Ex-farmers demand $9 billion compensation

Ex-farmers demand $9 billion compensation
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

DISPOSSESSED white farmers have tabled a US$9 billion compensation claim before President Emmerson Mnangagwa, for assets expropriated during the chaotic land redistribution programme as they seek redress from the new government, multiple sources said this week.
The size of the claim does not enjoy the unanimous support of all affected farmers, with a small group reportedly pushing for a US$30 billion claim and international arbitration.
Mnangagwa, who took over power after former president, Robert Mugabe, was ousted last November, has promised to compensate the white farmers as he seeks to restore relations with international lenders and the West to repair an economy damaged by years of mismanagement and looting.
Sources said this week the former white commercial farmers’ claim amounted to US$8,6 billion and  it was submitted to Mnangagwa shortly after his November inauguration.
The compensation figure includes land, which the farmers valued using regional rates, a well as fixed assets.
The bill for fixed assets under the claim amounts to US$5,5 billion, said a source. This puts the value of land at US$3,1 billion.
“The US$5,5 billion is for assets that don’t exist anymore,” said the source, who cannot be named for professional reasons. He indicated the compensation bill did not include land or assets lost by sugar cane farmers, whom he said were conglomerates rather than individuals. It also did not include compensation for disruptions or forcible removal of the farmers from their land, as well as at least 350 000 farm workers who equally lost assets and had their houses burnt down during the oft-violent land redistribution exercise.
The source indicated that at least 20 other farmers wanted international arbitration.
“They are not happy with the local process. They want to go to the Court of International Arbitration in Singapore. The quantum of their claim would include a lot of assets — loss of income, interest at international rates, compensation for dislocation and for violence in cases where farmers were beaten or killed,” he said.
But he said the majority of the farmers — at least
4 100 farmers who were forced off their land — favoured a local resolution to the problem.
Mugabe embarked on hasty land reforms in 2000 to counter a surging opposition, which had successfully campaigned the previous year against a new Constitution that was meant to expropriate white-owned farms without compensation. The land reforms were executed swiftly and ruthlessly, courting international criticism and plunging the country into its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.
Western countries reacted by imposing sanctions on Mugabe and his government, prompting Zimbabwe’s long-time ruler to allege that the sanctions were meant to protect their kith and kin and to undermine his regime, which lost considerable popular support among the impoverished populace.

Finance and Economic Development, Minister Patrick Chinamasa

Finance and Economic Planning, Minister Patrick Chinamasa

Peter Steyl, president of the white-dominated Commercial Farmers’ Union, said he was not yet in a position to discuss the issue because the union had not yet met with the Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Resettlement, Perrance Shiri.
He indicated they were going to “get down on the table and discuss the issue” of compensation once they were given the opportunity by government.
Eddie Cross, a member of the opposition who has spoken highly of Mnangagwa’s capacity to turn the economy around, said the issue of compensation had been “intensively in motion for the past two years”.
He said Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa had indicated recently that an assessment of farmlands for valuations had been completed in all provinces except Masvingo and Midlands.
“Once all the provinces are complete, he has indicated that government will meet with farmers and establish the quantum of claims arising from expropriated land,” said Cross.
He added: “I don’t think the compensation claim will be less than US$10 billion.”
The white farmers are said to already have a six member committee in place ready to kick-start negotiations with government, which is likely to be led by Chinamasa and Shiri in the talks.
An agreed compensation bill will be admitted to the national account as a national liability, and will likely come before Parliament through a Debt Assumption Bill, said Cross.
But he noted: “I don’t think compensation is possible until after the elections.” Elections are scheduled for this year between July and August.
While the compensation hot potato was one of Mnangagwa’s earliest promises upon coming to power, he has emphasised that the land reform programme, the ruling party’s centrepiece policy, was not reversible.
In an investment guideline the new president took to Davos for the World Economic Forum this week, Mnangagwa noted that compensation for losses incurred through the land reform programme was part of the reforms that required “immediate action”.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has stated its intention to compensate those farmers who lost their investments through the land redistribution programme. To ensure equitable compensation, the Government of Zimbabwe is considering a number of measures including establishment of a special ad-hoc tribunal based on international good practices to determine, amongst others, the value of compensation payable and modalities for payment,” said the government document.

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  • Elton Jani

    Should white farmers be compensated. Who will compensate black who were displaced and killed when they invaded our land?

    • Mhazi1

      I think we should revisit the Lancaster House agreement viz Britain should fund the compensation of white settler farmers for land reverting to its original owners, the black people. This should be done without any debt or liability accruing to the People and Govt. of Zimbabwe. In South Africa, the ANC party at its December 2017 congress, also resolved that expropriation of land without compensation will become part of land reform policy. It is the right and moral thing to do. You see, the beneficiaries of colonialism can not begin to comprehend the deprivation, suffering ( for generations upon generations!) land dispossesion has done to indigenous people.

  • Gladman Marowa

    Fellow Zimbabweans, DO YOU THINK WHITE FARMERS SHOULD BE COMPENSATED? or it should start from 1890

    • maxwell chiku

      its a complex situation my brother,the white farmers are classified into more than two categories;we have the pre independence lot and the post independence lot.in the pre independence era ,land changed hands at a value so is during the post independence era .the situation created some form of legitimacy whatever way you look at it.the continuation of land sales decriminalized the forced land takeover that characterised the colonial period.can we say we are not supposed to buy land right now ,the answer would be no.someone by hook or crook has title to the land and we have to accept it.

      • JAMES GUNIKE

        My friend, I would have loved to educate you step by step, that you can’t put value on land just as you can’t put value on your mother’s breast milk, but unfortunately it’s beyond the scope of this forum. Land is life and you cannot put monetary value on life. The capitalist always shifts goalposts with regard to the value of land depending on which side of the bargain he is, and you are under no obligation whatsoever to accept that as the standard or divine rule. It’s unfortunate hauna kukura uchiitirwa ngano dzaTsuro naGudo. The tricks beimg applied by the imperialists today and forever are still the very same old tricks Tsuro would attempt to use on Gudo. Just because someone deceitfully claims to have title over what belongs to you does not make them right and acceptable. Even God himself has, since the biblical times, dismally failed to end the Israeli-Palestinian land dispute, despite the so-called his “chosen” children of Israel claiming to hold “title deeds” over the subject of that eternal conflict. In that classical example, neither side is claiming monetary compensation to settle the dispute, why? Coming back to Zimbabwe, the land dispute started with arrival of the Europeans. The later were coming from some far away land, they weren’t living in the air and should go back and claim compensation from where they came from if they longer have any space there.

  • Gladman Marowa

    Why should they be compensated for what, who will compensate Africa for colonialism

  • Kevin Mpofu

    Should white farmers be compensated?

    • Cde Kris

      For whaaat? Nope, kwete, nyangwe, tsvoo bodo, ahehwa, aiwa, nada, hatshiboo!!!

  • Davison Mbere

    If you talk about compensation, it should start with 1890, Who compensated Africans for being displace off their land and their families who where killed. These white farmers can go and die. Only those who bought the land and where displaced should be compensated not those who grabbed our land

    • Guest

      True

    • Bob Zim

      Buying stolen property Davison lol!

      • Killian

        Stolen from who by who Mr Bob Zim

    • JAMES GUNIKE

      Guys you keep on going round and round in circles exposing how fundamentally self-contradictory you are. You can’t re-entertain these white farmers by provoking further negotiations on Zim’s land reform whether centred on compensation only or not( a move obviously done for political expedience and false hope to lure “huge” FDI opportunities) on one hand, and at the same time tell them ” These white farmers can go and die” on the other. By now. an adult indigenous Zimbabwean should be aware that these farmers and the rest of their so-called international investors allies havasikuda compensation but land back, for whether it’s $10bn or $30bn mari inopera asi ivhu hariperi. Mari inobva muvhu and they will reap trillions and zillions from the land forever. Any leader who pretends and pledges to make good the “loss” of white farmers without the indigenous losing it back to them, is a liar. Kana tati ivhu nderedu tatora ngatichirishandise and create our own global investors than kumukira kupfeka masuits nekubopa tie everyday yekutaura nekukoka “mhandu” kuti huyai mundibatsire kuvhiya mhuka yawambovadzinga uchiti ndeyako nemhuri yako. Without fear or favour panyaya iyi, ONLY MUDHARA BOB WAS RIGHT NOW AND FOREVER. Our fundamental everyday preoccupation should be how to value-add and beneficiate our God given resources using our own indigenous human capital and become global players kwete kuswero funga kuti next so-called foreign investor wando approacha ndiayani(baba mumba vofumofunga nekutaura zuva rega rega kuti ndiayani murume wandonokwereta kwaakuzviti tirivarumepakadaro?) Mari iyoyo yatiri kudokwairira yakabva muvhu redu tikavadzinga tichiti taakuda chinhu chedu tinogona kuzviitira. Saka lets get down to work tizviitire. We cant spend our time on this olanet as Africans fighting colonialism only to invite back our adversaries as soon as we have done so. We should have taken the wise and by the way very sincere advice from US president Trump. Foreign investors will only come and take what is of use to them and leave. Ivo havana kusiirwa matonnes nematonnes emaUSD namwari. For instance,the Chinese were a ” human rights abusing communist country” who prospered through sheer hard work on their own. Foreign direct investment only followed later to partake in the resultant profits.

      • Ezekiel Easy E

        Like your argument James Gunike, well said, everyone should read this. Infact why not write an opinion for all major newspapers in Zimbabwe on this issue

    • Respectcostsnothing

      The one who bought their farms were buying stolen property. You are correct, many families list their ancestral lands forever and the graves of their loved ones are just ploughed on with disregard. No one compensated them for that. The farmers are eagerly waiting for pay day and also to be given back our precious land. Land is all we have.

  • Edza

    How did these farmers come to own Zimbabwean land in the first place? Did they compensate the Blacks they drove off their land? That’s the problem of outward looking (foreign capital), you get all sorts of ludicrous demands. Look inward(locals). As long as the macro economic conditions are alright and there is rule of law, we, Zimbabweans can make massive strides in economic development. Don’t pay a single penny towards compensation. These farmers benefited from stolen loot, they are the ones who should be compensating us instead.
    We should organise communities to make counter claims against whoever is representing these farmers interests. We can’t be held to ransom by people who stole from us.

    • Gukurume reMasvingo

      Edza you are very right. Libya did it on their own up until America used its tactics to destroy Libya. Cuba has been caged for long but look at the positive strides they have done.
      Zimbabweans are hard working, smart and we are a cut above the rest in Africa. We are not saying that we don;t want to be part of the international community, no, But they must throttle us. Our forefathers never received a dime. We will give equal oppoetunities to them and we start on a new slate

      • JAMES GUNIKE

        Edza and Gukurume reMasvingo you are very right. In fact you are some of the people who should be in our public policy decision making positions if you already are not and from what you and all others so far are saying, it really confirms beyond doubt that Zimbabweans are all agreed in their sub concious mind and hearts that only self determination brings a nation to solid eternal prosperity, hence I have no regrets and apology to repeat that Mudhara Bob was right, is right and shall be right forever. We should have realised when it all started that, just like Libya, Cuba and China, only hard work, innovativeness and the we-are-our-own-economic-liberators attitude would have seen us achieve an economic miracle than embarking on a retrogressive false trajectory as we done recently . None of our highly educated engineers, scientists and technicians was going to be sent to prison for being innovative and inventive. Izvi zvekuswero pfumbidza nzira hanzi kuSwitzerland, London of Washington zvichangoperera ipapo – pamipicture. As long as we are spontaneously and unanimously agreed that the land is ours and reforms to it are irreversable then forget about downpours of FDI and foreign assistance. It took China 40years of reforms and achieve an economic miracle while we spent nearly equally the same period of 37 years begging other nations to come and do it for us.

  • Kubasakwedu Pvt (Ltd)

    if the ‘MDCs’ were to win this election, it would be very interesting to catch how they’ll handle the issue of land reform and ‘compensation.’ Sadly it looks like its not gonna happen

    • Very Angry

      You can say that again. Zvakaoma zve munyika medu

  • Zvivanai Chingwe

    I hope they’re not serious, otherwise this drives a nail into the coffin of chances of ever reconciling their demands with our national interest. More worryingly, if these demands weave their way into the international re-engagement terms & conditions, then we might be on the fringes for a long time to come.

  • Cde Hunzvi

    My grandparents grew potatoes and maize in Rusape till the 1950s when he lost his land and was “resettled” in headlands. Can we start talking compensation to those they took the land from??

  • Cilfford Banda

    They should just shut up we also want $100bn for what they did to our ancestors.

  • Colin Rusere

    What about starting by compensation for every single resource the Rhodesians milked out since colonisation into Great Britain. Then we can talk from there.

    • Mukanya

      Rhodesia was the jewel of the UK empire with roads, hospitals and infrastructure all given to Mugabe on a silver platter. This was all paid for by the UK, should they be compensated?

  • Micheal Ndlamini

    Compensation for what?

    • JAMES GUNIKE

      That’s why I say any leader who declares that the land reform is irreversable and by the same breath mumbles promises to white farmers for compensation as well as rejoining the British Commonwealth is a liar, arikutigokera moto. Hate him or like him, Bob was right now on this one kana tati ngatidyei imbwa totodya irihono.

  • The General

    All this is because of Mugabe, he should have settled this issue way back. Instead he and his supporters invaded farmers after the public rejected the referendum in 2000.

    • JAMES GUNIKE

      Are you saying the people who occupied the farms had no genuine grievances or was not a valid grievance.

  • joe

    Just allow the compensation..UK and USA will fund it but the ‘ catch’ would be to say those who’ve been compensated (the whites) must invest here in zim..$10 billion iyoyo stays here.

    • MrK001

      But they must be allowed to buy new farms

  • Willard

    You see, the Second Chimurenga was fought by young people who were determined to reclaim their land which had been dispossessed by white settlers, condemning natives to rocky, thorny and barren lands such as Gwayi and Shangaan. Winning the war, therefore, did not just imply the return of black majority rule, but also giving back land to its rightful owners. Without land, freedom was going to be meaningless. But the problem today is that very few young people have land and you hear someone talking rubbish about compensation

  • Ezekiel Easy E

    Land reform in Zimbabwe officially began in 1980 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, as an effort to more equitably distribute land between black subsistence farmers and white Zimbabweans of European ancestry, who had traditionally enjoyed superior political and economic status. Start compensation from there.

  • Takesure Giant

    9 billion is too much, what ever they are smoking they should stop A.S.A.P

  • Hilda

    Former Robert Mugabe in August last year pleaded for financial support for the much-hyped land reform programme, which has largely remained underfunded amid lack of productivity at most acquired farms. He is the problem for all this.

  • Montel

    Tell them to f**k off

  • Respectcostsnothing

    Britain should compensate the dispossessed farmers for the land and maybe the govt compensates them for immovable assets at the reduced local value. How do they want to be compensated for stolen property? They never bought that land from our ancestors. If the farmers claim to have bought it later, then they were paying for stolen goods. Those who were displaced from ancestral lands were never compensated. The land issue was badly handled but that doesn’t diminish the indigenous people’s right to the land. Robin Cook and Claire Short of Tony Blair’s labour government messed up the compensation agreement signed at Lacanster House. Let the farmers be compensated under that agreement. This compensation bill is a sure fire way to sink the new Zimbabwe. They(the international powers that be) have a vested interest to see us fail. The farms lying idle can be leased to the farmers for 20 years at a time. Even ministers, instead of multiple farms , they should share a farm between 2 of them. I don’t agree with the patronage system of enrichment but if they must do it, then that is my suggestion.

  • john

    There is a problem, in that CFU is conning the farmers.
    1. At independence all agricultural land would revert to government in ten years to allow time for the British Government to raise funds for compensation.
    2. This did not happen and the only funds given to Zimbabwe were to alleviate the rural poor.
    3 . 20 years after and tem years too late the land was taken back by government.
    4. Robin Cook in the Commons announce a compensation fund in 2000.
    5. CFU refused to notify farmers stating that all would leave and they would lose income.
    6 the local Brit embassy funded employees and expenses of CFU conditional that no one claimed against the UK. They also funded JAG.
    7. They also funded a full time lawyer to try nd remove the UK responsible for compensation from the constitution, pushing with CFU for compensation from the Zimbabwe government for improvements only.
    8. If farmers claimed in UK it would be through the lands tribunal where farmers would be compensated for land, improvements and three years turnover. Protecting personal income they tell farmers they will blacklist those who claim from the UK.
    9 . While Zimbabwe feel sympathy for the farmers and offer to pay for improvements it will take time in view of the economic situation.
    The solution is simple, a local lawyer has agreed to take a case against the compensation fund in the UK for compensation as a human rights issue of note joining with a team of others. In terms of the Brussels convention which the UK adopted the case cannot be heard again after it has been heard in the country where the land is situate.
    Dump the crooked CFU join together and apply for full compensation through Mr Mangwana LLB.and get real compensation quickly.
    The UK parliament and Robin Cook would not have formed a compensation fund agreed by the UK parliament in 2000, if it were not liable.
    Not one farmer has attempted to claim from the fund b;locked by the CFU.
    .

  • Farai

    This is not a black and white issue this is purely about correcting mistakes and attracting international investors. If compensation is paid investors will come running into Zim and there will be legitimate property rights and Zim will be the fastest growing economy in the world. Failure to address this issue will result in a lost future.

  • Jemedzo

    This compensation issue should just be ignored completely. If a person exploited someone’s land for 100 years and failed to compensate himself then they are fools.
    For all we know, were these not the same people who used to go to Europe and boast about their large pieces of land “Larger than Belgium”. What were they dong with that land. Did they not know that one day the owners would demand back their land? I think we also are not focused, we think in terms of wanting to please these white criminals. Land does not rot, minerals do not rot. Let them cry as hard as they want just ignore them.
    For the information of those that do not know white farmers used to remit a lot of money to The Channel Isles, Union Bank of Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.
    These countries are where these farmers are living in luxury and crying victims to the world. They want to be compensated so that they continue their luxurious lives they used to enjoy when they were oppressing us. Why don’t our government tell them point blank to forget about compensation from Zimbabwe and demand compensation from Britain which sold them a dummy, like what SARAH CLARE said to us.
    These are the issues we should be uniting to demonstrate in the streets until they stop they demand for compensation..

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