04 January 2007

Mugabe invites whites to return

Eighteen months ago, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe promised that when his land reform program was complete, there wouldn't be a single white farmer in the country. With Zimbabwe now facing economic collapse and starvation, Mr. Mugabe has changed his tune and is inviting the white farmers he so cruelly dispossessed to return. According to Sam Moyo, a government land adviser, "There could be some 300 whites back on farms by the end of next year."

Although interest seems high, the pool of candidates has shrunk dramatically. Out of 4,500 white farmers in the country before Mugabe initiated his land seizures, only about 600 are left. In any case, his gesture may do little good. The arbitrary expropriations will continue to discourage investment in farming and the lack of foreign exchange in the country won't help.

That whites obtained land in the former colony of Rhodesia immorally is without question. That justice was needed to remove this stain on the country's history was also without question. But the answer was not Mugabe's brutal and racist policy. A country feeding itself amply while producing food for export was turned into a beggar country. Whites may have been punished for their sins, real and imaginary, but the major victims are the millions of Zimbabweans who now face starvation.

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