White farmers are poised for a wage lift after the several ill treatments they were subjected to by the previous administration of former president Robert Mugabe, which saw them lose billions and the country’s economy crumble, the incumbent government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has commenced the process of restitution, with the plan of compensating the farmers, who lost billions during the government assault.
Zimbabwe’s land and agricultural ministry is reportedly seeking R40billion ($40m) to compensate former white farmers, with the government promising to pay half of the amount.
According to NewsDay, speaking before the land portfolio committee last week, finance ministry director Peter Mudzamiri said they had received only $20m from government despite asking for $40m which would have enabled them to pay at least 50 former white farmers in the 2019 financial year.
“We only got $20 million, but the $40 million that we bid for was just an estimate looking at how many farmers we are going to pay. Our focus here is that we are looking at paying 50 former farmers in 2019,” Mudzamiri was quoted as saying.
This came a few months after Lands and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri said that Zimbabwean authorities wanted to address “injustices” committed during land reforms.
“Our government is firmly committed to a process of the need for corrective measures to deal with the consequences of past injustices,” Shiri was quoted as saying by the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper.
Starting in 2000, thousands of white Zimbabwean farmers were forced off their land by violent state-backed mobs or evicted in dubious legal judgements, supposedly to help black people marginalised under British colonial rule.
The farms, however, were often allocated to former president Robert Mugabe’s allies and fell into ruin, leaving tens of thousands of rural labourers out of work and sending the economy into a tailspin as food production crashed.
Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa had earlier publicly apologised to the farms who left the country to return and invest in the agricultural sector, assuring that the administration was putting legal instruments and policies in place to ensure farmers were not driven out of thier investment by anyone.