Government not reversing land reform program

By Simbarashe Musaki
The Global Compensation Agreement designed to compensate former white farmers in cash or kind is a fundamental issue governing property rights which are also a human rights issue and brings closure to the land question diametrically opposed to land reform program reversal in the judgments of laymen, Maji-Marefu institute has said.
Zimbabwe’s independent think tank, Maji Marefu Institute executive director, Dr Tapiwa Mashakada dissenting to cockroach-eye-view believes that the Government has done the expected and nailed the irreversibility of the land reform program.
“The principle of compensation is what the MDC, civil society, white farmers, the EU and America have been calling for since 2000. The opposition has been calling for compensation in order to bring closure to land question. By compensating white farmers, ZANU PF has simply done what everybody expected. In my view, the land reform program is now irreversible.
“White farmers compensation is a fundamental issue governing property rights which are also a human rights issue. The 2013 Constitution is very clear on the irreversibility of the land reform program. It is therefore cheap politicking to suggest that the government is now reversing the land reform program. What the government is doing is cleaning up the mess it created during the chaotic land reform program.
“It is clear that the government is financially hamstrung, so in order to reduce the financial burden, the government has come up with a program to compensate white farmers in cash or kind as follows, paying cash for improvements, allocating new land to white farmers who want to go back on land, reversing the acquisition of BIPPA farms and giving back to foreign nationals,” said Mashakada.
Maji Marefu Institute warned SADC countries planning to redress land imbalances before delving on Agrarian reform measures to restore the country’s breadbasket status.
“South Africa and SADC countries must learn from Zimbabwe’s mistakes which were made while trying to redress the historical imbalances. To restore Zimbabwe’s breadbasket status, compensation of white farmers must, however, be followed by a proper agrarian reform measure which includes, a secure land tenure system that turns land into a productive asset and not dead capital, sustainable agricultural finance for A2 and smallholder farmers, macro-economic stability especially relating to the payment of tobacco and cotton farmers in foreign currency among others,” added Mashakada.
The Government of Zimbabwe recently announced plans to compensate former white farmers whose land was repossessed by government through the Land Reform program that saw locals finally occupying farms.

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