via email and ZimbabweSituation Facebook 13 November 2013 by Tim Henwood President of CFU 1999-2001
The time has come for something to happen
Zimbabwe has, after five years of a Government of National unity, emerged from an election with a result. There are many who dispute the outcome. There are those who refuse to recognise it. There are some, more realistic who have accepted the result, and are trying desperately to map out a way forward from both within and outside the country.
I have recently been back to Zimbabwe to see for myself. I returned to Australia, where we now live, knowing more and feeling that something positive may be about to happen.
For the past few years positive perception has only been allowed if it involved regime change and a new government. There has been a demand for elections to be held under acceptable conditions seen by observers to be free and fair. The elections have come and gone and all accredited foreign observers, all with some reservation, have accepted the elections reflected the will of the people to a standard that was within the norms of elections in Africa.
Whatever ones opinion may be, what is beyond doubt today is that Zimbabwe has a newly elected government which will be in power for five years before going to the polls again. What is also beyond doubt is that the opposition’s hopes of election are well and truly finished in the short term. The new government, which is in fact a very old government has all the required majority to go ahead as it chooses.
The most positive thing is that out of all this there may be an opportunity, because of the mess, to move forward.
The financial system is at breaking point. Food reserves are at an all time low and the new season is breaking. The farmers, both new and old, the few white and the many black farmers are crying out for credit and an opportunity to make good the situation the country faces. Under current circumstances there is very little hope of anything much being produced in 2013/14 season. The required miracle becomes larger with every day that passes.
Zimbabwe has an ageing president who wants to leave a legacy of successful reform but as things are there is little or no hope of that. Without a return of confidence nothing can improve. That confidence can only come from good governance and security of investment.
The feeling one gets is that there is a definite desire for the current conflicts to be resolved and a way forward to be worked out.
The most pressing need is for recognition and international financial backing.
There is almost universal acceptance that the major conflict that has to be resolved is the land issue and that as long as land has no bankable value there will be little hope of improvement for agriculture and the country as a whole.
As one of those who once ploughed the fields and are now scattered I am confident that the chances of some form of resolution is now possible.
In order to for an acceptable agreement to be reached there has to be representation of all parties at the negotiating table.
The CFU has over the years made more friends than enemies, had more supporters than detractors and has always done its utmost to best represent the interests of farmers. The role it plays in 2013 Zimbabwe is a far cry from the role ten or fifteen years ago, but whatever the change, it remains the only credible organisation both internationally and internally with whom any negotiation can occur. An internal agreement will go a long way to help our cause internationally and only then can hope for a resolution and compensation come to fruition. It may never happen but what is certain is that if there is nobody representing farmers interests, everybody loses and the outcome will be worse.
Ironically the biggest risk to the credibility of the CFU comes from those it tries so hard to represent. The decreased number of paid up members means we all run a serious risk of being unrepresented when any attempt is made to resolve our problem. A reduced membership will diminish the chances of success for every farmer involved in any way in Zimbabwean Agriculture. The new generation of young whites sharing with the new settlers may think they are secure, the older generation may consider it all a pipe dream and some may feel they have moved on and no longer care.
NO MEMBERS no representation
NO MEMBERS no money to finance the continuing efforts on our behalf
Non farming members under seventy can be members for the cost of a cup of coffee a week, Just $200 a year. Over 70’s only pay $50. Surely this is a small price to pay for a final effort to bring about closure to a very complex problem
JOIN UP and let’s go forward to a final resolution
President of CFU 1999-2001
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