|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Saturday 31 August, 1200 local ( 1000GMT)
Well, justice was done yesterday in the Bindura Magistrates Court.
After some anxious waiting and a lot of prayer, I'm at last recognised as free in law to return to my home and farm without danger of arrest.
Some of my staff are still there, having a hard time, and there are a lot of things that we had accumulated over the years that I couldn't move out in the 30 or so hours that I was allowed a fortnight ago.
Those things, and my animals, need my care and I will be glad to stop being homeless again.
The government has now said that it wants to split my farm into 12 small lots of 50 hectares each.
I don't know how they will share the single water source, especially since they have stolen the electric motors from the borehole.
The settlers' existence is about as difficult as mine. The government hasn't given them any legal rights except worthless letters, so they have no chance of getting the finance they need to grow the crops.
I'll let you know what happens.
Sorry about no news but being off my farm I don't know really what is happening.
I got a phone call from my cook this morning telling me that the settlers are trying to get the keys from him for my house. They broke in on Wednesday and I don't know what they have taken.
I phoned the police this morning and was informed that I had a court order to vacate my farm and had no right to what was left there. Nice law and order!
I am still going to fight and sue the government for payment. Tomorrow I go to court, hope everything is going to be alright.
Will speak to you after court.
Still lots of farmers moving off the farms to Harare, waiting in anticipation for the new cabinet, but don't hold out much hope.
Just hope that we will be paid something for our farms. It's not very pleasant living with other people, but at least I have a roof over my head, not like the workers from the farms. I don't know what is going to happen to them.
I'm hoping to see my lawyer on Monday to see if I can go back to my farm to collect the rest of my belongings.
I am trying to get permission to get back to get the rest of my belongings.
Went past my farm yesterday and the police followed me.
I think they want me to break my orders so that they can re-arrest me.
I don't know what is going to happen. But I still hope that sanity will prevail and the government will come to its senses and let the farmers who know how to farm and not the bank managers and politicians who are taking our farms!
With the help of neighbours and my two daughters we managed to remove a lot of the furniture but unfortunately did not have time to finish.
I am in the process of trying to get an extension (to the latest deadline for vacating my farm) so I can finish as I have still got cats and a horse and a fair amount of equipment and furniture.
At the moment I am living with friends with my household belongings stacked in a shed 80km away and my dogs in kennels in Harare.
Very dramatic and emotional.
But we will continue to fight through the courts and hope that we will be paid, even if I have to approach the British Foreign Office to pay us in the UK.
Wednesday 21 August, 1600 local time (1400GMT)
I left my home yesterday at 4pm as ordered by the courts. The police came to arrest me if I didn't.
But I left lots of my stuff behind - you can't back up 52 years in a few hours.
I refused to give the keys to my farm to the DA (district administrator), as I was instructed. As far as I'm concerned, it's my farm until I've been paid for it.
But now I don't have anywhere to stay and no money to pay rent.
I'm staying in a room at my daughter's place but I can't stay here for ever. She and her husband have also just left their farm.
My lawyers are today filing my appeal against my eviction with the High Court.
We're taking the legal route but there's no law and order in this country.
Now, I'm just taking my dogs to some kennels in Harare. I hope there's some room as I hear the kennels are full of farmers' dogs.
Tuesday 20 August, 1250 local time (1050GMT)
Things are not going well today. I've got just three hours left to pack everything up and leave.
Three hours in which to pack up 52 years of life.
I'm out at my farm with my family and the police have already told me I have to go in three hours.
I can't say anything else today because there's not time.
I hope I'll have a chance to say more on Wednesday if I can get to a computer.
Monday19 August, 1945 local time (1745MT)
I've had a meeting with my lawyer today. On Tuesday, I'll file a challenge to my eviction order in the High Court. I can't go back to my farm or they'll jail me for contempt.
But I'm not giving up. I want the court to declare the order null and void.
If I can get to a laptop or a personal computer on Tuesday, I can get back to writing my diary again.
Monday 19 August, 1215 local time (1015GMT)
I've just left court in Harare, where the magistrate told me to leave my farm by 4pm tomorrow, which is a physical impossibility.
It's a nightmare. There is nowhere for us to go but we can't live here any more.
If you detain me, I will die in the cells
I'm going back to my farm now, to see what I can save.
I finally left my farm on Saturday evening, after the police said that they had instructions to detain me.
I was not feeling well at all. The stress of the situation had worsened my diabetes. I told them: "If you detain me, I will die in the cells."
I gave my word to turn up to court on Monday morning.
I then drove to hospital in Harare, where I was put on a drip.
I checked myself out at 2am on Sunday morning and stayed with some friends.
On Sunday, I went back to hospital. They wanted to keep me there but I told them I couldn't stay as I had to appear in court.
I just wanted to get this sorted.
Friday 16 August, 1900 local time (1700GMT)
Well back at last.
The visit I was receiving from the officer in charge, Concession Police Station, was to arrest me for defying the Section 8 order (eviction order) and not leaving my farm.
When he phoned me he said he was coming about the theft of my motor, when I asked him what information he had on it he replied that he was lying and that he had come to arrest me.
I showed them my Notice of Withdrawal from the Court on the 14 August and he said I should have left on the 10 August.
I said that I was a diabetic and need four injections a day and regular food with protein and carbohydrates, and it would be very difficult in prison.
They took me to the police station at about 1400 (1200GMT) and proceeded to warn and caution me.
I refused to say anything until I contacted my lawyer.
In the meantime my daughter had spoken to them and said that she was coming with my lawyer and doctor and that I needed Insulin.
I was consequently released at 1645 (1445GMT).
Their reason for releasing me was that they eventually had to take note of my Notice from the Court.
They then tore up the Warn and Caution Statement and said they had made an error and were very apologetic towards me.
I must say that I was very impressed with the police. They treated me well and were polite at all times.
But I am very relieved to be home, I understand that a lot of farmers have been arrested on (President Robert) Mugabe's instructions and I believe he is making a statement tonight.
Speak to you later.
'Think before refusing GM food'
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation has urged Southern African countries to think carefully before rejecting donations of genetically modified food. "We should make sure before we reject it that there are scientifically valid arguments on which to base that decision," FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said at the World Summit in Johannesburg. He was speaking against the backdrop of a major international effort to bring food aid to the region, where about 13 million people are facing starvation. Zimbabwe, where famine has been exacerbated by economic mismanagement and a controversial land-reform programme, has refused GM maize from the US unless it is milled first, to prevent the exchange of genetic material. Diouf said though there were no international agreements yet in place on trade and aid involving GM food, it was a requirement that donated food met the safety standards of the donor.
The FAO and the World Food Programme believed, on the basis of
current scientific knowledge and "information from a variety of sources", that
the food being offered to Southern Africa was not likely to present a human
health risk. "The United Nations therefore believes that in the current crisis,
governments in Southern Africa must consider carefully the severe and immediate
consequences of limiting food aid available for millions of people so
desperately in need," he said. "Their plight must weigh heavily in government
decision-making." The risk of unintentional introduction to local fields of GM
maize should be "judged and managed by individual countries on a case by case
— By Darren Schuettler
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said on Sunday he would like to see a government of national unity in Zimbabwe to resolve the southern African country's worsening political crisis.
Chretien said he had discussed Zimbabwe with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier on Sunday planned to address the issue with other heads of government attending the U.N. Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
Canadian officials said Chretien would not seek a meeting with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who will address the summit on Monday.
"I think that they should sit down with the opposition and make a government of national unity that will bring back more stability and more prosperity in the country," Chretien told reporters.
The Commonwealth of mainly former British colonies suspended Zimbabwe in March after Mugabe was declared winner of presidential elections that were condemned by the opposition and some Western governments as fraudulent.
Reconciliation talks between Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, which insists the election was fair, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have failed to reach a settlement.
Canada is among several Western nations -- including Britain, the United States and Australia -- that have expressed dismay at events in Zimbabwe.
The former British colony has been gripped by a deepening political and economic crisis since pro-government militias invaded white-owned farms in 2000 in support of Mugabe's campaign to redistribute their land to landless blacks.
Mugabe has vowed recently to press ahead with plans to evict 2,900 of the country's 4,500 remaining white commercial farmers.
The veteran African leader says the actions are necessary to redress pass colonial injustices which left 70 percent of the country's best farmland in the hands of white farmers.
Chretien said he was in contact with the leaders of the three Commonwealth countries -- South Africa, Nigeria and Australia -- which will decide what further action the group should take.
"We are going to have to take decisions regarding the suspension and to see if that's going to continue because it's already been in place for some time and there hasn't been much movement (by the Mugabe government) so far," Chretien said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Saturday he would raise Zimbabwe's "appalling catalog of mismanagement and corruption" with southern African leaders during a three-day visit to the region.
Chretien and Blair are attending the United Nations summit on poverty and the environment in South Africa, where officials are determined to keep the Zimbabwe issue from overshadowing the event.
Zimbabwe Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said on Saturday Mugabe would defend policies that have brought sanctions against him to fellow world leaders at the Earth Summit.
Moyo also rejected accusations that the land drive was partly responsible along with drought for a looming famine threatening six million of Zimbabwe's 13 million people.
"They will hear the president's voice...We hope Britain will be there to listen," Moyo said. Mugabe and Blair are both due to address the U.N. gathering on Monday.