By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Ruling Zanu PF party officials have vowed not to apologise or pay back the loans that they received in the form of equipment between 2007/8 under the controversial Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) farm mechanisation facility.
Former Finance minister and Zanu PF acting party spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa accused United Kingdom-based lawyer Alex Magaisa of working to please his alleged foreign paymasters when he, on Saturday last week released a list of ruling party officials including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, senior judges, clerics and several other Zanu PF apologists who benefited from the RBZ programme and never paid back the loans.
Chinamasa said the farm mechanisation programme was undertaken as an empowerment tool for the farmers and was not a loan, but a subsidy, claiming that the Zanu PF government, through its interventions, had over the past 20 years fed the nation.
He accused Magaisa and opposition parties in Zimbabwe of working with foreign embassies against the government.
“Zanu PF has no apologies to make for the revolutionary land redistribution programme embarked upon from 2000, it makes no apologies for the government interventions in the various sectors of the economy, including the farm mechanisation programme to empower its new farmers in order to render the land reform programme successful.
“The allegations by Dr Alex Magaisa rubbishing the State interventions of that nature carried out under very difficult circumstances are a frontal brazen attack on the land redistribution programme,” Chinamasa said.
The farm mechanisation scheme came at a time when the country was facing its worst economic crisis, characterised by political violence.
While there have been calls from different sectors of society, for those that received the loans to pay back Chinamasa said there was no corruption or looting in the way State resources were used to cushion farmers.
He added the claims were a sign of a Rhodesian hand which “is trying to portray our empowerment programmes through government as looting and corruption.”
“If there was any corruption, it was the theft of land by whites from blacks and the attendant livestock thefts, where they took livestock from black Zimbabweans without compensation, a situation that the Zanu PF government is seeking to reverse and address, Chinamasa added.
Responding to Chinamasa statements, Magaisa said, “It’s not often that one is given special treatment by an authoritarian regime. Chinamasa’s rambling statement is a poor attempt at obfuscation, literally creating dust to no avail. Instead of creating a straw man, those who got State loans must pay back the money.
“Claiming I’m attacking the land reform is cheap politicking to deflect attention. Chinamasa is just making a loud noise without addressing the core issue: Political elites took public funds with a
duty to pay back, which duty they failed to meet, transferring the debt to taxpayers.
“They were not ready for this moment and the statement suggests it was made by someone in a state of disorientation and bewilderment.
“As I have said before, Chinamasa and the Zanu PF cabal are conflicted because they were the principal beneficiaries of the farm mechanisation scheme,” Magaisa said.
Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono was forced to come out and defend the scheme, saying that the beneficiaries were not expected to repay the loans. Nehanda Radio