Zimbabwe’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says it is angered by government plans to seize some of the now black owned land for return to some white former commercial farmers.
Finance and lands ministers Mthuli Ncube and Anxious Masuka this week announced that former farm owners who remained on compulsorily acquired land can now regularise their tenure while those who had offer letters can apply for 99-year leases.
Ncube also said white former landowners who are indigenous Zimbabweans or citizens of countries, which had ratified Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements (BIPA) at the time of land acquisition, were entitled to compensation for both land and improvements.
However, EFF spokesperson Vimbai Mupunga said government’s controversial decision to return land to white people was treasonous.
“EFF Zimbabwe is horrified by this treasonous act of betraying our people by the Zimbabwean government which has effectively and variably reversed the agrarian land reform programme.
“Zimbabweans fought a war for the restoration of their land and their dignity and now the Zimbabwe government has stripped our people of their land and dignity.
“Those who violently took the land from our forefathers more than a century ago have benefited from it through cheap labour and exploitation.”
Mapunga said the land that was gallantly fought for has been given back to whites by the same Zimbabwean government that initiated the land reform programme under the pretext of redressing colonial land imbalances.
“Our ancestors were violently removed from their land by the white settlers. Who is going to compensate the losses our ancestors suffered?” Mapunga said.
The opposition official said when white settlers grabbed land back in the 19th century, they destroyed black people’s structures.
Several stakeholders including war veterans have expressed their reservations over government’s decision to give back land to white commercial farmers.