Zim bank governor condemns farm seizures

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has joined the condemnation of continuing and often violent farm seizures, saying new seizures and the under utilisation of land already confiscated were hurting the government’s effort to check hyperinflation.

Gono’s comments, reported on Wednesday in the state-run Herald newspaper, came days after new figures released by the government showed annual inflation had soared by a third in a single month to 359,8%.

The Herald/i> said Gono told a press conference on Tuesday: “If you invade a coffee, tea, cocoa, wheat or fruit farm, what you are doing is to undermine the productive capacity of this economy, therefore causing inflation.”

But Didymus Mutasa, the head of President Robert Mugabe’s secret police, recently triggered fresh seizures of white farms when he declared “white farmers are dirt and should be cleaned out”.

In August, Gono called for what he called “progressive whites” to return and help the new black owners of confiscated farms revive agricultural production.

But Mutasa rejected the idea.

“We are not inviting any white farmers back, never,” Mutasa told state media.

“The land is for black people.”

The Commercial Farmers Union estimates 25% of the original 5 000 white commercial farmers were still trying to work small portions of their land after five years of seizure of homesteads, land, machinery and crops. Hundreds of black farm workers and 14 whites have been killed during the seizures.

The Herald said on Wednesday that Gono had backed a Commercial Farmers Union call for the restoration of law.

A new constitutional amendment has revoked all title deeds and owners’ rights of appeal in the courts against seizure.

Gono said the steep rise in inflation could be reversed quickly despite International Monetary Fund fears inflation will exceed 400% by the end of the year.

But he said fresh farm invasions could derail the anti-inflation drive. - Sapa-AP

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