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Prof Jonathan Moyo, Zanu-PF
"If there are any that are contested legally, we have to go through the legal process"
 real 28k

Saturday, 1 July, 2000, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Farm grabs 'stepped up'
Squatters on white owned-farms
Land occupations have continued unabated
The Commercial Farmers Union in Zimbabwe says more than 30 white-owned farms have been occupied since last week's parliamentary elections.

A union official said farms were being seized at a rate of at least five per day.

However, the war veterans' leader, Chenjerai Hunzvi, who was behind many previous seizures, and a government minister have both denied any knowledge of the latest occupations.

The farmers' union said the total number of white-owned farms now occupied stood at over 1,600.



We have a plan where we said no one white farmer who has one farm will be deprived of his farm

Joseph Msika, Vice President

The accusation comes ahead of a deadline on Monday for owners of white-owned farms occupied by government supporters to lodge a legal objection to the compulsory acquisition of their land by the government.

Farm owners do have the legal right to appeal against losing their farms, but some government officials have warned that going to the courts would be seen as provocative.

President Robert Mugabe, whose Zanu-PF party narrowly won the ballot, has vowed to continue with his controversial land reform project.

Conciliatory gesture

The chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee, Vice President Joseph Msika, told the French News Agency that some black squatters would be moved.

He said the committee would meet to discuss "shifting people from the places they should not have been."

Mr Msika also said some white farmers retain their lands.

"We have a plan where we said no one white farmer who has one farm will be deprived of his farm," he said.

Meanwhile, a newly elected opposition member of parliament was on Saturday broken up by a group of soldiers.

Edwin Mushoriwa told the BBC that he was leading an authorised victory parade around his Harare constituency when two truckloads of soldiers attacked him and some of his supporters using the butts of their guns, leaving five seriously injured.

A police spokesman denied that the parade had been sanctioned and said that the army was helping the police contain incidents of political violence and had used minimum force.

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See also:

28 Jun 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe democracy comes of age
26 Apr 00 | Africa
Who owns the land?
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