SA, Namibia 'following Mugabe's footsteps' in distributing land, says wife Grace
Harare – Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe has said that leaders of South Africa and Namibia are following President Robert Mugabe's footsteps in distributing land to black people in their countries.
Grace said this on Tuesday while consoling the family of a revolutionary musician “Dickson “Chinx” Chingaira, who died in Harare on Friday.
She also said that the white community around the world was not happy to see the black majority in Africa getting land.
"The whites wanted to gag and intimidate us because they knew that if the land reform programme in Zimbabwe was successful, other countries in Africa would follow suit. It (the land reform programme) has been successful and this is why you hear South Africa is also considering following in our footsteps," said the First Lady who spoke in the main Shona language.
President Robert Mugabe's government embarked on a violent and controversial land redistribution programme in 2000.
Economists blame the country's chaotic land reforms for Zimbabwe’s economic downturn but Mugabe argues that his administration was correcting colonial imbalances.
Grace continued: "The Namibian president (Hage Geingob) was here recently on a state visit and he told president Mugabe that (former president Sam) Nujoma liberated the Namibian people and he (Geingob) as president would ensure that Namibians have access to land because president Mugabe is his source of inspiration."
But political analyst Rashweat Mukundu told News24 that despite the ruling parties in both South Africa and Namibia being revolutionary movements, both President Jacob Zuma and Geingob were unlikely to grab land from white commercial farmers because they had learnt their lessons from Mugabe’s chaotic land reforms.
"Both South Africa and Namibia have independent and working judicial systems that would not allow their countries to be plunged into chaos. Zuma and Geingob may have to plan carefully before they embark on populist policies that would affect their economies so I do not see them embarking on the Zimbabwean style of destroying their countries. In any case, Namibia has vast tracts of land but has very few people who need land," said Mukundu.
President Mugabe told his supporters at a rally held in Marondera recently that all remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe must be kicked out of their properties to make way fro landless Zimbabweans.