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Analysts and Farm Laborers Challenge Mugabe Claims For Land Reform

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's declaration during a state visit to Namibia that his land reform program has been a success was challenged by analysts who say the chaotic land redistribution program since 2000 has devastated the economy.

Some supposed beneficiaries also question whether it has improved their lives.

According to The Namibian newspaper, Mr. Mugabe during a banquet in his honor on Tuesday told Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba that he could count on help from Harare as he tackled his own “mammoth task” of land reform.

President Mugabe accused Britain and the United States of punishing Zimbabwe with "illegal sanctions" for taking back ancestral land from white farmers.

Parliamentary Liaison Officer Herman Honekom of the Africa Institute of South Africa told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that few African countries are looking to Zimbabwe as a model for land redistribution.

In Zimbabwe, meanwhile, some of the intended beneficiaries of land reform in Bindura disagreed with the proposition that Zimbabweans are better off due to land reform.

Workers on Avoca Farm complain that they are seldom paid by their employers, who took over operation of the farm under the land redistribution program.

Laborers at the farm told correspondent Safari Njema of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that they are overworked, underpaid, and live in deplorable conditions.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...