UK Must Pay Farm Compensation: Pres Mugabe

TZG/Reuters/AFP, July 9, 2009

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe made an appeal to investors on Thursday and said laws limiting foreign ownership of businesses had been misunderstood and should not seen as a discouragement. He also said that Britain must pay compensation for farms acquired by government.

With an inclusive Government in place formed by President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and DPM Arthur Mutambara, Zimbabwe is trying to recover from economic collapse that the president blames on illegal sanctions imposed by the Britain and her allies.

“Foreign direct investment is most welcomed as it brings new technology, capital and new markets,” President Mugabe told an investment conference in Zimbabwe that drew foreign fund managers, financiers, investors and entrepreneurs.

“Such policies as the indigenisation and economic empowerment act should not be viewed as obstacles to investment promotion . . . They should be welcomed as promotive of the greater participation of our people in the economy.”

President Mugabe said conditions in Zimbabwe favoured investment following the formation of the inclusive Government.

“The formation of the inclusive government has strengthened our stable political environment making us more conducive to investment promotion,” he asserted.

On land reform, President Mugabe said that former colonial ruler Britain was responsible for paying owners who were stripped of their farms. He blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic decline.

President Mugabe said some white farmers would be spared under the current land acquisition and urged Britain to compensate owners of property seized for redistribution.

“It’s not every white farm which will be taken. Not necessarily,” President Mugabe said in reply to the leader of the predominantly-white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Trevor Gifford at the conference.

“The responsibility of compensation rests on the shoulders of the British Government and its allies,” he said.

“We pay compensation for developments and improvements. That’s our obligation and we have honoured that. Above all Zimbabwe upholds the sanctity of property rights.

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