Zimbabwean president says land reform program irreversible as compensation set to begin

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-18 21:17:54|Editor: Xiaoxia
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HARARE, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday reassured the nation that the government will not reverse the land reform program implemented two decades ago.

However, he said the government will compensate the former white commercial farmers for improvements on the land in line with the country's constitution.

He spoke as his government recently announced that it will soon start compensating the former white commercial farmers only for improvements on the land.

This move has reportedly not been well received by some members of the ruling ZANU-PF party who feel the government is broke and should not make such payments at a time when the economy is struggling.

In an address to mark the nation's 39 th independence anniversary, Mnangagwa said the country will never regret taking back its land.

"Our constitution bids us to compensation in respect to improvements done on land before acquisition. This will be done as and when resources are available," he said.

The government set aside 53 million RTGS dollars in the 2019 budget to compensate the farmers and only those in financial distress will receive the interim advance payments.

Representatives of the affected farmers, the Commercial Framers Union and the Compensation Steering Committee are currently in the process of identifying and registering former farm owners who want to participate in the interim advance payments scheme.

Mnangagwa said the government will also address issues related to the land reform that include multiple farm ownership, disregard for maximum farm size and underutilization of acquired land.

He said his government will focus more on unlocking the value of land and ensuring maximum productivity to quicken modernization and industrialization of the economy.