Land reform beneficiaries must compensate ex-farmers 

Source: Land reform beneficiaries must compensate ex-farmers – NewsDay Zimbabwe

EDITORIAL COMMENT

GOVERNMENT’S US$3,5 billion compensation offer to former commercial farmers dispossessed of land during the land reform programme has raised a lot of anxiety within and outside the country’s borders, especially regarding the source of funding for this seemingly grandiose project.

Clearly, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been arm-twisted given that he really wants to shore up the economy through compensating white former commercial farmers. Indeed this process was kick-started by the late former President Robert Mugabe, but Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, who has British accent, has made Mnangagwa think that this is a panacea to our economic problems.

We believe it is the former colonial masters Britain who should have compensated our citizens for centuries of plunder of our resources.

While some believe that the agreement will help bring finality to the prolonged compensation saga, others believe that it is nothing short of political grandstanding given that government currently has no capacity to mobilise such a package as it faces several headwinds among them a severe food deficit, acute fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Our major concern though is on who will foot this “monstrous” bill.

Although government believes that with the help of white farmers, it will source funding from donors and long-term bonds, its chequered history in fulfilling promises raises doubts over its ability to live up to this commitment.

The recent spike in human rights violations has worsened relations with most Western capitals, which under normal circumstances could have gladly donated a few dimes towards this cause. It is to these capitals that Mthuli will want to go cap in hand begging for the funds to compensate farmers.

Given that he has been rebuffed by international funders over a recent request for a bailout package to ameliorate the adverse economic impact of COVID-19 because of government’s poor repayment record as well as human rights deficit, chances are that the country’s overburdened taxpayer could end up carrying another government bill. This will not be the first time it has happened. The taxpayer is already footing the US$1,4 billion debt for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe farm mechanisation programme which benefited mostly Zanu PF politicians, their families and acolytes.

Economists and even Ncube himself have previously castigated the practice of foisting national debts on the already suffering and over-burdened taxpayer.

Government should not punish its citizens for the haphazard and chaotic manner in which the necessary land reform programme was carried out. We believe that this time around, government should let beneficiaries of the land reform programme carry their own cross since they are the ones enjoying the benefits of the programme.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 7
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    ChaNdo 4 months ago

    Government will compensate white farmers for improvements on the farms. Goverment has already carried out an evaluation to assess the level of compensation based on the improvements. Whoever got land on which there are improvements should pay for the improvements he so gained. A farmer who only gained bush with no improvements whatsover should not be made to pay for chefs who benefited by taking land with houses, electricity, barns, garages, dams, boreholes,fields, plantations, orchards, crops, livestock, equipment, roads etc.

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    Me thinks the solution is: Give farmers the portions they developed. Make those portions big enough to be productive. They will contribute to the country’s economy while need for compensation will fall off the radar. The only compensation should be for vandalised property and farmers may waive that for as long as they are left to work in peace. A discussion around that will go a long way in resolving the perennial squabbling. Listen to us for once.

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    Doris 4 months ago

    Dream on! Most of those beneficiaries only grabbed the farms to plunder the crops and sell the equipment. Then they all whine that they want fertilizer and seed for free.

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    way to go I can just see the fat cats who got the prime farms paying for the infrastructure that they took over.They believe everything is free re command agri,farm mech,input grower scheme the list goes on

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      Saddened 4 months ago

      How many billions were squandered by Command Agriculture? Prior to this there were tractors from Iran and other places. Free inputs, free this and free that. End result was no food and poverty. Some clever one believes that by signing this debt agreement they can get donors to pay the compensation (I am sure the idea is the government will get the funds to disperse and rob them as per usual while waiting for the farmers to die). Other clever ones think the beneficiaries of the farm theft should pay. Come on they have received billions upon billions and not one cent has ever been paid back. What on earth would make anyone believe this will change. Zimbabwe cannot feed itself and never will, they took one of the best award winning farming nations in the world and destroyed it. Congratulations

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    Nyoni 4 months ago

    I believe there is a way. As mentioned an audit was done on farms taken .
    1) Those farms taken by chefs should by now if they were or are productive should be forced to pay an established amount to the affected ex farmer and the government via an independent party release the remainder .
    2) Where the farm is no longer productive , determine whether the ex farmer or siblings,if still around , want their farm back . If agreed the government must assist in finance to help them get back up. Have the ex farmer decide on compensation or not.
    3) Have a clear plan with CFU on the way forward and have the CFU control the disbursement of funds to affected farmers .
    The regime should not be allowed to handle any monies given by anyone but placed in a farmers fund controlled by a trusted bank such as Standard Bank UK.
    Next the regime must follow rule of law and abide by universal law before monies are given to the bank. It is up to the parties involved to ensure a plan is enforced or else nothing will happen and the regime again will lose face again.
    Obviously not a good outcome for anyone especially for the people of Zimbabwe.

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    James 4 months ago

    The white commercial farmers were Zimbabwens not British colonialists, providing employment for many thousands of Zimbabwean people on their farms.They were growing crops and produce to feed the nation, Zimbabwe not the U.K. You know what Britain means to them…nothing,it is a foreign country.
    As Saddened said you destroyed one of the best farming nations in the world.