Mnangagwa says Mugabe never said whites should not own land in Zimbabwe


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Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said President Robert Mugabe never said that whites should not own land in Zimbabwe. They can own land if they are citizens of Zimbabwe and right now there is not a single province which has no white farmers.

Responding to a question from Senator Lillian Timveos, Mnangagwa said “we have nowhere in legislation, where it says that whites are not allowed to own land. We already have whites in this country who have been issued with offer letters, meaning that they are entitled to hold land like any other citizen in this country.

“You misunderstood him, but let me explain to you so that you do not have problems. The President said that those farmers, black or white, who have been issued with land and proceed to sublease to the whites who owned the land before; that is not allowed.”

Mnangagwa said Mugabe never said that no white man shall own land in Zimbabwe. “That is not correct. There is not a single province in this country where there are no white farmers. We have white farmers all over, who we have allowed to continue holding land and issued offer letters to them to own the land. So, we are not in conflict with the Constitution. Our current Constitution gives right of ownership of property to citizens and if those white people that you are talking about are citizens, they have equal right like anybody else to own property in this country. So there is no discrimination at all.”

 

Q & A:

 

SENATOR TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the hon. Leader of the Senate. Hon. Minister, the President was quoted in the media recently, pronouncing that land ownership by white people will no longer be allowed in Zimbabwe. What is the policy of the Government on the constitutional provisions concerning the right of all citizens to own property, regardless of race, colour ethnicity or other factors? How will that policy be applied, practically to whites who still own land in Zimbabwe, or potential agricultural investors who happen to be white? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam President. Assuming that he said what you say, which of course is not correct, the President is very clear on that issue. We have nowhere in legislation, where it says that whites are not allowed to own land. We already have whites in this country who have been issued with offer letters, meaning that they are entitled to hold land like any other citizen in this country.

You misunderstood him, but let me explain to you so that you do not have problems. The President said that those farmers, black or white, who have been issued with land and proceed to sublease to the whites who owned the land before; that is not allowed. This is one reason why we are talking about land audit. The whites took land from our forefathers, the goats and our women, chaired by this guy called Selous, the Loot Committee. So, we took it upon ourselves to return to ourselves, our own inheritance but that was not without cost. There was a cost to recovering our land and that is the war of liberation. Tens and thousands of our people perished in that struggle to get our land back.

Yes of course, for a period of ten years, we agreed at Lancaster House that we shall allow the exchange of land on the willing buyer/willing seller for a period of ten years. After ten years, that provision expired and fortunately, I was the Minister of Justice. So I introduced the legislation for the acquisition of agricultural land which had been stolen back to its owners. However, in that piece of legislation, it is not discriminatory. The first thing that we did was to acquire all agricultural land which was possessed by white colonial regime settlers back to the State.

Then we had a reform programme where we now allocated that land to our people. Initially, we had something like four and half thousand whites owning over 70% of our agricultural land. Through the process of the land reform, we now have over 265 000 Zimbabwean families owning that land from 4 500 whites. But, because Zimbabweans are a good people, this is why we even allowed the former thieves to be allocated land.

So, when His Excellency the President pronounced ‘Banket’, he never said no white man shall own land. That is not correct. There is not a single province in this country where there are no white farmers. We have white farmers all over, who we have allowed to continue holding land and issued offer letters to them to own the land. So, we are not in conflict with the Constitution. Our current Constitution gives right of ownership of property to citizens and if those white people that you are talking about are citizens, they have equal right like anybody else to own property in this country. So there is no discrimination at all.

We are actually teachers of democracy. I would be willing to have people like you to go to Britain and teach them democracy because they came here, looted in our country, colonised us and took our property. Then, when we have taken it back, we were good enough and more civilised than them to allow them to stay as well as to own property.

Madam President, I am happy that the hon. senator has asked this question and it is possible that there are other people who did not understand the statement of His Excellency the President which was very clear that our law is against subletting of land to those from whom we got the land from. Anybody in this country who wants land, they go on the list for allocation of land. We do not force people to own land.

We do not force people to go and acquire land, even some Zimbabwean black people, did not feel that they wanted land and they stayed away at the prime time when the land was plenty and we were dishing it out.

Now that it is gone, some are realising how important land is. It does not grow. So, those who have benefitted have already benefitted. Those who are failing to utilise the land in the manner that we would want them to, we will take it away from them. We have provisions in the Act to withdraw land from those whom we have given to, if they do not utilise the land. It is there for utilisation and for production to support this country. So Madam Senator, I hope that I have done some justice to your question and that the primary value is that, we as Zimbabweans are democratic, are Christian, are civilized and we do not apply the barbaric principles of the whites like when they occupied this country. I thank you Madam President.

SENATOR A. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. Can the Hon. Minister further explain why our new farmers are subletting this land back to the whites?

MR. MNANGAGWA: Thank you Madam President. You are assuming that the subletting is a policy of Government and you would want me to explain why they are subletting. In other words, you can also ask and say, why do people rape, Minister?

There is legislation against people who commit crime, so you cannot ask me why people commit crimes. Subletting is unlawful and that is why we do not want it. So, you cannot ask me why people sublet. Those who do so, it is unlawful and we arrest them and we take land away from them. We have to cancel the offer letter and this is the warning that His Excellency the President was giving. So, if I stand here and say those who sublet is because they feel that they are not adequately equipped to farm; in the first place, why did they want a farm?

Madam President, I think that is adequate. The spirit in those who are subletting is not revolutionary spirit but it is a sellout spirit. This is what we want to iron out and exorcise. Kubisa mweya waLegion kuvanhu vanoita izvozvo. Ndatenda hangu.

(41 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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