Addressing the gathering, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Phillipe van Damme said the resolution of any outstanding issues relating to land reform was crucial to the country’s economic stability and growth.
“The land question is central to Zimbabwe’s economic, political, social and cultural life and therefore needs special attention from all of us,” said van Damme.
“It is important to come up with a compensation model acceptable to all. The process must be all-inclusive.”
John Laurie, a former president of the white-dominated Commercial Farmers Union, commended the government for finally moving to act on compensating for seized farms.
“We see this as the formation of a team-based approach for a resolution of the land issue,” Laurie said.
Wonder Chabikwa, president of the predominantly black Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union concurred.
“We welcome this because it removes a tone off our farmers’ backs. Compensation will unlock the value of the land,” Chabikwa said.
However, not everyone was smoking the peace pipe.
Stanislaus Goredema, leader of the Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU), said his organisation was against compensation but favoured the allocation of land to the dispossessed farmers.
“I’m sorry we’re going to throw spanners into these works. There’s a difference between farms and land. Thousands died for the land, but you can pack up and set up farm anywhere,” Goredema said.
“The whole thing (compensation) is a sell-out. Rhodesia’s 1923 constitution described Zimbabwe as a colony by conquest. Meaning when our people were defeated, they were not compensated. We went to war for the land and won, why should we pay compensation? Let’s realign the law and allow African, black and white, to use the land productively.”
Responding to the ZNFU’s quest for compensation for land seizures by the colonial government, Chinamasa said while he saw some merit in those concerns, Zimbabwe now needed to move on and resolve a major stumbling block to its re-integration into the global economic community.- The Source