PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday declared that all locals accused of killing white former commercial farmers since the launch of the fast track-land reform programme in 2000 were immune to prosecution.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Addressing thousands of people during Heroes Day commemorations at the national shrine yesterday, Mugabe said the former farmers were killed because they had resisted a government-sanctioned programme.
“Yes, we have those who were killed when they resisted. We will never prosecute those who killed them. I ask: Why we should arrest them?” he said.
At least 12 white former commercial farmers were killed by suspected Zanu PF activists and war veterans during the violent farm grabs, which resulted in international condemnation, resulting in the imposition of travel sanctions by Western countries angry over Mugabe’s wanton disregard of human and property rights.
At the time, Mugabe told delegates at the Zanu PF annual conference that: “No judicial decision will stand in the way we have adopted to acquire the land. After all, the land is ours by birth. It’s ours by rights. It’s ours also by struggle.”
Yesterday, Mugabe reiterated his call for newly-resettled farmers to stop leasing their farms to white farmers.
“Some (white farmers) are coming back under the guise of coming to collect their tractors or asking to work with the new farmers. Some of us are accepting. They (new farmers) are being persuaded like ladies being courted by men without even considering who they are dealing with,” he said.
Mugabe, however, said the government never intended to drive out all the whites, saying those who left did so on their own accord.
He said only about 100 000 whites were still in the country of a white population of 250 000 at independence.