Displaced farmers help govt

Displaced farmers who lost investments worth millions of dollars when the government embarked on a land reform programme have called for an admission by the government that it owes them money and restoration of the rule of law.

In an exclusive interview, Ben Gilpin, the manager of the Agriculture Recovery and Compensation, said that one of the reasons for the country’s continued isolation was the Fast Track Land Reform Programme which resulted in the country’s agriculture fortunes plummeting.

While the agriculture sector is showing signs of recovery, the country’s reputation is still in shambles as Mugabe is refusing to be in charge of the payment of compensation to displaced farmers. He has indicated that Britain pay the farmers for the losses which included not only land but also movable properties that were looted by Zanu (PF) invaders.

“There is much talk about the damaging impact of what some describe as sanctions and others as targeted restrictions. What is clear is that there is a general perception that at least a part of the country’s continued isolation from international financial markets and development assistance is as a result of the government’s fast track land reform programme,” said Gilpin.

He added that one of the direct impacts of the land reform programme and subsequent grabbing of properties was that investors were wary of the ability of the rule of law to protect their investments.

With no admission of guilt by Mugabe on the excesses of the land reform programme, there also has been no compensation.

Gilpin said payment of compensation to the displaced farmers would contribute to a recovery of the economy as it would also restore investor confidence.

The farmers, who formed the ARC in 2009, came up with an Agriculture Recovery Plan that seeks to engage the international community, open lines of credit and restore confidence in Zimbabwe.

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