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Robert Mugabe Has Built Up 10,000-acre Farm Of Seized Land

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The discovery of the 10,000-acre holding worth £2 million is the first evidence of how he personally benefited from the land seizures programme which started in 2000.

More than 4,000 commercial farmers had their land taken in the drive that destroyed Zimbabwe's agriculture industry, the bedrock of the economy.

The country, now being guided by a power-sharing deal struck last year between Mr Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai, desperately needs to rebuild its shattered economy.

But Mr Mugabe's private farming empire is an obstacle to resurrecting commercial agriculture, according to experts. They say an audit of land ownership as part of essential structural reforms would expose the president's controversial control of the 10,000-acre area.

The Daily Telegraph located Mr Mugabe's private empire in the Darwendale area, near Mr Mugabe's tribal home, about 30 miles west of the capital Harare.

It is made up of six farms, including five properties seized from white owners over the years.

Violent land seizures began in Zimbabwe in 2000 carried out by so- called "war veterans" who fought against Ian Smith's white-ruled Rhodesia before independence from Britain in 1980. A parallel official process to take legal ownership of the white-owned land began the following year.

The 1,100-acre Highfield farm near Mr Mugabe's tribal home was bought commercially but five others were seized from their white owners.

No abuse of power here, move along.

Politicians would never line there own pockets.

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