Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Farm group warns of ‘final push’ for commercial land

Farm group warns of ‘final push’ for commercial land

By Alex Bell
18 October 2010

A farming rights group has warned that there is a “final push” to seize
Zimbabwe’s handful of remaining commercial properties, ahead of fresh

In the past few weeks a number of farming families have been left destitute
after their properties were seized by local officials from ZANU PF. This
includes the Connar family from Masvingo who were forced to flee their farm
earlier this month, after ZANU PF central committee member, Clemence
Makwarimba invaded the property. Makwarimba evicted the Connar family with
the help of violent youth militias who also beat up the farm’s workers.

Justice for Agriculture (JAG) told SW Radio Africa on Monday that there is a
visible drive to seize what is left of commercial land before elections are
called next year. JAG’s John Worsley-Worswick said the situation is
deteriorating rapidly, with ZANU PF governors leading the “final push” for
commercial land. Worsley-Worswick explained that ZANU PF governors are
running scared, after the MDC contested their unilateral appointment by
Robert Mugabe.

“This is the last crack of the whip, because they know time could be running
out to grab what they can,” Worsley-Worswick said.

Worsley-Worswick added that another family has been left destitute in the
past week in Chegutu, where a local official has used hired youth militia to
forcibly evict Dirk and Heidi Visagie. The couple, who are South African
citizens, have been fighting off land invaders since 2001. This is despite
the existence of a bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPPA) between
Zimbabwe and South Africa that is meant to protect South African farmers
from land attacks in Zimbabwe.

Earlier this month, the couple won a High Court order offering them further
protection, but the total disregard for the rule of law in Zimbabwe has
continued, leaving them open to attack. JAG’s Worsley-Worswick explained
that the family have been left with absolutely nothing. He said there has
been no word from South African authorities, despite the BIPPA, saying that
the agreement and others like it “account for very little when commercial
land is still available for seizure.”

This comes as a German company has been trying to stop the illegal seizure
of a Mazowe farm, which is also meant to be protected by a BIPPA. The
property has been taken over by Daniel Chirume, who claims he has an offer
letter for the property. The company, Forrester Estate (PVT) Ltd, is also
seeking to stop Chirume from taking 200 head of cattle, 50 hectares of
irrigated tobacco, 50 hectares of maize and 10 hectares of peas.

“This occupation was done without our consent, neither did the respondent
(Mr Chirume) have a court order authorising him to do so. In any event no
court order has been obtained for our eviction,” said Forrester Estate


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