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Zimbabwe orders illegal settlers to vacate farms

Staff Writer |
Zimbabwe's new agriculture minister ordered illegal occupiers of farms to vacate the land immediately.

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Perrance Shiri, a military hardliner who was head of the air force before being picked for the critical land and agriculture ministry this month, called for "unquestionable sanity on the farms", the government-owned Herald newspaper reported.

The seizures move sent the agricultural sector - the mainstay of Zimbabwe's economy, once one of Africa's most promising -- into a tail-spin, triggering a broader slump that saw GDP almost halve between 2000 and 2008.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced 93-year-old Mugabe as leader last month, has promised to stabilise the economy, including agriculture, and create jobs.

Reuters reported in September that Mnangagwa was plotting with the military, liberation war veterans and businessmen including current and former white farmers to take over from Mugabe, who resigned after a de facto military coup.

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