President Emmerson Mnangagwa today said he is compensating white farmers for the improvements on the land that was acquired from them because he is bound by the country’s constitution to do so.
He told the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front youth assembly that the country’s land reform was irreversible but his administration will uphold the constitution which says those whose land was acquired by the State will be compensated for improvements on that land.
Mnangagwa was under fire from South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema who accused him of being a sell-out because of his plan to compensate white farmers.
Malema told the media that Mnangagwa must not compensate white farmers because Zimbabwe is too poor to do that.
“It’s a sellout position taking money to people who don’t deserve it,” he said. “Anyone who compensates them for stolen land is a sellout. Anyone who compensates for the expropriation of land is a sellout,” he said.
Government spokesman Nick Mangwana said if anyone was to blame for compensating white farmers, it was the entire nation of Zimbabwe not Mnangagwa.
“In 2013, 95% of us voted in a Constitution that provided for the payment of compensation for improvements to former farm owners. If there is anyone to blame, it’s all of us. Not a Govt that is law respecting, and is valuing and respecting that Constitution. S295 is very clear,” he tweeted.
Zimbabwe is planning to pay $53 million to white farmers when it completes the valuation exercise by the end of next month.