A Zimbabwean farmer who was forced off his land by the Mugabe regime in 2003 says the new president’s talk of compensation for those who lost farms is a positive move.
Speaking at his swearing-in in Harare, Emmerson Mnangagwa said the land reforms of the 2000s that sparked the violent seizure of thousands of white-owned farms would not be reversed, but promised that those who lost property would receive compensation.
Greg Prince, who grew coffee and macadamia nuts in the south-east of the country near the Mozambique border, fled to New Zealand when his farm was sezied and now grows avocados in the Bay of Plenty.
He said money would be better than receiving land for what was lost.
He thought the compensation could be in the form of land, not money, and would therefore only be of use to a few who remain in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans who came to New Zealand had started a new life and monetary compensation would eventually help them retire debt-free.
“We set up here basically from scratch.”
Those who fled Zimbabwe needed to consider what the new president said with open minds and see what came of it, Mr Prince said.
“Mnangagwa is taking over to become the hero and is trying to revitalise the economy and get everything going again.
“We are very happy to see our old President being removed from power as he’s accountable for a hell of a lot.”
The bitterness against Mugabe had waned over the last 14 years but resentment still existed, Mr Prince said.
“It affects the whole family with relatives now spread across the world.”
He doubted he would ever return to Zimbabwe to start again.
“If I was 10 years younger I would reconsider going back but once we know what is happening, well, you never know.”
Mr Mnangagwa was also accountable for a lot that happened, but that was water under the bridge, he said.
“Let’s forget the past and move forward and get everything back on track.” – RNZ