A top MDC official has said compensating white former farmers and giving back land acquired during the Land Reform Programme has always been on the opposition party’s priority list.
This quashes the opposition’s stance on the latest move by Government to compensate white former farmers for improvements made on the land, under the Global Compensation Deed and also the facility for the less than 37 white farmers who were protected under bilateral agreements to have their land back where circumstances permit.
The same facility offers land to indigenous black Zimbabweans whose farms were appropriated during the Land Reform Programme.
The latest Statutory Instrument is a fulfilment of the country’s Constitution and does not in any way reverse the historic programme.
In a statement, former MDC-Alliance treasurer Dr Tapiwa Mashakada and a leading light in the opposition for the past 20 years, laid bare how the party, that was formed at the behest of white former farmers wanted to engage international partners to come up with mechanisms for compensation.
“Is this a reversal of the Land Reform Programme? The answer is an emphatic No. The principle of compensation is what both the MDC, civil society, white farmers, the EU and America have been calling for since 2000. In fact, in all our manifestos, we as the opposition have been calling for compensation in order to bring a closure to the land question. By compensating white farmers, Zanu PF has simply done what was expected by everybody. In my view, the Land Reform Programme is now irreversible,” he said.
Dr Mashakada pointed out that the Second Republic is just following the 2013 Constitution, which is emphatic on the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme.
“The 2013 Constitution is very clear on the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme. It is therefore cheap politicking to suggest that the Government is now reversing the land reform programme,” said Dr Mashakada.
The MDC Alliance, which is now seeking to score cheap political goals even though it has always wanted Zimbabwe to pay not only for improvements on the land, but the land itself that was stolen by the country’s colonisers, has repeatedly said in its manifestos that if it wins elections it would give back land to former farmers.
“The MDC Alliance government will seek to bring Zimbabwe’s land question to closure through a democratic and participatory process aimed at equitable, transparent, just, lawful and economically efficient rationalisation of the ownership and use of land. The MDC Alliance government will deracialise land ownership,” reads the MDC Alliance 2018 manifesto in part.
While the Zanu PF Government, that is groaning under the weight of illegal economic sanctions is, in fulfilment of the Constitution by compensating farmers who were affected by the land reform, the MDC Alliance was assured by its white funders that resources to tidy up the land reform will be provided by international financial lenders.