- 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.
- "NOT FOR CRONIES"
- 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
- To date nearly 5,000 farms have been listed under the
- 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
- 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
- Mugabe's government has insisted it is complying with