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Mnangagwa to pay £3bn land grab compensation

by Staff reporter
09 Jul 2020 at 07:19hrs | Views
WENTY years after a violent takeover of white-owned commercial farms by the Zanu-PF regime led by the late former President Robert Mugabe, the new administration led by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa has agreed to fork out more than £3 billion as compensation for capital assets, it has emerged.

According to the new agreement reportedly reached on Monday, which is yet to be made public, the government is likely to part with £3 billion after more than a decade of intense negotiations.

Reports said the Zimbabwean government agreed to pay about 50% of the value of the capital assets such as buildings, livestock and machinery on farms, which amounts to some £2,8 billion spread out between 3 200 evicted farmers.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) director Ben Gilpin said the union would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter next week as it was premature to do that now.

"It is premature for us to comment on it. There is no finalised agreement, so it is premature to comment on it. We hope within a week or so, we will give you something more definitive," he said.

Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri was not picking up calls yesterday, but Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana said the policy was that government should compensate the farmers.

Mangwana referred questions to Shiri and Treasury.

"It is an operational matter, so you need to talk to Treasury or (Ministry of) Lands. Policy is that we are going to compensate for improvements, now the detail on how will only come from those people. I have given you policy," he said.

Finance secretary George Guvamatanga was also not picking calls.

The agreement, which is being treated with caution, is expected to be signed within weeks.

Concerns have been raised, however, on how the cash-strapped government will be able to pay and where the money will likely come from as government is currently unable to get international loans.

There has been scepticism on whether the money would be paid, with Doug Taylor-Freeme, a former long-serving president of the CFU saying: "The deal agreed with the government is positive, but I will remain wary of how it is structured."

One farmer who attended the CFU briefing, which was closed to the media, said: "We don't believe Zimbabwe will ever have money to pay us. But maybe one day my grandchildren will get some of the money."

In March, government said it had started repossessing land to compensate indigenous and white former commercial farmers affected by the 2000 land reform programme.

Source - newsday

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