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Gary Younge
Zimbabwe veterans to intensify white farm seizures

The secretary general for the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, Andy Mhlanga, told the Guardian that the occupations which have exacerbated the political and economic crisis in the country in the past 18 months are poised for a rapid acceleration.

"Phase A1 is now complete," Mr Mhlanga said. "That involved the occupation of small and medium-sized farms. The second phase, A2, is about to begin, which will be directed at larger farms and further resettlement. We are going to quicken up the process."

Mr Mhlanga admitted that the country's economic problems were an unfortunate by-product of the land occupations. "It is a war and in any war there will be casualties."

The decline has prompted discussion within the Zanu-PF party of Robert Mugabe of bringing the presidential elections, planned for next June, forward before the situation deteriorates further. Mr Mugabe will be facing a serious challenge from Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Mr Mhlanga says he will only respect the outcome of the election if Mr Mugabe wins. "We will not accept an MDC victory. If they win we will go back to war."

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