Farmers Won’t Leave Without Compensation, CFU throws gauntlet

HARARE – The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says the national debt of Zimbabwe will look miniscule in comparison to what needs to be paid by the Zimbabwean government for the farms and businesses which have been taken over the past nine years.\r\n

In an interview with reporter, Trevor Gifford, CFU president, said the organisation’s members would not accept continued evictions.

"US$ 5 billion is the rough figure we are claiming for improvements but there are also consequential costs, damages and rent and all that which has to be added to the total bill, which is going make it considerably higher.

"At this stage I am not at liberty to give the total figure because it is something which is still being worked on but I can assure you that the national debt of Zimbabwe will look miniscule in comparison to what needs to be paid by the Zimbabwean government for the farms and businesses which they have taken over the nine years.

Gifford indicated that the current land act stipulates that the government must pay full and fair compensation within reasonable time.

"We believe that nine years is not reasonable time, we have farmers who have been evicted over the last months in 12, 36 hours by the courts in Zimbabwe. If the courts – acting under the instruction of the Minister of Justice, believe that 12 hours is a reasonable period then we will want our compensation paid within 12 hours of it being derived.

Gifford said since the start of the land reform only 200 farmers had been partially compensated.

If government wants our land they need to pay for it. We are not going to accept that we continue evicted without being compensated fully and fairly and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that we are compensated under international guidelines for our businesses.

Gifford said the land reform programme was racial and politically motivated.

"My members have applied for land and none of them have received a response from the relevant authorities and are now facing prosecution for being productive. What I must make clear is that we are Zimbabweans and we are being affected as an ethnic minority in this process," he said.