By Buhle Tshavango.
Newly appointed President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa says the land redistribution program embarked on by the country is irreversible as this will be a great betrayal of the country’s liberators.
Addressing over 60 000 people who attended his inauguration ceremony, President Mnangagwa said the land redistribution program is irreversible but his government will undertake to compensate the affected white farmers
“The rest of the world must understand that our land reform policies were inevitable. The principle of nationalization of our land cannot be challenged or reversed,” he said.
President Mnangagwa pledged to capacitate the Land Commission to deal with all outstanding land issues to ensure that former landowners will be compensated according to the laws of the country.
“For close to two decades this country went through many differences but we cannot change the past but we can do something for the future, let bygones be bygones.
“…we must work together you and me, emotions and expectations are high, as we charge forward we need the world to realize that land issue was inevitable and is irreversible. Reversing the land issue will be a great betrayal to liberators, my task is to compensate those farmers to whom land was taken using the law,” he added.
Zimbabwe’s land redistribution exercise which occurred more than a decade ago has been a bone of contention between the government and various Western countries whose citizens lost land during the program.
The Zanu PF led government has been accused of violating human rights and property rights laws during the land grab which was often accompanied by violence.
However, despite getting the land, most beneficiaries have failed to produce enough grain for the country resulting in Zimbabwe having to import from Zambia, South Africa and Brazil among other countries.
President Mnangagwa, however, urged the beneficiaries to utilize the land made available to them in order to defeat hunger.