News 24, February 23, 2017
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says he’s worried that whites “have taken over once again” – especially on some farms.
In a long interview with state TV to mark his 93rd birthday, Mugabe said he was proud that “most of the land that used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our own people”.
But he said some blacks had “surreptitiously” handed over management of their farms to whites, an apparent reference to the new black commercial farmers who employ dispossessed white farmers on their land.
Mugabe said: “Stupid stupid we, as indeed we are doing that.”
“There are [some blacks] who have really gone to sleep and the whites have taken over once again and it’s sad, isn’t it?” he added.
Under Mugabe’s land reform programme, around 4 000 white-owned farms were redistributed to blacks beginning in 2000. It’s not clear how many whites are back working on the land as managers, though News24 has heard of a number of cases. Around 300 whites particularly dairy farm owners, still own their farms though in many cases they have been forced to downsize.
With foreign direct investment at a low in Zimbabwe, the president also hit out at some blacks who he said waited for whites to invest “and then they go and work for” them.
Said the longtime Zimbabwe leader, whose birthday party will be held on Saturday: “Have we become the masters of our own economy or are we still, you know, thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers?”
He added: “Of course the whites would be happy to see us continue to work for them.”