Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Mujuru offers compensation to former farm owner

Mujuru offers compensation to former farm owner

FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday met the former owner of her Alamein Farm, also known as Ruzambo Farm, and offered to privately compensate for all infrastructural improvements made at the property.

By Everson Mushava

Mujuru and the previous farm owner, Guy Watson-Smith, met at a London hotel where the parties discussed modalities for compensation, amid reports that the latter was demanding $1,47 million for infrastructure developments.

The opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader inherited the Beatrice farm in 2011 following the death of her husband, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, who had grabbed it at the height of the land reform programme in 2001.

Although finer details of the meeting were not readily available, ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said the meeting was cordial.

Watson-Smith was accompanied by his son, Leo Watson-Smith.

“Dr Mujuru met with the former owner of Ruzambo Farm (Alamein Farm) today (yesterday) at a London hotel to talk about compensation. The meeting was very cordial and fruitful,” Mawarire said.

He added that Mujuru’s gesture symbolised her party’s respect for property rights.

“We want to compensate the white former commercial farmers precisely for the reason that we want to provide security of tenure. Right now, the 99-year leases (given to newly-resettled farmers) are not transferable. This means in the event that the owner dies, it cannot be passed on to the children.”

Mawarire said at the moment, there was no security of tenure for the new farmers as the former owners of the properties were still holding on to the title deeds.

Over 4 000 white former commercial farmers have lost their properties to indigenous farmers under government’s fast-track land reform programme which started in 2000.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently said goverment was sourcing funds to compensate the farmers.

Meanwhile, Mujuru, in her address at London think-tank Chatham House, yesterday reportedly touched on the economy, constitutionalism and governance issues in both Zanu PF and her party.

Mawarire said a ZimPF government would restore the rule of law, eradicate executive interference in the judiciary and legislature and allow the market to operate freely while providing a conducive environment, among others, to restore the country’s former glory.

Mujuru, Mawarire said, also told Chatham House that Zimbabwe’s problems were being compounded by an ageing leadership that was remote from the dynamics affecting the youths, adding that she was ejected from the Zanu PF party because she had always adopted a moderate stance.

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