Govt, ex-farmers sign US$3,5bn compensation deal

THE government has signed a US$3,5 billion agreement to compensate white farmers who were violently removed from their farms in 2000 during the fast-track land reform programme.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the white farmers would be compensated for infrastructure on the farms and not the land, according to the Constitution.

BY MOSES MATENGA

“This momentous event is historic. It brings closure and a new beginning,” Mnangagwa said at the signing ceremony at State House that was attended by his two deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.

“As Zimbabweans, we must work together for increased productivity, to achieve food self-sufficiency. All of us have a role to play to make sure that the agriculture recovery plan is a success.”

Acting Agriculture minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Finance minister Mthuli Ncube signed on behalf of the government.

The deal came a few hours after the death of Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, who succumbed to suspected COVID-19, while being taken to a Chinese facility for treatment.

To raise the money, the broke government has agreed to issue long-term bonds and engage the international donor community in a move that will end a long battle with the former commercial farmers kicked out during the late President Robert Mugabe era.

More than 4 500 white farmers fell victim to the land reform programme when the Zanu PF regime expropriated land to resettle landless blacks.

“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, who heads the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents mainly white farmers.
The valuations were conducted by Maxwell Mutema, who was seconded to the Finance ministry by the World Bank, which provided technical assistance.

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