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.***

Zim farm murder ‘not mere robbery’

Zim farm murder ‘not mere robbery’

By Alex Bell
08 September 2011

The President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has said that the recent 
murder of an Mvurwi farmer last week was not the result of “mere robbery”, 
saying something urgently needs to be done to protect the country’s 
remaining commercial farmers.

CFU head Charles Taffs told SW Radio Africa that the death of Colin Zietsman 
in his home last Friday has shocked the commercial farming community “who 
have been left very unsure over what to do next.”

Zietsman was beaten to death in the early hours of last Friday morning by 
two men, who also beat up his wife Tinks, after demanding money from the 
couple. The motive for the attack has not been clear. But Taffs said that he 
doesn’t believe it is just robbery.

“The brutality of the attack shows you that this wasn’t mere robbery. This 
is part of the larger problem, in that farmers continue to face violence, 
threats, harassment, persecution, all with total impunity,” Taffs said.

He explained that at least 22 farmers have been killed since the start of 
Robert Mugabe’s land grab campaign in 2000, “and not a single person has 
been brought to book over the murders.” Hundreds of farmers have also fled 
the country, while it’s believed that at least two million farm workers and 
their families have been left with nothing over the past decade.

Taffs then continued by saying that the persecution of the farming community 
has continued unabated, with three farmers in the Midlands evicted off their 
properties this week alone.

“The situation is that farmers continue to be persecuted and prosecuted. We 
have about 152 farmers in court fighting for an appeal against their 
eviction. But the evictions aren’t happening according to the court, its all 
happening outside of the law,” Taffs said.

The CFU head also said that it was “no surprise” that the country is in such 
dire economic straits, explaining how lines of credit for the agriculture 
sector have slammed shut in recent weeks.”

“Of course no one is going to lend into this environment. So it means that 
the suffering of the country is prolonged,” Taffs said.

He said that they have appealed to the government, repeatedly, to intervene, 
explaining that “as long as this continues the agriculture sector will never 
recover.” He said a moratorium on the land invasions must be put in place 

“But the government is totally silent,” Taffs said.

He added: “Our farmers are being subjected to constant threats, 
intimidation, extortion, theft, eviction, violence and murder, and no one is 
protecting us, not the police, not the courts, not even our government.”


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