Home » General » Denmark Offers to Help Compensate White Former Commercial Farmers

Denmark will explore ways of helping compensate white former commercial farmers for improvements on farms that were redistributed to the black majority under the revolutionary fast-track land reform programme, a diplomat from that country has said.Royal Danish Embassy Charge d’Affaires Mr Erik Brogger Rasmussen met Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo in Harare yesterday to discuss normalisation of relations.

Denmark is part of the European Union bloc that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in early 2002 in contravention of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement after Government embarked on the land reform programme.

Denmark closed its embassy in Zimbabwe that same year before re-opening it in 2011.

Sources close to the deliberations said Mr Rasmussen indicated that Denmark would engage other Nordic countries to explore compensation.

“He said this after Professor Moyo highlighted that Denmark, if possible, could be an honest broker in engaging other countries that are willing to fund compensation but are not prepared to be seen to be climbing down,” the source said.

“The diplomat said there was nothing wrong but inquired which ministry they could engage on that front, and the minister pointed them to Lands and Rural Resettlement.”

The source added that Prof Moyo said Government was committed to compensating white former commercial farmers for improvements on farms but faced challenges in raising the funds.

“The minister indicated that the land reform would not be reversed contrary to what some sections of white former farmers believe.

He said people did not only fight for the right to vote but for land.

He also said that it was a social revolution that was initiated by the war veterans and peasants, so there was no way Government would reverse its position.

“The diplomat said they were not against the land reform exercise but did not support the way it was carried out,” said the source.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Mr Rasmussen said they had touched on several issues around bilateral relations between the two countries dating from the days of the Second Chimurenga.

“We spent quite some time on land issues, trying to look ahead on what it takes to finalise the outstanding land-related issues with the aim of unleashing the growth potential in the agriculture sector which we both agreed is there but not being exploited to the fullest,” said Mr Rasmussen.

The source said Prof Moyo expressed dismay at the way Denmark severed ties with Zimbabwe after land reforms despite the fact that the former had previously supported liberation fighters.

“Prof Moyo indicated that Denmark was decisive in assisting Zimbabwe during the liberation struggle but Zimbabwe was concerned that Denmark then considered taking another extreme position in moving out of Zimbabwe and decided to support the UK and US over purported human rights problems here. The minister said this was difficult to take.”

Mr Rasmussen, the source said, expressed his country’s interest in normalising relations, pointing out that they had re-opened their diplomatic mission here.

Source : The Herald

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