ZIMBABWEAN High Commissioner to Zambia Cain Mathema has accused British investors of scheming to destroy his country’s economy. Addressing trainee journalists at The Post, Mathema accused British
investors of inciting Zimbabweans to rise against the government.
“Zimbabweans are not to blame for the current economic crisis in the country. Our economic problems are not due to mismanagement by the government,” Mathema said.
“The problems have arisen because the people who control the economy do not like our government’s land redistribution programme.”
However, Mathema said the problem was temporary. “We are working very hard to bring the economy back to its feet,” he said.
Dismissing claims that Zimbabwe’s land redistribution would disrupt agriculture, the country’s economic backbone, Mathema said white farmers stopped producing maize in the mid-1980s.
“Since the mid-1980s, when white farmers started producing only enough maize for their cattle, 80% of maize production has been from black farmers and with the redistribution of land, even more people will be able to grow their own food,” Mathema said.
“Therefore the issue of starvation is just a lie that (British prime minister Tony) Blair, (US president George) Bush and their media have been peddling that because of land redistribution, people will starve.”
Mathema explained that currently southern Africa, as a region, was facing a food crisis and wondered why Zimbabwe was singled out.
He said his government’s land reform was a stepping-stone to economic freedom and warned that any forces bent on frustrating that mission would fail.
Mathema said indigenous investment was a prerequisite to sustainable development, which no country could afford to ignore.
“Any country that allows foreigners to control its economy will remain a slave country; its people will always be employees of somebody else and not employers,” Mathema said. “This is why we have embarked on this programme of empowering our people with land, which is a key factor in our economic life.”
President Robert Mugabe in 2000 embarked on a land reform programme which has displaced nearly all former white farmers and compromised the country’s food security. Nearly six million Zimbabweans in urban and communal areas now survive on food hand-outs from the international community – The Post/Staff Writer.