AFRICANGLOBE – Former White commercial farmers should desist from demonising President Mugabe and blaming him for their failure to receive compensation during the land reform programme, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Mining, Agriculture, Residential and Tourism Trust, Mr David Mutingwende, has said.
He made the call at a Land and Agrarian Transformation Programme Zimbabwe Policy Dialogue meeting convened by the African Institute for Agrarian Studies in Harare on Friday. In his contribution, Mr Mutingwende highlighted that it was Britain’s duty to compensate the White farmers.
“Ex-White commercial farmers should stop the habit of demonising the President as if he is the one at fault in this matter,” said Mr. Mutingwende.
“The British government agreed at Lancaster House to finance the land reform program and compensate the White farmers.
“Unfortunately, they kept making excuses and President Mugabe was left with no option but to surge ahead with the agrarian reform programme because the people were growing restless. It’s very unfair for these farmers to blame our President for carrying out the programme without Britain’s assistance.”
Mr. Mutingwende added that the land reform programme was a revolution meant to address colonial injustices.
“Land reform was done to correct those injustice systems of governance created by the British; it was never meant to racially abuse the Whites.
“For your own information, there are a number of White farmers who have already been compensated out of our will . . . This demonstrates how the Government is committed to empower Zimbabwean people.
Graham Mallet, the president of Evaluation Consortium, a group which is lobbying for the compensation of White farmers, admitted that the land reform programme was a closed chapter which will never be reversed.
“We do not come with any aggression or political agenda, legally we expect farmers to be compensated but we also understand that land reform programme is irreversible,” he said. The policy dialogue drew participants from various sectors of the economy.
By: Harmony Agere