Harare – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change on Monday criticised President Robert Mugabe’s “crude and racist remarks” against white farmers, made at the statesman’s 91st birthday celebrations.
The party, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said Mugabe’s threat to take over the country’s remaining white-owned farms and safari operations was “fascist and Stalinist”.
“Investors can never be keen to come and invest in a country run by an intolerant, corrupt and racist demagogue,” the party said.
There are an estimated 300-400 white farmers still on their land in Zimbabwe. An unknown number rent back land from the new black owners.
At his elaborate birthday party in Victoria Falls on Saturday, Mugabe accused some ruling party officials of “hiding” white farmers in their districts.
He said he had been told that 163 white farmers had been allowed to continue farming in Mashonaland East province alone, which was formerly under the control of officials linked to ousted vice president Joice Mujuru. There are 10 provinces in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe said on Saturday that safari operations in the country were run by whites or foreigners.
“We must keep animals for ourselves,” he said.
“We are now going to invade these forests.”
The MDC said Mugabe’s comments were particularly out of line given that the Zimbabwe president is currently chairing two major continental bodies – the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
“For as long as Robert Mugabe remains the leader of the country, Zimbabwe is doomed,” the opposition party said.