via Debt relief, EU says land grab cash first – NewZimbabwe 03/10/2015
THE European Union has put Zimbabwe’s controversial land issue on the agenda of the 2015 annual meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) taking place in Lima, Peru, next week.
The development creates a new headache for finance minister Patrick Chinamasa who is already under attack from hawks in government and the ruling Zanu PF party over his pro-IMF policies.
Zimbabwe owes foreign creditors about $7 billion and is in desperate need for new funding to revive its faltering economy.
Creditors have told the country to clear first clear $1.8 billion in arrears to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank before financiers can resume lending to the country.
Chinamasa will present a strategy for clearing the arrears at the Lima meetings.
Although details of his plans have not been made public, the IMF’s Zimbabwe representative described what the minister would present was a “sensible strategy”.
But EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, has said Zimbabwe should go to Lima with a comprehensive plan to compensate white farmers ousted under the government’s often violent and chaotic land reforms in the past 15 years.
The envoy said this in a speech read on his behalf last Friday Thomas Opperer, Head of the Agriculture and Food Security Section at the EU Delegation in Harare. He was speaking at the unveiling of an agriculture support fund by the EU.
“The Constitution is also very clear, stipulating in its section 72(3)(a) that all improvements effected have to be compensated, as also detailed as per the Land Acquisition Act and acknowledged in the ‘Strategies for Clearing External Debt Arrears and the Supportive Economic Reform Agenda’ that the government will present to the international community in Lima on 8 October ,”said the EU ambassador.
“In this regard, it is important to achieve a consensus based compensation mechanism that is workable and acceptable to all concerned, in line with the existing guidelines and procedures.
“Again, the EU does strongly emphasize the importance of carrying out this exercise in an inclusive manner, where all parties concerned (including the various farmers unions) are not only consulted but can contribute to reach a consensus about the key criteria and mechanism established.”
Chinamasa recently told the international community that Harare is committed to compensating the dispossessed farmers but “we have no money”.