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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Rejects Mugabe Charge He'll Reverse Land Reform

Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has accused President Robert Mugabe of propagandizing with a claim the MDC will roll back land reform by returning formerly white-owned farms.

Mugabe said in launching his political manifesto late last week that white farmers were already trooping back into Zimbabwe in anticipation of an MDC victory.

Tsvangirai said his manifesto calls only for an audit of land ownership to bar holdings of multiple farms - a number of Mr. Mugabe's ministers own more than one farm and vast tracts of formerly productive farmland are lying fallow across the country.

Tsvangirai said the size of the plots allocated will depend on the region - i.e. that they will be larger in the drought-prone southern regions than in the temperate north.

Rival candidate Simba Makoni, a former finance member and until recently an official of the ruling party, has also ruled out giving land back to its former white owners.

Tsvangirai told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe in an exclusive interview that his manifesto prioritizes economic recovery following a "stabilization" phase in which the focus will be on meeting urgent humanitarian needs.

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