Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, May 23, 2005

White farmers back in favour in Zim?
I speculated in a recent post whether Mugabe's decision to call in white farmers for an indaba was the commencement of a desperate attempt to turn around Zimbabwe's crumbling agricultural output. Now it seems as though this is indeed the case. Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank and Mugabe's main policy-maker, is quoted as stating:
"In order to ensure maximum productivity levels, there is great scope in the country promoting and supporting joint ventures between the new farmers with progressive-minded former operators," said Gono in a state radio and television broadcast that lasted nearly three hours.

He added that the skilled whites and other new investors will be given special guarantees of uninterrupted tenure of five to 10 years, backed by government force to prevent any disruptions on the farms.

The key problem for Mugabe though, is that many of the 4000 white farmers disposessed of their land have resumed farming in the surrounding countries such as Zambia and Mozambique, and are highly unlikely to heed Mugabe's call. But the move alone is a positive step against Mugabe's stubborn insistence that there is no agricultural output problem in the former "breadbasket of Africa". One hopes that this is a slow process of reintegrating white farmers into Zimbabwe, and that the five to ten year tenures are a way to placate hard-liners in the Zanu-PF. Wishful thinking perhaps?


Cox and Forkum highlight the story in a Mugabe cartoon..