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Compensation yes but land reform stays, says president Mnangagwa

24/11/2017 00:00:00
by Staff reporter
 
New leader ... President Emmerson Mnangagwa
 
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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has vowed that land reform cannot be reversed while pledging to compensate white farmers who lost properties during the violent exercise.

Mnangagwa, addressing Zimbabweans who witnessed his swearing in ceremony this Friday, said land will remain in the hands of the black majority as reversing it would be tantamount to defeating the purposes of the liberation struggle.

"Whilst there is a lot that we may need to do by way of outcomes, the principle of repossessing our land cannot be challenged or reversed," said Mnangagwa.

"Dispossession of our ancestral land was the fundamental reason for waging the liberation struggle. It would be betrayal of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in our liberation struggle if we were to reverse the gains later."

The reform programme took away land from about 4 500 white commercial farmers to accommodate landless black majority. However many of those who benefitted have failed to make it productive leaving the country food insecure.

The new president said those who benefitted under the exercise should fully utilise the land and government will provide support.

Last year, Mnangagwa launched the significantly successful Command Agriculture programme despite logistical inefficiencies. With good rains, the country’s silos filled up for the first time in many years.

"They must take advantage of programmes that my government shall continue to avail to ensure that all land is utilised optimally," he said.

Mnangagwa said his government will strive to ensure the displaced white farmers receive compensation for their losses.

"My government is committed to compensating those farmers from whom land was taken in terms of the laws of the land," he said.

His predecessor Robert Mugabe was non-committal on the issue despite courts having ruled in favour of some of the farmers.

Mnangagwa said the Land Commission will be capacitated so that it can regulate land use and provide solutions to related problems including ownership which has left farmers unable to access loans.

"As we go into the future, complex issues of land tenure will have to be addressed both urgently and definitively in order to ensure finality and closure to the ownership and management of this key resource which is central to national stability and to sustained economic recovery," said Mnangagwa.



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Agriculture used to be the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy before the land reform. Vandalism of the irrigation equipment, lack of financial resources, coupled with persistent droughts have dealt a heavy blow on the economy.


 
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