British minister dodgy over land compensation in Zimbabwe

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A British government junior minister this week dodged a question on whether Britain would provide assistance to farmers forced off their land by the Zimbabwean government and instead prevaricated about his government’s insistence on land security and the upholding of the rule of law.

James Duddridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has been asked by Conservative legislator Kwasi Kwarteng if the British government would provide assistance to farmers in Zimbabwe who were forced from their land.

His reply was vague.

“I share My Right Honourable Friend’s concerns about the devastating impact of land seizures in Zimbabwe,” he said. “The British Embassy in Harare frequently raises land security – and the importance of upholding the rule of law – with the Government of Zimbabwe. Most recently, they highlighted the British Government’s serious concerns that the seizure of the land of Zimbabwean farmer, Mr Philip Rankin, did not follow the provisions of the Zimbabwean constitution. The British Government has always said that it would support a fair, transparent and pro-poor land reform programme in Zimbabwe. This is vital if Zimbabwe is to realise its great economic and social potential.”

Britain was a the forefront of asking for sanctions on Zimbabwe citing human rights violations but Zimbabwe insisted that the sanctions were meant to punish the government over its land reform programme.

The European Union, of which Britain is a member, has lifted sanctions on Zimbabwe except on President  Robert, his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Indistries.

It maintains an arms embargo on the country.

The United States has refused to lift its sanctions except of people that have died or have fallen out with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. It has, however lifted sanctions on government-owned banks.

 

Q &A

 

Kwasi Kwarteng Conservative, Spelthorne- To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if the Government will provide assistance to farmers in Zimbabwe who are forced from their land by the policies of the government of that country.

James Duddridge The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs- I share My Right Honourable Friend’s concerns about the devastating impact of land seizures in Zimbabwe. The British Embassy in Harare frequently raises land security – and the importance of upholding the rule of law – with the Government of Zimbabwe. Most recently, they highlighted the British Government’s serious concerns that the seizure of the land of Zimbabwean farmer, Mr Philip Rankin, did not follow the provisions of the Zimbabwean constitution. The British Government has always said that it would support a fair, transparent and pro-poor land reform programme in Zimbabwe. This is vital if Zimbabwe is to realise its great economic and social potential.

 

See also:

Land audit hall of shame

Mnangagwa says Mugabe never said whites should not own land in Zimbabwe

White farmers wanted US$20 billion compensation to end land dispute

US court upholds $25m compensation award to Dutch farmers against Zimbabwe banks

Why the US was interested in Zimbabwe’s land reform

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