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The BBC's Alan Little
"This white Zimbabwean family are fleeing their home"
 real 56k

Leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai
The government always thinks politically, not economically
 real 28k

Information Minister Dr Jonathan Moyo
"This resettlement programme is a priority for the government of Zimbabwe"
 real 28k

Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Mugabe denies farm truce
Police officers on farm
Wednesday's strike was widely observed
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has denied reports that he intends to order his supporters to stop occupying white-owned farms.

The state-owned Herald newspaper earlier quoted Mr Mugabe as saying that land invasions would be over by the end of the month.

But Mr Mugabe told a group of black farmers that he had been misquoted.


The war vets will stay on all the farms until we resettle them

Robert Mugabe
His remarks came as most Zimbabweans returned to work following a widespread one-day strike in protest at continuing lawlessness in the country.

Addressing the black Zimbabwe Farmers' Union, Mr Mugabe said his government was now in the process of settling people on the farms which have been expropriated from white owners.

"The war vets will stay on all the farms until we resettle them," he said, referring to the self-styled war veterans who have spearheaded the land invasions.

"I didn't say war veterans should be removed," he said.

He also downplayed the significance of Wednesday's general strike, in which unions said 90% of workers stayed away.

"Our roots are in the soil and not in the factories. We can never allow a return to racial oppression," Mr Mugabe said.

Concession?

The remarks quoted in The Herald had been interpreted as a necessary concession in return for South Africa's help in getting foreign donors to resume aid to Zimbabwe.

But Mr Mugabe told the black farmers: "We will not give up our land because of what the donors say."

This is not the first time that Mr Mugabe has sent one message to the international community, and another to his supporters within Zimbabwe.

The "veterans", who have occupied hundreds of white-owned farms in the past few months, have previously been told to leave by government ministers and even the vice-president.

But they have responded that they only obey orders coming from Mr Mugabe.

The Commercial Farmers Union, which represents white farmers, went to court on Wednesday to challenge the way the way the redistribution process was being handled.

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See also:

02 Aug 00 | Business
Zimbabwe devalues currency
29 Jul 00 | Africa
MDC to join Zimbabwe strike
01 Aug 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe 'murder plot' fails
02 Aug 00 | Africa
Strike paralyses Zimbabwe
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