'Don't call them boss': Mugabe chides new land owners for leasing farms to whites

President Robert Mugabe (File: AFP)
President Robert Mugabe (File: AFP)

Masvingo - President Robert Mugabe on Friday warned new black land owners and especially traditional chiefs not to lease their land to whites, saying it was unbecoming for chiefs to call whites "boss".

Free land

Mugabe was speaking in Masvingo, southern Zimbabwe, where free land for housing was expected to be handed out to youths.

The president said the leasing out of farm land to whites "is being done by lots of people, including our chiefs and I want to say stop it".

Also read: EXCLUSIVE: 'Armed men now occupy my farm' - evicted white Zim farmer 

"Chiefs, yes we gave you farms but we didn't say give them to white people," the state-owned Herald newspaper's online edition quoted Mugabe as saying in its live blog from Masvingo’s Mucheke stadium.

"Hearing that our chiefs' farms are being cultivated by white people makes us wonder… what kind of relationship do you have?" the president asked

"A chief to say 'boss' to a white man? It's better you ask your children to farm for you," he added.

Countrywide rallies

This was the third of ten countrywide rallies the 93-year-old president is holding to drum up support from youths for his re-election in next year’s polls.

There has been a strong call at the rallies for Mugabe’s government to repossess the few white-owned farms left in the country for redistribution to youths.

But Mugabe said on Friday that plantations run by South African sugar firm Tongaat Hulett in the extreme south-east of Masvingo province should be left alone.

'Hands off Tongaat Hulett'

"Those that are now demanding that they take over some of (Tongaat Hulett’s) farmed land, that cannot happen," the Herald quoted Mugabe as saying. 

State media reported earlier this week that Mugabe would unveil 20 000 free housing stands for youths in the province.

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