Harare – A Zimbabwean white farmer Richard Seager is reportedly seeking President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s government to assist him get back his 609 hectare farm that was seized from him in 2007 by an indigenous farmer.
According to the privately-owned Standard newspaper, Seager claimed in a letter to Mashonaland East Provincial Minister of State David Musabayana and Lands minister Perrance Shiri that his farm in Wedza, was “fraudulently and violently” taken away from him.
“Having heard the new government’s mandate and witnessing the reinstatement of several white farmers, this has prompted me to make this application seeing how fair, just and committed the government is with this exercise. ”
Seager’s move came a few weeks after another white Zimbabwean farmer Robert Smart got his Lesbury farm – about 200km east of the capital, Harare – back.
Smart had been evicted by gun-wielding police and a mob associated with the ruling Zanu-PF party in June 2017.
Smart, however, returned to a hero’s welcome in December after the government facilitated for him to get his farm back, with the president’s adviser Chris Musvangwa saying that he had been a of racial discrimination, greed and abuse of power.
This was after former president Robert Mugabe resigned after the military and ruling party turned against him amid fears that his wife was positioning herself to take power.
The development was a sign that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was charting a path away from predecessor on an issue that had hastened the country’s international isolation.
Mnangagwa has promised to undo some land reforms as he sought to revive the once-prosperous economy.
Ruling Zanu-PF party supporters, led by veterans of the 1970s war against white minority rule, evicted many of Zimbabwe’s white farmers under an often violent land reform programme led by Mugabe in 2000.
Whites make up less than 1% of the southern African country’s population, but they owned huge tracts of land while blacks remained in largely unproductive areas.
The evictions were meant to address colonial land ownership imbalances skewed against blacks, Mugabe said. Some in the international community responded with outrage and sanctions.
Of the roughly 4 500 white farmers before the land reforms began, only a few hundred were left.