Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Concern for Chiredzi farmers as invaders intensify intimidation

Concern for Chiredzi farmers as invaders intensify intimidation

By Alex Bell
23 March 2012

There is growing concern for the safety and wellbeing of a farming family in 
Chiredzi, after a week of worsening threats and intimidation by a gang of 
would-be land invaders.

Theresa Warth of Wasara Ranch has faced a rapidly deteriorating situation 
all week, which culminated in real fear on Friday morning when the group of 
invaders upped their threatening tactics.

It’s understood that Theresa was alone on the property at the time when the 
gang started trying to break through a gate and onto the land, with more and 
more people swelling the numbers of the group. Many of the invaders are 
believed to be poachers trying to retaliate against the Warth’s 
anti-poaching patrols. By midmorning about 50 people were shouting and 
rattling the main gate at the entrance to Wasara Ranch, yelling threats and 
throwing sand at Theresa.

Theresa has apparently tried calling the local police a number of times this 
week, with no response, and eventually an SOS alert was sent in the morning 
using email, Facebook and Twitter.

Eventually cops were dispatched to the property but coincidentally, they 
arrived not long after the land invaders had backed off, prompting 
suspicions that the gang had been tipped off about the arrival of the ‘law’.

Theresa and her husband Gary have faced years of intimidation and violence, 
and most of their Wasara Ranch has been taken over. Their remaining piece of 
land is now known more for being a refuge for the area’s unprotected 
wildlife that have also faced threats and intimidation from land invaders. 
Many of the animals at Wasara have been slaughtered over the years in what 
is widely believed to be a deliberate attack against the Warths. This 
includes the cruel killings of two tame giraffe that died after getting 
caught in snares deliberately set high in the surrounding trees.

The onslaught of land invaders in Chiredzi meanwhile has spread into the 
Chiredzi River Conservancy, and hundreds of animals have been killed there.

Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force 
(ZCTF) told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the situation is very serious, 
and there is no authority to stop the “chaos.”

“I have tabled this in parliament, I have written letters to the Prime 
Minister and letters to the Minister for Environment, Francis Nhema, and 
nothing is being done. More and more invaders are coming into the area, 
killing the animals to make way for farming, and it’s just so serious,” 
Rodrigues said.

He explained how the situation at the Warth property is an ongoing issue 
that no law enforcement official has tried to sort out.

“There is no authority to enforce the rule of law. So nothing gets done and 
people like Theresa have no assistance when they really need it,” Rodrigues 

He also warned that the invasions are having a detrimental effect on the 
wildlife in the area.

“There are only about 700 animals in Chiredzi now. About 30 of the elephant 
there have been killed in two months. And all the others are just shot on 
sight. It’s crazy. It’s chaos,” Rodrigues said.


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