Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Robert Mugabe seizes former Rhodesian PM’s family farm

Robert Mugabe seizes former Rhodesian PM’s family farm

Former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith’s farm in central Zimbabwe has 
finally been taken from his family by Robert Mugabe’s officials.

By Peta Thornycroft, Johannesburg4:00PM GMT 06 Dec 2012

Mr Mugabe’s lands ministry has given Gwenoro farm, where Rhodesia’s last 
white minority leader lived with his family for nearly 50 years, to a small 
technical college in Zimbabwe’s midlands.

It was on this farm in Shurugwi, about 140 miles south west of Harare, that 
Mr Smith’s ashes were scattered after his death in Cape Town five years ago.
His long-time farm manager, Owen Jarman, said: “The two adjoining farms were 
taken about 10 years ago, but we all hoped this one, the small home farm, 
would survive.

“But it didn’t and we were told in September we must go and so that is what 
we are doing.”

Mr Smith bought Gwenoro, which means “place of the kudu”, in 1948, the year 
he won a parliamentary seat for the Rhodesia Front party which claimed it 
would preserve white rule.

Mr Jarman managed the 4,000-acre cattle ranch when the former prime minister 
went to live in Harare after his wife died in 1994. Mr Smith left Zimbabwe 
after the death of his only child, Alec, in 2006, moving to Cape Town to be 
near his stepchildren.

Mr Jarman said he is packing up the farm, trying to sell off some of the 
assets such as cattle, and paying retrenchment packages to long-time 
“There are about 10 workers who lived here and worked for Mr Smith for many 
years. His former gardener, Moroi Chata has nowhere to go and is very old 
and frail and I am appealing to the authorities to provide him with a home.”

Mr Smith declared independence from Britain in 1965, leading to a civil war 
that ended with a settlement ahead of the first non-racial elections in 
1980, won by Mr Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Some 4,000 white farmers in Zimbabwe have had their land and homes taken by 
Mr Mugabe’s supporters in seizures that began in 2000.
Mr Jarman said he has told Mr Smith’s stepchildren, Robert and Jean, that 
the farm has been seized. “They were sad to hear this news,” he said, “but 
have not been back here since they scattered his ashes.”


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