Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Dutch farmers renew pressure on Zim

Dutch farmers renew pressure on Zim

A group of Dutch farmers who were forced off their land during Zanu (PF)’s 
often violent and corrupt land “reform” programme have launched a campaign 
to force the government to pay them the $23 million compensation as ordered 
by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in 

by Tarisai Jangara

The Dutch government has been pressuring Zimbabwe over the past two years to 
fulfill its international obligations under the Bilateral Investment 
Protection Agreement between the two countries. A special envoy appointed in 
2010 has travelled regularly to Zimbabwe to negotiate with local officials.

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti promised to put forward a 
payment proposal. So far he has not honoured this promise despite being 
asked to do so in a letter from the Dutch Foreign Minister in August.

“We wanted to take action earlier, but decided to wait for Biti’s proposal,” 
the group’s chairperson, Lion Benjamins told a Dutch daily. “But now we’re 
sick of waiting. So we have decided to take steps to show Zimbabwe we’re 

The government has also ignored the SADC Tribunal’s 2008 ruling which stated 
that the land grab was unlawful and that farmers whose land was seized 
should be compensated.

The South African High Court in 2010 enforced the Tribunal ruling and ruled 
that a Cape Town property owned by the Zimbabwean government should be 
attached for auction, to cover the government’s debt to the farmers.

The tribunal is however in limbo after some countries, Zimbabwe included, 
argued that it had been set up unprocedurally.

The continued delay by the government to compensate Dutch farmers who lost 
their land during Zanu (PF)’s often violent and corrupt land “reform” 
programme is chasing away potential investors, says Commercial Farmer’s 
Union President, Charles Taffs.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Taffs said: “Government should honour 
the agreement and compensate the Dutch farmers immediately. There are a lot 
of potential investors who are holding on because of this issue.”

Commenting on the investment climate, Netherlands ambassador, Barbara 
Joziasse recently told this newspaper : “The Dutch will not be impressed 
when they come in search of business here because we want to work with a 
reliable counterpart in a reliable environment. A

A number of issues should be respected, including the rule of law, property 
rights and international treaties.”


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