Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Saturday, November 21, 1998 Published at 00:49 GMT


UK queries Zimbabwe's land grab

Mr Mugabe has threatened to confiscate 12.5m acres of white land

The UK Government is calling for "urgent clarification" from Zimbabwe over threats to expel 841 white farmers from their land and give it to black farmers.

Harare declared on Friday that it was pushing ahead with the plan to take the farms, with compensation to be settled later.

Black peasant villagers have illegally occupied farms around the Zimbabwean capital over the last fortnight after complaining the country's land reform programme was taking too long.

[ image: Blacks complained land reform was taking too long]
Blacks complained land reform was taking too long
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "If the reports of the acquisition orders are true, we are concerned it appears to run counter to the document agreed by parties including the Zimbabwean Government and [aid] donors at the Land Conference in Harare in September.

"Our High Commissioner in Harare is seeking urgent clarification of what it means."

One year ago, President Robert Mugabe's government released a list of 1,471 white-owned farms it wanted to nationalise. The move brought harsh international criticism and caused a severe economic downturn.

At the conference with international donors in September this year, Zimbabwe removed 512 farms from the list and made arrangements to buy 118 others.

The government agreed to wait two years before pursuing the remaining 841 properties.

Farmers' compensation

Earlier on Friday, Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Howard wrote to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook asking what assurances had been sought on the issue of compensation and the recourse farmers may have to the courts.

He also asked: "What is the government's position on the question of tying western aid, and the release of International Monetary Fund funds, to assurances from the Zimbabwe Government that any action they take will fully respect the rule of law and that any acquisition is subject to due legal process and proper compensation?"

The Foreign Office said Mr Cook would reply in due course.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

20 Nov 98 | Africa
Zimbabwe to seize white-owned land

05 Dec 97 | From Our Own Correspondent
Zimbabwe land reform row

15 Sep 98 | Africa
Zimbabwe backtracks on land reform

09 Sep 98 | Africa
Mugabe warns of land reform 'anarchy'

Internet Links

Zimbabwe Government

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online