Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Farmers fera new jambanja

Farmers fear new jambanja

Written by Vusimuzi Bhebhe
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 07:08

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s besieged white farmers are living in fear of a fresh 
wave of attacks as marauding gangs of Zanu (PF) militias step up a campaign of intimidation and violence against President Robert Mugabe’s opponents.

Fearing a surge in attacks on its members, the Commercial Farmers Union 
(CFU) this week urged Zimbabwe’s remaining white farmers to maintain a low 
profile and avoid igniting a political storm that could lead to persecution 
by the militias.

“Politically we need to keep our heads down. Please heed this warning,” CFU 
president Deon Theron said in a notice to members.

He said the differences between Zimbabwe’s main political parties were 
coming to a head, warning that “we cannot afford to be caught up in the 
strife”. “Once again we see pre-election violence escalating, with the most 
vulnerable suffering the most,” Theron said.

Zimbabwe’s two main political parties – Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – have, since January, accused each other of fuelling resurgent violence that has rocked the main cities and 
towns. Zanu (PF), which is behind most of the violence and has the backing 
of a partisan police force and the army, accuses the MDC-T of provoking its 
members and instigating the skirmishes.

Theron said due to the uncertainty caused by the political tension between 
the main parties and the resultant resurgent violence, the CFU was actively 
pushing for finalisation of Mugabe’s controversial land reform programme.

“We cannot afford a North African scenario, and therefore we are stepping up 
our efforts to bring land reform and compensation to an end. Obviously this 
encompasses compensation,” he said.

The CFU chief was referring to the violent uprisings that led to the ouster 
of former Tunisian and Egyptian leaders in January and February. Zimbabwe’s white farmers have submitted an ambitious agricultural recovery plan to government that proposes converting into interest-bearing bonds the amount owed by Harare to farmers for farms expropriated during a controversial decade-long land reform programme.

The proposal, which was developed over the past eight months, is based on a 
cost-recovery model that would allow the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government to gradually pay off affected white farmers for land acquired while also reviving the country’s battered agriculture sector.

The model revolves around re-establishing values of the land and all assets 
to create new flows of investor funds, thereby enabling the Treasury to 
compensate the farmers on a cost-recovery basis. Central to the success of 
the proposal would be an agreement between government and the farmers on the total value of land and investments on farms acquired since the 
redistribution exercise began in 2000. Zimbabwe’s white commercial farmers 
in 2009 demanded US$5 billion in immediate compensation from the government before they could vacate their farms.

The broke Harare regime has, however, refused to compensate the farmers for land lost, accusing the British government of reneging on a 1979 promise to fund Zimbabwe’s resettlement programme.


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