Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Photo: AP
HARARE – Zimbabwe was proceeding with the compensation of former commercial farmers who were displaced during the country's agrarian report despite growing criticism against the policy, President Emerson Mnangagwa said last week, highlighting that compensation for land improvements was a constitutional obligation.

Zimbabweans are currently debating whether it is necessary to compensate the former white commercial farmers.

Mnangagwa said “the land reform is irreversible”, adding: “We fought for the land and we will never regret.”

He, however, noted that the topical compensation of the white farmers was a constitutional obligation that had to be settled.

Experts say the compensation of the former commercial farmers is a key pivot of Mnangagwa’s re-engagement policy in his bid to unlock fresh funding and diplomatic ties.

Experts have cautioned against Mnangagwa’s policy to pay compensation for improvements undertaken by the displaced white farmers on land they took over from black Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwe agrarian reform of 2000 displaced several of the white former commercial farmers, with some of them settling in Zambia and Mozambique.

This month, Zimbabwe’s Treasury and the Ministry of Agriculture said in a joint statement that former commercial farmers who undertook land development should register for compensation.

“The registration process and list of farmers should be completed by the end of April 2019, after which the interim advance payments will be paid directly to former farm owners,” the statement said.

The Commercial Farmers Union and a committee representing farmers are participating in the process. Another committee of government officials and farmers’ representatives is evaluating the land improvements ahead of pay-outs.

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