HARARE, Zimbabwe – The president of Zimbabwe did not say people in his country have been reduced to eating animals like rats and baboons because of “mistakes of the past” with white farmers, as at least two online sites claim.
Mnangagwa has been breaking away from the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms carried out by his predecessor and mentor Robert Mugabe, who resigned last year under military pressure. The chaotic land seizures under Mugabe contributed to the country’s economic deterioration. Earlier this year, a new government policy was implemented, allowing Zimbabwe’s remaining white farmers to get 99-year land leases.
The sites, breeknuusza.com and newsupdatessa.site, report in identically worded stories that Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa also said restoring his nation will “require white people to come back.”
Zimbabwe Minister of Information Simon Khama Moho says the story is false and the president never made such comments.
“It’s just an attempt to tarnish our image,” Moho told The Associated Press. “Things are not that bad. We are seeing a lot of fake news cropping up on the internet, so people have to be careful what they read. This is just one of those fakes.”
Requests for comment from the sites running the story were not immediately returned.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.