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PRESIDENT ASSURES ZIMBABWE’S WHITE COMMUNITY OF EQUAL TREATMENT

HARARE-- President Emmerson Mnangagwa has held a historic first election meeting with the country's white community ahead of the 2018 polls on July 30, assuring them that under his administration all Zimbabweans will be equal and receive the same treatment.

Whites are among the minority groups in the country, with most having gone underground or left the country in the past two decades under former president Robert Mugabe's administration which seemed hostile, especially after the land reform programme of the early 2000s which dispossessed whites of vast tracts of fertile agricultural land.

However, President Mnangagwa, who took over as president after Mugabe resigned in November last year after intervention by the military, told told scores who attended the rally in the affluent Borrowdale suburb here that the land reform was necessary as it sought to address colonial imbalances.

With the agrarian reforms done and dusted, President Mnangagwa, who is seeking to retain the position in the elections, said it was time to focus on the future and for all Zimbabweans join hands to boost the country's economic growth through agricultural productivity.

"We should cease to talk about who owns the farm in terms of colour. A black, a white farmer is a Zimbabwean farmer. We should begin to develop a culture among our people to accept ourselves together, that we are one," President Mnangagwa said to applause. "?Let the past remain behind."

He said a number of white farmers who lost out to the land reform still had a crucial role to play in the country's agriculture sector as Zimbabwe bids to reclaim its position as the breadbasket of the region.

Zimbabwe, he said, must get back to a stage where its horticultural produce dominated shelves in western countries.

"There are so many white farmers who do not have farms anymore as a result of land reform but I think they have a role to play in terms of skills in the farming sector for productivity," he said, adding that white farmers who remained on the land also had the right to get 99-year leases issued by Government.

The era in which top government officials took over highly productive farms, mostly white-owned and run them down was over, President Mnangagwa assured the white community.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK