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mugabe what a buffoon

  1. Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, has awarded a contract to grow food crops on more than 100,000 hectares to a Chinese company in a desperate attempt to avert an unprecedented farming crisis.

    The land was mostly seized from white farmers and is now lying derelict after its new black owners failed to take it up because no agricultural equipment was available.

    Mr Mugabe's decision to approve the land allocations to the China International Water and Electric Corporation, a state-owned company, contradicts his claims that he wants to empower black Zimbabweans by giving them land seized from white farmers.

    State media said the deal would restore Zimbabwe's agricultural strength to its former position of glory in Africa's agriculture sector. It proved that Mr Mugabe's policy of co-operating with Asia and former Communist countries in Eastern Europe at the expense of the West was paying dividends.

    Mr Mugabe has said that his government will no longer work with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank but will concentrate on finding new friends in Asia.

    But a senior government official said the deal was a direct indictment of Mr Mugabe's chaotic land reforms. "I think what it proves is that our system of chasing farm owners and confiscating their land has not worked,'' said the official, who was interviewed on condition of anonymity.

    "We are now stuck with a huge amount of derelict land, which could have been under good use if the politicians had taken our advice to implement a phased and systematic land reform exercise.''

    Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister, publicly admitted for the first time last month that most of the seized land had not been taken by its new owners.

    In some of the most important agricultural provinces, less than half of the land allocated to blacks has been occupied. New black occupants often become frustrated by the government's failure to give them resources to farm and return to communal areas, where there is infrastructure such as boreholes.

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