Zimbabwe’s embassy in South Africa has hit back at the Economic Freedom Fighters, after the party’s outspoken leader Julius Malema lambasted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for its decision to compensate white farmers who were dispossessed of land during a controversial land reform process.
The Pretoria-based embassy led by Ambassador David Hamadziripi, said it has previously restrained itself from responding to many “provocative statements issued by the EFF about Zimbabwe”.
“On this occasion, we cannot remain silent in the face of the EFF’s pretentiousness to know more about the history and politics of Zimbabwe than the Zimbabweans themselves. Even more, the EFF has the audacity to dare teach Zimbabweans, even our head of state about the land question in our country,” it said in a strongly worded statement.
Last week, the Zimbabwean government said 4,000 white commercial farmers whose farms were confiscated would now be getting US$3.5 billion compensation for improvements they had made on the land.
Government officials and the farmers’ representatives signed a series of agreements, bundled as the Global Compensation Deed, at a ceremony presided over by Mnangagwa at State House in the capital Harare.
Irked by this agreement, Malema said the Zimbabwwean leader who replaced former president Robert Mugabe was either ignorant or had bowed to pressure from the “white supremacist world”. Malema also questioned where cashstrapped Zimbabwe would get the money for the massive payout.
“We are of the firm view that Mnangagwa is either deeply misinformed about the real causes of the crisis in Zimbabwe, or is simply capitulating to pressure,” he said.
“Either way, this treasonous act of paying white settlers money that Zimbabwe does not have will not resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe, which is essentially a political crisis resulting from years of mismanagement, at the centre of which Mnangagwa features prominently.”
The embassy in Pretoria said Malema was ill-informed in suggesting that Harare was paying for its land.
“The signing of this global compensation agreement is a significant step in the coming together of Zimbabweans in efforts to bring to finality a long outstanding, highly emotive and divisive issue. This agreement should be welcomed by those who genuinely wish Zimbabwe well,” it said.
“It is our expectation that the EFF and others who may wish to comment on the land issues in Zimbabwe do so from an informed, objective and constructive standpoint that respects the people of Zimbabwe’s struggles and sacrifices for their land and contributes to the unity and progress of the country.”
On Saturday, Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary in the information ministry Nick Mangwana said Harare would not be lectured by Malema, accusing the EFF leader of fronting for the once powerful ruling Zanu-PF party’s G40 faction that coalesced around former first lady Grace Mugabe as a possible successor to her husband as president.