White farmer gets land back under Zimbabwe’s new leader

White farmer gets land back under Zimbabwe’s new leader, by The Telegraph.

A white Zimbabwean farmer evicted by the government of Robert Mugabe has returned to a hero’s welcome as the first to get his land back under the new president, in a sign of reform on an issue that had hastened the country’s international isolation.

With a military escort, Robert Smart made his way into Lesbury farm about 124 miles east of the capital, Harare, on Thursday to cheers and song by dozens of workers and community members.

Such scenes were once unthinkable in a country where land ownership is an emotional issue with political and racial overtones. …

Whites make up less than one per cent of the southern African country’s population, but they owned huge tracts of land while blacks remained in largely unproductive areas. ,,,

Of the roughly 4,500 white farmers before the land reforms began in 2000, only a few hundred are left. …

Months before an election scheduled for August 2018 at the latest, the new president is desperate to bring back foreign investors and resolve a severe currency shortage, mass unemployment and dramatic price increases.

Zimbabwe is mainly agricultural, with 80 percent of the population depending on it for their livelihoods, according to government figures.

Earlier this month, deputy finance minister Terrence Mukupe traveled to neighboring Zambia to engage former white Zimbabwean farmers who have settled there.

hat-tip Stephen Neil