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Zimbabwe says land seizures by Mugabe government are “done deals”

The government of Zimbabwe says it will not reverse the expropriation of white-owned farms that were already gazetted as State land by the administration of former President Robert Mugabe, unless the acquisition procedure violated the law.

Asked to comment on whether recent reports of white farmers in Masvingo Province being served with eviction notices did not constitute a policy contradiction in the light of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s moratorium on new farm seizures, Deputy Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Davis Marapira said acquisitions that were initiated by the previous government were “done deals”.

“(The gazetting of) land that was already allocated will not be reversed, unless the current government feels it was wrongly done. If it was done properly, following all the necessary procedures, then we call it a done deal,” Marapira told Newsday, a Zimbabwean daily newspaper.

He said the 4 farmers, who include white Zimbabwean citizens, may have lost their farms to land acquisition processes that were completed before the fall of the government of former President Mugabe in November last year.

“I think it (the land acquisition) was done by the previous government. If it was done by the former minister (of Lands and Rural Resettlement), then there isn’t much we can do. The farmers will just have to abide by the decision taken by the government of that time,” he said.

The 4 farmers concerned received their eviction notices between July and October 2017. Despite some being Zimbabweans with nowhere else to go, they were all given up to 31 December 2017 to wind up their business and leave.

Two foreign nationals, a South African and German, are also facing eviction. However, the seizures of their properties have run into legal obstacles because they are protected by Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPA).

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