21 Dec 2008

Mugabe vows not to reverse Zimbabwe farm seizures

5:02 pm on 21 December 2008

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says he will not allow any unity government in the country to reverse his controversial land seizure programme.

Mr Mugabe told a conference of his Zanu PF Party that "the biggest issue is of land ... the land has already been given to the people, it will not be returned to whites."

Critics say the programme has been a key contributor to the country's economic ruin.

A day after telling supporters he would never surrender to those pressuring him to step down, Mr Mugabe said he would not compromise on land policy and his party should be prepared for possible new elections.

Mr Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai agreed three months ago to form a coalition government after disputed elections, but the pact has stalled as they fight over who should control key ministries.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has sunk deeper into crisis: hyperinflation means prices double every day and a cholera epidemic has killed more than 1,100 people.