Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reportedly said that all locals accused of killing white former commercial farmers during the country's controversial reform programme are immune to prosecution.
According to News Day, Mugabe said this while addressing thousands who thronged the National Heroes Acre to mark this year's Heroes Day.
"Yes, we have those (white farmers) who were killed when they resisted. We will never prosecute those who killed them. I ask: Why we should arrest them?," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
The report said that at least 12 white commercial farmers were killed by suspected Zanu-PF activists during the fast-tracked agrarian reforms that were masterminded by Mugabe's administration in 2000.
Thousands of white commercial farmers and their employees were also displaced and left without sources of income
According to the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, more than 4000 white farmers were affected by the often violent farm invasions.
'No judicial decision will stand in the way'
Some of the white farmers that were kicked out of their properties during the agrarian reforms have now set base in neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
Mugabe was quoted, at the time as saying: "No judicial decision will stand in the way we have adopted to acquire the land. After all, the land is ours by birth. It’s ours by rights. It’s ours also by struggle," News Day said.
Mugabe made headlines in July when he said that white commercial farmers who still remained on the farms should be removed from their properties because most Zimbabweans were in need of land.
The nonagenarian said this while addressing thousands of his ruling Zanu-PF party supporters in the farming town of Marondera, about 80km east of the capital Harare.
"We told (former British premier) Tony Blair to keep his England and we keep our Zimbabwe because land is our heritage. We have discovered that in Mashonaland east province alone, there are 73 white commercial farmers who are still occupying some farms when our people do not have land," Mugabe was quoted as saying at the time.