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Zimbabwe: Compensation available only for elderly white farmers

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Christian Fernsby |
Emmerson Mnangagwa
Africa   Emmerson Mnangagwa

The Zimbabwe government will give priority to elderly white farmers when it starts compensating those who lost their properties during the controversial land reforms.

The finance and agriculture ministries last week said they had budgeted 53 million Zimbabwean dollars ($18 million) in payments to white commercial farmers whose properties were seized nearly 20 years ago under Robert Mugabe, the president said in an interview published Sunday.

The government pledged to target those in "financial distress".

In an interview with the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, Emmerson Mnangagwa said the estimated value of the improvements on the farms would be three billion Zimbabwe dollars ($1-billion) and that government was not under pressure to pay all farmers.

"We are looking at old white farmers as we make payment," Mnangagwa told the paper ahead of Zimbabwe's 39th independence anniversary on Thursday.

"We don't pay compensation to those who are fit. Our constitution bids us to pay for improvements on land. We do not pay for land because no one brought land to Zimbabwe.

"When we feel we do not have resources, no one compels us to do anything," he said, adding that the government was also in talks with the British government to help "to contribute to this compensation".

More than 4,000 of the country's 4,500 white farmers were stripped of their land under former president Mugabe's highly controversial land seizures.


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