Zimbabwe’s Move to Compensate White Farmers May Antagonize Everyone

Supporters of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa attend a rally organized for the white community in Harare, July 21, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).
Supporters of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa attend a rally organized for the white community in Harare, July 21, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).
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One of the promises Emmerson Mnangagwa made after becoming Zimbabwe’s president in late 2017 was to reach a compromise on one of the most divisive issues in the country: how to compensate the estimated 4,500 white farmers whose property was violently expropriated under Robert Mugabe. But Mnangagwa’s attempts to take a more conciliatory tone risk creating new divisions and reopening old wounds. Mnangagwa is trying to strike a nearly impossible balance, treating the land seizures under Mugabe’s so-called fast track land reform program as “irreversible” while offering “appropriate compensation” to dispossessed white farmers, but only for improvements they made to […]

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