'White farmers should be compensated'

HARARE - Government must prioritise the compensation of white former commercial farmers for improvements they made on land it acquired during the ad hoc and often chaotic land reform programme which started in 2000, a Zanu PF MP has said.

Contributing to a motion on the Finance Bill in Parliament on Wednesday, Zanu PF MP for Harare East Terrence Mukupe bemoaned that the 2016 National Budget had not made provisions for compensation.

Going against his party’s long established position that the white farmers will not be paid restitution, Mukupe, a banker by profession said failure to compensate white former commercial farmers had led government into liability.

“We still have not brought in the books and we do not know and have not made any provisions in terms of what is actually the extent of the liability that we have.

“So, I guess when we are looking at the issues of some of the Treasury Bills and all the monies that we are raising, this is an issue that we also have to take into consideration,” Mukupe said.

The Harare East legislator also described the issue of compensation as “a big elephant in the room which was not touched on”.

“At the moment, it is not really clear in as far as the land compensation is concerned. We embarked on a policy where we acquired a lot of land and I think the policy that we have got is that all the land that we have acquired, we are going to be making payments on improvements to the land to the white owners”.

Although President Robert Mugabe is also on record saying that while his government had no obligation to pay reparations to the victims of the chaotic and often violent land grabs led by the country’s veterans of the war of liberation, compensation for improvements was mandatory and nothing concrete has thus far been done.

Speaking at the opening of the Zimbabwe International Investment Conference in Harare in 2009 Mugabe said: “We pay compensation for improvements, developments, improvements, whatever you can evaluate as improvements, we pay compensation and that’s our obligation.”

He was responding to Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) official, Trevor Gifford, who had asked when full and fair compensation would be paid to farmers who lost their farms as a result of the land reform programme.

The bulk of Zimbabwe’s estimated 4 000 white commercial farmers have been forcibly evicted from their farms over the past decade.

Once a net exporter of food, Zimbabwe has since 2002, faced severe food shortages that critics blame on Mugabe’s populist policies such as the land reform programme which took land from productive farmers and mainly benefited his inner circle.

The country’s main opposition MDC party led by Morgan Tsvangirai for instance insists that Mugabe’s cronies — and not ordinary peasants — benefited the most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as many as six farms each against the government’s stated one-man one-farm policy.

Findings of successive land audits have not been made public amid concerns that government is concealing damning information.

On his part, Mugabe argues that the reforms were necessary to correct a colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and banished blacks to poor soils.

And on perennial food shortages Mugabe characteristically blames the West and at times cites changing weather patterns.

Comments (6)

yes compensation,but 1st things 1st,land audit.We took farms that we cant account for.who has what,how many farms,then compensation.VP Mnangagwa is sport on ,land audit 1st ,fishout thieves who grabed more than 1 farm,then pour in finance for farmers,real farmers.VP Mnangagwa has opted for Delloittes ton do the auditing which some people dont want.they want audit by police bt we all know the manipulation in police,.

viola gwena - 18 December 2015

Mugabe has not ever made public the findings buy a commission or public audit because he is corrupt and a thief , he knows that everything is pointing a fingure at him so why make public something which back fires , we have Chisi's audit report and the ministry of lands have the audit reports but because his thieves being led by Chombo are implicated nothing will be made public because it is also benefiting him and his family , so till Mugabe is gone you will find all those audits and commission reports lying in office , that is why these thugs don't want to let him go at an cost . ICHO

Mudhara - 18 December 2015

Benzi chairo chairo. Ndo priority iyoyo vanhu vachitambura

Tengenenge - 18 December 2015

Terrence, you do not need an occasion like the motion on the Financial Bill to talk about your obligation. You and your other Zanu-PF big fishes are the ones who now own the land you took from the farmers. This issue has nothing to do with us Zimbabweans - we did not take any farm from any white farmer. All ordinary Zimbabweans purportedly ressettled by the Zanu-PF government were on unoccupied land where no farming activities were going on. Makupe and other Zanu-PF shefs disposesed the farmers of their active farms. Its no secret that most of them now own not 1, 2 or 3 farms but more than that - which are now bare empty stretches of land with nothing going on except labels like Mwoyondizwo Farm # 1, 2 , 3 if not 5. So Terrence when you bark about compensation do not forget that its you who should own-up. Do not expect Zimbabweans who did not rob the farmers to pay on your behalf. To all those white farmers whose farms were taken away by Zanu-PF thieves I say summon your fellow white governments ( from whereever you originated ) and deal with Zanu-PF thieves. You know who owns what was once yours. Do not expect us Zimbabweans to compensate you because its not our fault - we got nothing of what was once yours. Infact we are yet to start our land redistribution programme as soon as the filthy corrupt government of Robert collapses.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 19 December 2015

Masamba, u have told them. If they have ears they have heard. Why are they holding on the land they don't use. They must give back those farms back to productive farmers. Why don't they see that they are killing the country? Now Makupe is talking about compernsation........ who will pay cos they're all broke. They want to use our dimons. Those dimons are not for zanu people they belong to all zimbabweans. Mwari tinokumbirawo simba tiparadze zanu pf. Vana tanzwa nenhamo. Inzwaiwo munyengetero wangu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dembo - 19 December 2015

Not even one black African fore father was compensated when the land was lost at the behest of barbaric colonialism era. I differ with mugabe on using land as a political tool, but compensating whites for our own land is out of question. Lets organise ourselves and put in place a workable land reform programme and a workable government of the people.

Phillip Kucherera - 20 December 2015

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