“This important opportunity is in many ways historic, bringing a conclusion and a new beginning to the history of land discourse in our country of Zimbabwe,” said current President Emmerson Mnangagwa after signing a State House agreement with Andrew Pascoe, president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Association.
“After almost 20 years of land conflict, representatives of farmers who have lost land under the accelerated reform agenda and government officials have been able to meet and resolve the conflict. miracle. For me, it was a dream I will see this day, “said Pascoe.
Under the agreement, 50 percent of the $ 3.5 billion would be paid out within 12 months of signing, with the balance paid out within five years.
Economists agree that the Zimbabwean government, which is bound by cash after years of hyperinflation and allegations of mismanagement, cannot afford to provide compensation.
In a statement, the finance ministry said it would issue long-term bonds and that the parties would turn to international donors to try to raise funds.
The agreement does not replace farmers with the value of the land, but rather the infrastructure that the owners have lost.
“The government of Zimbabwe has no obligation to compensate for the land acquired. Our conclusion of the agreement does not create any responsibility in this regard,” Mnangagwa said.
Independent economist John Robertson says Zimbabwe’s land problem is far from over, as the government with limited money must raise resources to compensate.
“Are our priorities distorted? In the midst of a pandemic without doctors or nurses in hospitals. Are we jumping on farmers now? Yes, there is an obligation to pay. Where is the money? We can sign a lot of agreements, but so far this one. It looks like an admission of the intention to pay, “said Robertson, a well-known critic of the Zimbabwean government.
Health workers in Zimbabwean hospitals are on loggerheads with government over salaries. The Union of Sisters protested last month when it asked the government to increase its wages.
Mnangagwa has taken several steps to reconcile with white commercial farmers since taking office – in part to revive the ailing economy.