Govt in land compensation fix…as white farmers demand $10 billion

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has made significant progress in its efforts to compensate former white  farmers who were displaced in the land reform programme with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube setting aside a proposed figure of $53 million for the compensations.

The Zim Morning Post understands that government has completed valuations in all the 10 provinces.

Government and farmers both agree in principle but  the sticking issue that can derail progress of the compensation process is the variance in figures reached by government and the white farmers after carrying out independent valuations.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Ben Gilpen told the Zim Morning Post on Tuesday that after their valuation,  the government of Zimbabwe needs at least $10 billion to compensate the farmers and pay for improvements.

Gilpen said that CFU appreciates the move by government to compensate them and he appealed to government to approach other stakeholders to raise the amount which is needed.

“We appreciate the move by the government to compensate us , from the researches we have done , we realised that the government need  USD10 billion for this whole process and we think that the government should approach other partners to help raise the amount needed,” said Gilpen

At least 4 000 white farmers are still waiting for compensation more than 18 years after they lost farms during the  land reform exercise, which government defended as necessary to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in his 2019 Budget statement set aside $53 million to compensate the farmers, a figure that has, however, been described as not enough to address the compensation stand-off.

The $53 million which has been set by the Ministry of Finance might be a drop in the ocean .

However some Zimbabwean are in disagreement with the move of compensating white farmers arguing that those who took farms were just  repossessing what belonged to them.

“ Compensating what? These guys took our land and it is like someone steals your phone and you are able to recover it and the very same thief asks you to compensate the airtime he had bought, this does not make any sense at all,” said Kudakwashe Chisi.

The Government is expected to start the process of compensation in earnest.