New UK govt 'won't compensate evicted Zim white farmers'

2015-05-18 13:15
David Cameron. (File: AFP)

David Cameron. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – Britain has reportedly maintained its position that it won’t compensate white farmers who were evicted from their farms during Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform programme.

The Daily News reported on Sunday that Prime Minister David Cameron’s new Conservative government won’t support any compensation scheme set up to help evicted white farmers in Zimbabwe.

This comes as Britain adjusts to a new political landscape after a shock election victory for Cameron that decimated the opposition in the May 7 elections.

"The UK has never agreed to accept responsibility for compensation but we have always said that we would support a fair, transparent and pro-poor land reform programme as part of an international effort," British ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing was quoted as saying.

Hard economic situation

Catriona said the UK supported aspirations for a "more democratic, stable and prosperous Zimbabwe".

It had been hoped that Cameron's administration would take a softer stance on the country’s land reform programme after Tony Blair's Labour party called for sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's government following the eviction of white farmers from their farms.

Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

Since then, the southern African country has been reeling under economic hardship.

Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.

The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation struggle.


In February, London mayor Boris Johnson openly admitted that Britain played a “shameful” role in Zimbabwe’s economic woes.

In an article published in a UK daily, The Telegraph, Johnson stated that Zimbabwe was now the second poorest nation in the whole world, adding that Blair had a hand in the country's mess.

"... It is vital to recognise that Zimbabwe was not always like this, and did not have to be like this. This [Robert] Mugabe tyranny is no accident – and Britain played a shameful part in the disaster," Johnson wrote.

In a 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, then prime minister Margaret Thatcher granted independence to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and guaranteed compensation for Britain's setter farmers.

But in 1997 when Blair and the New Labour came in, the agreement was unilaterally scrapped, with the then overseas development minister, Clare Short, making it clear that "neither she nor Blair gave a stuff about the former colonial farmers", wrote Johnson.

Johnson said it was that betrayal of Lancaster House that gave Mugabe his pretext to launch his "pogroms" against the whites.

New reported that Mugabe's Zanu-PF party was delighted by Johnson’s statements, with the party's UK chairperson Nick Mangagwa saying they had been "vindicated".

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  tony blair  |  david cameron  |  robert mugabe  |  boris johnson  |  margaret thatcher  |  uk  |  zimbabwe  |  zimbabwe land reforms  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.