Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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‘UK won’t fund land reform now’

‘UK won’t fund land reform now’

Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:57

Owen Gagare

BRITAIN’S Ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert (pictured) says she does 
not see her country funding Zimbabwe’s land reform programme in the near 
future despite an agreement by the three political parties to Zimbabwe’s 
Global Political Agreement for the country’s former coloniser to pay 
compensation for land acquired during the chaotic land reform exercise.
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 


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