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Zimbabwe - No going back on land: President
Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bulawayo Bureau
April 26, 2008
The Herald

THE land reform programme under which thousands of Zimbabweans were allocated land taken from the white minority is the final solution to the land question and will never be reversed, President Mugabe has said.

Addressing thousands of people at the official opening of the 49th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair here yesterday, Cde Mugabe said all land which was legally acquired and settled would never be returned to its white former owners.

"When the West – led by the British – shamelessly continue to denounce our country, what is our crime? We are simply claiming our birthright, defending our hard-won national sovereignty. ZITF grounds stand on that precious land. Most exhibits have a connection with the land. That's why we love our land.

"Better all those who shake and quiver at every word of our colonial masters please know Zimbabwe will never be for sale. Zimbabwe is not for sale and will never be a colony again."

Before amending the Constitution to compulsorily acquire land, the Government had tried to get land through the willing buyer-willing seller concept but failed.

"Land was subsequently acquired in the national interest following the amendment to the Constitution. Land acquired and legally resettled will never revert to the previous racist owner settlers. It is our land, our treasure. Inhaka yedu, lilifa lethu.

"Let the colonist know this is the final solution," he said.

The President paid tribute to local business for its resilience in the face of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West that have resulted in local industry grappling with hyperinflation, a shortage of foreign currency and failure to access foreign lines of credit.

All these challenges had affected capacity utilisation.

He said the road to success was never easy except for those who used crooked ways to acquire wealth. But he said those who break the law to get rich quickly would eventually be caught, leaving them with an unforgettable lesson.

The President said only through perseverance could success come.

The Government had come up with various intervention policies for national economic recovery.

The National Economic Recovery Programme had laid the foundation for economic recovery through prioritisation of agriculture, tourism and mining while the Government continued to rehabilitate infrastructure to buttress the productive sector.

"I would like to urge the local industry to be more aggressive and take advantage of measures such as toll manufacturing.

"It is pleasing to note more and more companies are embarking on toll manufacturing arrangements," he said.

Cde Mugabe said the Government would continue to support small and medium-scale enterprises because of their role in creating employment and exports.

Zimbabwe, the President said, would continue to welcome well-meaning support from regional and international partners and hailed the assistance given to the country by organisations such as the Southern Africa Development Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the African Union.

President Mugabe said this year's trade fair was special in that it came just a few days after the country celebrated its 28th independence anniversary and before the country played host to the 13th Comesa summit to be held in Victoria Falls.

He paid tribute to exhibitors and visitors who continued to support ZITF.

This year all the exhibition space was taken up and Government treasured this gesture of support and solidarity.

"I am greatly encouraged by the resurgence of A'Sambeni, which continues to blossom since its return last year," he said.

Earlier, the President toured Cairns Holdings Limited, foreign exhibitors, the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Ecoweb, South African Embassy, Zambian Embassy and Namibia Embassy stands.

He also visited the stands of CMED (Private) Limited, Letor Zimbabwe which makes agricultural equipment and the Produce and Home Industries Hall where farming produce was on display.

Cde Mugabe shook hands with some people, especially children, as he moved from the produce hall to the National Foods stand.

Most of the children whom the President greeted could not hide their joy and went about boasting to those around them.

At the National Foods stand, the President viewed stockfeeds made by the company before taking time to view the different breeds of cattle at the exhibition.

The President also visited the Seed Co, Cold Storage Company and CFI Holdings stands before going to the Malawi Embassy stand where he bumped into the First Lady who was also doing her tour.

From there, he visited Hall 3 where the A'Sambeni Exhibition was taking place before winding his one-and-a-half-hour tour with a visit to the Grain Marketing Board stand.

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