Over two decades ago, Robert Mugabe’s administration evicted 4,500 White farmers to redistribute over 300,000 Black families as a way to address the effects of colonization from European settlers.
“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing White farmers, to Reuters. The issue surrounding the land rights was one of Mugabe’s signature policies that caused a great deal of backlash from Western governments, which imposed heavy sanctions as punishment.
The deal would allow 50% of the $3.5 billion to be paid within the next 12 months from the day of signing. The balance will be paid in full within the next five years. “In the agreement, we have given ourselves 12 months to run around the world, around Zimbabwe to think of ways of raising this funding,” said Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube at the signing ceremony. “We are determined that we achieve that. It’s also about pledges not necessarily about cash being put on the table. It’s about commitment.”
“This momentous occasion is historic in many respects, brings both closure and a new beginning in the history of the land discourse in our country Zimbabwe,” said current President Emmerson Mnangagwa after signing the agreement, according to CNN.
“After almost 20 years of conflict over the land issue, representatives of farmers who lost their land through the fast track reform program and representatives of government have been able to come together to see a resolution of this conflict,” Pascoe said. “To me this is nothing short of a miracle. For me it has been a dream that I will see this day,”
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Today we signed a historic compensation agreement with the Commercial Farmers Union, bringing closure & a new beginning to land discourse in Zimbabwe. The agreement re-affirms the irreversibility of land & is as a symbol of our commitment to the rule of law & property rights . It is a testimony to the fact that as fellow Zimbabweans, we can peacefully resolve our differences. We cannot change the past, we can only learn from it. Let us build on the trust demonstrated today, let us choose dialogue over confrontation & let us move forward together