The Minister of Local Government and Zanu PF politburo member July Moyo has allayed fears that there will be land reversal after the government announced that they will return some farms, which were protected under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPA), to the former owners.
Moyo said that only 37 farms were protected under BIPPA and these will be the ones to be returned back to their former owners.
The pronouncement by the government was largely viewed by many as the first step towards land reversal which prompted Zanu PF to deploy highly powered delegations to provinces to clarify and iron out the complexities.
Addressing the Zanu PF Masvingo Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting last weekend, Moyo said that the gains of the revolution will never be reversed but they are largely compensating former farm owners while very few will be returned.
“We signed agreements with countries we had cordial relations with that guaranteed that we will never take their investments but during the land reform, we grabbed all land without putting into consideration the agreements.
“We had given assurances to other farmers that their investments were safe and protected but we went on to dishonor our promises. We grabbed the farms. There are only 37 farms protected under BIPPA and these are the ones we are going to return.
“This cannot be reversal,” said Moyo.
He said they are being guided by the Constitution which he said the whole country agreed to that there shall be compensation of farms.
Moyo said if there are people in the 37 farms, the government will relocate them to other areas.
“We agreed to this in the constitution and we are simply following what is in the supreme law of the land.
“Our people who are in the said farms will be relocated to other areas. We have to face the problem head on and not sweep it under the carpet.
“The rest of white farmers are going to be compensated for the improvements and not on land. That we will never do. If they want compensation for land they should go to their queen who send them here,” said Moyo.
The compensation of former farm owners is covered in section 295 of the constitution of Zimbabwe. There are three categories of farm owners eligible for compensation in different forms.
Section 295 (1) provides that indigenous Zimbabweans who lost their land must be compensated for the land and developments thereon.
Section 295 (2) stipulates that those whose land was covered by BIPPAs and bilateral investment treaties (BITs) are entitled to compensation for the land and developments thereon.
Section 295 (3) compels the Government to compensate those not covered in Subsection 1 and 2 for improvements on the land only.