ZIMBABWE-HARARE-Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday said Britain should compensate commercial farmers whose farms were acquired for resettlement purposes and urged white farmers to join Government in appealing to the former coloniser to meet its financial obligation.
Mugabe was speaking at the official opening the Zimbabwe International Investment Conference in Harare.
“The responsibility to compensate farmers rests on the shoulders of the British government and its allies. We pay compensation for improvements. That is our obligation and we have honoured that,” President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe narrated how former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour administration refused to honour an agreement entered between Government and the Conservative Party, forcing Harare to compulsorily acquire land in 2000.
“After two years of the Labour Party being in power, they wrote to us to say the Labour government cannot entertain the issue of aid towards land resettlement. It will only entertain requests towards poverty alleviation programmes. They said do not talk to us about colonial responsibilities.
“We said no, surely there was an agreement between us and Conservative government. We said Blair please, but he said no,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe said the Constitution was clear on who was supposed to compensate the farmers.
“The Constitution says the responsibility to pay compensation is that of the British government. It is a British responsibility. The farmers let themselves down. Instead of supporting us, they have taken sides with the British. Join hands with us in appealing to Britain to make funds available because they have an agreement with us,” he said.
Economic analysts have largely attributed the Southern African country’s economic meltdown to the farm invasions a decade ago as the exercise was carried out in a clandestine manner and only benefited Mugabe’s loyalists.-The Zimbabwe Telegraph.