Monday, 28 June 2021

WHITE FARMERS GET FIRST US$1M CHEQUE

WHITE former commercial farmers who lost farmland under the Government sponsored land reform programme two decades ago, have applauded Government efforts to clear the US$3,5 billion debt for improvements on acquired farms.

Through their lobby group, the white former farmers this week pledged to continue working closely with the Government of Zimbabwe in efforts to mobilise financial resources to pay off the land compensation debt.

This comes after the former commercial farmers this week received their first pay cheque of US$1 million in the form of a dividend for the 12,5 percent equity the Government gave them in Kuvimba Mining House.

 The Government’s gestures according to observers, is in tandem with its re-engagement drive and re-connecting with traditional allies and address its respect for property rights record that was tainted as result of the land reform programme.

The Zimbabwean Government and the white former commercial farmers signed a US$3,5 billion global compensation agreement (GCA) with the farmers in July last year, in efforts to put closure to the land dispute.

In launching the agreement, President Mnangagwa described the ceremony as momentous and historic in many respects, saying it brought closure and a new beginning in the history of the land issue in Zimbabwe.

Representatives of the white farmers said last week that the dispute over the farmland repossessed by the Government under the land reform programme had caused significant suffering for Zimbabweans and the economy.

 Rightly so, the hotly contested issue resulted in sanctions being imposed on Zimbabwe by western countries, led by US and Britain, over claims of closure of democratic space, disrespect for the rule of law and property rights.

During the nearly two decades the economic embargo has been in place, Zimbabwe’s economy went on a tailspin that culminated in record inflation of over 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Southern African country has not recovered from the sanctions battering and resultant economic meltdown, which also saw collapse of industry and agriculture, degeneration of infrastructure and joblessness.

The dividend paid to the Commercial Farmers  Union (CFU), part of dividends to several interest group equity holders in the straddling mining group, forms part of efforts to clear the debt to white former farmers.

Kuvimba, initiated by the Government and led by private investors, declared a cumulative dividend of US$5,2 million to shareholders, 12 months being morphed from aggregation of struggling mining operations.

CFU president Andrew Pascoe, said the decision by the Government to allocate the white farmers shares in Kuvimba Mining House, demonstrated the State’s commitment to resolving a decades long conflict over land. Herald

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