4 000 white commercial farmers who lost their farms during land reform in Zimbabwe will now be getting US$3.5Bn compensation for improvements. This is after Government and the farmers’ representatives yesterday signed a series of agreements in a ceremony presided over by President Mnangagwa.
The President described the agreements, bundled as the Global Compensation Deed (GCD), as a milestone that demonstrates the Second Republic’s commitment to re-engagement and constitutionalism.
Presiding over the signing ceremony of the GCD at State House, President Mnangagwa described the event as historic inasmuch as it closed the land reform chapter and sealed its irreversibility. These sentiments were further echoed by the representative of the farmers who said the agreement sent a clear message to investors that Zimbabweans could work together and that the country was truly open for business.
The funding for the GCD will be mobilised by a team headed by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, which includes representatives of the former farmers.
The compensation is for infrastructural improvements that the farmers did on farms, which were repossessed at the turn of the millennium to redress colonial imbalances. These improvements include land clearance, drainage, irrigation trenching, fencing, dams and boreholes, as well as buildings.
The agreements were signed by acting Agriculture, Lands and Resettlement Acting Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri for the Government and by the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents the farmers affected, plus the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance, Valuation Consortium (Pvt) Ltd and the Compensation Steering Committee.
While land was expropriated in the First Republic, the promised compensation for improvements was never paid. However, President Mnangagwa, upon achieving the presidency in 2017, pledged that the Second Republic would entrench constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for property rights.