OPPOSITION parties and analysts have hailed government’s move to set up a land compensation fund for over 4 000 white former commercial farmers who lost their land during the fast-track land reform programme.
BY Everson Mushava
The parties told NewsDay in separate interviews yesterday that the move would help unlock the much-needed foreign direct investment.
Government has in the past maintained that it would only compensate for developments made on the farm, but on Monday did an about-turn, with Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announcing that the proposed fund would compensate for land, developments and equipment looted during the land reform programme.
He announced the proposal through a statement stuffed in legislators’ pigeon holes at Parliament Building.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said compensating white former commercial farmers was at the core of respecting rule of law and property rights which his party had been advocating for since its formation in 1999.
“The MDC is, of course, quite happy with any action that will ensure that appropriate and adequate compensation is paid to these farmers,” Gutu said.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his party was still sceptical of government’s intentions.
“We will only believe that when it is done,” Mafume said, adding that Zanu PF has promised a lot of things, but proceeded to act to the contrary.
Zimbabwe People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said compensation of farmers was long overdue.
“They should actually do it now. The Constitution provides for that. The farmers have been waiting for compensation for a long time. This is what we have also been saying. Farmers should be compensated,” Gumbo said.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero welcomed the decision, saying it was an international relations charm offensive to try to lure foreign investors.
“I think this will be a good international public relations charm offensive. It will give the impression that government has now come to its senses and is willing to right its past wrongs in order to attract foreign investment,” Rusero said.