Zimbabwean president says land reform programme irreversible as compensation set to begin
The president said this in an address to mark the nation’s 39th independence anniversary in Harare.
However, he said the government would 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.
Mnangagwa said the country would 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.
He said the government would also address issues related to the land reform that include multiple farm ownership, disregard for maximum farm size and underutilisation of acquired land.
He said his government would focus more on unlocking the value of land and ensuring maximum productivity to quicken modernisation and industrialisation of the economy.
Mnangagwa also slammed businesses that were wantonly hiking prices of basic commodities and described such conduct as “inhumane, unethical and unpatriotic.”
The president said the government was implementing measures to stabilise the economy, including the recent introduction of the market-based exchange rate system.
“However, the government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increase in prices, which has brought about untold suffering to the people.
“This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue that we have initiated in this country,” the president said.
Zimbabwe has witnessed a fresh wave of price increases of most basic commodities in recent days as the nation battles foreign currency shortages that have affected importation of essential commodities such as fuel, drugs and wheat.
On Tuesday this week, millers and bakers increased maize meal and bread prices citing high input costs.
Bread price nearly doubled to 3.50 RTGS dollars (a new transitional currency) from 2 dollars, further making it unaffordable to many people.
Mnangagwa said the country was this year celebrating its independence anniversary under a heavy cloud of grief and sorrow due to Cyclone Idai disaster which left a trail of destruction and killed over 300 people while hundreds are still missing.
He said Zimbabwe was grateful to countries that donated towards Cyclone Idai relief efforts, including China, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. and several countries in southern Africa.
“I particularly thank our brothers and sisters (in Mozambique) for according dignity to the remains of our people, who were swept into their territory,” he said.
“The cyclone has indeed left a deep scar which will be with us for a long time to come.
“We mourn with the governments and people of sister republics of Mozambique and Malawi who also lost precious lives due to Cyclone Idai.”
The independence celebrations ran under the theme: “Zimbabwe @39 – Embracing Devolution for Vision 2030″.