WINDHOEK – An unapologetic President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is on a state visit to Namibia, yesterday said Zimbabweans do not regret their internationally unpopular decision to take their land back from white farmers.
Mnangagwa made the remarks when meeting President Hage Geingob yesterday at State House, in response to questions from journalists on the land issue and the economic situation in his country. “We have not put our heads under the sand because sanctions were imposed on us. We did not take the land because we wanted to make it productive. We took it back because it’s ours. So how we use it is entirely up to our people. Fortunately, we want to make it productive, so we will make it productive,” Mnangagwa reacted. Under former president Robert Mugabe, authorities carried out often-violent seizures of white-owned farms in a bid to address the injustices imposed on Zimbabweans during British colonial rule.
When Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe in November 2017, he promised to uphold constitutional provisions by paying out the former farmers whose land was seized.
In pursuit of this promise, his government set aside the equivalent of $18.5 million (N$257 million) in this year’s budget to pay some of the now aged and sickly former farmers.
In a recent joint statement issued by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, the government announced that it “is committed to finalise compensation to all former farm owners who were affected by the Land Reform Programme,” as per the country’s constitution.
The process of registration and the list of farmers to receive compensation was to be “completed by end of April, 2019”, according to the statement.
Mnangagwa’s government recently announced that it would start compensating some of the 4,500 white commercial farmers of European ancestry that fell victim to the farm seizures of Mugabe’s government nearly two decades ago.
The compensation, which received mixed feelings in Zimbabwe, is for improvements the farmers made on the seized farms.
Mnangagwa said there was an arrangement with the British government to compensate their “kith and kin”.
“That is the provision in our constitution, which we intend to honour. Fortunately, however, the current United Kingdom government is willing to discuss that issue to compensate their own kith and kin,” Mnangagwa noted.
Mnangagwa is in Namibia on a three-day state visit, which coincides with the signing of seven bilateral agreements between Harare and Windhoek. He was welcomed at Hosea Kutako International Airport by Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Wednesday.
President Mnangagwa’s visit to Windhoek is preceded by the hosting of the 9th session of the Zimbabwe-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) during which the agreements were thrashed out.
2019-07-26 10:32:30 | 6 months ago