Zimbabwe’s government has for the first time suggested it might give permission for some white farmers to stay on the land, 15 years after it sanctioned land grabs that pushed the country into an economic crisis.
Douglas Mombeshora, the land minister, said provincial leaders had been asked to draw up a list of white farmers whom they wanted to stay on farms deemed to be “of strategic economic importance”.
“We do not have a separate policy for white people when it comes to land distribution. We have asked provinces to give us the names of white farmers they want to remain on farms so that we can give them security of tenure documents to enable them to plan their operations properly,” he said.
More than 4000 white farmers lost their land after Mugabe lost a referendum on a new constitution and, in an attempt to regain popularity, authorised land grabs by disaffected war veterans.
Today, fewer than 300 white farmers remain and many of the seized farms lie fallow, meaning Zimbabwe has to import food.