Armed supporters of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe last night evicted a family of white farmers who had defied a government order to abandon their land. The deadline for nearly 3000 white farmers to leave was last week.
Earlier this week, President Mugabe said he is determined to redraw the colonial map that has left a tiny white minority with more than half of his country’s fertile soil. Mugabe extended an olive branch to those white farmers who agreed to abide by the government’s decisions. He said cooperative farmers who took part in the land redistribution program would be allowed to keep portions of their farms.
But critics of Mugabe accuse him of cronyism. Prominent politicians loyal to Mugabe now control scores of fertile farms while many poor blacks are still stranded on arid stretches without adequate water or sanitation.
And sub-Saharan Africa is in the middle of a drought, which is endangering the lives of tens of thousands of people. The United Nations says the production of corn, the country’s staple food, plunged by nearly 70 percent this year. Nearly half of Zimbabwe’s population is in need of emergency food aid.
- David Coltart, member of parliament for the Movement for Democratic Change (the main opposition party). He is the “shadow”, or opposition, justice minister.
- Munyaradzi Gwisai, Member of Parliament and with the Movement for Democratic Change and a leading member of the International Socialist Organization.
- Raj Patel, Policy Analyst with the Institute for Food and Development Policy.