The government of Zimbabwe yesterday signed several agreements, with representatives of 4000 white commercial farmers in a move meant to lure and show commitment in re-engaging Zimbabwe with the other nations, especially the western community, which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
White commercial famers had their commercial land violently and forcefully taken by fellow black Zimbabweans in early 2000s, this then tarnished the Zimbabwean image, as Zimbabwe was marked as a pariah especially by the western countries, who had their fellow countrymen owning farms and living in Zimbabwe.
At the signing ceremony president Mnangagwa highlighted that the government cannot change the expropriation of land that happened in early 2000 going forth, but the nation can move on by making compensation negotiations with displaced commercial white famers.
“The agreement re-affirms the irreversibility of land reform and is a symbol of our commitment to the rule of law and property rights. We cannot change the past; we can only learn from it. I therefore, exhort you to build on the goodwill and trust we have developed from experience of negotiating for these agreements, to move forward with the national interests as the overriding principle,” highlighted Mnangagwa.
Commercial Farmers Union, Andrew Pascoe, said the agreements signed are evident that Zimbabwe is open for business, and a way of luring international investors, who did not have confidence in investing in Zimbabwe due to a number of reasons, as one of the reasons being the violent and forcefully expropriation of white owned commercial land.
“Today marks a huge milestone in that today we are coming together and that as Zimbabweans we have decided to put aside our differences and have resolved to work together to resolve this outstanding issue. I am convinced that we as Zimbabweans, if we continue working together in the spirit of unity as we have demonstrated so far, we will succeed and the recovery of our economy will become a reality, and it will bring to an end conflicts that have impacted all our lives. This agreement will send a clear and unambiguous message to both local and international investors that Zimbabwe is really and truly Open for Business,” said Pascoe.
The government does not currently have the money to compensate white famers, but agreed that it will seeking funding. At the signing ceremony it was noted that white farmers would be compensated for infrastructure on the farms and not the land itself.
A number of Zimbabweans denounced the move by government, as some are of the view that the compensation is a betrayal of the liberation, as former colonizers did not compensate Zimbabweans for colonizing.
“Why would they do that? Paying that much to once slave masters?? Is that a token of appreciation for colonizing us?”noted Chami Mambo.
“When they talk about sovereignty you might be fooled to believe they have balls of steel but here we are, giving in,” said Nteletsha Ndebenkulu
“This is all a scam. A big one. They want to ask money from the international community and say they are paying back white farmers. They have their bank accounts under white farmer names. How can we as a country manage half of 3.5 billion when we cannot feed ourselves,” said Kurai Hungwe.
The agreements were signed by acting Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Resettlement Hon Oppah Muchinguri for the Government and by the Commercial Farmers Union
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent