Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party youths have threatened fresh farm invasions ahead of the much anticipated elections in 2018, said a report on Tuesday.
According to NewsDay, Zanu-PF youth secretary Kudzanai Chipanga told supporters that the party was forced to take over the remaining white owned farms as it was still battling with sanctions.
Chipanga further told the Zanu-PF youths that they would be getting residential stands as promised by President Robert Mugabe early this year.
“… The Western countries imposed sanctions on us because of the land issue. So today we are saying we need to take over the remaining white-owned farms. By 2018, we should have taken them over. It is our land and it is possible,” Chipanga was quoted as saying.
Last year, the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) expressed concern over what it described as an upsurge in attempts to forcibly take over Zimbabwean properties still owned by whites almost two decades after the country launched its controversial land reform programme.
At the time, the farmers union said that there had been at least 20 “incidents” on white-owned properties, with farmers in most cases told to leave their farms.
Mugabe vowed in recent years that whites would never be allowed to own land in Zimbabwe, further adding that the few remaining white farmers “must go”.
Mugabe claimed that Zimbabwe was “no country for whites” as far as land was concerned.
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks at the turn of the century.
Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.
At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.
The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation struggle.
Critics of the reforms have blamed the programme for low production on the farms as the majority of the beneficiaries lacked the means and skills to work the land.