Zimbabwean officials rebuked for extra farms

Senior Zimbabwean government officials owning more than one farm should give them up to the state or risk prosecution for "theft," Special Affairs, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister John Nkomo has warned.

    President Robert Mugabe has ordered a land audit

    He said one official who owned four properties in the Mashonaland west region had refused to surrender them.

    "In such cases we will proceed by way of summons," Nkomo told the state-owned Sunday Mail.

    "That is theft of state property. Some of the land they are refusing to surrender has some infrastructure for which (the) government is to compensate the former white commercial farmers."

    President Robert Mugabe last year appointed a team to carry out a land audit at the end of his controversial fast-track land resettlement programme.
     
    The land audit revealed many senior government officials had allocated more than one farm to themselves.
     
    "This is corruption ... it becomes a problem when the seniors engage in such activities. Who will the juniors learn from?" Nkomo said.

    Food shortages
     

    "This is corruption ... it becomes a problem when the seniors engage in such activities. Who will the juniors learn from?"

    John Nkomo,
    Minister of Special Affairs, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Zimbabwe

    The land issue in Zimbabwe has attracted international condemnation after government started a land resettlement programme following a series of invasions of white-owned commercial farms by veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war.

    The resettlement programme, coupled with a series of droughts, have resulted in severe food shortages since last year.

    This year, the World Food Programme has estimated that about five million people in Zimbabwe are in need of food aid.

    Mugabe has repeatedly warned against corruption among his leaders, saying he will not protect them.

    SOURCE: AFP


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