Ben Freeth’s Column
There has been extensive media coverage of the Global Compensation Agreement signed by two farming organisations in Zimbabwe with the government of President Mnangagwa. The signing has been a very contentious issue that has generated significant debate on various platforms among dispossessed commercial farmers who lost everything during the violent farm takeovers, which began 20 years ago and still continue.
Mr Mnangagwa’s government placed the farming organisations under considerable pressure to sign the agreement – and within a very short time frame - stating it was their last chance to receive a compensation offer from the government. A significant number of dispossessed farmers, many of them in dire straits financially, as well as being elderly and in poor health, signed up, despite only seeing a draft agreement as the final document was withheld.
In our opinion piece in SADC Tribunal Rights Watch provides brief background and the legal context amid mounting concern among farmers regarding the agreement, the unfolding government strategy and the implications.