President Robert Mugabe says it is time for young people to be given land, adding that the government is working on dowsizing under utilised farms to benefit youth.

Speaking during a Presidential Youth Interface at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera this afternoon, Cde Mugabe said youths will soon pieces of land, which they must utilise to ensure food security in the country.

“We are now working of downsizing farms which are not being fully utilised, to give others who don’t have land but want to embark on farming. So those with bigger farms will have them downsized,” he said.

Cde Mugabe clarified that the government can however not give youths large tracks of land because for now they do not have the capacity to work on it as some are still single.

He bemoaned what he termed the only weaknesses of Mashonaland East Province, which are multiple farm ownership, land under-utilisation and protection of white farmers, and advised chiefs to be on the lookout for such people since they are the custodians of land and the people.

“There are about 73 white farmers remaining in this province and most were protected by [former Minister of State for Mashonaland East], Ray Kaukonde. We are looking into this issue and our aim is to give our youths small pieces of land,” he said.

Still on land, President Mugabe said when the country gained independence, war veterans made their requests and they were given land.

“They must stop all these squabbles and remember what the government has done for them. In meeting some of their demands, we agreed that 20 percent of all the acquired land is reserved for them,” he said.

President Mugabe describes Zanu PF as a people’s party whose programmes are aimed at uplifting the livelihoods of all Zimbabweans.

He cited the Command Agriculture Programme as one such programme, as it has given the country good maize yields..

“We received good rains and even those who did not take part in the Command Agriculture Programme are looking forward to a good harvest. The programme is now being extended to wheat,” he added.

Cde Mugabe warned those fomenting factionalism to “stop it,” adding that party members who are interested in positions must to abide by the Party Constitution and wait for congress time.

He chroniclesd how the late Ndabaningi Sithole was elected to lead ZANU, how he [President Mugabe] was seconded to UNDP and later elected to lead Zanu PF and how the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo was also elected the leader.

A word of advice for the youths was for them to shun promiscuity, which Cde Mugabe said is the major cause of the spread of HIV and AIDS.

President Mugabe also thanked youths for organising such an interface.

“You organised the One Million Man march and everyone, from Zimbabwe, SADC and the whole world was shocked. They could not believe that the person, whom they thought was finished, was still going stronger. Now you have shocked them again with this gathering,” Cde Mugabe says, adding that the unity and peace at the rally comes as an egg on the face of all the newspapers which had predicted fighting at the interface.