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Zimbabwe Considers Giving Back Confiscated Land to White Commercial Farmers

The Land Reform Program, which was considered a racist and repressive policy, was introduced in 2000 under ousted President Robert Mugabe and was geared towards reclaiming land from the descendants of European settlers and others, a violation of the fundamental human rights of the white farmers. The much-criticized move took over about 5,000 farms, mostly from white farmers.  Nevertheless, the government now seeks to repay about 800 farmers with farmlands instead of cash. As of 2019, the government set aside $17.5 million in its budget and $380 million in its 2020 budget for the purpose, but the economy has incurred so much deficit that it cannot pay salaries and pension, provide basic infrastructure in key aspects of the country or control the continued decline of its currency. These conditions may have necessitated the decision to issue back farmland instead.