The Zimbabwean government has opened discussions with British authorities over the compensation of former commercial farmers dispossessed of their farms during Harare’s land reform programme in the early 2000s, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Sunday.
Mnangagwa told the state-run Sunday Mail that his administration has approached the British government as it seeks to raise over US$3 billion required to compensate the over 4,000 white former commercial farmers who lost their farms.
He said his government would only compensate for developments on expropriated land as stipulated under the country’s constitution.
“We are having discussions; the commercial farmers and government on one side, (and) we are now having discussions with the British side also for them to contribute to this compensation,” Mnangagwa said.
He said the British government has an obligation to pay for the compensation of the farmers since it had agreed to do so under the Lancaster House agreement, a 1979 pact that led to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
Under the agreement, the British government pledged technical and financial assistance for land redistribution, an obligation that was later reneged on by subsequent London administrations.