MDC Alliance queries Zim’s land compensation

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ZTN Correspondent

Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC Alliance is querying the legality of the Global Compensation Agreement between Government and former commercial farmers.

Authorities in Harare and the farmers agreed on a US$3.5 billion fund under which the latter will be paid for farm improvements.

The agreement covers those affected by the land reform programme.

“We note with concern that the Global Compensation Agreement has been concluded without the participation of Parliament and key stakeholders in breach of the Constitution and the rule of law.

“In particular, Section 295 (4) which requires that any compensation for previously-acquired agricultural land must be assessed and paid in terms of an Act of Parliament,” said Fadzai Mahere, the MDC Alliance spokesperson.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi shot back, saying the pact was above board.

He said, “A policy document does not need an enabling Act. You don’t start by (going) to Parliament before you quantify what you want.

“Even in a budget, you start budget consultations; do everything. Likewise, you start with negotiations. You identify the affected people; you don’t start by having an Act. You first identify the mischief you want to solve.”

Writing in the Thursday edition of The Herald newspaper, Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana said Government is only following the law.

“The New Dispensation made it clear from the word go that property rights will be respected in Zimbabwe in order to attract investment.

“It means that as a nation, Zimbabwe will respect conventions it is a signatory to as well as agreements it signed with other parties.”  

In 2000, the Zimbabwe Government compulsorily acquired land from former commercial farm and redistributed it to indigenes.

The exercise, commonly referred to as the Third Chimurenga, is said to have been designed to “correct historical land imbalances”.

It came after a stand-off between then British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour Government and Harare over the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement which provided that former colonial power Britain should fund land compensation.

The Zimbabwe Government says it signed the $3, 5 billion Global Compensation Agreement in keeping with a constitutional requirement to compensate ex-commercial farmers for improvements.