Zimbabwe: Government Treasury Bonds to be Paid to White Farmers, Two Decades After Forced Land Seizures

Last Thursday, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube declared that his government is slowly making progress in settling a dispute with white farmers who had their farms forcibly seized through President Banana’s land reform policy in the 1980s. The policy continued through the reign of Robert Mugabe, who claimed the policy aimed to alter the ethnic balance of land ownership.

The policy quickened the nation’s economic collapse, leading to hyperinflation, starvation and famine in the mid-2000s. With violence accompanying the land grabs, many regional workers were left without employment, which further fueled the unemployment crisis. As of July 2020, inflation in the country had reached 737%.

Three years ago, the Government of Zimbabwe and about 4,000 white farmers whose lands were taken had agreed to a R66 Billion ($3.5 B) financial settlement. After being unable to fulfil the payment, the government last week overcame the deadlock by announcing its intent to use treasury bonds in place of cash for the payment. 

Zimbabwe currently has R340 Billion ($18 B) in external debt, which it cannot begin to work lessening until settlements such as the one aforementioned are reached.