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.***

ZanuPF wants only 10 white farmers in province

ZANU PF wants only 10 white farmers in province

by Own Correspondent Monday 17 May 2010

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reform programme assumed a new twist last week amid reports that only 10 white farmers would be allowed to remain in the country’s Mashonaland Central province under a new plan hatched by hardliners from President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party in the province.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), which represents the interests of the besieged Zimbabwean white farmers, said some of its members were being invited to “a provincial centre” where they are informed of the decision to allow them to continue farming.

“The week before last we had picked up information that some farmers were being called in to a provincial centre to be formally advised that they were to be one of the ten farmers who were allegedly to remain and continue farming in each district of that particular province,” a union spokesperson said last week.

Sources said the province in question was Mashonaland Central which has some of the best agricultural land in the country but has also seen some of the worst cases of violence linked to the seizure of white-owned farms.

“This news was of course received with some relief by some and with some scepticism by others, particularly as we are aiming towards a moratorium being declared on evictions and prosecutions as part of the land audit which will hopefully be taking place in the not too distant future,” the spokesperson said.

The CFU has a pending Supreme Court application in which it is seeking an order calling for a moratorium on the ongoing prosecutions and evictions of white farmers by Mugabe’s supporters.

The union wants an order suspending ongoing prosecutions and criminal proceedings against several of its members accused of allegedly contravening Section 3(3) of the Gazetted Land Act.

The union contends that the prosecutions are “invalid and of no force” and violate the constitutional rights of the farmers.

The Attorney General’s Office has in recent months stepped up prosecution of white farmers it claims are refusing to vacate land acquired by the government for purposes of redistribution to land less blacks.

This is despite the fact that the Southern African Development (SADC) Tribunal ruled in 2008 that the government’s land reform programme is discriminatory and illegal under the SADC Treaty to which Zimbabwe is signatory.

Hordes of ZANU PF supporters, so-called war veterans and members of the army and police stepped up farm invasions almost immediately after the formation of the inclusive government in February 2009.

Commercial farmers’ organisations say invaders have since raided at least 150 of the about 300 remaining white-owned commercial farms, a development that has intensified doubts over whether the unity government will withstand attempts by ZANU PF hardliners to sabotage it.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has ordered the arrest and prosecution of the farm invaders but his word is largely ignored with farmers reporting continuing invasions of their properties and disruption of farming

The International Monetary Fund and Western countries have – on top of other conditions – made it clear that they would not consider giving aid to the Harare government while farm invasion continue.

Zimbabwe has since 2000, when land reforms began, relied on food imports and handouts from international food agencies mainly due to failure by resettled black peasants to maintain production on former white farms. – ZimOnline


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