Zimbabwe

Mugabe vows to expel more white farmers

2015-02-28 22:23
(Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

(Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Saturday marked his 91st birthday with lavish celebrations at Victoria Falls, defying Western criticism of his policies by vowing to expel the country's last remaining white farmers from their land.

"We don't need a white man to continue to guide us. No. We are now equipped with skills," Mugabe told thousands of guests at a luxury safari lodge.

Songs in his honour, and poems recited by children, were part of the tribute to Zimbabwe's leader of the past 35 years, who has faced criticism in the West for repression of the opposition, corruption and for redistributing thousands of white-owned farms to inexperienced black farmers.

Critics say the redistribution sparked food shortages and contributed to a massive inflation.

In a speech deviating from its original script and lasting more than an hour, Mugabe said he was "shocked" to discover that 163 farms were still owned by whites.

He made the remarks just a few days after he had admitted in an interview that his land redistribution policies had maybe not been ideal, because "I think the farms we gave to people are too large".

Mugabe also told the birthday party he wanted blacks to enter the safari tourism business, which is largely controlled by whites.

The celebrations had drawn criticism from conservationists furious about the reported slaughter of two elephants, two buffaloes and a lion to feed the guests.

"Mugabe once gave a speech on television saying that he looks after all the animals in the country, right down to the insects," said Johnny Rodrigues, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

"There are so many people starving in Zimbabwe and the people invited to the party will not be those who are starving," he added.

The organisers of the party, the youth wing of the ruling party Zanu-PF, had pledged to raise a million dollars for it.

That came at a time when 72% of the country's population lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Mugabe claims to be in good health despite falling in public recently and despite his frequent trips for medical treatment abroad.

The president has refused to name a successor while a battle over who will eventually take over has raged behind the scenes.

"It may not be either of the vice presidents," Mugabe said recently.

The two were appointed after the ouster of his deputy and main rival Joice Mujuru in December.

The president's comments fuelled speculation that he could be succeeded by his 49-year-old wife Grace.

The guests at the birthday party included representatives of anti-colonial movements from South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
191 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.