Harare — On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s new agriculture minister ordered illegal occupiers of farms to vacate the land immediately, a move that could ultimately see some white farmers, who say they were unfairly evicted, coming back to farming again.

Land is an emotional issue in the country after the violent invasion of white-owned farms in 2000 by supporters of former president Robert Mugabe, who defended the seizures as a necessary redress of colonial-era imbalances.

"All those who were illegally settled, or who just settled themselves on resettlement land, should vacate immediately," the minister, Perrance Shiri, was quoted as saying by the website of the government-owned Herald newspaper after meeting provincial ministers in Harare.

"Only those people with documentation of land occupancy and/or those who were allocated land legitimately should remain on the farms and concentrate on production unhindered."

Zimbabwe’s new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe in a de facto military coup last month, has promised to stabilise the economy, including the key and once-thriving agricultural sector.


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