“This significant occasion is historic in many ways, bringing both closure and a new beginning to the history of our country’s Zimbabwean land discourse,” said current President Emmerson Mnangagwa, after signing an agreement at the State House with Andrew Pascoe, president. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union.
“After almost 20 years of conflict over the land issue, farmers who have lost land under the accelerated reform program and government officials have been able to come together to resolve the conflict. I have no shortage of it. It’s a miracle. For me, it was a dream I will see today,” Pascoe said. .
Under the agreement, 50 percent of the $ 3.5 billion will be paid out within 12 months of signing, and the balance will be paid within five years.
Economists agree that the Zimbabwean government, with money scattered over many years of inflation and allegations of mismanagement, cannot afford to compensate.
In a statement, the finance ministry said they would issue long-term bonds and that the parties would turn to international donors to try to raise funds.
The agreement does not compensate farmers for the value of the land, but rather for the infrastructure lost by the owners.
“The Zimbabwean government is not obliged to compensate for the land purchased. The agreement we have reached does not create any responsibility in this regard,” Mnangagwa said.
John Robertson, an independent economist, says the issue of Zimbabwean land is far from over as the government, which is short of money, still has to look for money for compensation.
“Are our priorities distorted? In the event of a pandemic, when there are no doctors or nurses in hospitals. Now we go to farmers? Yes, there is an obligation to pay. Where is the money? We can sign a lot of agreements, but so far this seems like just a confession about intention, ”said Robertson, a well-known critic of the Zimbabwean government.
Healthcare workers in Zimbabwean hospitals are similar to government wage issues. Last month, a nurses ’union protested, asking the government to increase their salaries.
Since taking office, Mnangagwa has taken several steps to reconcile with white commercial farmers, in part to help revive a weak economy.