Cape Town – Zimbabwean Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly denied that President Robert Mugabe acted outside the country's Constitution when he said whites must cede all land to blacks.
According to the Daily News, Mnangagwa was answering a question from a senator who had asked whether the veteran leader had not acted outside the Constitution when he said whites were not allowed to own land in Zimbabwe.
But Mnangagwa said Mugabe had, in fact, forgiven the white farmers for colonial injustice that had been committed by their forefathers a century ago.
Mnangagwa said Mugabe did not deny anyone land "whether white farmer or not" and that was the reason why some white farmers still remained in every province of the country.
Mugabe recently vowed that whites will never be allowed to own land in Zimbabwe, saying the few remaining white farmers must go.
Chaotic land reform
Mugabe said Zimbabwe was no country for whites as far as land was concerned, adding they could only be allowed to own companies, industries and apartments.
Mugabe's remarks were described by white farmers as "extremely unhelpful" to Zimbabwe as a country.
A report by New Zimbabwe.com, quoted Mnangagwa as saying Mugabe was misunderstood when he made those remarks, adding that white Zimbabweans were not barred from owning land under the country's constitution.
He said whites were among land beneficiaries during Zimbabwe's chaotic land reform.
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.
At the time, 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.