Zim to compensate evicted farmers

HARARE - Zimbabwe has made a commitment to compensate white commercial farmers who lost their property during the chaotic and often violent land seizures at the turn of the millennium.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa told journalists on Monday that the Zanu PF-led government was making strides to compensate the white farmers for improvements to the properties when funds become available.

“Compensating the farmers is covered by our Constitution,” he said adding there was need for measures to determine how much the country owes the farmers before government makes a commitment.

However, the Agricultural Recovery and Compensation, a unit of the Commercial Farmers Union, wants $10 billion compensation from the government for loss of land and other property.

The seizure of land from white farmers is seen by experts as a key factor in Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown since 2000.

Critics point to continuous problems in accounting for low production levels and the under-utilisation of farms — which reflect badly thought-out land policies.

However, until recently, President Robert Mugabe and his government tended to blame poor agricultural productivity on the weather and Western sanctions.

Chinamasa said the compensation of white farmers will be done as a way of injecting confidence in the economy and attracting foreign direct investment.

“Once it is clear to everyone that we are no longer quarrelling, that improves confidence in a great way. We do not have the money to compensate the farmers, but we can at least undertake the preliminary steps,” he said.

The latest development has been described as a major climb-down by the government, which had in the past maintained that the former coloniser, Britain, should repay the farmers because they were from there.  

However, London said Zimbabwe should pay its own farmers because it does not have anything to do with land that is not in its territory.

In the last few years, some white commercial farmers took the government to court in South Africa after it refused to pay them compensation for their farms.

The South African Court ruled that Zimbabwean farmers could successfully attach property belonging to Zimbabwe in South Africa.

There are currently less than 300 white commercial farmers out of at least 4 500 who used to farm in Zimbabwe immediately after independence in 1980.

Zimbabwe was then known as “the bread basket of Southern Africa” scooping numerous agricultural awards including the prestigious international $100 000 Prize For Sustainable Hunger which went to president Mugabe in 1988.

Zimbabwe was then the world’s third largest tobacco grower producing more than 290 million kg of tobacco and able to feed itself as well as export maize regionally.

Comments (6)

This haphazard, self serving project will be an albatros on the neck of the future generation. Historic imbalances could have been rectified without the chaos and deferring the heart ache that will visit the childrens inheritance. The Zanu ministers dont care because all of them their children and children's children are set up nicely overseas.

Lt General - 11 March 2015

What a reckless government. They want $27 billion in loans or debt for their Zimasset baby, $1.2 billion debt transfer from the RBZ, now $10 billion debt owed to farmers whose land was taken unprocedurally. And there is the current existing debt of $10 billion............What are these guys thinking. So much debt for such a small economy?? These morons

Phaphamani - 11 March 2015

They haver plundered and stolen Zimbabwe. The Lord endows a nation for the good of the people He places there. believe me when I say judgment is coming. Micah Ch 2! Zimbabwe does NOT belong to ZPF. They will answer to a holy and Just God. WILL ANSWER!

Righteous Justice - 12 March 2015

my best friend's ex-wife makes $63 /hr on the laptop . She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her check was $19437 just working on the laptop for a few hours. go to the website .for work detail go to tech tab..... ====> www.goo.gl/4bDbql

morkal - 12 March 2015

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