President Robert Mugabe admits that Zimbabwe’s land reform programme of 2000 was chaotic.
Officiating at the burial of former cabinet minister Kumbirai Kangai at the National Heroes Acre in Harare on Saturday, President Mugabe told mourners that his government’s fast-track land reform programme was not properly implemented.
This is the first time that the veteran Zimbabwean leader, who has ruled the country for 33 years, has admitted that the land reforms were chaotic.
Economic analysts say Zimbabwe’s economy took a downturn following Zimbabwe’s agrarian reforms which caused the displacement of hundreds of former white commercial farmers and thousands of their workers.
But Mr. Mugabe blames sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle by the West following alleged human rights violations and election-rigging for the economic nose-dive.
Turning to the July 31 elections, President Mugabe said Western countries such as Britain have never held credible elections such as those held in Zimbabwe this year.
However, former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says the July 31 polls were fundamentally flawed and do not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.
Mr. Mugabe said the country’s wealth should be shared equally by all Zimbabweans, adding that only a few people should not benefit from the country’s natural resources such as gold and diamonds.
The president reiterated his statement that Mr. Tsvangirai and his MDC colleagues had no right to be buried at the national shrine because they did not participate in the liberation war and do not subscribe to Zanu PF ideologies.
Mr. Mugabe said only people like Kangai deserved to be buried at the Heroes Acre.
Before Zimbabwe’s independence, Kangai was arrested by the Zambian government on allegations of murdering veteran nationalist, Herbert Chitepo, who Zanu PF says was assassinated by Rhodesian security forces.
After independence in 1980, Kangai was elected legislator for Buhera South constituency before his appointment as labour and social welfare minister.
In 1984, he was appointed minister of industry and technology before becoming energy and water resources development minister.
The deceased was the lands and agriculture minister when the British government led by Tony Blair repudiated its responsibility to fund the land reform programme which then resulted in land invasions.
The former cabinet minister, who was declared a national hero by the Zanu PF Politburo, is survived by wife, Miriam, twelve children and several grandchildren.