have been audited. We say no to Whites owning our land and they should go.”
President Mugabe then went on to clarify what Whites could actually own in his homeland, “They can own companies and apartments in our towns and cities but not the soil. It is ours and that message should ring loud and clear in Britain and the United States.”
Clearly just warming up, President Mugabe then turned his sights on Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, calling him a “boy from the streets.”
“We had an agreement with the Margaret Thatcher government and when Tony Blair came he reneged on that agreement. I pleaded with him to review his decision but he was a boy from the street with no experience so he stuck to his guns,” said the veteran leader.
“I was not amused and told him to keep his England and we would keep our Zimbabwe. We will not pay for our land and we will not ask our people to pay for it because they never paid for it in the first place.
“They were selling to each other among themselves, and we will not recognise any of that nonsense. They were living like kings and queens on our land and we chucked them out. Now we want all of it.”
Whites came from Europe and South Africa in the 1890s. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 divided the lands by tribes: Whites, Shona, and Ndebele. And while traditionally, Africans shared the lands communally, the new laws that favored Whites made it nearly impossible for Africans to get financing, equipment, and training to farm large plots of land.
But Whites, who obviously already had a mastery of Western land ideology, understood title deeds to land and were consequently able to buy and develop large areas of land for commercial farming businesses.
Their Western and White advantage led to other advantages, such as prime land in the fertile upland region, and not surprisingly, the White population flourished.
Meanwhile, Africans were regulated to low rainfall areas, forcing 99 percent of the population on to 25 percent of the land.
By 1979, Whites consisted of only 5 percent of the population, with only 4,500 farmers, but owned 70 percent of the fertile land.
Mugabe came to power on the heels of the Lancaster House Agreement in 1980, which stated that Mugabe couldn’t make any land reform changes for 10 years.
After decades of stops and starts in attempting to redistribute land back to Africans, by 2000, Zimbabwe government instituted the Fast-Track Land Reform Program, violently forcing mostly White farmers off their lands without compensation — earlier iterations of land reform ensured that Whites would be compensated for the lands they occupied.
The government reportedly seized 110,000 square kilometers of land and millions of Black farmers were said to have become unemployed.
By 2005, the Parliament agreed to nationalizing all farmland, silencing farmers who wanted to contest the land grab in court.
Today, the benefits of redistributing land among Africans cannot be comprehensively considered for two prime reasons: many of the beneficiaries of land that was formerly “owned” by Whites have reportedly had little experience in managing commercial farmland properly; this fact has supposedly caused crop production to plummet in the country. In addition, the United States froze the nation’s credit once the Fast Track Land Reform was passed, almost immediately cutting Zimbabwe’s trade surplus deficit of $322 million in 2001 to a deficit of $18 million by 2002.