HomeOpinion‘UK won’t fund land reform now’

Did Zuma find muscle to squeeze Mugabe?

Article 5.9 (d) of the GPA says the parties hereby agree to: “call upon the United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from former land owners for resettlement”.

In their review of the GPA in April last year, party negotiators also called on the three principals, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to write to the British Prime Minister asking for his country to pay compensation to those farmers whose land was acquired.

Bronnert, however, said although her country initially assisted Zimbabwe with its land reform programme, it had never accepted liability for the programme and would therefore not pay, more so considering that the programme did not benefit ordinary Zimbabweans.

“Well, we were not parties to the GPA, this was a Zimbabwean agreement and we have never accepted liability to fund land reform although we did actually provide some funds for land reform, soon after Independence. I think it was £44 million which we paid,” she said.

Britain partly funded the land reform programme when it was based on the willing buyer  –– willing seller concept but stopped in the early 1990s when the government announced it would compulsorily acquire land.

Bronnert said Britain has always believed there was a need for land reform in Zimbabwe to address historical imbalances and ensure more equity to the land distribution.

“But we do have a problem with the way the land reform was undertaken and we feel it was unfair to the individuals affected. It had a terrible impact both on those running and managing the farms, those working on the farms and the wider Zimbabwean economy,” said Bronnert.

“At some point I think we are likely to…support a future settlement but I think we are a long way from it and it will require quite a big political shift and a political settlement here for that to be taken forward,” she said.

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