MASVINGO — President Robert Mugabe yesterday accused chiefs of being fronts for white farmers after some of them leased out their farms seized during land invasions.
REPORT BY TATENDA CHITAGU
Speaking at the belated annual chiefs’ conference as well as the launch of seven Masvingo community share ownership schemes at Masvingo Polytechnic College yesterday, Mugabe threatened unspecified action against the traditional leaders.
“There are chiefs who have their own white friends who they lease out their farms to,” he said.
“ Beware! We will ask you the totem of that white man. That should not continue to happen.”
Mugabe said other senior government officials had also given up their pieces of land.
“You (chiefs) are not alone in that practice,” he said.
“Even bigwigs in government do the same. Do not think we are unaware of that, we know it and you cannot hide that. We even know lots of things that you even do not know. We do not want to start taking back the farms just because you are ceremonial owners,” he said.
Mugabe accused the chiefs and government bigwigs of being retrogressive.
“The whites rake in money while you are just figureheads. They are up to no good.
“They are trooping back from South Africa . . . So beware because they have an ulterior motive of repossessing those farms before Mugabe does that.
“I am not saying we will come and seize the farms. We want to get away from the whites as much as possible. So chiefs, help us on that issue.”
Commenting on the constitution, Mugabe took a dig at gays and lesbians.
He also warned responsible officials against stealing money from the community share ownership schemes.