Desperate Zimbabwean white farmers who were forcefully removed from their properties by former president Robert Mugabe's government have reportedly said that they are getting "poorer and sick", as their hopes for compensation are fading.
The director of the Commercial Farmers Union, Ben Gilpin, was quoted as saying that some of the farmers were now too old and the need for settlement over damages that were caused by the land reforms was "very real".
Starting in 2000, thousands of white Zimbabwean farmers were forced off their land by violent state-backed mobs or evicted in dubious legal judgements, supposedly to help black people marginalised under British colonial rule, reported AFP.
The farms, however, were often allocated to Mugabe's allies and fell into ruin, leaving tens of thousands of rural labourers out of work and sending the economy into a tailspin as food production crashed, the report said.
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Finance ministry director Peter Mudzamiri said the ministry had received only $20m from government despite asking for $40m which would have enabled them to pay at least 50 former white farmers in the 2019 financial year.
"We only got $20 million, but the $40 million that we bid for was just an estimate looking at how many farmers we are going to pay. Our focus here is that we are looking at paying 50 former farmers in 2019," Mudzamiri was quoted as saying.
This came a few months after Lands and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri said that Zimbabwean authorities wanted to address "injustices" committed during land reforms.
"Our government is firmly committed to a process of the need for corrective measures to deal with the consequences of past injustices," Shiri was quoted as saying by the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper.