Tobacco rots as Banket farmer is ‘evicted’

via Tobacco rots as Banket farmer is ‘evicted’ December 8, 2013 by Nunurai Jena Zimbabwe Standard

A Banket commercial farmer, Pieter Zwanikken (51) was last week evicted from his farm by a group of suspected war veterans leaving US$25 000 worth of his tobacco to rot.

The Dutch national last year survived an assassination attempt by a whisker when unknown people shot him in the face in a bid to force him off the farm.

Zwanikken, whose Riverbed Farm is protected by a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, said some war veterans came to his farm and flattened all tyres of his 10 tractors and ordered his workers to attend a political meeting.

He said when some of his workers refused to attend the political meeting, a misunderstanding ensued and 10 of his workers were arrested by Banket police for inciting violence.

The 10 will appear in court on Monday on charges of inciting violence.

Zwanikken said he was likely to lose all his US$1 million investment on the farm that includes 10 tractors, two centre pivots, big grading shed, water pumps and irrigation system.

The Dutch national said trouble started two years ago when one Charles Mupanduki came armed with an offer letter for Riverbed Farm signed by the then Agriculture minister, Herbert Mrerwa.

The 563 hectare-farm was divided into 29 plots of 6 hectares in 2000 at the height of the land distribution exercise.

Zwanikken accused a senior government official in the province of being behind the “senseless invasions” which always happen when he was about to harvest his tobacco.

He said the police were cooperating but said “their hands are tied as they are working under instruction from higher offices”.

“This lawlessness by war vets is destructive and the country will not develop as expected because as I speak, my tobacco worth US$25 000 is going bad in the curing barns,” said Zwanikken.

Another farmer, Rolf Forrester of Cambria Farm near Banket, also had operations disturbed by unknown people, possibly war veterans, at the instigation by the same top government official.

The latest invasions in Banket come barely a week after the former Midlands governor, Cephas Msipa said white dairy farmers could keep their properties and continue production, in the spirit of national interest.

He said if focus was not placed on production, the country would be importing milk. Msipa, who is also a Zanu PF politburo member, made the remarks during a visit by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy-minister, Paddy Zhanda, to meet farmers in Gweru last week.

He said the colour of one’s skin did not matter as long as they were productive on the pieces of land they occupied, adding that he joined Zanu PF to bring positive change to the country and not for personal gain.

Since the land invasions in 2000, Zimbabwe has been unable to produce enough cereals to meet national requirements. The country has been relying on grain imported by government, aid agencies and the private sector to cover the deficit.



  • comment-avatar
    Peter tosh 10 years ago

    Believe them at your own peril.

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 10 years ago

    So tell me, how old are these ‘war veterans’? Do they arrive in wheelchairs and with crutches, gray hair, or even bald?

  • comment-avatar
    JakeM 10 years ago are an outright disgrace…country in tatters…people starving…everything destroyed…builders of NOTHING !
    ZRP..also a spineless joke of a police force…! an equal disgrace ! Pathetic !
    YOU have relegated us to Chinese slaves.
    YOU will pay for this !

  • comment-avatar
    jongwe power 10 years ago

    The white farmers might as well just pack their bags, cut their losses, and move to the countries where their families stashed all the wealth they acquired from land that, at the end of the day, wasn’t exactly bought from the folks who lived there before 1890. By now, everyone should know that all the treaties and agreements in the world are useless in a country where the elites basically pull out rules and laws out of their butts. Why do these white farmers still insist on staying when they know too well that the locals and their superiors want them dead?. The UN won’t save them. Mugabe owns SADC. The Commonwealth is just a bunch of people who attend meetings. The white farmers might as well just cut and run while they can.

    • comment-avatar
      Kevin Watson 10 years ago

      Given that there was no land title system and that there were only an estimated 500 000 in all of Zimbabwe it is hard to imagine that all the land was stolen. After all before the Ndebele people arrived in the 19th Century who owned Matabeleland? Before the Shona people arrived in Mashonaland who owned Mashonaland? Before the Kalanga/Karanga people arrived in the 11th century who owned the land? It appears that all the people in Zimbabwe at some stage took over the under utilised land in what is now Zimbabwe. I fact Zimbabwe is a colonial creation which Mugabe and Zanu want to keep so Zimbabwe remains a colony with colonialised minds and hostage to the new Chinese colonosers.

  • comment-avatar
    munzwa 10 years ago

    you only speak for yourself jongwe!!!

  • comment-avatar

    So jongwe what are u saying.Promoting the rule of the jungle

  • comment-avatar

    It’s those who have the guns that make the laws to plunder Zimbabwe.It is the law of vultures at work stripping and exploiting.

  • comment-avatar
    holy moyo 10 years ago

    Lawless country.
    stone age..Mgabe reigns supreme for 33 years. And the people of Zimbabwe are rich and economically empowered..Thanks Robberry mgabi

  • comment-avatar
    papa zulu 10 years ago

    The white farmer must be protected without delay.Thugs masquerading as war vets are being used to do the dirty work by some greedy politician who has no heart for Zimbabweans.He thinks of his pocket only.The sale of that tobacco will indirectly benefit the country.Genuine war vets must be at least 50 years old now and if they had direction in life should be doing something worthwhile and not allow themselves to be used like brooms.Ma fake war vets awandisa.

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    Johann 10 years ago

    Zanu Pf’s way of how to build investor confidence. It’s a pity Nelson Mandela when he had the opportunity, never said anything about this insanity, that if unchecked is set to spread across the continent and destroy anything of his legacy. Who will save Zimbabwe now!? Not Zuma, Mbeki or the Chinese.