White farmers evicted by Robert Mugabe’s government have reacted with contempt to an offer that they should return to Zimbabwe to take part in “joint ventures” with those who brutalised them and stole their land.
Gideon Gono, the governor of the country’s central bank, suggested the idea last Thursday as a possible solution to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. …
During the evictions, some white farmers were murdered and many others were beaten and their families abused. The evictions prompted the collapse of the agriculture sector, the traditional engine of the economy.
Those who took over the farms had no specialist knowledge – and most farmland now lies uncultivated. The machinery has been stolen, buildings have been plundered and the former workers are starving. …
One tobacco and cattle farmer, who was forced off his property by armed squatters in 2000, said: “He can’t be serious. My house has been burnt down, my fields destroyed and he wants to invite me back?
“There has to be a proper return to respect for property rights. We need facts, not words and a legal framework. No one’s going to go back on the basis of this.”
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