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Vol 38 No 24

Published 5th December 1997


Zimbabwe

Buying the farm

Land reform is a political imperative but it could wreck the economy if badly done

The timing could hardly have been worse. As the currency came under attack (falling against the United States' dollar from Z$14 to Z$25 in mid-November) and with even the robust stock market losing value, President Robert Mugabe's determination to press ahead with the compulsory acquisition of 1,500 farms has given investors the jitters. Forgetting the economics, Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front wants to regain the political initiative after being forced to concede to the war veterans' pension demands. ZANU-PF has had a particularly bad year: some of its senior officials have been accused of pillaging the war veterans' pension fund and allegations of corruption in the hierarchy are mounting.

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