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Zimbabwe to abolish all private land ownership
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — In its latest crackdown on democratic freedoms, the government announced today that all farmland will be nationalized and private land ownership abolished.
All land, including more than 5,000 former white-owned farms handed over to blacks, will become state-owned and subject to state-issued leases, Land Reform Minister John Nkomo said.
Title deeds of farm properties will be scrapped and replaced by 99-year leases with rent payable to government the state Herald newspaper reported.
"There shall be no such thing as private land," Nkomo said.
Since the farm seizures began in 2000, about 200,000 black families have been allocated former white-owned land. About a quarter were given larger properties for commercial rather than small scale farming.
Hundreds of black farmers also bought commercial farms on the property market that will now be nationalized.
Nkomo asked landowners or occupiers to come forward for vetting to qualify for state leases.
He did not indicate when the nationalization program would be completed.
The government did not intend to "waste time and money" in disputes on seizures of individual farms whose owners held title deeds and other legal documents, he said.
"Ultimately all land shall be resettled as state property," he said.