White farmers who were ejected from farms during the fast track land reform last week received the first paycheque of US$1 million in the form of a dividend for the 12.5 percent equity the Government gave them in Kuvimba Mining House.
Kuvimba, initiated by the Government and led by private investors, declared a cumulative dividend of US$5.2 million to shareholders, 12 months being transformed from the aggregation of struggling mining operations.
Through their lobby group, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), the former farmers said the decision by the Government to allocate the white farmers shares in Kuvimba Mining House, demonstrated the State’s commitment to resolving a decades-long conflict over land.
CFU president, Andrew Pascoe, noted that while the US$1 million dividend payment was only a tiny fraction of the finances required to pay off the full compensation amount, it represented a “seed that will germinate” into bigger things.
Pascoe indicated intended beneficiaries were initially sceptical about the Government’s decision to give shares to the white former commercial farmers who lost their land under the land reform initiative.
He observed, however, that the distribution of the dividend last week went a long way to prove the government’s commitment to resolving the issue.
He added that the compensation deed signed last year between the government and the farmers was driven by a desire to put aside “our differences and work together and find the best way forward to bring an end to a conflict that has raged for over the last 20 years”. He added:
_It is undeniable that the conflict has caused immense hardships for all of us Zimbabweans. The signing of that (compensation) deed was, from my perspective, a momentous occasion._
_Going forward from this, the commitment being shown by the Government to find the funds needed to pay the compensation is demonstrated clearly through the shares allocated to us._
The land issue is a sensitive one with some quarters saying there should be no compensation at all, even for improvements made on farms, since the land had been illegally acquired by the white farmers’ predecessors.