HARARE (FinalCall.com)—Despite withering propaganda
attacks in the West, and targeted sanctions which limit the
travel of Zimbabwe government officials and even political
supporters of President Robert Mugabe in the West, the country’s
"fast track" land resettlement program will continue and it will
enjoy the support of the Nation of Islam, the Honorable Minister
Louis Farrakhan pledged in a two-hour meeting here July 13.
"With the help of Allah, we believe we will be
successful (with an historic Peace Mission to Africa and the
Middle East), as we believe you will too, if the people have the
resolve to stay the course and not compromise their valuable
principles, in spite of the negativity and the hostility," Min.
Farrakhan told Pres. Mugabe.
"You might want to give in, but you should not
give in for the sake of your children and your grandchildren.
You must stay the course," said Min. Farrakhan.
The controversial land reform program—which has
targeted vast land holdings of more than 30 million acres, more
than the size of Belgium, in the hands of just 4,000 White
farmers for redistribution to millions of landless Blacks—is
aimed at correcting historical injustices, Mr. Mugabe pointed
While unsympathetic European critics complain
about what they call "seizures" of the land from White
farmers—most of whom are the descendants of British and South
African colonial settlers—they never mention that the land was
originally taken by force from the indigenous Africans in the
first place, Mr. Mugabe said.
During the meeting with Min. Farrakhan, Pres.
Mugabe recited the history of the armed struggle to topple the
entrenched colonialists as well as the two-week-long 1979
negotiations at Lancaster House in London, which led to a peace
agreement. The major sticking point in those talks, Mr. Mugabe
pointed out, was the issue of land resettlement.
A pledge of financial assistance from U.S.
President Jimmy Carter sealed the land deal by making up for the
otherwise inadequate amount that British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher offered the new government in order to buy the land
from the European settlers. Ironically, Pres. Mugabe said, the
settlers took the land by force from the original African
occupants, never compensating them for that stolen land.
The debate over the land reform question never
discusses some of the enormous land holdings of multiple tracts
held by members of Britain’s House of Lords, or by White South
Africans like Nick Oppenheimer, said Pres. Mugabe.
Mr. Oppenheimer, for example, is the scion of
South Africa’s DeBeers diamond company, and the Anglo-American
gold and nickel mines. Those operations alone control as much as
40 percent of neighboring South Africa’s economy. In addition,
Mr. Oppenheimer personally owns more than 320,000 acres—an area
equal to nearly half the size of the entire state of Rhode
Island—on several farms in Zimbabwe.
The government insists on one farm per owner,
and that there can be no more absentee land owners. These are
among the regulations to which White farmers object.
Despite a fierce anti-Mugabe opposition
political movement funded by Europeans, no one should reverse
the land reform program because it has become the cornerstone of
peace and potential prosperity, Min. Farrakhan told reporters
following a visit to the National Heroes Acre, where he laid a
wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"From what I have seen and observed, the
soldiers who fought for the liberation of this country should
take everything which they fought for day and night during the
war of liberation. The West should not worry when the war
veterans take their land because the land belongs to the
ordinary people of Zimbabwe.
"It will be a sin to God if the government
ignored those who spearheaded the land reform program," Min.
Farrakhan continued, according to a published report. "Long life
to the war veterans because they are the vanguard of the
Toward the goal of regional steadfastness, Pres.
Mugabe said that Southern Africa’s former liberation movements—ZANU
in Zimbabwe, SWAPO in Namibia, Frelimo in Mozambique, and the
ANC in South Africa—have begun to meet and to strategize among
themselves in order to counter the negative forces mounting
against them from the former colonial powers to surrender their
economic authority and their sovereignty over their own land and
"We want you to know of our great admiration and
respect for you, and our prayers that God will keep you healthy
and strong that you may see this revolution through to
completion, and if not that whoever succeeds you will, as you
have laid the foundation for them to do," Min. Farrakhan told
Mr. Mugabe who is now 78- years-old.
President Mugabe was a former school teacher
before he joined the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) in
1960 as it launched its armed struggle. He holds several college
degrees and he has led this country since its independence in
"We appreciate the solidarity to the common
cause that brings us together," Pres. Mugabe told Min. Farrakhan
in response to the Nation of Islam leader’s pledge of support.
The Rev. Al Sampson, a member of Min.
Farrakhan’s peace delegation, presented Pres. Mugabe a copy of
the Original African Heritage Bible, published in 1993. The Rev.
Sampson was one of the Black theologians and scholars who
researched the original Biblical texts in order to produce an
authentic and more accurate scripture than the commonly used
King James Version.
"In the Original African Heritage Bible there is
a commandment from God to ‘possess the land, be strong and of
good courage. Do not move to the right or to the left for the
land is your land.’ I signed the book encouraging the President,
in his quiet moments, to read Joshua I, verses 1-18," the Rev.
Sampson told The Final Call.
He is pastor of Fernwood United Methodist Church
in Chicago, which participated in an important United Nations
pre-independence conference of Zimbabwe liberation movements in
1978. His worldwide United Methodist Church supports the largest
seminary on the continent of Africa—the African University,
"This was a 25-year dream come true," the Rev.
Sampson said, expressing his gratitude to Min. Farrakhan
especially for bringing him to this country, "to know that I did
not sell out and to visit Zimbabwe and to present this Bible on
behalf of brothers and sisters in America who fought to support
the brothers and sisters here on the soil."
Photo: Honorable Minister Louis
Farrakhan is received by President Mugabe of Zimbabwe during
recent Peace Mission (Credit: Kenneth Muhammad)