White farmers who were evicted last week from farms during the fast-track land reform have been handed a paycheque of US$1 million in the form of 12.5 percent equity in Kuvimba Mining House.
Initiated by the Government and led by private investors, Kuvimba declared a cumulative dividend of US$5.2 million to shareholders.
Through their lobby group, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), the former farmers said the decision by the Government to allocate the white farmers’ shares in Kuvimba Mining House, demonstrated the State’s commitment to resolving a decades-long conflict over land.
CFU president, Andrew Pascoe stated that while the US$1 million dividend payment was only a little fraction of the finances required to pay off the full compensation, it represented a “seed that will germinate” into bigger things.
Pascoe said beneficiaries were initially skeptical about the Government’s decision to give shares to the white former commercial farmers who lost their land under the land reform initiative.
He however observed that the distribution of the dividend last week went a long way to prove the government’s commitment to resolving the issue.
In September 2020, the government agreed to pay $3.5 billion in compensation to local white farmers whose lands were forcibly taken by the government to resettle Black families, moving a step closer to resolving one of the most divisive policies of the Robert Mugabe era.
The foreign white farmers protected by treaties between their governments and Zimbabwe should be compensated for both land and other assets. He added that the compensation deed signed last year between the government and the farmers was driven by a desire to put aside “our differences and work together and find the best way forward to bring an end to a conflict that has raged for over the last 20 years”.
“It is undeniable that the conflict has caused immense hardships for all of us Zimbabweans. The signing of that (compensation) deed was, from my perspective, a momentous occasion,” he added.
“Going forward from this, the commitment being shown by the Government to find the funds needed to pay the compensation is demonstrated clearly through the shares allocated to us”.
The land issue is a sensitive one with some quarters saying there should be no compensation at all, even for improvements made on farms, since the land had been illegally acquired by the white farmers’ predecessors.