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Communists fret over govt plans to compensate white farmers

The Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP) has deplored government’s decision to pay compensation to former white farmers, saying the move was unwise as that money could be used to recapitalise the agricultural sector and capacitate struggling farm workers instead.

ZCP joins other political voices who have waded into the ongoing compensation debate.

Last week, the government pledged to start paying compensation while President Emmerson Mnangagwa said priority would be given to elderly white farmers who lost their properties during the land reform programme.

The MDC Alliance, seem to be in agreement with the government white farmers suffered losses during the land reform exercise.

However, some politicians such as South African Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema labelled government’s decision as a “sell-out position.”

ZCP, which champions the economic rights of workers said paying compensation to a group that was advantaged trampled on the workers’ rights.

In an interview with CITE, ZCP General Secretary, Nicholas Ngqabutho Mabhena, who is based in South Africa, said his party was not opposed to white farmers who want to return and lease land on the basis of “one family-one farm,” as they would contribute to production and the rebuilding of the economy.

But ZCP is against the argument that the government was only paying for improvements made to the land.

“This is spurious as those improvements were made by the labour of the workers and the surplus value which they produced,” said Mabhena.

“The compensation of former white farmers, an outflow of a large quantity of money to those already rich represents a form of class solidarity in which the black capitalists of Zimbabwe are extending the hand of friendship to a section of white capitalists while simultaneously trampling on the rights of the workers and peasants.”

Mabhena said even if government fundraised for compensation, valuable capital necessary for growing crops would be shifted away from the agriculture sector, which was ‘more worrying.’

“This move will probably be used as an excuse to remove the poorest of the beneficiaries of land reform if they are unable to pay.

“The friendly attitude shown by the government towards white farmers is clearly utterly different to that shown to doctors, nurses, teachers and street traders. The working-class and the poor are now clearly seen as the enemy.

“To these sections, we must now add the peasants who are now systematically being removed from land where, only a few years ago, they were being resettled,” he alleged.

The ZCP leader claimed that the coup d’état in November 2017 represented a division within the ruling élite between those who wanted to continue looting while hiding behind anti-white and anti-imperialist rhetoric and those who were interested in reviving production by becoming agents for foreign capital and receiving a steady income on the other.

“In communist terms, the first we call parasitic capitalism, the second we call comprador capitalism.

“The new Zanu PF leadership is now doing its very best to please foreign capital; the paying of compensation to white farmers is part of that process, as is the campaign to destroy the labour movement by arresting trade unionists in order to keep down wages and attract foreign direct Investment,” he said.

Mabhena also claimed there was no discernible difference in Zanu PF’s and MDC Alliances’ economic policies.

“The difference between Zanu PF and MDC Alliance is purely one of faces. The announcement of the plan to compensate former white farmers represents another step in the convergence of two neo-liberal parties,” the general secretary said.

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