By Nita Karume :
Zimbabwe’s new agriculture minister, Mr. Perrance Shiri has condemned the ill treatment of white farmers. As such, he has instructed the authorities to look into some of the injustices that were committed during the land reforms. Meanwhile, the main white farmers’ union says it wants to work with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
The minister, who is also a former head of the Zimbabwe airforce stressed the commitment of the government to the putting in place of corrective measures to deal with the effects of the past injustices. He was however quick to add that for this to work, they should be careful not to create new injustices.
Mr. Shiri explained that there are policies in place which recognizes the property rights of existing land owners. Also acknowledged is the legitimate demand for justice from those who have been dispossessed or excluded.
Out of the total 4000 white farmers, only 300 farmers are still on their farms. A number of dispossessed farmers or their children also rent farms from new black owners.
In the meantime, the Colony Farming Unit (CFU) President Peter Van Zyl said white farmers wanted to be “part of the new Zimbabwe”. This is according to local news reports.
According to the reports, Mr. Van Zyl said that they are looking to assist in a process that creates space for all who want to be involved in agriculture. He further added that said process should simultaneously see all resettled farmers transition from being dependent on the State, to being the pillars of the country’s recovery through a transfer of skills.
Further reports also indicate that there has been an acknowledgement by Mnangagwa’s government that compensation must be paid. However, there is some speculation that the bill will run into billions of US dollars.