Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, former ambassador for the African Union to United States and the current president for the African Diaspora Development Institute, has come out to speak on issues concerning the compensation of white farmers in Zimbabwe.
The Pan-Africanist blamed the whole incident on the Lancaster agreement; she stated that, “The Lancaster agreement when it came to the issue of the lands, it clearly stated that, from 1980 to 1990, the government of Zimbabwe would not discuss land redistribution but beginning in 1990, the government will implement the land redistribution program and when implemented, the compensation for the white farmers for the land was going to be made by Britain”
She stated that, the Zimbabwean government was not responsible for paying compensation for the land itself but for the value added to the land by the farmers. “Under no circumstances was Zimbabwe going to compensate the white farmers for the land; that was made very clear and it remains the case today. The government of Zimbabwe however, was responsible for compensating the farmers for the improvement on the land (…) the constitution says the government of Zimbabwe must compensate the farmers for these improvements” such as irrigation systems built, houses, and any other value added to the land.
According to her submission, the white farmers have been in negotiation with the Zimbabwean government for years demanding their compensation as agreed in the constitution. She also stated that, the government is not solely or directly responsible for raising such money for the farmers.
“The government of Zimbabwe does not have the funds so they also reached out to the children of Zimbabwe who happen to be white and say you understand the situation, the government has no money so let’s work together to find a solution to that. So the farmers have agreed to fundraise the money themselves. They are gonna reach out to organizations, institutions, to Britain to fundraise the $3.5 Billion. Those funds are going to come to the government of Zimbabwe, and the government of Zimbabwe is going to use those funds to compensate the farmers for whatever they may have spent on the farms” she said.
Mind you, such amount they are supposed to outsource is not a charity but rather in the form of a loan/bond which the government of Zimbabwe will still be expected to draw on taxpayers’ money to pay for in the near future.
Like many other agitated Africans, she expressed her dissatisfaction in that particular constitutional provision that allocated such compensation to the farmers because, when they took the lands from black generations back then, they did not compensate us.
“One might argue that, why are they being compensated while the blacks when the land was taken, they were not compensated? I tell you what, we got to move forward; we want the sanctions lifted; if this was the tiebreaker for getting the sanctions lifted, let it be. We need to move forward” she added.