Zero Hour in Zimbabwe
Tuesday, August 20, 2002;
CREDIT President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe with transforming
from southern Africa's breadbasket into a southern Africa basket
Thanks to his mismanagement, corruption and the damage he has inflicted
Zimbabwe's economy, a nation that once fed its regional neighbors cannot
feed itself. To plunge Zimbabwe even further into international
Mr. Mugabe, thief of his last election, is now trying to mask his
by scapegoating the country's white commercial farmers as the main
the country's ills. Even as he, in the name of "land reform,"
private farms and arrests white farmers for defying orders to
get off their
land, Robert Mugabe is fooling no one but himself. The colonial
which at the time of independence allowed fewer than 5,000 white
hold 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best farmland, is a wrong that needs
to be set
right. But Mr. Mugabe, rather than pursuing constructive reforms,
persecuting his opponents, taking land without compensation and behaving
all the world to see as a power-mad autocrat.
At the same time,
Zimbabwe, nearly bankrupt, suffering a drought and edging
comes to the West with a tin cup. Because the disaster in
will afflict Zimbabwe's neighbors in Zambia, Malawi and
Mugabe's problem is falling into the hands of the rest of
the world to solve.
His misrule cannot serve as an excuse to ignore the
humanitarian crisis. But Mr. Mugabe's attacks on commercial
businesses, his intimidation of opponents and critics, and his
contempt for the law merit only international contempt and
deserves all the sanctions the world can muster.
Robert Mugabe was once a
hero, leading his country's struggle for
independence. Today he stands as a
representative of all that is wrong with
postcolonial African leadership: a
self-centered, power-hungry dictator who
has lost the support of his people,
yet clings to the trappings of office
through the help of the mob, the gun
and a demagogic political appeal to the
worst kind of human emotions.
Zimbabwe would do well to be rid of him.
Mugabe's wife to move into white couple's farm
Zimbabwe's first lady, Grace
Mugabe, has chosen the white-owned farm she
wants and has ordered its elderly
owners and residents off the land, it
Mrs Mugabe has picked the Iron Mask Estate, 30 miles north west
which belongs to John and Eva Matthews, both in their seventies.
abandoned their home at the weekend.
According to residents
on the farm, Mrs Mugabe and a high-powered entourage
visited the property
last week, said she would be moving in shortly and told
them to find
The news came as police continued their hunt
for white farmers refusing to
move off their land after the passing of a
deadline set by President Robert
supporters have moved on to several farms in the eastern part of
while the owners were in police cells. Farm equipment and
possessions were looted, although police denied any knowledge of
More than 20 white farmers were charged yesterday for defying the
order. The administration has ordered 2,900 of the remaining 4,500
commercial farmers to leave their land without compensation, although
have refused. More than 200 have been arrested.
In Chegutu, 60
miles south of Harare, eight farmers, including the president
Commercial Farmers' Union, were formally charged and released
Jean Baldwin, 72, was given one month to leave her property
that her husband was terminally ill and the family needed time
their departure. "We have nowhere to go," she said
In another case, in rural Nyamandhlovu, 40 miles north of
city, Bulawayo, 13 cheerful farmers, several of them
granted bail, but were waiting at the local farmers' club
late into the
afternoon to hear whether they could return home before the
hearing next month.
Before their court hearing, the
barefoot farmers, several exercising in a
small enclosure outside their
cells, cracked jokes.
David Olds, whose mother and older brother were
murdered by Mr Mugabe's
militia on their farms, stripped off his shirt and
turned his face and chest
to the early morning sun to warm up after a cold
night on concrete.
Police in Nyamandhlovu refused to let the press or the
wives of the accused
attend the hearing in the local magistrate's court
within the police
compound. The wives were told that the police were anxious
hostilities from people gathered across the road.
nationwide swoop on the white farmers, including a woman breastfeeding
one-month-old baby, has irreparably damaged Zimbabwe's
agriculture at a time when half the population is on the brink
Several hundred farmers, particularly in the provinces
where Mr Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF is strong, have fled their homes and
businesses, most of them
A lawyer representing farmers at
the Myathi magistrate's court, also in
Matabeleland, said his eight clients
were granted bail and allowed to return
home for a month to wind up their
This, the lawyer said on condition of anonymity, would allow
them time to
challenge the constitutionality of their evictions.
in Bindura, 45 miles north of Harare, lawyers said their clients'
conditions amounted to a conviction as, although they were released,
were given less than 24 hours to return home for the last time, pack up
The country's most prominent farmer, Colin Cloete, president
of the CFU,
handed himself over to police and was charged and ordered to
leave his farm
immediately as part of his bail conditions.
White Zimbabwean farmers 'go on the run' to avoid
By James Palmer
20 August 2002
At least 29 more white farmers in
Zimbabwe were charged yesterday with
defying an order to surrender their land
to landless black peasants.
Nearly 200 farmers have been arrested since
Friday and dozens appeared in
court yesterday. Amid reports that some white
farmers had gone on the run to
avoid arrest, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said
police were now beating up black farm workers,
magistrates and even
Roy Bennet, a white farmer and MP for
the MDC, said police and soldiers
looted his farm at Chimanimani, in
Manicaland province, at the weekend and
indiscriminately beat some of his
1,500 workers. He said 15 of his security
guards were abducted and had not
been heard from since, and children had
been beaten until they revealed the
whereabouts of their MDC-supporting
"The crisis in Zimbabwe
is not just about the white farming community.
[President] Robert Mugabe's
mobs are attacking thousands of black farm
workers who support the opposition
MDC, in a systematic attempt to crush the
opposition to his rule," he
About 150 farmers have been arrested since last week, when the
began cracking down on those who defied an 8 August eviction
Commercial Farmers' Union president, Colin Cloete, was arrested
Between 30 and 40 people were granted bail over the weekend,
the farmers' pressure group Justice for Agriculture. The rest
Mr Bennet said that magistrates who freed detainees
risked being beaten. One
magistrate in Manicaland, Walter Chidakwa, was
dragged from his courtroom in
Chipinga, beaten, then paraded around town and
made to chant Zanu-PF
slogans, he said.
Mr Mugabe's government has
selected nearly 5,000 farms for redistribution.
It has ordered 2,900 white
farmers to surrender their farms or risk a
two-year jail sentence and a fine.
About 60 per cent of the farmers have
defied the order but a police spokesman
said yesterday some of them were now
on the run.
Last week, the United
Nations warned that six million Zimbabweans faced
hunger, as the evictions
were just before the planting season and food was
being seized for Mr
Mr Bennet said: "There is nobody in their right mind
who would oppose
agrarian land reform for the betterment of the people. What
is being done is
not land reform, it is suppression of another
Yesterday, Mozambique's Foreign Minister, Leonardo Simao, invited
farmers to farm there. "If someone wants to come here and invest,
respects our investment laws, he is welcome. Be he or she white,
yellow, green ... he is welcome," he said.
Mail and Guardian
Zimbabwe militants arrest SA farmer
de Beer | Pretoria
The Zimbabwean farm on which prominent South
African farmer and businessman
Crawford von Abo was arrested on Monday was
not one of those which the
Zimbabwean government had ordered to be evacuated,
his son Pieter said on
An eviction order was earlier issued
for Von Abo senior's Fauna ranch, about
100km north of Beitbridge, but the
state had withdrawn it, his son told Sapa
from Bothaville in the Free
"It seems as if there is no law and order."
Abo, also from Bothaville, is a former chairman of the SA Maize
member of the Wheat Board. Besides his South African interests, he
extensive farmland in Zimbabwe, Pieter von Abo said.
"All of the farms
had been occupied, but not one of them legally in terms of
Zimbabwe's own new
Andries Botha, Democratic Alliance representative on rural
Crawford von Abo and his wife Bibi arrived at Fauna ranch on
"He went there to see how he could assist his staff, who have
to various forms of harassment by 'war veterans' and the
Pieter von Abo said armed war veterans arrested both his
father and his farm
manager, Willem Klopper around 1.30pm.
apparently taken to Mwenezi's cells."
He said he had given instructions
to an attorney who would fly from Pretoria
to Zimbabwe on
Botha said he had asked South Africa's High Commissioner in
Ndou, to ensure Von Abo's well-being.
Mrs von Abo went
to stay in a hotel, as it was considered unsafe on the
von Abo said he had been in contact with the South African Foreign
Department, who confirmed Von Abo's arrest.
It said that according to
Ndou, Von Abo was arrested during a visit to his
farm on Monday
"Mr Ndou has given his assurance that Mr Von Abo will be
accorded the normal
consular services provided to all South Africans arrested
Affairs representative Ronnie Mamoepa said.
will include visitation by officials from the South African High
ensure the family is informed of the arrest, proper legal
see to the welfare of Mr Von Abo."
He said the high commission would
remain in constant contact with Zimbabwean
authorities to find an early
resolution to the matter.
The DA earlier on Monday requested a snap
debate in the National Assembly on
the Zimbabwe issue. About 2 900 farmers in
Zimbabwe were given until August
8 to leave their homes, but about two-thirds
are said to have ignored the
By late on Sunday at least 147
farmers had been arrested for defying the
order. - Sapa
DA requests debate on Zimbabwe
: Monday, August 19, 2002 by : Douglas Gibson (ldr)
I have today
written, on behalf of the leader of the Official Opposition Mr
Tony Leon MP,
to the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting her to
grant an urgent
debate on the situation in Zimbabwe. (The text of the letter
Mr Leon has pointed out that the arrest this weekend of over 100 farmers
whose only crime has been to stay on their own farms and to help stave
starvation in their own country - calls for an urgent response from
Africa. On the eve of South Africa`s hosting of the World Summit
Sustainable Development, it would be most unfortunate if the
arose that President Mbeki`s failure to speak out or to act was
because the victims in this case are white.
It is a great pity that South Africa`s almost weekly condemnation of
Government of Israel and support for the people of Palestine - an area
which our influence is totally marginal - has never been matched by
condemnation of the rogue government in Harare, despite our ties of
and affinity to the people of Zimbabwe - an area over which our
[The text of the letter follows:]
"Dear Madam Speaker
I am writing on behalf of Mr A J Leon MP to request a debate on Zimbabwe
a matter of public importance, in terms of Rule 103 of the Rules of
The deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe will have a serious impact on
Africa and the Southern African Region. On the eve of the World Summit
Sustainable Development, which will put the world focus on our country
our region, it is very important that Parliament considers
developments in Zimbabwe and helps to inform action taken by
Mugabe thugs beat children
by JO WILLEY and BARBARA JONES, Daily Mail
hildren as young as eight are being beaten by Robert Mugabe's
henchmen as he
hunts down opposition supporters, it emerged
White farmer Roy Bennet, an MP for the opposition Movement for
Change, told how three youngsters, aged eight to 12, were beaten
trying to find out the whereabouts of their MDC-supporting
In another incident, a magistrate was dragged from court, beaten
through the streets.
Mr Bennet said: 'What is happening in
Zimbabwe is not a white and black
issue. It is an orchestrated attempt by the
president to destroy the
opposition. It is not land reform - it is the
suppression of another view.'
Mr Bennet, who faces arrest for speaking
out, said Zimbabwe was experiencing
a level of ethnic cleansing 'not seen
since Kosovo'. Opposition to Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF party was being crushed
by any means - from mutilation to
starvation, he added.
Mugabe supporters ran riot yesterday in the eastern town of
evicting white businessmen and looting their premises.
The violence came
as it emerged that Mugabe's wife Grace had chosen the farm
she wanted to take
She apparently marched on to the Iron Mask estate 30 miles from
week and told the owners John and Eva Matthews, who are both in
More than 90 white farmers, all charged with
failing to leave their land,
had their cases heard in courts. Among those
given 24 hours to vacate their
farms was Dennis Streak, father of Zimbabwe's
cricket captain Heath Streak.
Another farmer, Derek Scutt, who is in the
advanced stages of cancer, was
told by magistrates he could have bail if he
agreed to leave his land within
two days. He chose to spend seven days in
custody, to the court's obvious
More than 60 per cent of
Zimbabwe's remaining 2,900 white farmers are
believed to have ignored
eviction orders since their August 9 deadline.
Britain was told yesterday
that pressure on South Africa and Libya, which
provide most of Zimbabwe's
electricity and oil, could halt Mugabe.
Ephraim Tapa, of the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign and former president of the
Zimbabwean civil service trade
union, said: 'We need the international
community to rescue Zimbabwe from
this brutal and insane man.'
Mr Tapa, 40, is now an exile in Britain
after being targeted by Mugabe
supporters. His wife and four-week old
daughter are in hiding in Zimbabwe.
Tory foreign affairs spokesman
Michael Ancram said Britain should urge
condemnation of the Mugabe regime at
next week's Earth Summit in
Botswana badly hit by crisis
By Tim Butcher
Diamond-rich Botswana, one of the strongest economies in
Africa, has been
badly hit by the crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, with
tourism, industry and
agriculture all suffering, the country's central bank
Linah Mohohlo, governor of the Bank of Botswana,
said earnings from tourism
were down 20 per cent because American and
European visitors were being put
off by the chaos in Zimbabwe.
said the situation had got so bad that Botswana would try to
itself from its troubled neighbour. "We are not part of Zimbabwe,"
"We are not part of South Africa. We have the best credit
rating in Africa
and we have got to teach the world to know us as a country
in our own
In recent years Botswana earned five per cent of
its gross domestic product
from tourism but over the last year or so, since
the Zimbabwe crisis began,
that proportion has dropped to four per
Botswana has also seen growing numbers of economic migrants fleeing
chaos in Zimbabwe created by President Robert Mugabe's
mismanagement. They come by bus, car and on foot looking for jobs
All of southern Africa has suffered from poor rains this
season, but unlike
poorly managed countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi,
enough resources to buy food to make up for poor
There have been no reports of starvation in Botswana as a
the country has the highest recorded rate of HIV infection
in the world at
just over 30 per cent, meaning there are believed to be more
adults carrying the virus at the moment.
Mugabe should be
THE deafening silence of President Thabo Mbeki and his African
Congress cohorts about the appalling situation in Zimbabwe and
President Robert Mugabe's destruction of the rule of law will go
history as a shameful episode in southern Africa.
Mugabe should be
permanently excluded from the Commonwealth and the
African Union. SA should
impose targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe. The time for
"quiet" diplomacy has
Famine stalks Zimbabwe, thousands of farmers are
facing ruin, a
million farm workers will be deprived of a livelihood and
heaven alone knows
how many animals are starving to death.
into this deepening crisis and after a totally fraudulent
election, there has
been no public condemnation of Mugabe from our
government or from the SA
Human Rights Commission.
Confidence in SA as a sustainable
democracy has been severely
undermined as a result of this failure to fulfil
a leadership role.
Aug 20 2002
12:00:00:000AM Business Day 1st Edition
West urged to pressure Mugabe
Aug 20 2002
BRITAIN and the West were yesterday facing fresh
calls to put more
pressure on the Zimbabwean regime of President Robert
Roy Bennet, a white farmer and MP for the opposition
Democratic Change, said the international community needed to
exert the kind
of pressure which led to the ending of apartheid in South
At a news conference in London, he said the expulsion of
from their land was hurting the black community in the country
every bit as
much as the white.
"What is happening in Zimbabwe
is not a white and black issue. It is
an orchestrated attempt by the
President to eliminate the opposition," he
nobody in their right mind who would oppose agrarian land
reform for the
betterment of the people. What is being done is not land
reform, it is the
suppression of another view."
He described how his estate in the
Chimanimani district was occupied
over the weekend by the police and army who
rounded up his workers and
indiscriminately beat them.
even magistrates were not safe, being dragged from their
courts and beaten
White Farmers Pack Up In Zimbabwe
Tuesday August 20, 2002
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Worn down by a weekend of arrests,
farmers began packing up their belongings and evacuating their
ending their defiance of government eviction orders, farming
Vehicles carrying household goods and furniture
headed toward towns, as
farmers went to stay with friends or relatives or
booked into hotels, said
the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents most
of the country's white
farmers. It was unclear if the exodus involved dozens
or hundreds of
Nearly 200 white farmers have been arrested
since Thursday for defying
government eviction orders. Most were freed on
bail and told by district
courts to pack up and leave or face arrest again,
said union officials.
The union did not say how many of those freed on
bail obeyed the orders to
leave by Tuesday night.
The government had
issued eviction orders demanding 2,900 white farmers
leave their land by Aug.
9 as part of a controversial land redistribution
campaign. Around 60 percent
of those farmers stayed on past that date -
sparking the wave of
Among those arrested was Colin Cloete, head of the Commercial
who appeared in court Monday.
He and at least 20 other
farmers in the Selous tobacco and corn district, 45
miles west of Harare,
were released on bail on condition they leave their
land, said district union
official Ben Freeth.
Cloete, a moderate who led union attempts to
negotiate with the government,
was not immediately available for
``It is a desperately sad situation. People are loading up their
move out. Many have nowhere to go and are looking for places to
Of 96 white-owned farms in the district, three
were still operating Tuesday,
Freeth said. Most of the displaced farmers each
owned a single property but
were forced off their land despite promises by
the government none would be
deprived of their only homes or
``Ethnic cleansing is exactly what it is. There's no other
term for it,''
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said
Tuesday police had arrested 197
farmers across the country for defying
government notices to quit their
farms by Aug. 9. ``The law is being enforced
and court proceedings are to
follow,'' he said.
Farmers refusing to
leave their land face up to two years in jail and a
fine. Many are contesting
the legality of the eviction orders.
Zimbabwe's top judge defended the
country's land reform program Tuesday,
saying the process had not been smooth
but was a vital step in restoring the
black majority's right to
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said the land was being
white commercial farmers and redistributed to black farmers
and peasants to
correct colonial era injustices. He blamed the chaos and
unrest that has
followed on the white farming community.
commercial farmers resisted the move, the situation
exploded,'' he said at a
conference of international judges in Johannesburg
in neighboring South
Africa. ``We are doing our best.''
The increasingly unpopular government
of President Robert Mugabe plans to
seize nearly 5,000 farms - 95 percent of
properties owned by whites - saying
they are to be distributed to landless
Farmers' lawyers believe the eviction orders violate
of freedom from racial discrimination and contain
rendering them invalid.
Before ``fast track''
seizures began in 2000, about 4,500 whites owned one
third of the nation's
farmland, while 7 million black farmers shared the
accuse Mugabe of using the land issue to cling to power two decades
led the nation to independence from British colonial rule. The
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which includes many
farmers, supports orderly, legal land reform, but says the
seizures have been illegal and destructive.
violent seizures have contributed to more than two years of
in Zimbabwe, brought the country to the brink of economic
contributed to widespread food shortages that threaten half
About 186 opposition supporters have been killed in
the unrest, including 11
The current evictions also
threaten as many as 230,000 black workers - as
well as their families -
living on those farms. Another 120,000 workers live
on other white farms.
A Poignant Reminder of President Mugabe's Warped Economic Policies
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
Posted to the web August 20, 2002
Nothing seems to illustrate more succinctly the
unprecedented havoc that has
been wrecked on Zimbabwe's once thriving tourism
centres by the policies of
the embattled Zanu PF regime than the run down
Kyle Recreational Park, some
30 kilometres from Masvingo.
Only a few
years ago, this park was a hive of activity as visitors sampled
irresistible diverse leisure package. Located in the backyard of the
Zimbabwe monuments, which attracted thousands of tourists, historians
archaeologists every year, the park enjoyed heavy patronage owing to
proximity to the world acclaimed heritage site.
After touring the
Great Zimbabwe monuments, tourists could not resist the
urge to "stray" into
Kyle Recreational Park, which has abundant wildlife and
leisure spots dotted
along the banks of Lake Mutirikwi, Zimbabwe's largest
park also played host to countless workshops, receptions and weddings,
from foreign tourist parties that comprised hordes of pleasure seekers
came to the animal sanctuary which is home to the white rhino and a
variety of antelope.
However, a visit to the park by The Standard
news crew over the Heroes
holiday revealed that it had seen better days and
now resembled a run down
park in a war ravaged country, shunned by tourists
and forgotten by its own
Located on the northern shores of
Lake Mutirikwi, the park is now a pale
shadow of its former self, serving as
a poignant reminder of how the archaic
Zanu PF policies have dealt a death
blow to the once thriving local tourism
A Department of
National Parks and Wildlife employee who was literary doing
nothing at the
park on Monday summed the state of affairs to The Standard
"Things are simply
not going on well here. We just sit here all day long
doing nothing." The
Standard established that many things have simply gone
wrong at the park,
famous for game viewing, undertaken either by car or pony
secluded picnic sites.
Right from the gate where the crew was greeted by
a visibly tired and
disillusioned attendant, it was easy to tell that things
changed-not for the good but for worse. A game drive through
the park was
however not disappointing as there were plenty of wildlife,
However, unlike in the past where visitors
used to drive "extra carefully"
in order to avoid bumping into trucks
carrying hordes of foreign tourists or
horse riders having a close look at
animals such as the white rhino, nyala,
oribi, tsessebe, eland, wildebeest,
zebra and kudu, this time around there
wasn't any need for that.
crew drove past the once popular area concentrated with game
encountering any truck, signalling that this place no longer
It passed through several deserted lodges,
including Rhino Lodge, whose
outside appearance left a lot to be desired.
Resembling deserted buildings
(matongo/emanxiweni), the peeling walls of the
lodges told a story of disuse
and neglect which seems to haunt the whole
park. Some of the buildings were
collapsing with no indications of
renovations taking place.
At the Kyle Recreational Club, a "must" for
visitors who want a deserved
rest after touring the place, any doubts about
the disaster that had
befallen the park were obliterated.
club, fires that had become a trademark there were simply not
were the braai stands present. Old tattered and battered reed
scattered all over the yard greeted the crew as it entered
the club, where it
got something that could have been unimaginable a few
do not have any beers nor cool drinks here," said a young frail looking
who was behind an old counter in a building that needed an urgent fresh
of paint. A cursory glance at the shelves revealed that there were 10
of maputi, three packets of 10 Madison packs, seven packs of 500
and a pack of tea leaves-items that all cost less than a $1 000.
the crew had no choice but to buy some maputi and left after capping
with warm water at the club where tourists used to have a good time
their loved ones when tourism in Zimbabwe was still alive and well.
Mugabe had not unleashed his militant supporters backed by marauding
veterans into white owned farms in an effort to prop up his waning
The brutal militias wrecked havoc on the farms where they beat
and killed many people and disrupted prime farming
These actions by Mugabe prompted the international community
Zimbabwe, chocking the prospects of the revival of tourism which
foreign tourist arrivals.
This is London
Briton axed to death in Zimbabwe
A British lecturer
has been axed to death and buried in a shallow grave at
his home in
Jerzy Toloczko, 51, from Leicester, was attacked outside his
home in Ilanda,
near Bulawayo, by two men who stole a pair of shoes, a pair
of trousers, a
shirt, a wallet and a mobile phone.
arrested his gardener and another man, both in their 20s.
known as Jed, was an adventurer, who had spent years in Africa
and was well
loved by the local community in Zimbabwe, his family said.
chartered surveyor and lawyer had just returned to Zimbabwe
two months with his mother Janina, 79, in Leicester when he
As he returned home, where he lived alone, two men attacked him
as he parked
his Mercedes Benz near the garage, police said. They hit him
with an axe,
wrapped his body in a blanket and buried it in a prepared grave
in the yard.
Mr Toloczko's brother, Roman, 49, who lives in Oadby,
Leicester, spoke of
the family's devastation over his death.
obviously a very dear brother to me but very much an adventurer in
all of his
professional working life. He always embraced every morsel of
when he lived in different locations," he said.
Mr Toloczko's family had
been warned against travelling to Zimbabwe
following the death, because of
the political situation.
Arrangements are being made by the National
University of Science and
Technology in Bulawayo, where he worked, to fly his
The Foreign Office is in contact with police in Zimbabwe and
plans to keep
the family informed.
White farmers 'quit Zimbabwe land'
August 20, 2002 Posted:
8:20 AM EDT (1220 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Many white farmers
ordered by courts to leave their
land by the end of Tuesday are loading their
trucks and searching for places
to stay, union leaders say.
white farmers have been arrested since Thursday for defying
Most were freed on bail and told by district courts to pack
up and leave or
face arrest again, the Commercial Farmers Union
Colin Cloete, head of the union representing 4,000 white farmers, was
those arrested who appeared in court Monday.
Cloete, a moderate who
led union attempts to negotiate with the government,
was ordered to leave his
land in the Selous tobacco and corn district, about
70 km (45 miles) west of
Harare, said district union official Ben Freeth.
The union president was not
immediately available for comment.
Freeth said at least 21 farmers were
released on bail Monday.
"It is a desperately sad situation. People are
loading up their assets to
move out. Many have nowhere to go and are looking
for places to stay," he
Of 96 white-owned farms in the district,
three were still operating Tuesday,
Most of the displaced
farmers owned a single property but were forced off
their land despite
promises by the government none would be deprived of
their only homes or
"Ethnic cleansing is exactly what it is. There's no other term
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Tuesday
police had arrested 197
farmers across the country for defying government
notices to quit their
farms by 9 August.
Farmers threatened with
The farmers were charged with breaching land laws giving them 90 days
mid-May to wind up their affairs and leave their properties.
is being enforced and court proceedings are to follow," he said.
those released posted bail of between 5,000 and 10,000 Zimbabwe
- $ 30).
A few in western Zimbabwe did not receive bail conditions to leave
Farmers refusing to leave their land face up to two
years in jail and a
fine. Many are contesting the legality of the eviction
Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo, in charge of the police, warned
Monday to "desist from a confrontational role," state radio
He said farmers lobby groups, such a Justice for Agriculture,
farmers to defy the government and challenge evictions in court,
be allowed to derail land reform," the radio said.
increasingly unpopular government of President Robert Mugabe plans to
nearly 5,000 farms -- 95 percent of properties owned by whites --
are to be distributed to landless blacks.
About 2,900 farmers have already
been ordered off their land, but 60 percent
of these failed to comply, said
Jenni Williams, a spokeswoman for Justice
lawyers believe the eviction orders violate constitutionally
rights of freedom from racial discrimination, and also contain
errors, rendering them invalid.
The government says the land seizures are
meant to correct the skewed
remnants of colonialism that left about 4,500
whites owning one third of the
nation's farmland, while 7 million black
farmers shared the rest.
Government opponents accuse Mugabe of using the land
issue to cling to
The often violent seizures have contributed to
more than two years of
political chaos in Zimbabwe, brought the country to
the brink of economic
ruin and contributed to widespread food shortages that
threaten half the
The current evictions also threaten as many
as 230,000 black workers -- as
well as their families -- living on those
farms. Another 120,000 workers
live on other white farms.
From the Zimbabwe government mouthpiece :
Defiant Farmers Wasting Their Time
August 20, 2002
Posted to the web August 20,
WHITE commercial farmers now being hauled
before the courts for refusing to
vacate designated farms are breaking the
law they claim to uphold.
They have been campaigning hard both at home
and abroad claiming that there
is no rule of law in Zimbabwe. They allege
that the country's laws are not
being adhered to or simply ignored by the
The land reform programme is lawful and the evictions they
are now defying
are according to the laws of the land.
community cannot accept the land reality of Zimbabwe. Land has
to the majority of Zimbabweans and days when a minority race
owned all the
prime land are now confined to our history.
When white people came to
this country, they used violence and intimidation
to drive away black people.
The hullabaloo that is being created by them now
international community just watched and even encouraged the whites
violently remove blacks from the land. No one cared.
But when a
white man who stole land is being asked to share the vast land,
cries foul and imposes sanctions on a Government that is just
White farmers even have the temerity to go to court
challenging what they
themselves see as a necessary programme.
refuse to accept that land is for the majority and has to be shared,
owned by a few. They choose to be greedy and hang onto their many
The problem for them is that there is no chance in hell that they
what they call their farms. Going to court is any Zimbabwean's
Also by taking them to court, the Government is once
again showing that it
sticks to the laws of the land. It could have thrown
them out and closed the
But the law-enforcement agents are
doing their job, arresting and taking the
defiant farmers to court. The
arrests and court appearances are giving the
Western Press ammunition to
again demonise the Government.
They see the application of the law as
persecution of farmers who are trying
to feed the nation. What they refuse to
see is that nobody is being
persecuted but somebody is being stubborn and
They were lawfully served with eviction notices and should
leave for new
farmers to come in and continue food production.
mistaken notion that only whites can farm has long been dismissed and
is no reason for whites to hold this nation to ransom anymore.
farmers have always been devious on the land issue.
The disregard for the
rule of law, the behind-the-scenes meetings and
creation of new associations
to fight Government are plans hatched to make
the whites look like saints in
the eyes of the international community.
This is all a ploy to put
Zimbabwe under the spotlight, create an aura of
destabilisation under the
guise of fight for freedom and rights.
In the end, what has emerged from
all this is a clear refusal by whites to
accept their wrongs of the past and
instead wage a war against a
legitimately elected government.
farmers hope to achieve may sound utopian, but their fight is a
fight for the
international community to take notice that Zimbabwe must not
fulfil its land
When American congressmen sit down to debate the land issue in
not castigate their kith and kin in Australia for depriving
their land, then this is the height of hypocrisy.
what can one expect when the Red Indians were driven into reservations
Draconian American laws?
Government made it categorically clear that all
farmers whose farms were
designated for resettlement were supposed to cease
operations and vacate the
farms to allow new farmers to take up their
The unrepentant white commercial farmers have regrouped under the
the CFU offshoot calling itself Justice for
This unholy alliance of commercial farmers has decided to
Government directives in court and have vowed to stay on the
These commercial farmers still believe that their actions could
land reform that is nearing its completion.
that the white commercial farmers had finally decided to
live peacefully and
had accepted the reality of land reform.
This group of unrepentant
Rhodesians believes that the white race is
superior to the black majority of
They cannot handle a situation where a black man has equal
the white man.
In the past, some of the commercial
farmers were happy to see the black
majority as labourers on the farms and
not proud owners of their own prime
Their move is meant to
frustrate the democratic atmosphere of reconciliation
that the Government has
worked hard to establish since independence.
The behaviour of the
commercial farmers is meant to create anarchy and
confusion in the
Some of the commercial farmers have in the past been dramatising
the farms in a bid to discredit the resettlement
What is surprising is that they are now illegally clinging onto
which at one stage they ironically alleged were terror camps due
marauding youths from Zanu-PF. What has now changed for them to declare
they cannot move?
The members of the so-called Justice for
Agriculture has also been at the
forefront of lying to their Western masters
and media about the political
environment in the country.
Some of them
have in the past forced their workers to loot their own
property on the farms
in a bid to make the world believe that the Zanu-PF
Government was out to
destroy their freedom and well-being.
If the situation in the country is
as bad as they want it to be, any sane
person could be surprised why they are
not so eager to leave the country and
go to the so-called de-mocratic heavens
that they always turn to for
Just like what they have done
in the past, they are trying to gain Western
attention by creating a facade
that they are being persecuted, as they are
aware that the Government will
surely move in to quell this tide of
This legion of
commercial farmers still cannot accept the reality of a
nation that rests on
the premise of equitable distribution of resources.
before the current land redistribution programme, less
than 40 000 white
commercial farmers occupied over 70 percent of the
country's prime land while
the majority of blacks were living in abject
poverty in marginal
Some commercial farmers have complied with the eviction orders.
fighting the orders are wasting their time.
Zimbabwe urges blacks to move onto white farms
HARARE, Aug. 20 -
Zimbabwe's justice minister urged landless blacks on
Tuesday to move on to
white-owned farms, setting the stage for a possible
confrontation with white
farmers defying eviction orders.
''Those who have been allocated land
should move to the farms and
utilise it,'' Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
told the state-owned Herald
President Robert Mugabe's
government, pushing ahead with its land
reform programme to resettle landless
blacks, has ordered 2,900 of the
country's remaining 4,500 white commercial
farmers to quit their land
two-thirds have defied an August 8 deadline and refused to
Police said about 215 defiant farmers had been arrested since
crackdown started last Thursday.
The farmers' lobby group
Justice for Agriculture (JAG) said on
Tuesday 145 farmers had appeared in
court to face charges since Friday. Most
of them were released on bail and
ordered not to return to their farms.
JAG declined to comment on
Chinamasa's remarks, but said 15 farmers
in the Karoi-Tengwe area had handed
themselves over to the police.
''A team of lawyers is looking into
taking some legal action. One of
the options open to the legal team is to
challenge the bail conditions that
are being imposed on the farmers
countrywide,'' said JAG spokeswoman Jenni
to agriculture in Zimbabwe, once the bread-basket of
southern Africa, comes
as millions in the region face food shortages.
JAG has urged farmers
to challenge the evictions using a High Court
ruling earlier this month which
said the state could not confiscate land
owned by one particular farmer
because it had not told the bank, which had a
mortgage on the
''We have many that have responded to our call, but we
quantify,'' Williams said.
GOVERNMENT STANDS FIRM
government has said it will not allow the farmers to derail its
''In fact they (black settlers) should have started moving
farms when the first 45-day notice period given to the commercial
the government to round up their operations expired,'' Chinamasa
In neighbouring South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki faced
calls to get tough with Mugabe's government after the arrest of
African farmers in Zimbabwe on Monday.
and the South African government can no longer
remain silent and must
criticise President Mugabe in public on the way
commercial farmers in
Zimbabwe are treated,'' Freedom Front chief whip Corne
Mulder said in a
Mbeki has been criticised both at home and abroad for a
to his northern neighbour.
Mugabe, 78, who has been
in power since the country gained
independence from Britain in 1980, says his
land drive is aimed at
correcting a colonial injustice which left 70 percent
of the best farmland
in the hands of white farmers.
say they support land redistribution but are opposed to
Many Western nations have condemned the eviction campaign,
United States warning on Monday that the land drive was exacerbating
southern African country's food crisis.
Aid agencies say nearly
six million Zimbabweans -- half the national
population -- need food aid this
year, part of a wider food crisis
threatening nearly 13 million people in six
southern African countries.
Zimbabwe has been in crisis since
pro-government militants led by
veterans of the 1970s liberation war began
invading white-owned farms in
early 2000 in support of the seizures.
Zimbabwe Minister Urges Black Farmers to Ignore Courts, Move onto
20 Aug 2002 15:47
Zimbabwe's justice minister says black farmers due to be
white-owned farms should ignore court rulings and move onto the
of white farmers have succeeded in having seizure notices for
overturned in court.
The deadline for new black farmers to
move onto white-owned land is Friday.
The government has said that people
not physically occupying plots allocated
to them by then, or at the latest by
the end of the month, will find their
land given to someone else.
about one-half of those allocated larger pieces of land on white-owned
had taken up occupation by last week.
President Robert Mugabe told a
meeting of black farmers last week that he is
worried by the failure of so
many to take possession of their land. He and
others in the government blame
white farmers for obstructing the land reform
program by remaining on their
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was quoted in the
newspaper as saying that blacks who have been
allocated farms should move
onto the land and use it; even though many white
farmers have won court
rulings declaring the forfeiture of the farms to be
The court gave the farmers the right to return to their
continue producing crops after they were forcibly evicted. But
none of the
court orders has been enforced by police, and none of the farmers
allowed to continue farming.
Some analysts who have followed the
land reform program say Justice Minister
Chinamasa's statement about ignoring
court orders only reflects what is
says he is confiscating 95 percent of white-owned forms to
colonial-era policies, which stripped blacks of most of the
New Rule On Farm Workers' Benefits
August 20, 2002
Posted to the web August 20,
ALL commercial farmers whose pieces of land have been designated
resettlement are now forced to pay terminal benefits to their former
following a new rule now in force.
In the amendment of the
Labour Relations (Terminal Benefits and Entitlements
Employees Affected by Compulsory Acquisition) Regulations
gazetted last week,
all farm workers will be entitled to receive benefits
even if their employers
were served with notices before the regulations came
Affected farm workers will also receive their terminal benefits
not their employment was terminated before or after the
According to a statutory instrument
published in the Government Gazette, the
amendment was necessary to avoid
doubt over what category of workers
qualified for compensation.
April this year, an Agricultural Employees' Compensation Committee
determine terminal benefits to farm workers whose employers' farms
acquired for resettlement was set up.
The committee, chaired by
the Secretary for Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare or his nominee,
comprises representatives from the ministries
of Agriculture, Local
Government and the National Employment Council for the
It determines what terminal benefits and entitlements, if any,
are due to
any employee of an employer in respect of whom the committee
notification of payment of compensation for land compulsorily
The committee recommends to the Minister of
Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare the amount of terminal benefits and
entitlements, if any,
that in its opinion is due to any employee or group of
The minister may accept the recommendation or refer it back to
If the minister accepts the
recommendation made after re-evaluation the
committee certifies the amount
due to the farm worker.
The establishment of the committee put paid to
worries in the agricultural
sector that the Government was not concerned
about the plight of workers
whose employers' farms are compulsorily acquired
The Government has also set up a committee that
assesses and pays
compensation for improvements such as farmhouses,
and dams on farms acquired for resettlement.
"Section" meanings :
Section 5 - notice from government stating that the farm has been
for compulsory acquisition and that it will be taken over at a
Section 7 - notice from government that compulsory acquisition
is now in
Section 8 - notice from government that owner must
In all of the above section letters the area of land to be taken is
i.e. part of ,section of, all. (These areas are not being adhered to
cases and settlers & gvt officials take as much as they
By law all of the above notices may be contested by the farm owner
governed by dates (These laws are never followed)
governments "fast track" plan - once a farm is seized (mostly
nowadays) it is divided into plots for either PU,A1, A2 or large
resettlement. PU = peri urban plot. A1 = small plot (under 10
medium sized plot (not clear what size) and large scale =