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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 10:54 GMT
Mugabe allocates more land
War veterans and villagers demonstrate in front of Ardingly Farm house in Karoi
All but 5% of white-owned land is to be seized
Zimbabwe's main state-owned newspaper, The Herald, has published the names of 1,000 people who have been allocated land to be seized from white farmers.

Zimbabwean farmer Garry Luke, in hospital in Morandera after he was attacked by Zanu-PF supporters
Some of the occupations have been violent
The newspaper said the names were part of a list to be published in full over the next few days of 100,000 black Zimbabweans who will benefit from the land redistribution.

About 1,700 white-owned farms have already been occupied - some violently - by supporters of President Robert Mugabe in the controversial land reform programme that is at the heart of the country's political crisis.

The 8.5 million hectares earmarked for seizure in the run-up to presidential elections next March make up 95% of the land currently owned by white Zimbabweans.

Correspondents say Mr Mugabe believes that seizing land from white farmers is a vote-winner and he has made the policy a key part of his campaign for re-election.

Favouritism denied

The Herald reported earlier that nearly 55,000 black Zimbabweans will receive their own commercial plots, while the rest will be allocated space on communal land.

On Monday, a government spokesman denied that those benefiting were selected on the basis of their support for Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party.

Veterans of the war which ended British colonial rule in Zimbabwe - then Rhodesia - are guaranteed land if they have not yet been allocated it.

The latest move comes amid unconfirmed reports that dozens of farms taken from white owners have been given to high-ranking party officials, rather than redistributed to poor Zimbabweans.

Violent 'reform'

Mr Mugabe's land reform programme has been marred by violence since government supporters, calling themselves war veterans, began occupying white farms 18 months ago demanding that they be redistributed to landless blacks.

President Robert Mugabe
President Mugabe faces elections in March
Police have largely failed to stem the accompanying violence.

The farm seizures have been declared illegal by Zimbabwe's High Court, but the ruling was reversed after the government appointed four new judges.

However, the first farmer to sue individual Zimbabwean Government ministers over land reform has won a minor victory in his battle to get his farm back.

Guy Watson-Smith launched proceedings against two government ministers and the former head of the national army after he was ordered to leave his farm in early December.

Court battle

Last week, he also appealed for a relief order allowing him to reclaim machinery, animals and game from his farm, which is on prime land 100 kilometres from the capital, Harare.

On Friday, the High Court ruled that Mr Watson-Smith should be allowed to collect his property from the farm.

He will continue his legal battle from South Africa, where he has moved for safety.

Mr Watson-Smith has said he believes his farm will be given to a high-ranking Zimbabwean official close to the government.

His court action comes amid reports of increasing violence and intimidation, including the recent murders of four opposition members.

See also:

28 Dec 01 | Africa
Court victory for Zimbabwe farmer
04 Dec 01 | Africa
Court backs Mugabe land reforms
10 Jun 01 | Africa
Farm invasion threatens business
10 Oct 01 | Business
Zimbabwe slashes food prices
05 Jul 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe admits food crisis
14 Jun 01 | Africa
Anger at Zimbabwe price rises
03 Dec 01 | Africa
Mugabe's election masterplan
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