Zimbabwe Finance Minister says the US$3.5 billion compensation for white farmers is still confidential


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Zimbabwe Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube yesterday said he could not release the details of the US$3.5 billion compensation for white farmers whose land was taken during the land reform programme because this was confidential.

“This is still a document signed under restricted conditions of confidentiality. It only becomes public when they have signed the cessation and when we are ready to pay,  then it comes before this House for approval and I will table it before this House for approval properly,” Ncube said in response to a request by Harare North legislator Norman Markham.

“For now, it is still in abeyance as a negotiation document. We have no wish to release it and if I do, then I am violating the agreement with the farmers, they will be very upset.”

Markham was, however, not amused by the minister’s response saying if Members of Parliament could not get that kind of information then there was no point in them coming to Parliament.

“On the issue of global funds, it is exactly the same Mr. Speaker, USD3.5 billion going to some 4 000 farmers who have been waiting 20 years for it and it is still confidential. We as a House need to know what is happening and what we are tying ourselves to for the future,” Markham said.

“I do not accept any confidential agreement on a loan that I have paid taxes to.  In my case, having lost a farm I am now paying tax to myself for that land which does not make sense.   Mr. Speaker, what that does highlight is that we have numerous loans in this country by the Government of Zimbabwe with confidentiality, and I may not bring it to this House.

“What is the point of this House Mr. Speaker?  We changed the Constitution, you do not have to ask us anymore to borrow money, saka ngatiende kumba chete because we are doing nothing.”

Full debate:

HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, I rise for the third time on the same issues as I did before.  I can confirm that I received the Global Settlement Deed from the Ministry.  However, it was just an Executive Summary. As I previously indicated, I do need the original agreement.

On the Dutch Farmers loan, I have received that and I am grateful for that and I thank you. The document I received pertaining to the 3.3 billion acquired is a VERITAS document which I have and I am struggling to reconcile it versus what was posted and declared to Parliament. However, I will get to the bottom of that.

My concern is on ZAMCO – there is a deafening silence. I have heard nothing from the Ministry, not even a cough.  The Local Government has still failed to meet with me on the issue of land and land barons and the acquiring of agricultural land in urban areas.  The Road Repair Fund; the allocation of roads, the lists of roads – that is nowhere to be seen as is the Justice Uchena report.

Mr. Speaker, this will be the last time I ask.  I have pursued this as far as I can but I am not prepared to back off.  I thank you.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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