Cape Town – Zimbabwe's lands and resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora has reportedly moved to evict at least 163 white commercial farmers in Mashonaland East as government intensifies its war against white farmers.
This comes a few days after President Robert Mugabe vowed to expel the country's last remaining white farmers from their land.
"We don't need a white man to continue to guide us. No. We are now equipped with skills," Mugabe was quoted as saying during a party to celebrate his 91st birthday in Victoria Falls last Saturday.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, more than 160 white commercial farmers in Mashonaland East province will soon be removed from their properties as the government claims they are occupying the land illegally.
The government purported that scores of white commercial farmers were still occupying vast swathes of land under the guise of special sectors protection, yet they are engaging in farming activities which are not covered by the scheme, the report said.
The land grabs were set to continue despite Mugabe publicly admitting a few days before his birthday celebrations that he blundered by giving ill-equipped black farmers vast tracts of farmland seized from whites under his controversial land reforms.
"I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can't manage them," he was reported as saying.
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Meanwhile, News Day reported on Thursday that the European Union had warned Mugabe over his threat for more land grabs saying the move could ruin business re-engagement efforts between Zimbabwe and the EU block.
The EU recently lifted restrictions on most government officials, but retained Mugabe and his wife Grace on the sanctions list.
"Whites will never own land in Zimbabwe"
Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.
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 say the redistribution sparked food shortages and contributed to a massive inflation.