By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
20 May 2014
Despite government’s seemingly softening stance towards private property the Commercial Framers Union (CFU) says it has seen an increase in ‘disturbances and upheavals’ in the agricultural sector.
The CFU said while it welcomed attempts to attract investors, evidence on the ground showed that their members continue to be ‘evicted’, ‘extorted’ and ‘threatened’ by ‘politically connected opportunists.’ In a statement the CFU called on the government to ensure and guarantee ‘investment security.’
The call comes after the ZANU PF politburo recently resolved to remove all land-grab beneficiaries from properties protected under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAS).
Zimbabwe signed these agreements with regional and international countries as a signal that investment is encouraged and would be protected. Under these agreements government is required to pay fair compensation in the currency of the former owner’s choice.
Over the years ZANU PF has routinely violated the agreements by parceling out protected pieces of land to cronies. But as a way to attract investment and the much needed foreign currency there has been a climb down, which culminated in the recent politburo decision.
However the CFU said the country generally, and the agricultural sector specifically, continue to stagnate as a result of a lack of clear investor friendly policies. The organisation called for an end to ‘conflict around the land.’
The statement also condemned the recent brutal attack on Catherine Francis and her father Malcolm on a farm in Guruve. Catherine subsequently died as a result of the attack. SW Radio Africa has also just been informed by the CFU that Malcolm Francis died from his injuries on Monday night.