BY SHARON SIBINDI
THE United States embassy in Harare has hailed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s pledge to compensate white former commercial farmers, describing the move as noble although government has already missed some of the timeframes.
US embassy charge d’affaires Thomas Hastings made the remarks on Friday during a tour of Princess Margaret Rose Health Clinic in Bulawayo.
Last year, government signed the Global Compensation Agreement to compensate the ex-commercial farmers for infrastructural developments on the farms which have since been redistributed to indigenous farmers.
Government had initially pledged to start making the payments this year, but shifted the dates to next year.
“I will say I know this government has made a real effort at political, economic reforms and stated that they have many changes that they want to make. One of the areas where we have seen some positive improvement is the fact that the government has negotiated an agreement with the commercial farmers to arrange for compensation for the value of land and improvements to the land that was lost,” Hastings said.
“We think that is a positive step, but so far, it’s still incomplete because the government has not yet paid the money to the farmers which it had negotiated as promised. But we are watching that process very carefully, and we do consider that as positive.”
He added that while the US was committed to promoting investments into Zimbabwe, it respected the decisions made by private sector companies to invest in a country of their choice.
“They make their own decisions based on factors such as the opportunities that the country presents, and whether the country has clear rules for investment, including whether those rules are followed. So in that sense, Zimbabwe is in competition with South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and other countries.
“So they have to make sure that their environment is welcoming for companies to invest,” he said.