‘No need to panic over land’

Zimbabweans who benefited under the Land Reform Programme should not panic, but focus on improving productivity since their farms will not be repossessed, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Speaking during a live ZBC Radio Zimbabwe programme yesterday afternoon, Minister Mutsvangwa reiterated that the land redistribution programme was irreversible, although a few indigenous farmers were likely to be affected by re-allocations, while 37 farms covered by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAS) would be offered back to former farmers.

The remarks follow spirited efforts by some MDC Alliance and exiled G40 politicians who are claiming that Zimbabwe was now reversing the Land Reform Programme, through the US$3,5 billion Global Compensation Deed announced by Government.

Compensation for improvements done on farms is in line with the Constitution, the Zanu PF 2018 election manifesto, a position held even in the opposition MDC and civic society.

The funds to be used for compensation would be sourced from the international market, and not locally, while the payments will be done gradually and not once-off.

Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “There is absolutely nothing that should be misinterpreted from this agreement.

“It’s very clear, it’s not a form of land reform reversal. What Zimbabwe now want is agricultural productivity, that’s what we want.”

In a joint statement on Wednesday, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka and Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, reiterated the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme.

Minister Mutsvangwa yesterday challenged farmers to focus on boosting productivity through the Pfumvudza programme.

Senior opposition MDC official and economist, Dr Tapiwa Mashakada, yesterday said: “Some of the farms belonged to South African nationals, Swiss nationals, German nationals, Italians, Malaysians and other states.

“We must remember that acquisition without compensation by the Government infuriated Western countries who were not happy with the act of acquiring the land including BIPPA farms without compensation.”

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