Farm grabs: We were wrong, Min admits

Farm grabs: We were wrong, Min admits – NewZimbabwe 14/03/2016

ZIMBABWE is considering ways to compensate foreign farmers who were evicted from their land, saying the government ignored international treaties on foreign investment during on often-violent farm seizure campaign that triggered a decade-long recession.

The decision is a further step back by President Robert Mugabe’s government from a programme that’s been the cornerstone of its political policies since the invasions began in 2000.

Then the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front needed to shore up support from rural voters before an election, which it came close to losing.

The invasions slashed export income from crops, helped caused famines and an economic and political crisis that ended assistance from international lending agencies and resulted in sanctions against Mugabe and his closest allies.

“Agreements were not respected when we started land reform, but that’s now going to be corrected,” Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said in an interview in Harare, the capital, on Friday.

The government will conduct an audit of all farmland, identifying how much was taken and from whom, he said, without specifying how those deemed to have been unfairly treated would be affected.

The southern African country entered into Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements with many countries, and “we’re going to respect them,” Mombeshora said. “We are looking at every farm situation that was affected.

Economy has halved

According to the US trade office, among other provisions such treaties establish clear limits on the expropriation of investments and provide for payment of prompt, adequate, and effective compensation when expropriation takes place.

The country’s Finance Ministry proposed establishing a fund to compensate farmers on March 9. The country evicted about 3,500 mainly white farmers, of which some were foreign. About 300 white farmers remain on their land, according to the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents large-scale agriculture.

Mugabe’s government is considering the plans as it seeks to restore relations with the International Monetary Fund and western donors and kick start growth in an economy that’s half the size it was 16 years ago.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 7
  • comment-avatar
    boutros 6 years ago

    Why then does Zanu PF and its Govt deny that there is no rule of law? I thought efusing to respect investment agreements is an issue of rule of law!!

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    Tiger Shona 6 years ago

    The sooner we get this right, the better it will be for Zimbabwe.

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    reader 6 years ago

    The first Move is to get rid of the 51% Indigenisation law so that investors know they will get the return on investment, that will bring in cash.
    2 offer the property back to the farmers VIOLENTLY removed that will save compensation and create employment.
    3 then pay out compensation to pay for farms that are then legally sold to government for distribution.

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    DISGRACE 6 years ago

    It is government-sponsored, there is no doubt about it,” he said. “The military is engaged, the police are engaged, security is engaged and the militia that comes from Zanu PF is engaged.”The number of people in need of food aid has ballooned to four million as it emerged that donors will at the end of this month hand over millions of people they were assisting to the Government food deficit mitigation programme.

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    Jonah Gwenzi 6 years ago

    The government must please stick to the Yskadeuka yakatodeuka reality. While I do not subscribe to the land takeover and distribution methods by ZANU PF, I agree with the broad principle of returning land ownership to the black Zimbabweans or at least creating fairness in ownership of land between whites and blacks. It is not a secret that prior to this chaotic land reform, whites had all the land that matter in Zimbabwe, thanks to the privilege that came with colonialism.
    While I do not have problems with compensation of (a) development that was done by former farmers on the farms and (b) those who lost farms they actually bought, I have problems with just compensating those who got farms because of the previous racially motivated system used by regimes that were in place before 1980.

  • comment-avatar

    government is considering ways to hoodwink the IMF into releasing funds by lying about its intentions.
    an audit? ha —
    compensation? ha ha ….
    respect agreements? chokwadii?
    treat people fairly? goodness comrade – time to visit the psychiatrist.

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    Mazano Rewayi 6 years ago

    Let’s just start afresh. 1896 Blacks lost land, sorry! 2000 Whites lose land, sorry! Going forward, demarcate land afresh into smaller holdings (stop this A1, A2 nonsense), tax the land and guarantee property rights to those who use it. And make sure these pretenders are nowhere near the new system.