War vets challenge govt, white farmers land deal
THE War Veterans Pressure Group is challenging in the High Court a US$3,5 billion deal that will result in the government paying compensation to white former commercial farmers who lost their land during the country’s agrarian reform at the turn of the millennium.
The ex-combatants want the court to suspend the Global Compensation Deed sealed in July for not addressing the needs of the black majority.
In the court application, the War Veterans Pressure Group, its national chairperson Amos Sigauke and other disgruntled war veterans are the applicants, while Lands minister Anxious Masuka and his Finance counterpart
Mthuli Ncube and representatives of white farmers were cited as respondents.
Sigauke argued that the government had rushed to address the grievances of white settlers at a time when war veterans had not received full compensation for the contributions and losses incurred during the liberation struggle.
“Since independence in 1980, the indigenous black race of Zimbabwe has been making futile representations to the government demanding necessary arrangements for subsequent payment of compensations for the various sufferances occasioned upon them by and during direct rule of the occupying force, the white race, including the return of their land to them,” Sigauke submitted.
“In short, the government as both led by the late Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa have not seemed bothered to address positively the issue of indigenous black race’s compensation for the ills they suffered as a direct consequence of government or its agents’ actions.
“It was, therefore, with shock and dismay that the genuine progressive war veterans, in particular those newly 8resettled on former settler occupied farms, on July 29 received news that the government through Masuku and Mthuli had entered into an exclusive compensation deed.”
Sigauke argued that the Global Compensation Deed would negatively impact the development of Zimbabwe because it was being done without paying attention to compensation of blacks for their sufferance before and after independence.
He said the government’s move resembled unfairness and discrimination in contravention of the rule of law.
Sigauke added that the government’s actions were void and unlawful because the Constitution provides that compensation can only proceed through an Act of Parliament.
“Through this ministerial agreement, the executive usurped the powers of the legislature thus dealing a fatal blow to the principle of separation of powers…to ensure the duty of public consultation and transparency before signing any agreement for such type of compensation,” he added.
“Public consultations before the compensation were, therefore, important and a prerequisite. Now as it stands our Parliament.”
The government is yet to respond to the claim.
Under the deed, the government undertook to mobilise financial resources and compensate only for developments the white farmers did on the land in line with provisions of the Constitution.