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by Mandivamba Rukuni
The issue of compensation has been controversial and still represents an area of major disagreement between the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) and the dispossessed farmers, mostly as represented by the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU). In this article I will discuss the nature of the impasse, and I will review the status, legislation, and prospects for resolving the issue and accelerating rehabilitation, investment and productivity. As a general framework for accelerating the rehabilitation of the land sector in Zimbabwe, a number of important activities need to be initiated and completed by government and these include: compensation for land acquired; issuance of legal multi-form tenure instruments for new land occupiers; and reforming the land administration system to allow for better land use planning, management and production. This includes strengthening the dispute resolution systems and requisite capacity for adjudication.
As for the impasse, I will argue for pragmatic solutions. Both government and dispossessed farmers are still experiencing hard times. The government is still under-funded and many former white farmers have become destitute. It is highly unlikely that a perfect solution exists for both government and dispossessed farmers. The time has come for serious proactive engagement in search of lasting solutions.