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Farm Invasions And Security Report
Friday 22 March 2002
This report does not purport to cover all the incidents that are taking place in the commercial farming areas. Communication problems and the fear of reprisals prevent farmers from reporting all that happens. Farmers names, and in some cases farm names, are omitted to minimise the risk of reprisals.
NATIONAL REPORT IN
Ø MANICALAND - Odzi - On Kondozi, the youths are very active. They have tried to stop some of the white staff members from accessing their houses or leaving the homestead area for work, by blocking off the roads with branches cut from trees.
Ø MASHONALAND CENTRAL - Horseshoe - youths who are based at Gwakwe School arrived on Wona Farm 19.03.02, demanding the owner leave within 24 hours with all his assets and the workers were to be retrenched and off the farm by nightfall. They ordered the owner to sing and dance which he refused to do.
Ø MASHONALAND EAST - At Torre Farm at approximately 2200 hrs on 18.03.02, a group of people arrived at the gate but dispersed when the guard fired shots. At approx. 0600 hrs on 19.03.02, when owner went to open his security gate, he was grabbed by militants, handcuffed and taken in his truck and left in the bush somewhere near Poltimore. He was threatened with an axe and forced to sit in the long grass while militants went back to their base camp. Later he was taken back to his farm
Chipinge - Smithfield Farm had 4 cattle stolen, 1 cow slashed and a calf slaughtered. Helderstroom received a Section 7 19.03.02 and has been to court. Stillemeer Farm had 20/30 ZANU PF supporters at the house demanding meat. They refused to speak to the owner, only his wife. She eventually gave them rations from the deepfreeze, and then they demanded a sheep. They caused a work stoppage until they got their sheep. The DA and the police came out to the farm and the group returned the rations, as they did not know whether the animal had been killed or had died from natural causes. They threatened to re-educate those who voted for MDC.
Odzi - On Kondozi, the youths are very active. They have tried to stop some of the white staff members from accessing their houses or leaving the homestead area for work, by blocking off the roads with branches cut from trees.
Headlands - A farmer on the South West extremity had youth harassing him at his house. They all dispersed when the Police arrived. There has been a major increase in theft of wire, maize and slaughtering of cattle. On 20.03.02 they abducted the farmer for 1 hour. When he was returned he seemed unharmed. The mother’s house was trashed. The farmer’s sister went with the Police escort to talk to the group and resolve the issues. Some "war vets" were arrested for the slaughter of cattle, who subsequently put a roadblock up to detain the security guards who made the arrests. On Sunrise Farm, ZANU PF supporters warned the owner there would be retribution for those who voted MDC.
Bindura - There is a total work stoppage on Brokley Farm, which has a Section 8 Notice. The settlers have demanded all work comes to an end as "the farm now belongs to them." On Chumberi Farm, which has been designated but not received a Section 8, the settlers informed the owner he and his workers must leave as the reaping has been completed and the farm belongs to them.
Tsatsi - The youths continue to hijack vehicles in the area. The police have been contacted and attempts are being made to deal with the situation. Section 5 Orders and Section 8 Notices are being issued on a daily basis.
Horseshoe - youths who are based at Gwakwe School arrived on Wona Farm 19.03.02, demanding the owner leave within 24 hours with all his assets and the workers were to be retrenched and off the farm by nightfall. They ordered the owner to sing and dance which he refused to do. The DA and main war veteran contacted the owner and told him the matter would be resolved. The youths then moved on to Red Lichen Farm and ordered a work stoppage. The OIC notified the owner of Woma Farm they would react to both incidents. The owner of Manovi Farm received a letter stating he was to remove all stock from the farm store as the settlers intend taking over the store on 21.03.02. He was also ordered to give them his irrigation pump as they wanted to irrigate the bananas which they have been stealing and selling for some time. On 20.03.02 a truck arrived and loaded ZW$ 100 000:00 worth of bananas and left before the Police could react. The OIC visited all farms who reported problems so far and managed to resolve many of the cases. The owner of Nyamfuta Farm was visited in Harare, where he is temporarily based, by his workers, who relayed a message he and his workers were to vacate the property and take their belongings with them. On Siyalima Farm the settlers have stolen the roof off the feeding pens in broad daylight. The settlers are digging up the pipes and rerouting them to their houses.
Marondera South - Gresham Farm farm village was trashed by militant youths on 17.03.02. "War vet" Isaac instructed the youths to leave, which they did, but this order was countermanded by "war vet" Marimo. All workers have left the farm and paprika is being stolen from the lands. The owners of the farm were ordered to leave which they have done temporarily.
On Gwaai Farm youths accused the owner’s sister of assisting the opposition during the elections. A number of false accusations have been made which resulted in angry youths breaking into the sister’s house. Groceries were looted and a hosepipe opened in the house whilst the sister was away. The owner went with youths for a meeting and the issue has been resolved. K-se-ra reports that the evening of 18.03.02, the owner was locked into his house by "war vets". ZRP and Army were called and went to the farm but did not go to the farmhouse. At 06hrs00 the next morning, the house was stormed and the owner and his wife retreated to a safe room without any communications. The house was partly looted. By 09hrs15 the Police reported that they were about to attend the scene. The couple drove out just before lunch accompanied by war vets and police. The owner was detained by "war vets” and police for some hours. By the evening, the wife had been released and her husband had signed a warned and cautioned statement. He is to be charged with firing 2 shots (which he did, into a wall, on the advice of the Security Rep for Ruzawi River) and attempted murder. The owner has so far been unable to access his farm and reaction is uncertain. At Waltondale Farm a man claiming to be the Mash West MP told the owner to vacate within the next 2 weeks as the barns and homestead area have been allocated to him under the A2 Resettlement scheme. A mob arrived at Mtemwa and demanded a work stoppage. The owner was then barricaded into his house. On Igava two managers cottages were broken into and looted. Rampant maize theft occurred. Workers were ordered to attend an all night pungwe. The Esperance Farm owner is still under pressure to vacate. The Ponderosa owner’s house was looted on 19.03.02. The Ruware Ranch owner’s garden worker was abducted and taken for re-education on 20.03.02 and a security guard was severely assaulted.
Wedza - CID Marondera attended Mount Arthur farm on 19.03.02 in response to the events of last weekend. Settlers gathered for a meeting at 08hrs00 the next day. At Torre Farm at approximately 2200 hrs on 18.03.02, a group of people arrived at the gate but dispersed when the guard fired shots. At approx. 0600 hrs on 19.03.02, when owner went to open his security gate, he was grabbed by militants, handcuffed and taken in his truck and left in the bush somewhere near Poltimore. He was threatened with an axe and forced to sit in the long grass while militants went back to their base camp. Later he was taken back to his farm homestead and ordered to leave the farm. Militants loaded household goods on to the owner’s truck and instructed owner to drive to Marondera with one of the militants who was dropped off at Mushandira Pamwe Store. A second truck was loaded with owner’s weapons and radios and driven to Mahusekwa Police Station. The owner has been told that he has 4 days to get the rest of his belongings off the farm. The owner of Skoonveld Farm reported that at 1215 hrs on 20.03.02 Torre Farm was being looted. Tractors have been taken and workshops have possibly been looted. A report has been made at Marondera Police Station (RRB No. 054178). On Chakadenga all labour was ordered to stop working by settlers and owner told to pay the workers off and vacate the property within 2 hours. Ten youths chased the labour into a confined space. Two tractors have disappeared. Police were informed and reacted after five and a half hours. Negotiations have taken place and are ongoing. The mother of the owner of Nelson Farm (was threatened by "war vet” Chirinda and ordered to vacate the property within 3 days, and to leave possessions behind.
Macheke/ Virginia - Although Home Park has been delisted, settlers arrived and took 300 bags of maize, broke into the workshop and stole all the tools, and emptied out all the chemicals. The damage amounts to ZW$10 000 000.00. The Riverside owner has vacated his property and taken his personal possessions. On Castledene Pines the owners were ordered to vacate the property in one day. Police informed but no response. Report numbers 40/2002 and 42/2002. On Mignon the owners were told to vacate the property in one day. Police informed but no response, report number 37/2002. DA has also been informed. At Koodoo Range the owners were told to vacate the property within 48 hours. No response from Police. On Nyadema the owners were told to vacate the property within 48 hours. Police informed but no response. Report number 39/2002. At Showers New Section the owners were told to vacate the property within 48 hours. Police informed but no response. Report number 41/2002
Beatrice - Youths are reported to be looking for food around the area. On Muriwai approximately ten youths accused the owner of training para troopers using his microlight. The owner phoned the Joyce Mine "war vet" base and the situation was defused. At Nengwa "war vet" Mavangira returned and wants to move into the farm cottage but has been put off. The Brakveld dairy was broken into on 18.03.02 and 25 litres of milk stolen. Resident settlers have threatened to destroy the milking machines if the owner did not carry wood for them. On 19.03.02, settlers broke into the dairy and destroyed 13 000 litres of milk by pouring stockfeed into the bulk tank. At Geluk Farm, youths demanded food for celebrations but this was refused.
MASHONALAND WEST (NORTH)
Banket – the Mushanswa Farm owner was barricaded in the house and Zanu PF Youth were in the garden. Farmer has been given six hours to leave the farm. The Glen Athol Farm owner was barricaded inside his security fence. The settlers are forcing him to supply irrigation equipment for their wheat. Complete work stoppage has occurred. There is a compete work stoppage by settlers on Gwarati Farm demanding removal of 8 workers. Tobacco is rotting on trailers and in barns, resulting in ZW$ 1,2 million damage. All access to Wannock Glen Farm denied. Settlers have placed their own lock on homestead fence. On Wichens Farm settlers have moved into main homestead and cottage. On Tobey Hill Farm had settlers from Hunyani Farm want to move their cattle to Tobey Hill Farm for grazing. The Dalkeith Farm manager was told to be off by 1800 by Zanu PF youth on 21.03.02. The owner’s wife and three-month-old baby were barricaded inside the fence. The crocodile section and butchery has been closed down. Access to the tea tree oil plantation is denied and there is a complete work stoppage. Situation is volatile. Mbidzi Farm owner has been told to get off the farm. The Buryhill Estate owner was phoned by an Inspector Mabunda who said he was coming out to have a look at his plot some time in the week. The farm is not designated. The Dalkeith Farm has packed up some of his belongings and left the homestead. The settlers want Zanu PF, Banket Kadoza to speak to them and the settlers want the owner to leave and are refusing to allow him to take out all his irrigation pipes. On Crocodile Pool Farm the farmer was told to get off his farm in one hour. "War vet" "Mabhunu Muchapera" says nine farms are being targeted in this area.
Trelawney/Darwendale - Vooruitzig Farm owner was barricaded in his security fence and given 2 days to leave. They were forced off the farm 21.03.02. The owner, wife and child are still barricaded inside the security fence and settlers have refused to let them leave the house. A neighbour was abducted whilst trying to rescue the son, and has since been released and has gone back to his house to collect his family. Situation calm. Malabar Farm has seasonal workers threatening the farmer, saying he must comply with the following:
1. Nine workers wanted to attend the Zanu PF Star Rally on 16.02.02. Not having transport the farmer gave them ZW$ 100-00 to pay their bus fares, as well as marking them present for the day. They asked for additional payment in advance of Z$300-00 each from their February wages and now state the Z$300-00 should have been a donation and not an advance payment.
2. They threatened the foreman, saying he is not allowed to mark anyone absent in the future.
3. The same Foreman has been falsely accused of blocking maize sales. Maize is extremely short at the present time, and is rationed on farm.
4. Workers want a borehole to be provided immediately for the farm village, which is presently supplied by the dam. This water is treated on a very regular basis.
The situation has calmed down.
Mhangura – the Tevrede Farm owner has been told he has until March end to leave by Major Ndwini. At Dawn Farm the OIC Mhangura and local "war vet" have instructed there will be no more land prep. At Chirombodzi Farm the OIC says the owner must move off as he is building his own house on the farm.
Chinhoyi - the Blue Hills Farm owner had his radio stolen from his foreman by a local politico who claims the farm belongs to him, and unless the owner moves off the farm he will keep the radio. The police advised the owner to have a meeting with the politico, at which he was abused verbally for two hours. The policeman suggested he lock up the radio at the police station. The owner said the issue is over a stolen radio, as stealing is a crime and the farm has not been listed or received any Section 8 Orders. At Kafundi Farm the guard was chased away from the homestead.
Karoi - north of Magunje Road, many farms are having their labour forced off farms on 20.03.02. At Haslemere Farm there was an invasion of 30-40 youths aged 18-25, building huts across the road from the farmhouse. There is no trouble so far as they are waiting for the "big boss" from Karoi to allocate them their plots. No Section 5 issued as yet. Mukuyu Farm has had continued harassment from a group led by "war vet" Dongwiro. Dongwiro has produced a note on stenographer type notepaper with a stamp from the D.A's. office, asking for assistance to allow the settlers to convert the barns/sheds complex into classrooms. The owner refused to hand over the keys and stated the use of the buildings is not negotiable, as in terms of a Section 5 notice the buildings belong to the farm owner. Dongwiro became abusive and threatening, and then claimed to have a letter stating that the D.A. gave his full permission for entry to the complex which was to be used by the settlers for whatever purpose they chose. He threatened to block all access roads to Kukuyu Farm that and all equipment was to be removed from the complex before the end of the day. When reported to the police, the policeman on duty responded saying it was not their business and they had no transport. The group later broke into the complex. Loss of property has yet to be established. The Hesketh Park Estates owner was visited by 15-20 settlers from Hesketh Park and Westlands, headed by a Captain Magaza. They seemed intoxicated. The Captain claimed the 10 ha of tobacco planted in October 2001 was planted on his land and he therefore required compensation. This crop is fully-grown with about 2/3 still to be reaped. Hesketh Park Estates has never had a Government listing. After long discussion, the Captain left saying he would reap the tobacco along with the settlers. There was a work stoppage on 15.03.02. A carcass of a calf was discovered on the evening of 18.03.02, axed in the head, and a leg, with the intestines removed. Also, a carcass of a fully-grown cow was found dead with the spear still in her.
Doma - Chapumani Farm received Section 8 on the 19.03.02, dated 28.02.02.
MASHONALAND WEST (SOUTH)
Norton - On Serui Source settlers stole two cattle but police managed to recover them. On Wilbered Farm settlers came in on the night of 14.03.02 with "war vet" Mrs Rusike and Comrade Mwambo, a settler on Gowrie farm. The owner was away seeking urgent medical treatment in South Africa and was due back the next day. The whole house was completely looted with absolutely nothing left. Weapons were also taken including a very valuable collectors pair of shotguns and two revolvers with ammunition. Borehole motors were also taken and a whole lifetime’s work was looted in a night. The same people who were involved with this looting had also been involved the night before on Windsor Farm where weapons, binoculars, radios and cellphones were stolen and the owner and his wife evicted under very unpleasant circumstances. Two prize Holstein heifers worth Z$250 000.00 were also slaughtered. Police made no arrests on the scene and the weapons were not recovered. Also on the 14th March Mrs Rusike and her gang tried to pull Mr Wilde out of his vehicle at an illegal roadblock along the Porta Road. One of his workers was badly assaulted and when Mr Wilde went to Police he was told that he couldn't make a report. On 15th March the gang went to Umzoruru and Royden Farms nearby and beatings took place as well as looting with one worker being hospitalised. The gang also went to Lilfordia School nearby and chased the workers out of the school village. No arrests were made. The owner of Windsor Farm went back to his property with a police escort to make sure the dairy was all right. He was chased with police from the farm. No arrests were made. On the night of 17.03.02 on Gowrie Farm looters came into the house. The owner was upstairs in his bedroom. He fired a shot in the air and scared them away. Three calls were then made to Norton Police by himself and two of his neighbours. The gang of approximately 20 in ZANU (PF) Third Chimurenga T-Shirts evidently then reappeared. The owner tried to make a getaway from his house in his vehicle but could not get through the gate as there was evidently a vehicle parked in front of it. He tried to ram through the security fence and then was evidently dragged from his vehicle, put up against a tree and shot twice through the head with his own weapon. The cook found his body in the morning and police came out. Spoor from the scene was matched up with those of settlers from the farm and some arrests have been made. The owner was not farming his farm as he had not been allowed to for over a year, and there was no friction from his part. A serving colonel from the army had recently been given the farm and three weeks ago had told Mr Ford that he must remove his possessions from the house. Comrade Mwambo, who was involved with the other lootings in the previous few days, was one of the settlers from the farm but is now nowhere to be found. Comrade Mwambo and Mrs Rusike have also been arrested now and we understand that 13 weapons, mostly stolen from farmers, have also been recovered. On Roscommon and other properties Don Carlos had been issuing threats and demanding that the owners move out of their homesteads immediately. Don Carols was the instigator of the eviction on Shingwiri last week.
Selous - On Virginia one of the settlers has made a forced entry into the house where his wife is living. Police were notified but have referred the matter to the District Administrator who is away. On Mount Carmel Farm since November the average loss per day due to stock theft and other theft etc. by settlers and others has been Z$10 000.00.
Chegutu - On Lot 1A of The Grove Gilbert Moyo has returned to tell the ZANU (PF) youth stationed there they must make sure the flowers are not irrigated. Police say that the reason why he was remanded out of custody was because of medical reports. His health is still not good enough for him to be able to go to court. Over ZW$10 million in turnover has been lost due to the owner still not being allowed back to his farm. Police are referring the matter back to the District Administrator. Youth are still eating looted maize from the farm and helping themselves at will to Karioke beans. They have also been re-organising the labour on De Rus Farm and causing chaos to production. On Eastbourne the PROPOL for Mashonaland West is wanting to move into the homestead, as he says it has been allocated to him. On The Downs Don Carlos has told the owner that he must get out of his house.
Chakari - On Newbiggin settlers are trying to force some of the workers that have been given plots to resign and threatening them with beating if they do not. On Deweras after some of the workers houses were burnt down by settlers, most of the other workers moved their goods into the barns and were sleeping in the bush to prevent themselves from being burnt alive. On Victory Comrade Gono wants to co-exist in the owner’s house.
Kadoma - On Normandy North the High Court issued eviction orders on the illegal occupiers. It is unclear as to whether police have reacted.
Save Conservancy Area - On Masapas Ranch one poacher has been arrested but at the same time was wounded by the warthog he had been poaching.
Mwenezi – on La Pache Ranch a meeting took place on 18.03.02. Much singing and sloganeering was reported. More demands have been made of the owner. Owner has been told that more pegging will continue in his irrigation lands. Settlers will be allowed to take water from his irrigation dam. Labour was told if they enter these lands they will be beaten. The tractor has been grounded and no movement of the tractor is allowed anywhere. All labour was told they should have ZANU PF cards. Owner has also had three head of cattle stolen from Rienette Ranch where he leases the property for grazing. The Swanscoe Ranch owner purchased maize from the GMB. Police arrived and confiscated it under armed guard and returned it all to the GMB. The policeman residing on this property is thought to be involved. The Oerwoud Ranch owner had 89 cattle stolen 20.03.02. Police and other farmers are presently trying to track them down. There was a fire reported on Moria Ranch.
Chiredzi – at Wasarasara Ranch, compensation demands are made for cattle eating settler’s maize. The owner has refused to pay any compensation. At Alstar Haven the Base commander has arrived with a letter from Masvingo with demands that the three caretakers be taken off the property and the youth present will take care of the property. Further demands of no more game to be moved from the property have also been made; the game that remains is to be left there. On Bangala Ranch the youth on this property have stated that all that remains on the property is theirs. Demands have been made that an inventory of all the tools etc within the farm sheds be made so that nothing is removed from the property. Any work taking place on the farm fencing is posing a problem and being stopped. The Sebenani Ranch owner received a letter there is to be a council meeting held at 1000 hrs on 21.03.02 and all farmers are to attend. There has been a new councillor elected from the Zaka area and they are still trying to change the Chiredzi ICA area to fall under Zaka. Farmers have reported to the Police that they will not be attending and Police have responded that they will be present. There were four fires reported on Buffalo Range One fire was reported on Ruware Ranch
Gutu / Chatsworth - Irvine A owner has continued harassment from an individual called “Samuel” concerning grazing and the removal of his cattle from the property. Compensation demands for grazing continue.
Kwekwe: Farmers with irrigated maize are finding that a half to two thirds of the crop has been stolen before the crop can be reaped. On Tridale Farm a motor was stolen from the dip over the weekend and on Delvillewood Estates an attempt was made to steal a 15 h.p. motor from a borehole but this was recovered about 20 metres away. Also on Delvillewood, a villager asked the owner when he would be returning to England. Maize theft is rampant on this estate, even in daylight. An ox was walked along the power line from Milsonia to Saltana Ranch and then slaughtered. 17 youths arrived on Saltana and tried to arrest the foreman. They followed him to the homestead, as he was trying to get away,\ where he finally managed to scare them off by firing warning shots with his weapon.
Nyamandlovu - The farm owner on Manonodo was hit by a youth with a knobkerrie near his homestead. On 16.03.02, the Highfields Farm owner’s son and son in law attended a meeting of +/- 80 squatters and 20 youths, who gave them one hour in which to leave the property and said their Game Scouts were no longer allowed to be seen patrolling the farm. On Mamosa Park farm a squatter in a vehicle told the manager to get off his plot. When the manager informed him the property had been delisted he became angry and said he did not acknowledge any delistings and drove off. A report was made to the O.I.C. Ins. Ncube who said he was powerless to do anything as he could "get mud on his face". On 17.03.02, shots were heard on Ulundi farm. It is suspected two local "war vets" were involved and could also have been hunting on Mamosa Park. A report of a new invasion of five families moved on to Kennelly's farm over the weekend. This farm had no previous squatters. Apart from the above reports, generally quiet.
Mugabe Victory Bad for Investment in Africa according to George Soros
The Daily News (Harare)
March 22, 2002
Posted to the web March 23, 2002
International financier and an investment advisor to President Thabo Mbeki, George Soros, says he is disturbed to learn that some of Zimbabwe's neighbours have recognised President Mugabe's election victory.
Soros told a panel at a United Nations Conference on Financing for Development, that Mugabe's triumph in Zimbabwe elections, which the opposition says were rigged, has dealt a setback to African nations trying to attract investment.
"Mugabe stole the election by preventing people in urban areas from casting their vote," Soros said. "The elections in Zimbabwe have cast doubt on the ability of African states to create suitable conditions for private investment."
The United States and Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial ruler, have rejected the result of the election as fraudulent. Soros, one of the world's biggest philanthropists who has helped establish a housing credit organisation in South Africa, said he was disturbed to learn that some of Zimbabwe's neighbours had recognised Mugabe's election victory.
Soros is also a member of president Thabo Mbeki's International Investment Council. The council was formed to help Mbeki expand the South African economy and improve international trade.
Other prominent international business figures on Mbeki's council include, Juergen Schrempp of DaimlerChrysler, Niall Fitzgerald of Unilever and Petronas' Ratan N Tata and Hassan Marikan.
Leaders from more than 50 countries, including United States President George W Bush, will attend the five-day meeting in Monterrey, Mexico's industrial capital, to discuss ways of mobilising more resources to fight poverty and hunger.
"I think the situation in Zimbabwe needs to be discussed by heads of state here," said Soros adding, "After the election the situation is likely to deteriorate."
Zimbabwe's economy is on the brink of collapse while unemployment soars and a collapse in maize production has forced the international community to airlift emergency supplies into the country to prevent mass starvation.
Soros accumulated a vast fortune as a financial speculator and is now devoting his efforts to channelling funds, through his Soros Foundation, to the world's poorest countries.
He said that sanctions directed at Zimbabwe's population as a whole would be likely to backfire. Even so-called "smart" sanctions, aimed at freezing financial assets held abroad by members of Zimbabwe's elite were unlikely to be effective.
African nations that practised good governance, such as Mozambique, Senegal and Ghana, should be rewarded for their efforts with improved access to markets in the developed world and increased development aid, he said.
"They would constitute a positive example which others would seek to emulate," said Soros. President Mugabe won the 9-10 March poll when he narrowly beat his closest rival, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, by almost 400 000 votes.
The results we immediately described by the opposition and the international community as not free and fair.
For months, militia thugs from Zimbabwe's ruling party had menaced the white farmer, warning him to abandon his thatched-roof cottage in a pine grove near the broad Mamyami River. Weeks ago, a Zimbabwean army colonel and one of the thugs had quarreled outside Ford's front door, each claiming the ivy-covered house as his own.
But like many of his neighbors in this farming town an hour west of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, Ford had stayed, always managing to talk his way out of trouble. He already had given away most of his 2,000 acres to the government-backed invaders who had been living there for a year and a half. He had a reputation as a peacemaker, friends say, and like most of his neighbors, he figured the bad times would eventually pass.
Early Monday morning, the bad times caught up with him.
Ford, 55, was alone in the farmhouse when he telephoned police and neighbors at 11:30 p.m. Sunday. A half-dozen locals were looting his house, he told neighbors, and 20 or so were waiting outside.
Ford went downstairs and fired a round over the looters' heads, chasing them off into the night. Within hours, they came back.
Neighbors believe the intruders used stolen keys to open a gate to an 8-foot-tall wire fence and then enter Ford's home. Perhaps the farmer was caught unaware by the group's return; perhaps he tried to negotiate and then fled.
What is clear is that, already wounded, Ford raced into the yard in nothing more than shorts and a pair of sandals, got into his small white truck, and tried to smash through the fence to escape. Tracks show that a vehicle likely belonging to the invaders blocked the front gate, so Ford aimed for a section of the fence and tried to push through. In the process, it appears he hit several of the invaders who were trying to block him.
Ford did not make it out. It appears the mob dragged him from his truck, pushed him up against one of the tall pine trees in the yard, and shot him in the head, perhaps with his own weapon. His body also showed signs of a beating.
A farm cook found Ford's body early Monday. The red earth of the yard was rutted with tire tracks, and Ford's bloodstained truck was smashed against the wire of the partly collapsed fence.
By midmorning, neighbors were milling around the yard near where Ford's body still lay, now under a light blanket. There were tears, but the mood was more one of grim exhaustion.
"We've lived so long with uncertainty, it's become a way of life," said Graham Hatty, one of Ford's neighbors. Since 2000, when Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe allowed liberation war veterans to begin violently seizing white farms as part of a "fast-track" land-redistribution program, 10 white farmers have died, he said, and many more black farmhands have lost their lives.
The violence has worsened since March 13, when Mugabe was declared the winner of a presidential election marred by widespread intimidation. In the days since, ruling-party thugs have unleashed a wave of terror on anyone thought to support Mugabe's opposition, including the nation's white farmers. In the nights since the victory declaration, at least five houses near Ford's farm have been invaded.
At one home, invaders forced a white couple in their 60s to dance and sing ruling-party songs for hours. At another, an 81-year-old man returned to find his house emptied of a lifetime's possessions.
In all of the homes, radios, binoculars and weapons were seized, and other goods looted. Many of the families are too frightened to return home. Most farm owners have sent their wives and children to stay in town.
Yesterday, hundreds of mourners attended Ford's funeral at a Harare church.
Police have arrested three suspects in his death, but that has provided little consolation to his neighbors or to his son, Mark, who flew in from New Zealand on Monday for a reunion with his father only to find him dead.
"People are saying they can't take it anymore," said Hatty's wife, Judy. "We don't want to give up, but you wouldn't believe the number of people leaving."
Millers Fail to Explain Mealie Meal Shortage
The Herald (Government controlled paper) (Harare)
March 23, 2002
Posted to the web March 23, 2002
MEMBERS of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe recently failed to explain shortages of mealie meal in Bulawayo at a heated meeting with Matabeleland North Governor Cde Obert Mpofu when it was revealed that Mr James Mangwana-Tshuma is exporting maize to Botswana.
Quizzed at the meeting Mr Mangwana-Tshuma did not deny the allegation thereby confirming fears that some millers were hoarding maize for export at the expense of the majority.
The GMB official present at the meeting charged that the grain the millers claimed to be getting from the parastatal did not tally with what was going through their mills.
"If they were grinding some 384 tonnes daily, multiply the number of days in a month, the tonnage is much higher than the 7 000 tonnes they claim to be getting," said the official. He said the millers were getting much more than that but could not give the figures.
Some millers who attended the meeting acknowledged there was serious hoarding and rampant profiteering in maize milling and distribution, resulting in the shortages of mealie meal. "We know some of our members are getting the maize and hoarding it, only to cry foul when their supplies run out," said one miller.
The allegations prompted the formation of a new committee composed of the army, police and other Government departments to oversee the distribution of maize and look into the problems faced by the small millers.
Chief Superintendent Cain Sibanda is heading the committee that will directly report to a national task force. This committee also automatically dissolves several committees that were highjacking the maize.
"From now on the issue of grain distribution will be co-ordinated from my office," said Governor Mpofu.
Forty representatives of small milling companies in Bulawayo, claimed they were getting a raw deal from the Grain Marketing Board which supplied their 17 members with only 7 000 tonnes, compared to 450 tonnes given to National Foods.
Small-scale millers in Bulawayo grind a combined total of 48 tonnes of mealie meal every hour, against a daily consumption of 500 to 600 tonnes a day in Bulawayo alone.
"We do not have adequate information on the needs of the small millers but the figures they give us are a bit exaggerated," said an inspector with the GMB who refused to be named.
He said GMB was allocating maize on milling capacity, and the small scale millers were getting enough maize, which is suspected to be delivered to favoured customers and supermarkets during the night.
There are a total of 17 registered millers in Bulawayo, most of whom were present at the meeting. They each grind an average of three tonnes an hour. The majority work for seven to eight hours a day.
Cde Mpofu however said he received reports of profiteering from some members of the grain millers and his office was working on the matter, but warned that those caught would be struck off the register.
"If the whole exercise of maize distribution was transparent, and we had people delivering maize during the day while everyone is watching I don't think we will have this chaotic situation," he said.
Figures at hand, however, sharply contrast with what the millers allege to be receiving from the GMB, raising fears that most of the mealie meal was currently distributed unfairly.