ZANU PF Youth leader clashes with ED, launches petition
ZANU PF Youth League’s National Commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu has clashed with President Emmerson Mnangagwa‘s policy to compensate white former commercial farmers who were disposed of their land about two decades ago.
Tsenengamu, who for the past week has been churning out messages on social media to seek to reverse the compensation move by government, has gone a step further by launching a petition to ratchet up pressure against President Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa last week told party youths that he was not seeking to reverse the land reform, but was only following the constitution which has a clause making the government liable to pay for developments made on the farms such as dams, irrigation equipment and schools.
Tsenengamu maintains that compensation must not be paid, and has launched a petition saying: “Compensating white people is not a priority. They robbed and massacred us, looted our cattle and exploited our minerals.
“They benefited from our forced labour and enslaved us. They displaced us and over-used our fertile lands from 11890-2000.”
Tsenengamu says that instead of following the Constitution, which came into effect in 2013, President Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF must have used their majority in Parliament to push for an amendment.
“Let us push for the constitutional amendment and stop the compensations. Our money can not pay thieves, robbers and liars. Our constitution must serve us and not vice-versa.”
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube in his 2019 budget statement set aside RTGS$53 million towards compensating white former commercial farmers.
Tsenengamu’s position is also against what Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba said.
Speaking in an interview with a weekly paper on Sunday, Charamba said: “There is no new development with regards to the land question and compensation. This is something that has its basis in the old and new constitution.
“The old constitution provided for compensation but the only issue being that what was going to be compensated for and compensation was in respect of developments for general agricultural land.
“The new constitution made a provisory that there were only two instances where compensation would cover land itself, firstly where land expropriation would have been land belonging to an indigenous person and in such a case compensation covers the land as well as the developments.
“Secondly, that same constitution identifies land that would have been taken from owners who are covered by (a bilateral investment and protection agreement) BIPPA.
“Compensation covers the land as well as the developments. Otherwise for any other category of land, it is compensation for developments and this is in terms of the law.
“Essentially, what the president has been doing and doing is to simply give effect to the Zimbabwean constitution, which was adopted in 2013 and also whose echo was in the old constitution.
“There is nothing new that has happened and administratively every budget we have heard even before the time of the new dispensation was always making provisions for compensation and as a matter of fact the figure of $53 million is not new.
“Go back to your blue books of previous years and you will still find that every year, without fail, there was an allocation set aside to compensate for the developments to erstwhile commercial farmers.
“What has only happened is that this administrative that was done by government yearly in every budget has fortuitously received better publicity this year and this is why it appears as if it is new.
“There is nothing new really that has happened, what is probably new is probably our own understanding of what the constitution says and what the budget says.”