Sunday, October 04, 2015

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim debt clearance talks, EU adds land compensation to agenda

COMMENT - So the EU demands compensation be paid by the Zimbabwean government for improvements made to the land by the colonial landowners. However, the same agreement stipulated that the British government would pay these same colonial landowners compensation for the value of the land itself which they have steadfastly refused to do, since Clare Short's 1997 letter to them minister Kumbirai Kangai. This was the Blair government's attitude towards compensation:

I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests.

In the words of President Mugabe, at Harlem Mount Olivet Baptist Church:

President Mugabe: And here you still had the democrats in power under president carter. Then they undid the promise that America had also made, that they would alongside Britain would also fund the land reform. Carter was defeated, and in came President Reagan. President Reagan reneged on the undertaking by President carter, and said no, he was not going to continue the aid program which the Democrats had started. Then in Britain they also reneged and said they no longer had any money. And this at the time of Thatcher, but later we negotiated with the conservative government. A new deal in 1996. But before that new deal saw the light of day, the Conservative Party was defeated. And in came Blair, and his lot. And these said to us, very clearly, very blatantly, they were not in a position to inherit colonial responsibility. What the Conservatives had promised was a matter for the Conservatives, we are a Labour party with it's own policies. We said to them, we tried to reason with them. And said but at international law, surely, if you are a successor to a legitimate government of Britain, you don't only succeed to assets, you also succeed to liabilities. That is international law. And what were the promises and undertakings to us by the conservative party and conservative government, should certainly be respected by you. In broad daylight they said that they would not do that. They would therefore not fund the land reform program and pay compensation, or help us to pay compensation for land to be acquired by our government, for purposes of resettling our people.

They said to us, we were deadlocked on this matter at Lancaster House for ten days. The negotiations altogether took three months, from October to December 1979. If the principle we stood by and we affirmed in 1979 that when your ancestors seized our land, they did not pay compensation, and so, we did not have any duty or moral principle on the strength of which we could pay you compensation.

On to the sanctimonious attitude of the EU:

(NEWZIMBABWE) Zim debt clearance talks, EU adds land compensation to agenda
03/10/2015 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

Land compensation on the agenda ... EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme

THE European Union has put Zimbabwe's controversial land issue on the agenda of the 2015 annual meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) taking place in Lima, Peru, next week.

The development creates a new headache for finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who is already under attack from hawks in government and the ruling Zanu PF party over his pro-IMF policies.

Zimbabwe owes foreign creditors about $7 billion and is in desperate need for new funding to revive its faltering economy.

Creditors have told the country to clear first clear $1.8 billion in arrears to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank before financiers can resume lending to the country.

Chinamasa will present a strategy for clearing the arrears at the Lima meetings.

Although details of his plans have not been made public, the IMF’s Zimbabwe representative described what the minister would present was a “sensible strategy”.

But EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, has said Zimbabwe should go to Lima with a comprehensive plan to compensate white farmers ousted under the government’s often violent and chaotic land reforms in the past 15 years.

The envoy said this in a speech read on his behalf last Friday Thomas Opperer, Head of the Agriculture and Food Security Section at the EU Delegation in Harare. He was speaking at the unveiling of an agriculture support fund by the EU.

“The Constitution is also very clear, stipulating in its section 72(3)(a) that all improvements effected have to be compensated, as also detailed as per the Land Acquisition Act and acknowledged in the ‘Strategies for Clearing External Debt Arrears and the Supportive Economic Reform Agenda’ that the government will present to the international community in Lima on 8 October ,”said the EU ambassador.

“In this regard, it is important to achieve a consensus based compensation mechanism that is workable and acceptable to all concerned, in line with the existing guidelines and procedures.

“Again, the EU does strongly emphasize the importance of carrying out this exercise in an inclusive manner, where all parties concerned (including the various farmers unions) are not only consulted but can contribute to reach a consensus about the key criteria and mechanism established.”

Chinamasa recently told the international community that Harare is committed to compensating the dispossessed farmers but “we have no money”.

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