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.***

Farmers arrested after ZanuPF led land invasion

Farmers arrested after ZANU PF led land invasion

By Alex Bell
02 February 2011

Two farmers from Makoni South were finally released from jail on Wednesday,
after being arrested while trying to stop the illegal invasion of their farm
by ZANU PF members and war vets.

Paul Grobler and his father who co-own Geluk farm in Nyazura, were arrested
late Monday night after a gang of land invaders forced their way onto the
property earlier in the day. The group, led by the son of a CIO operative
and a known ZANU PF official, broke down the farm gates and threatened the
farmers, saying they were there to harvest the farm’s crops.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Deon Theron told SW Radio
Africa that tensions on the property have been building for several days. He
said the farmers have been trying to keep the gang of land invaders off the
farm since last Friday, even warning police that they were facing a tense
situation. But the police refused to do anything all weekend.

“When the thugs came on Monday, they were quite riled up. They’d been
drinking and brewing for a couple of days,” Theron said.

The MDC MP for Makoni South, Pishai Muchauraya, told SW Radio Africa that
the Groblers were forced to fire warning shots into the air, causing the
land invaders to flee. But later that night, soldiers and riot police
returned to the farm and arrested the farmers, accusing them of ‘attempted

Muchauraya said the incident proves that farm attacks have nothing to do
with ‘land reform’, explaining how these kinds of invasions always happen
during the harvest period. The MP said the attacks are more about greed,
“masterminded by ZANU PF and the CIO.”

“This is nothing to do with land reform. This is ZANU PF violence, ZANU PF
arrogance and ZANU PF stubbornness,” Muchauraya said.

The Groblers remained locked behind bars all day Tuesday and were set to
appear before a Rusape magistrate on Wednesday morning. Their case was
referred to later in the day, but the pair was finally released in the
afternoon. The CFU’s Theron told SW Radio Africa that the magistrate saw no
merit in the state’s case against the farmers, and released them without

Theron also expressed concern that these kinds of attacks will begin to
intensify, warning that “it’s the kind of build up we see before elections.”

The country is waiting for elections to be called, amid rumours that Robert
Mugabe will call a snap election soon. His partners in the unity government
want elections only when the constitutional reform process is complete, but
increased political violence and the deployment of militia across the rural
areas points to a different agenda. Mugabe and ZANU PF have for years used
illegal land seizures as a benefit scheme, rewarding party loyalists with
land stolen under the guise of ‘land reform’.

The CFU’s Theron meanwhile said the most disturbing part of the land attacks
is the selective application of the law, warning that “we are once again
going into a phase where the law is being broken and no one will do anything
about it.”

The Groblers’ case clearly demonstrates this selective behaviour, with the
police only reacting to the situation to arrest the farmers. At the same
time, Theron is also set to appear in court in the coming weeks, charged
with theft, after removing his personal belongings from his farm that was
seized last year.

Theron has already lost three farms since 2000 and was living with his
mother Hester on her property. In 2009 the elderly widow was threatened with
a jail term for refusing to leave her dairy farm and home of 50 years. She
was eventually granted a court interdict that stopped her eviction and was
meant to protect her from the ‘beneficiary’ of her property. But the
harassment against Theron and his mother has continued despite the court
order, and they have been locked out of their home since last year. Theron
said on Wednesday that he still has equipment and personal possessions on
the property that he can’t access.

“I’ve now been charged with theft for getting the stuff that belongs to me,”
Theron said. “The situation is crazy, because we are the ones being dragged
before the courts but the people actually stealing our land, nothing happens
to them.”


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