Zimbabwe government said it will give priority to elderly white farmers when it starts compensating those who lost their properties during the controversial land reforms.
The finance and agriculture ministries last week said they had budgeted 53 million Zimbabwean dollars ($18 million) for payments to white commercial farmers whose properties were seized. The government pledged to target those in “financial distress”.
The country’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa said the estimated value of the improvements on the farms would be three billion Zimbabwe dollars ($1-billion) and that government is not under pressure to pay all farmers.
More than 4,000 of the country’s 4,500 white farmers were stripped of their land under former president Mugabe’s highly controversial land seizures.
Mugabe justified the land grabs as a way to correct colonial-era land ownership disparities that had favoured whites and to stimulate economic growth for black Zimbabweans.
Critics blame the evictions for a collapse in agricultural production that forced Africa’s one-time bread basket to become dependent on imported food to feed its population.
The organisation representing the farmers welcomed the government’s move as “a huge step in acknowledging that compensating is owed by them”.
Mnangagwa also said that he is in good terms with Mugabe whom he succeeded after he was toppled following a brief military takeover in 2017.
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