Taxpayers’ funds will not be used to compensate white former commercial farmers for improvements made on farms, but the money will be sourced externally, President Mnangagwa has said.
The President, who was addressing ZANU PF Midlands Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) members in Gweru yesterday, also clarified recent visits by two groups of South African envoys.
He said the first group sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa was for “President-to-President briefings” while that country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) delegation had come for “party-to-party briefings” and were never meant to meet opposition groupings as has been peddled on various forums.
On the Global Compensation Deed Agreement, President Mnangagwa said the revolutionary party would never deviate from its ethos where land was the main reason for the protracted war that brought independence in 1980.
“Our colonisers took our land and we waged a war that culminated into independence and we took it back, and that will never change,” he said.
“We, however, have a few individuals who fail to understand or comprehend our Constitution, Section 295 of the Constitution. We have a Lancaster House Constitution which we used until 2013, but we decided as a people that we need a home-grown Constitution and that Constitution remains the position.”
President Mnangagwa said the Lancaster House Constitution had a clear provision on compensation, one which would be done without using taxpayers’ money.
“The position is that as Zimbabweans we shall not pay compensation for land and that remains . . . we are saying no taxpayer’s money will be used to pay that compensation,” he said.
The President said a committee involving all stakeholders will be mandated with sourcing funds for compensation.
“We have set up a committee including white former farmers to go to Europe where they will raise the money to pay under the Agreement. Then we hear some individuals who are unable to comprehend just one provision saying ‘we want to reverse the land reform programme’, NO!
“The purpose of the revolution was our land and we shall not deviate from that, we shall not depart from our land,” he said.
The Global Compensation Deed Agreement was signed between Government and representatives of white former farmers last month. Under its terms, Government committed to help raise funds to pay the ex-farmers US$3,5 billion as compensation for improvements made on farms that were acquired by the State.
Half of the amount will be paid out within 12 months of signing the agreement and the balance to be paid over a period of 48 months thereafter.
A Joint Resources Mobilisation Committee to work with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was established to raise funds through long term debt and other financial instruments with a tenure of up to 30 years.
Turning to the two groups of envoys from South Africa which were dispatched to Harare recently, President Mnangagwa said the country was under siege from its detractors, a development that saw a revolutionary peer and counterpart, President Ramaphosa of South Africa, telephoning him.
He said the personal call from President Ramaphosa led to the dispatching of an envoy and later a recent visit by a delegation from the ruling ANC.
“President Ramaphosa, my friend, he called and said ‘my brother, there is a lot of pressure here, how are things over there because here we understand Zimbabwe is in a crisis’ and I said ‘no there is nothing like that’ and he said ‘I want to send an envoy to be briefed’ and I said ‘ok’.
“Then social media misinterprets, they say ah President Ramaphosa is sending an envoy to come and investigate the Zimbabwe situation and he must come and see other groups and so on. No.
“The protocol is if a Head of State sends an envoy to another Head of State, the envoy carries the information from one Head to another and the other replies and that reply is carried back and that is what happened. It’s a President to President briefing,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said revolutionary parties have a symbiotic relationship.
“Then there are revolutionary parties. In Mozambique we have Frelimo, in South Africa we have the ANC, we have SWAPO in Namibia, Angola’s MPLM, Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF and we also have Chamachamapinduzi in Tanzania. These are the parties that were engaged in the armed struggle.
“We have, of course, countries like Botswana, Zambia and Malawi. So we have a forum of revolutionary parties where we continue to share challenges as revolutionary parties. As we get attacked by our detractors we must share the mode of attack by our detractors. So, we agreed as ANC and ZANU PF that our brothers and sisters of the ANC come and we discuss the challenges and attacks on us so they also prepare themselves better,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said there was never a plan for the ANC to meet other opposition outfits.
“You then hear some sections of the media saying the South African envoy and the ANC delegation snubbed opposition parties, no, they were never meant to meet them,” the President said.
President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic has managed to tame the runaway inflation which was being caused by fictitious mobile money created mostly through Ecocash.
“We realised that Ecocash was behind all this so we studied this thing and got to their server and found everything, every corruption and takatora tsvimbo ndokurova, it was painful to others but we said we only allow limited mobile money and it must reflect in the account,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said this was the reason why Government introduced auctions, the “one for SMEs and another for big sharks”.
“We were all confused as to what was happening until we set up a committee and we discovered there was up to $8,4 billion circulating outside the banking system, which money in financial terms, is phantom money, which is some sort of ghost money whose source no one knows,” said President Mnangagwa.
Phantom income, sometimes referred to as phantom revenue, is typically an investment gain that has not yet been realised through a cash sale or a distribution.
“We also discovered that there were people on the streets, a lodger who does not own a house but in his or her mobile phone there is $86 million, which he or she is trading, not employed, no one complaining of losing money, it was confusing,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic was also worried with the level of corruption, especially in local authorities. He said his administration will leave no stone unturned to eradicate corruption.
President Mnangagwa told members of the PCC in Gweru that he used to attend the meetings before he became Head of State, adding that as President, he now has an appreciation of developments in all the provinces outside the Midlands.
“Today, you also have the privilege of getting an appreciation of what we have achieved so far in two years as the Second Republic. I also have to tell you that you ought to do better than this or that province because I know what’s happening in all the provinces . . . whether you are number one as the province or not because during my time we used to always think we were number one,” he said. President Mnangagwa said the major highlight of the Second Republic in the last two years was its ability to reduce Government’s salary bill, which for years used to gobble over 90 percent of the budget.
“We have now managed to reduce our budget deficit, which is now only at 4 percent. The wage bill is now about 50 percent and the other 50 percent is being channelled to developmental projects and this is why we introduced devolution,” he said.
The Head of State and Government said the Second Republic has also managed to embark on road construction like the Harare-Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway which the old dispensation only talked about without implementing. “We have the then Minister of Transport here, Cde (Jorum) Gumbo and he knows the story about this highway. Those who travel around can testify to the work that we have done on the highway. We have been using our own resources,” he said.
The President said the country has also managed to tame the inflationary environment with prices of goods and the local currency now stabilising. He urged party members to work hard and remain united ahead of the 2023 elections.