Land deal eases government re-engagement efforts

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FOREIGN Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo yesterday said the government’s decision to compensate white former commercial farmers has eased the country’s international engagement and re-engagement efforts.

This comes as the government recently signed a US$3,5 billion Global Compensation Agreement (GCA) with white former commercial farmers while also announcing that indigenous farmers who lost their land while under the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAs) would either be compensated or have their titles restored.

Addressing journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare yesterday, Moyo said signing the GCA had shown the government’s commitment to the rule of law and promoting conflict resolution.

“I think it is common cause that the Global Compensation Agreement is a result of a position which emanates from the desire to be compliant with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which is constitutionalism and the settlement of the conflict of land which had characterised this country.

This resolution which the Cabinet came up with was a clear testimony that the two parties can actually come to an agreement and that agreement came up with a figure of US$3,5 billion.

“Firstly it is compliant with the rule of law, secondly it has put the last nail in the issue of the land reform and thirdly it provides compensation in terms of the Constitution. How does it affect re-engagement? It is now easier, in fact it has been recognised by those countries, the US and even the EU, which placed sanctions on us. The issue is we are now talking of this matter being past us, saying that it has been resolved by Zimbabweans and the white former farmers,” Moyo said.

“Therefore the original cause of sanctions which were imposed on this country was primarily because of the land issue and the land question was original because of the conflict, which is the liberation struggle. You don’t solve a conflict unless you solve the cause of the conflict.

“This was one of the measures that the government found prudent in terms of resolving this issue, so that the issue of land does not impede the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra and provide for agricultural investment. So indeed it has helped us to re-engage,” Moyo added.

Speaking at the same event, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said regarding the supply of Covid-19 testing consumables,

21 080 Gene Xpert cartridges in stock were sufficient for over six months, giving room for the country to stock up on other required consumables.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care is updating guidelines on the wearing of face masks by children in order to strengthen the control and prevention of infection in schools and communities.

“Concerning the protection and support of vulnerable groups, it is highlighted that a total of 51 308 beneficiary households were paid a total $30 813 019 under the urban Cash for Cereal programme. In addition, a total of 66 509 beneficiary households were paid $39 978 559. Allowances for the Covid-19-induced transitory poor were paid, with more to be paid as Treasury continues to avail the required cash for this form of relief,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Cabinet was advised that following the resumption of domestic and international flights, Lancet, Genau and Pathology Laboratories have commissioned testing facilities at Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo and Victoria Falls International Airports.

“Monitoring teams have been dispatched to Beitbridge, Plumtree, Kazungula, Victoria Falls, Kariba, Chirundu, Nyamapanda and Forbes border posts to assess the state of preparedness of the country’s land ports of entry to handle increased human and vehicular traffic,” she said.

Mutsvangwa added that Cabinet had considered and approved a proposal to review upwards the board fees and sitting allowances of non-executive directors for State enterprises and parastatals.

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