Armed squatters have occupied more than 500 farms for the past month, trying to wrest control of the land from white owners. President Robert Mugabe, whose popularity has dropped precipitously in recent years, most recently with voter rejection of his hand-crafted new constitution which would have given him power to seize and redistribute white-owned farms without compensation, has said the squatters could stay despite court rulings to the contrary. The rift between Mugabe and the High Court suggests political instability and potential unrest in advance of April elections.