Zimbabwe - White Farms Being
Given To Mugabe's Friends
From Jan Lamprecht

HARARE (Reuters) - The Zimbabwean government published Friday more names of new land owners, including politicians and journalists, who have benefited from President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms.
The latest list published in the state-owned Herald newspaper includes dozens of leading personalities, many of them associated with Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.
The government began this week releasing the names of new land owners who have sought commercial farm plots seized under a controversial program of redistributing white-owned farms to landless blacks.
Friday's list included Transport and Communications Deputy Minister Paul Mangwana, four ZANU-PF members of parliament, and Paul Madzore, a parliamentarian from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
It also named seven journalists working for state media, a prominent musician and a town mayor.
The Herald has published more than 1,000 names a day since Monday and the government says more than 100,000 applicants have sought commercial farm plots under the program.
The first list included Agripa Gava, an executive member of the independence war veterans association, and former local government deputy minister Tony Gara.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made says the lists of names would show the world that land reform enjoyed national support and was not merely for cronies of government leaders.
The land drive began in February 2000 when self-styled war veterans invaded hundreds of white-owned farms. Two months later, the government began listing farms targeted for seizure under the "fast-track resettlement" program.
To date nearly 5,000 farms have been listed under the plan.
Critics accuse Mugabe of using the land issue to win votes ahead of presidential elections scheduled for March in which he faces a stiff challenge from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Last Friday, Zimbabwe's High Court ordered that a white farmer evicted from his two farms under the land program be allowed to retrieve property from the farms.
Guy Watson-Smith appealed to the High Court after he was evicted in September from his Elim and Alamein farms, among the largest white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.
Watson-Smith said in court papers the eviction was instigated by retired army commander Solomon Mujuru, a senior member of ZANU-PF party.
The Commercial Farmers Union, grouping 4,500 mostly-white farmers, said Mujuru was among ZANU-PF officials, including civil servants and army officers, who are taking up farming plots under the land reform program.
White farmers say the government has failed to honor a pact brokered in Nigeria in September to implement a fair and orderly land reform program in exchange for funding from former colonial power Britain.
Mugabe's government has insisted it is complying with the agreement.

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