Taxpayers’ funds will not be used to compensate former commercial farmers- President

By ZBC Reporter

President Mnangagwa has cleared the air on the source of funds for compensating former commercial farmers.

He said taxpayers’ funds will not be used to compensate white former commercial farmers for improvements made on farms, but the money will be sourced externally.

The President, who was addressing ZANU PF Midlands Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) members in Gweru yesterday, also spoke about the recent visits by two groups of South African envoys.

He said the first group sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa was for “President-to-President briefings” while that country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) delegation had come for “party-to-party briefings” and was never meant to meet opposition groupings as has been peddled on various forums.

On the Global Compensation Deed Agreement, President Mnangagwa said the revolutionary party would never deviate from its ethos where land was the main reason for the protracted war that brought independence in 1980.

“Our colonisers took our land and we waged a war that culminated into independence and we took it back, and that will never change,” he said.

“We, however, have a few individuals who fail to understand or comprehend our Constitution, Section 295 of the Constitution. We have a Lancaster House Constitution which we used until 2013, but we decided as a people that we need a home-grown Constitution and that Constitution remains the position.”

President Mnangagwa said the Lancaster House Constitution had a clear provision on compensation, one which would be done without using taxpayers’ money.

“The position is that as Zimbabweans we shall not pay compensation for land and that remains . . . we are saying no taxpayer’s money will be used to pay that compensation,” he said.

The President said a committee involving all stakeholders will be mandated with sourcing funds for compensation.

“We have set up a committee including white former farmers to go to Europe where they will raise the money to pay under the Agreement. Then we hear some individuals who are unable to comprehend just one provision saying ‘we want to reverse the land reform programme’, NO!

“The purpose of the revolution was our land and we shall not deviate from that, we shall not depart from our land,” he said.

The Global Compensation Deed Agreement was signed between the Government and representatives of white former farmers last month.

Under its terms, the Government committed to help raise funds to pay the ex-farmers US$3,5 billion as compensation for improvements made on farms that were acquired by the State.

Half of the amount will be paid out within 12 months of signing the agreement and the balance to be paid over a period of 48 months thereafter.

A Joint Resources Mobilisation Committee to work with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was established to raise funds through long term debt and other financial instruments with a tenure of up to 30 years.