We won't take back land from Mugabe land reform beneficiaries – Zim opposition

2018-07-05 06:01
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Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, has reportedly ruled out repossessing land from those who benefitted from former president Robert Mugabe’s chaotic land seizures over two decades ago should it win the coming elections.

According to Daily News, the MDC-Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, told his supporters that his government would not take back the farms, but rather would empower the resettled farmers by giving them title deeds to fully own the land.

Chamisa has blasted the ruling Zanu-PF party, saying it had given the resettled farmers unbankable 99-year leases which did not give the farmers full ownership.

“We are saying, once we start to govern, we are not going to be taking land from anyone, but we are saying we need title deeds because we want Mashonaland Central to be the hub of agrarian reform,” Chamisa was quoted as saying.

According to an AFP report, critics blame the land redistribution programme, which began in 2000, for the collapse in agricultural production that saw the former regional breadbasket become a perennial food importer.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe ally who came to power following a military intervention, has pledged to compensate farmers who lost their properties, but said they would not be given their land back.

Mnangagwa's administration has, however, recently announced that white farmers still in business after controversial land reforms will be able to obtain 99-year leases, signalling a new government approach to the key agricultural sector.

Thousands of white commercial farmers and their employees were displaced and left without sources of income during the fast-tracked agrarian reforms that were masterminded by Mugabe's administration in 2000.

According to the CFU, more than 4 000 white farmers were affected by the often violent farm invasions.

Some of the white farmers who were kicked off their properties during the agrarian reforms have now set up base in neighbouring countries like Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

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