Zimbabwe’s Displaced White Farmers Wait for $3.5 Billion Compensation

Source: Zimbabwe’s Displaced White Farmers Wait for $3.5 Billion Compensation | Voice of America – English

HARARE, ZIMBABWE – White farmers in Zimbabwe whose land was taken from them and redistributed to Blacks have welcomed a $3.5 billion compensation plan, which the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa hopes will also encourage foreign investment in Zimbabwe’s imploding economy.

During the Robert Mugabe era, thousands of commercial farms in Zimbabwe were seized from white farmers and redistributed to Black farmers. The July reparation deal is for development of the land – irrigation, buildings and dams – not the land itself – and amounts to $3.5 billion.

Even though Zimbabwe does not currently have the funds, Ben Gilpin, a director at the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, is hopeful.

Ben Gilpin, a director at the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union in Harare (August 6, 2020) is hopeful that the $3.5 billion reparation deal will be a relief to the former white farmers as they no longer have any other source of income. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
Ben Gilpin, a director at the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union in Harare is hopeful that the $3.5 billion reparation deal will be a relief to the former white farmers, August 6, 2020. (Columbus Mavhunga / VOA)

“Given that the average age of farmers when they lost their property was 55, and it’s nearly 20 years on, you can see that many are no longer able to work, so they have exhausted their resources. So, it will be a relief to them that there is possibility of closure. With luck it will unlock some challenges facing the country.”

The union represented 4,500 white farmers forced off their land during reforms that were meant to correct colonial-era land seizures. But when the land was redistributed, production plunged, sending Zimbabwe’s economy into a tailspin from which it never recovered.

That’s partly because of a lack of experience of the new farmers, experts say.

David Donnoly is one of the few white farmers who were not affected by Zimbabwe’s land reform, and he is against the reparation deal.

“Land is one of Zimbabwe’s greatest assets,” Donnoly said. “It’s an asset that cannot be externalized, but it’s an asset that can be collateralized and become bankable. This [reparation deal] does not allow that to happen.”

David Donnoly is one of the few white farmers based in Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, who were not affected by Zimbabwe’s land reform, August 6, 2020. (Via SKYPE Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)
David Donnoly is one of the few white farmers based in Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, who were not affected by Zimbabwe’s land reform, August 6, 2020. (Via SKYPE Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

He continued: “We have seen in the last couple of years, because the land is not bankable, government has had to come with huge subsidies. And all of them have been a failure because that money is not recoverable, because the land is dead capital.”

Donnoly wants the deal to allow resettled farmers to have land titles. He says that will allow them to get funding from the commercial market and help the government raise money to pay displaced farmers. He said that would be better than continual assistance, which now runs into billions of dollars, since the land reform started in 2000.

Mthuli Ncube, finance minister, says the intention is that the deal will bring back foreign investment that fled the country when the properties were seized. And he is concerned about the farmers.

“It’s very important that the issue should be resolved. It’s an issue, in a sense, that triggered the kind of negative sentiments that we have received from some global partners. That needs to be resolved. It’s not a normal situation.”

Ncube says Zimbabwe plans to raise the compensation for white farmers through international donors and a long-term bond with the aim of completing payouts in five years.

He says if they can’t raise the reparation money in time, the government will simply reschedule the payments.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 5
  • comment-avatar
    Saddened 8 months ago

    Lets think this through. We will agree a settlement value for something we stole and then we will ask others to pay us the value of the item we stole so we can in turn pay the person we stole from. Zimbabwe economics in action

  • comment-avatar
    Dr Ace Mukadota PhD 8 months ago

    ZW farmers are living in cloud cuckoo land if they ever think they will get 3.5bn USD – maybe ZW funny money but not USD.
    Hospitals in ZW dont only have no water but also no panado,clean sheets or blankets.
    But keep praying and maybe one day when the ZW comedy circus runs out of steam we will all have a chibuku together.

    • comment-avatar
      Ndebele 8 months ago

      Correct Dr. Ace. Zanu have appointed a new technocrat minister of agriculture to give some authenticity and integrity to their final coup on title. The Zanu common law – jambunja that is – will now be legitimised by some white Mujibas selling a deal to extract the title for ED. Then – in the final game the title holders will get about 1% of the value and the CFU and the Global Agreement – what a farcical statement – will have carried out the Zanu dirty work. Just as Shiri carried out the dirty work so the CFU is carrying out the dirty work, Once all is done and dusted – CFU and the RTGS Dollars will have been used, soiled and dirty – and Zanu will drop the like they did with Shiri. Did Shiri die of Covid in just 7 hours?

  • comment-avatar
    Makaranga 8 months ago

    Shiri, CFU and Valcon openly acquiesced to toilet paper status – Used and then dropped In the sh.. by Zanu. Zanu had a cease fire in the seventies to regroup, Zanu had the PF to get ZAPU to help them and then at the election they dropped ZAPU to get their way, then they had the Gukuruhundi and forced the Unity Accord after killing the 20 000 civilians, then they started printing money and destroying agriculture so they beat Morgan physically and his followers into submission and along came the GNU. Three years later, Zanu dropped the MDC and started to print Bond Money again. And here we go on the next round – a unity arrangement from their Mujibas to steal the title for Zanu under the auspices of “moving forward.” The next step will be to drop those that did the deal and Zanu took it all again. If Zanu corruption is exposed the journalist will be put in jail like Hopewell.

  • comment-avatar
    CLIVE SUTHERLAND 8 months ago

    hahahahaha wake up your coffee is cold, these white farmers like a lot of us ex Zimbos have lost everything pensions, savings etc. Move on or you will be waiting for a lottery win that never happens. Zanupf has no intention of paying back what they stole to anyone. If they can get away with stealing millions in FX from your Bank accounts and even the Reserve Bank with impunity, what chance do you have? A big fat 0