Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday told those attending the Investors’ Conference that government has no money to compensate former white commercial farmers whose farms were grabbed under the controversial land reform program.
Tsvangirai addressing the Zimbabwe International InvestmentConference in Harare said:“Government has no money to compensate white farmers whose land was taken under the land reform. It is now time to move to the next phase of the land reform programme and focus on increasing productivity and output”
This is mostly likely to anger affected farmers who last month through the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said they now need compensation that is close to US$15billion.
CFU president Trevor Gilford said the new but temporary inclusive government will have to pay close to US$15 billion in compensation for the improvements made on their properties. He is quoted saying:
“The Zimbabwe constitution says the government should pay for pay full compensation for improvements, damages and interest. It will be better off if the government pays farmers US$15 billion as compensation for the improvements on the farms so that they leave farms voluntarily.
The 400 remaining white farmers face persecution for continuing to farm. The compensation needed by the farmers is almost double what the cash-starved coalition needs in the next three years to fix the economy shattered by Mugabe’s disastrous policies that include the chaotic land reform exercise.
At the same meeting President Robert Mugabe repeated his stance that former colonial ruler Britain was responsible for paying owners who were stripped of their farms.
He blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe’s economic decline. The Zimbabwe International Investment Conference, which is being held under the theme “Zimbabwe: Redefining Business and Investment Environment” is aimed at projecting Zimbabwe as a conducive investment destination in sub-Saharan Africa.
The conference is also meant to entice investment to increase output and employment and facilitate sustainable economic growth, exports and poverty reduction. The Zimbabwe Telegraph.