By KETTY NYONI in Harare
ZIMBABWRAN President Emmerson Mnangagwa says white farmers, whose land was expropriated by the government to resettle black families, have agreed to a new financial settlement deal under the Global Compensation Deed with payments expected next year.
If the deal sails through, it will bring to closure the negotiations that have been taking place for over two decades.
“I am committed to compensating former farm owners under the Global Compensation Deed. I am happy to announce that the former farm owners recently accepted my government’s offer to settle the Global Compensation Deed amount, and the process will commence in early 2023,’’ Mnangagwa said yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.
The minister was speaking at the Dialogue Platform on Zimbabwe’s Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution Process in Harare.
“I am committed to compensating former farm owners under the Global Compensation Deed.
“I am happy to announce that the former farm owners recently accepted my government’s offer to settle the Global Compensation Deed amount, and the process will commence in early 2023,’’ Mnangagwa said.
He said the latest commitment to compensate white farmers followed the visit to Zimbabwe last July by the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina who advised Harare to prioritise the compensation of former white farmers as one of the factors that drive Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution process.
“After talking with other development partners and recognising that various economic and governance factors drive Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution process, Adesina proposed a focused strategy that is in line with our own Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution Strategy.
“As a starting point, we have agreed on a focused approach around three pillars, namely, an economic reforms track, a governance reforms track, and compensation to the former farm owners.
“We embraced this strategy and agreed on it, as part of our broad strategy of re-engagement with the international community; we are already implementing economic and governance reforms, which I believe are necessary and critical to the process we have embarked on.”
Mnangagwa also said his government was resolving disputes with farmers who lost their land under the land reform programme, but were covered under the bilateral investment promotion partnership agreements (BIPPAs).
“These farmers were regrettably affected by the land reform programme. The BIPPAs are being resolved on a case-by-case basis led by the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
“We believe this is a strong signal of my government’s commitment to respecting property rights and to mitigating any concerns that foreign investors might have.”
Mnangagwa advised creditors and development partners attending the dialogue to engage the government on areas of concern.
“I also urge you to continue providing technical and financial support for the implementation of economic and governance reforms.
“We expect these structures to enhance transparency, trust and promote mutual accountability.”
The meeting was attended by senior officials from the ministries of Finance, Justice, Information, and Public Service, including development partners from United Nations (UN) agencies, and the European Union (EU).
The government has said the land reform programme was not reversible, but paying compensation was important to mending ties with the international community. – Daily News