Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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legal costs of fighting Mugabe tales toll on white farmers

Legal costs of fighting Mugabe takes toll on white farmers

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09 March, 2010 05:35:00    Alexander Chigumira

Harare – The cost of mounting a legal challenge against Zimbabwe’s land reform programme is beginning to take a toll on the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), prompting the umbrella group for the country’s white farmers to issue an SOS to former members to rejoin the union.

A CFU official said the union wanted former members to return into the fold in a move meant to provide it with the “financial wherewithal” to mount an effective legal challenge of the country’s controversial land reform

The CFU was Zimbabwe’s strongest farmers’ body with a membership of more than 4,500 at its peak in the late 1990s but most of the members have left the organisation since 2000 after black farmers started moving onto the
farms as part of President Robert Mugabe’s land redistribution programme.

“While by far the majority of our previous membership are obviously no longer farming and fall into the lowest payment fee category, if all 4,500 previous members all come back on board we will have sufficient funds to
afford the intended cases which will after all assist everybody, especially in their bid for adequate compensation,” the official said.

The bulk of the dislodged white farmers have not been compensated for the loss of their properties, with Mugabe insisting that they should seek redress from Zimbabwe’s former colonial master Britain.

Groups of ZANU PF supporters, former freedom fighters as well as soldiers and police officers have stepped up farm invasions despite the formation of an inclusive government by Mugabe and arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai last year.

More than half the 300 remaining white-owned commercial farms have been seized since the former foes formed a coalition government in February 2009.  


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