HARARE - Emmerson Mnangagwa, minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has defended President Robert Mugabe’s call to reprimand new farmers who were leasing out their farms to evicted white farmers.
Mnangagwa was answering MDC senator Lilian Timveos who questioned whether Mugabe was not acting outside the Constitution when he said no white person was allowed to own a farm during the ministers’ question time on Wednesday.
“I read in the press last week that President Robert Mugabe declared that no white person should own land in the country and this is unconstitutional as it is discrimination. Can you clarify on his statement?”
Mnangagwa denied that Mugabe made such a statement, saying he had only warned that some black land owners who were now giving the land to evicted white farmers were going to face the full wrath of the law.
“President Mugabe does not act outside the Constitution in denying anyone land who wants it whether you are a white farmer or not, we have some white farmers in every province,” Mnangagwa said.
“He said he does not want people to be giving land out to the white farmers. These people who are doing that are sell-outs who are counter revolutionaries and will be arrested if found as it is a criminal offence.”
The leader of government business in Parliament said Mugabe had forgiven the white farmers for colonial injustice that had been committed by their forefathers a century ago.
“They created a loot committee led by Courtney Selous of taking our land, cattle, goats and even our women, but we have forgiven them and taught them democracy on how to live together and distribute the land as we did through land reform programme,” Mnangagwa said .
“We had to correct that injustice through the liberation struggle and we took our land and staged the land reform programme which benefitted over 200 000 families instead of 4 500 white farmers who owned the majority of our land.”
Last week President Robert Mugabe issued a stern warning to Cabinet ministers who are in the habit of protecting the few remaining white farmers, saying he is going to descend heavily on them.
He spoke as he launched the new A1 settlement permit model at Chipfundi Resettlement Farm in Lions’ Den Mashonaland West. The 90-year-old strongman swore that no white farmer would be allowed to own land.
Mugabe said the remaining whites should make way for blacks who have not been resettled. He said he knew there were some ministers who were harbouring white farmers.