President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is facing increasing criticism for its decision to take land from some resettled black families and give it back to white former commercial farmers.
MDC Alliance vice president, Tendai Biti, who was Finance Minister between 2009 and 2013, said the government’s pledge to compensate the white former farmers under the signed Global Compensation Deed is not only unconstitutional but a huge betrayal of the liberation struggle.
Biti believes that taking away land from indigenous people who have been resettled for two decades may result in conflict and instability. He said:
“A careful perusal of the regime’s statement on land shows beyond reasonable doubt that regime is now in the process of reversal of the land reform program. This conscious process started with the Land for Land compensation Regulations SI 62 2020, then the Global Compensation Deed.
“Regime’s proposal to restore land to former owners or where it is not possible to compensate same on same terms as the GCA is not only unconstitutional but a huge betrayal of the liberation struggle. More than that any attempt to reverse land reform is inviting instability and conflict.
“The latest betrayal confirms Emmerson as the biggest threat to the stability, freedom and prosperity of Zimbabwe. A dangerous, ideologically vacuous element now busy uprooting the constitution, rule of law and gains of the liberation struggle. [Herbert] Chitepo, [Joshua] Nkomo et al are puking in their graves.”
A joint statement issued by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on 31 August, read in part:
… Government has already provided that those former farm owners can apply in writing to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement for the restoration of title to the piece of agricultural land that was compulsorily acquired from them for resettlement.
Government will grant their applications where the circumstances presently obtaining on the ground permit the restoration of their land to them.
In this regard, in order to allow former farm owners in this category to regain possession of the pieces of land that were acquired from them, Government will, in the appropirate circumstances, revoke the offer letters of resettled farmers currently occupying those pieces of land and offer them alternative land elsewhere.