COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION
FARM INVASIONS UPDATE - 27 APRIL 2000
The tone of the province up to lunch time today has been quiet. The main theme is ongoing "re-education" of farm workers. There has been a noticeable decline in hostility since the Easter weekend.
However, it is clear through a snapshot survey carried out yesterday that numbers of resident invaders are escalating. There are currently over 1500 invaders resident on farms in Mashonaland Central, up from 1200 two weeks ago. In addition to the resident invaders, the "non-visible" component (in the bush and the hills) appears to be escalating. It is possible that there are up to 3000 villagers/war vets directly involved with farm invasions in the province at this time.
We have advised our members to be vigilant over the forthcoming holiday weekend, particularly in view of possible retributions against the perceived tobacco boycott.
Dialogue has been opened up in most districts and has been partially effective in reducing violence and restoring production. The Glendale area recently had a difficult meeting with their MP, Chen Chimutengwende, but Mutepatepa and Shamva held reasonably useful meetings with their Governor and their MP's. The Governor is going around with a strong message for invaders to stop violence and not impede production. The Governor still refuses to speak to senior representatives of CFU but is willing to speak to individual farmers or groups of farmers. This is a deliberate strategy to attempt to weaken the influence of CFU in his territory.
Most areas have had no major incidents over the past 24 hours:-
- There was a work stoppage in Victory Block this morning.
- In Mvurwi, there was a new invasion today.
- In the Mazowe area, the war vets closed the Maryvale Butchery and demanded a $2000 "fine". Police are investigating.
- In Harare West, one farm was visited yesterday and another had a work stoppage today. The Harare West area are extremely concerned about the opportunist allocation of residential plots occurring in Harare South.
- There is a build up of movement in the Glendale area which has been quiet over the past two weeks.
Mashonaland West North
A woman who was one of the eight labourers who were badly assaulted at Charara Estates in Kariba has died in hospital.
Two farms in Chinhoyi had tense situations today which have now been defused, and one new invasion took place in Umboe.The intimidation of labour is ongoing, as is poaching and the prevention of land prep for the winter wheat crop.
There was a tense situation on Dennis Lapham's Devonia Farm this morning. Mr Lapham and his Manager left the property this afternoon.
There is also a tense situation on Lonely Park, and the Retzlaffs are not staying on the property.
In Macheke invaders are demanding clothes, cattle, brick houses. The rest of the province is quiet.
Many farmers are now returning to their farms. Those who have received direct threats are still taking precautions and are either still in the towns or are staying and travelling in groups.
There is a build up of invaders in the Chiredzi and Mwenezi areas on farms that are already occupied
There was a new invasion in the area. On Klipdrift Ranch in Mwenezi, Mike Taylor (Manager) was trapped inside his house surrounded by a threatening crowd. The situation has been defused.
There was a work stoppage and some farmers threatened in the region.
Mashonaland West South
The National Employment Council for the Agricultural Industry comprising of the ALB and GAPWUZ resolved to establish a Relief Fund to assist farm workers and their families who have lost property and been maimed or injured as a result of the current spate of lawlessness prevailing in Zimbabwe.
In this connection a current account has been opened at Barclays Bank, Pearl House Branch, Samora Machel Avenue, Harare in the name of The Farm Workers' Relief Fund.
The account number is : 3286926
The National Employment Council has made an initial deposit of $100,000.00.
Monies donated will be used to purchase necessities.
In addition the Council is collecting items such as clothes, pots and pans, blankets, food and anything else that would be beneficial to those affected workers and their families. The collection points are:
The National Employment Council for the Agricultural Industry
6 Cottenham Avenue P O Box WGT 312
(Off Lomagundi Road) Westgate
Telephone No: 334472/3 and 303669
The Agricultural Labour Bureau
P O Box WGT390
cnr Adylinn Road/Marlborough Drive
(Same building as that used by the Commercial Farmers Union)
The Council would be grateful for any assistance in cash or kind and all contributions will be acknowledged in writing with receipts being issued for any financial donations. The intention is to purchase and distribute items as quickly as possible and keep the public informed as to what assistance has been rendered and where.
The Council also needs to know exactly who is in need of assistance and in this connection details should be provided to Lucy at the Council offices.
Please pass this information on to anyone who you think would be interested.
For and on behalf of The National Employment Council for the Agricultural Industry
We have a lodge with empty beds at the moment, so people could stay as friends. People could also camp. Also the school is closed for holidays until May 15. The school has a total of 24 bunkbeds in four rooms. I don't suppose things get worse, but if they do, we are keen to help in any way we can. Most people in Choma would be happy to have up to one family staying with them, even if they did not know them.
Ian and Emma Bruce-Miller,
Nkanga River Conservation Area,
P.O. Box 630025,
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Small cottage, Marlborough
Tel: 309800/74 (bus)
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Would like to offer accommodation to any of the farming people who wish to take a break.
One thing we can assure is a relatively quiet surrounding. Maybe some traffic noise and barking dogs, but no invading hordes. I realize we're somewhat out of the way for you guys, but the offer stands nonetheless. Cheers and good luck to all.
Marc Heim, Switzerland
tel. +41 91 - 930 8778 (office) / 941 7777 (home)
fax: +41 91 - 941 6666
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D.Michael Wilding offering accommodation
826 Conway Flats
Phone No. New Zealand code then 3 3192714