Zimbabwe: Former Farmers Make Fresh Demands
A section of former commercial white farmers who were ejected from farms during a fast track land reform programme in Zimbabwe have made fresh demands putting the US$3.5bn land compensation deal agreed on last year in limbo.
The farmers have reportedly tabled new demands including getting back their land expropriated by the government under the land reform programme more than 20 years ago.
The latest developments come after the government conceded in March this year that it has no capacity to pay the initial US$1.75bn (part of the US$3.5bn) by the end of July this year.
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Potential international financiers have also demanded that the government should securitise its vast minerals, as Zimbabwe has been struggling to pay debts owed to international lenders.
Business Times reports that the deal is now in limbo as farmers are now demanding their land back, although amendments for a new deal had been agreed between the government and the farmers.
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They view the delay by the government to compensate former commercial farmers as a breach of the compensation deal. Business Times was told:
_There are some divisions within the former commercial farmers’ camp as a considerable number of farmers want their land back rather than financial compensation while others want monetary compensation as they have already found somewhere to farm hence need that money as capital for their projects._
And the other challenge is that the international financiers are threatening to dump the deal after the government failed to give concrete answers on the repayment of the new debt._
_As a result, international financiers want the government to securitise its minerals to fund the deal, a pact which the government is not willing to commit to._
Commercial Farmers Union president Andrew Pascoe told Business Times:
_We want to get back to our members at the weekend where we will give them the amended documents but currently we are engaging the authorities on some issues which we think should be addressed._
The compensation which is for the value of improvements, biological assets and land clearing costs for the land which was compulsorily acquired for resettlement was premised on normalising relations between Zimbabwe and the international community.