The few remaining white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe say they are no
longer interested in farming and all they want is companasation.
The Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU), a farmer representative body
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.
Said Gilford, “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
The 400 remaining white farmers face persecution for continuing to farm.
The farmers numbering about 400 have been under siege since the land
reform programme began in 2000 and fresh farm invasions have
intensified since the formation of the unity government in February.
President Robert Mugabe and his supporters want the farmers evicted in
defiance of a ruling by a tribunal of the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) that said the farm seizures bordered on racism.
The compansation 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.
Gilford says about 11 600 out of the 12 000 white commercial farms
have since 2000 been forcibly occupied by war veterans, Zanu PF
ministers and Mugabe allies.
“We (white commercial farmers) are Zimbabweans and we should be
allowed to farm but politics has turned the land issue into a racial
issue. There is no need to colour the debate over farms,” Gifford
The renewed farm invasions continue to haunt the inclusive government,
which is trying to convince sceptical Western donors that it is committed to restoring the rule of law.
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai last month courted the ire of white commercial farmers when he said the new push to evict white farmers were “few isolated cases”.
The farmers accused him of downplaying the crisis so that he could get sympathy from donors during his whirlwind tour of Europe and the United States.
Last week, a report released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Zimbabwe is the most food aid dependent country in the world. Also, nearly 55% of children who died of cholera in the southern African country were malnourished.
“Per capita, Zimbabwe is now the most food aid dependent country in
the world. The World Food Programme believes that seven million people
are in need of food assistance – somewhere between 65 and 80% of the
population,” the report stated.
“The UN believes that 54% of all children who have died from cholera
were malnourished, with 47% of the country’s population
The food crisis was caused by several factors including hyperinflation
which disenfranchised many agriculture farmers, the report added.