Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's closest ally Didymus Mutasa has reportedly praised the country's war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba who led the 2000 farm invasions, which saw the eviction of more than 4 000 white commercial farmers from their farms in 2000.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, Mutasa speaking during a national field day in Nyanga South, hailed Chinotimba for his "braveness" in forcing white farmers to vacate their farms and telling them to "go back to their countries of origin".
Chinotimba rallied hordes of former freedom fighters into the farms in 2000, demanding back land seized a century ago by white settlers, the report said.
The move was approved by Mugabe's regime. At the time, Mugabe said the land reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.
The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers.
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.
Mutasa's remarks came a few weeks after Mugabe vowed that whites will never be allowed to own land in Zimbabwe, saying the few remaining white farmers must go.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe was no country for whites as far as land was concerned.
Mugabe's remarks were, however, described by white farmers as "extremely unhelpful" to Zimbabwe as a country.