Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiators have agreed that the principals of the inclusive government should formally write to the British government informing it of its obligation to fund the country’s land reform programme.
The decision is in line with Article V of the GPA, which addresses Zimbabwe’s land question. The GPA notes that one of the primary objectives of the liberation struggle was for land redistribution and accepts that the land reform programme was necessary and is irreversible — although there are differences on the methodology used.
The GPA also notes that the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that the primary obligation for compensating former land owners for land acquired “rests on the former colonial power.”
In crafting the GPA, the negotiators had agreed to “call upon the United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from former landowners for resettlement.”
According to the GPA review mechanism report which is in the hands of NewsDay, negotiators resolved that the principals should write to the British government reminding it of its obligation.
The negotiators took the same stance when they met to review progress in the implementation of the GPA in April and reiterated the position when they met the South African facilitation team in Cape Town, South Africa, last month and at the meeting they held with the facilitation team in Harare last Thursday.
The negotiators however noted that the principals had not yet written to the British government, although no time frame was fixed.
The GPA review document also notes most of the agreed issues on the land question had not been implemented, among them “a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit” and ensuring security of tenure.
The parties agreed in the GPA to “work together to secure international support and finance for the Land Reform Programme in terms of compensation for the former land owners and support for new farmers”, through the Cabinet Re-engagement Committee, but this has not been done, according to the review document.
There was also an agreement to set up a land commission, but nothing has been done and the negotiators noted the major stumbling block was the terms of reference of the commission are yet to be drafted.
They resolved the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement drafts the terms of reference.