Mugabe admits failure

BY WILF MBANGA JOHANNESBURG - For the first time in five years, President Robert Mugabe, has grudgingly admitted that his hate-driven and often violent land seizures, corruption and thievocracy have spawned unprecedented food shortages in Zimbabwe. Once the breadbasket of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe h

as become dependent on food aid to feed the starving masses, who now include even those who are employed. Mugabe, increasingly isolated and living in a world of make believe, has vehemently denied that the food shortages were a direct consequence of his chaotic land redistribution exercise – mostly to his cronies. He has always blamed the weather and imaginary economic sanctions from western countries, especially Britain and the United States. But in a startling admission, at his party’s recent annual Congress in this semi-arid south western part of the country, Mugabe admitted to a select gathering of the party faithful that lack of proper planning, corruption, lawlessness on farms and theft of irrigation equipment, machinery and other vital infrastructure had destroyed the nation’s once-vibrant agricultural industry. “All this translates into low production and food insecurity,” said the aging dictator. However, he was unrepentant about the land grab to which he resorted in 2000 when faced with his first serious challenge by the then newly-formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). At that time, marauding gangs of unruly ‘war veterans’ accompanied by unemployed youths were sent to drive out commercial, mainly white, farmers, who were suspected of bank-rolling the opposition. “We still have people in need of land. We have to stop vandalisation (sic) of farms. All irrigation badly needs to be rehabilitated,” he implored his party lieutenants, many of whom have been accused of blatantly stealing billions of dollars worth of equipment from the dispossessed farmers. Unfortunately, this sudden admission of reality does not extend to Operation Murambatsvina, where Mugabe’s government has been accused by several UN officials of deliberately rendering more than 700 000 urban dwellers (mainly MDC supporters) homeless. He also used the Congress platform to accuse UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland of lying about the state of the humanitarian disaster currently facing millions of Zimbabweans.

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