Posted on September 19, 2005

Minister Vows to Rid Zimbabwe of ‘Filth’

Andrew Meldrum, Guardian (London), Sept. 19

A leading Zimbabwean cabinet minister vowed at the weekend to rid the country of the “filth” of white farmers. Didymus Mutasa, the minister for state security and land reform, said all remaining white farmers must be “cleared out”.

About 400 white families are still farming in Zimbabwe, following the seizure by President Robert Mugabe’s government of more than 4,000 farms.

Mr Mutasa, one of Mr Mugabe’s closest advisers, referred to Operation Murambatsvina (“Clean out the trash” in the Shona language) — the campaign in which the government destroyed the homes of hundreds of thousands of urban poor.

“Operation Murambatsvina should also be applied to the land reform programme to clean the commercial farms that are still in the hands of white farmers. White farmers are dirty and should be cleared out. They are similar to the filth that was in the streets before Murambatsvina,” said Mr Mutasa, according to the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.

The government also announced it had annulled more than 4,000 court challenges by farmers to the expropriation of their farms. Last week Mr Mugabe signed a constitutional amendment taking away the farmers’ rights to legally challenge land seizures. “All the challenges are now useless — they are all being nullified,” said the chief law officer in the attorney general’s office, Nelson Mutsonziwa.