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Wednesday, 28 June, 2000, 05:13 GMT 06:13 UK
Renewed threat to Zimbabwe farms
President Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe: Call for unity after election victory
Senior officials of Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF party have indicated in the wake of its narrow election victory that the government will press ahead with the seizure of white-owned farms.


There are great expectations around land

Robert Mugabe
The government promised before the election that it would seize at least 800 white farms for landless blacks.

John Nkomo, chairman of Zanu-PF and Jonathan Moyo, Zanu-PF campaign manager, said the government would push forward with its plans.

Mr Moyo said: "The majority of people who voted for Zanu-PF ... voted for land, and they will get that."

squatters
Farm squatters were backed by Mr Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe, in a speech to the nation after the election in which he called for national reconciliation, also made it clear he had not forgotten the party's pledge.

"There are great expectations around land which will soon come to the people in a big way," he said.

Since February, armed ruling party supporters, with Mr Mugabe's support, have occupied more than 1,600 white-owned farms and demanded they be distributed to landless blacks.

The violent seizure of some farms - along with the beating up and killing of opposition supporters - drew international condemnation in the run-up to the election.

And UK Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain, said Britain's offer of 36m to promote land reform only stood if there was an end to threats against white farmers and illegal farm occupations.

He said: "The British taxpayers would expect us to support programmes which genuinely redistribute land to the poverty-stricken poor in the rural areas, rather than invite Mr Mugabe to spend it how he chooses."

Although Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won 62 seats, only five more than the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), an extra 30 seats the president allocates himself will give his supporters a comfortable majority in parliament.

Yet this is the first time that Zanu-PF has faced a credible opposition since independence 20 years ago.

Opposition 'stooges'

The combined opposition has never held more than three seats before.

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai: Call for constructive opposition
During the election campaign, Mr Mugabe branded the opposition as puppets of the country's small, but economically powerful, white community and stooges of Britain, the former colonial power.

But in his first speech since the election, on national TV, he said Zimbabwe needed unity more than ever before "across race, tribe, ethnicity, across regions, across class".

Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the MDC, has already said his party intends to be a constructive opposition.

UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has called on Mr Mugabe to make a fresh start, and work with the opposition.

Mr Cook said the strong result for the opposition showed a real wish for change.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jim Fish
"The demands for change are growing more insistent"
President Robert Mugabe
"The results are out and these do bind us all, loser and winner alike"
UK Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain
"Taxpayers would not expect us to just hand over 36m to Robert Mugabe"
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
"Zimbabwe will never be the same again"
Prof Jonathan Moyo, Zanu-PF
"We are delighted that we have another mandate to govern"

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27 Jun 00 | Africa
27 Jun 00 | UK Politics
27 Jun 00 | Africa
26 Apr 00 | Africa
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