Stop farm invasions

HARARE - The Zanu PF government must now put a halt to a spate of fresh farm invasions by their supporters.

The government must evict squatters who have occupied white-owned farms amid increasing violence in Matabeleland and Masvingo.

If nothing is done now, this could lead to bloodshed.

Elsewhere in this edition, we report agitated farm workers in Figtree that have been evicted by the deputy chief secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula, threatening to take matters into their own hands.

Dartnelly Farm, lying about 45km South West of Bulawayo, was invaded on August 1 by violent Zanu PF youths under the command of Ndhlukula, who grabbed the farm from white commercial farmer David Connolly.

When the Daily News crew visited the farm yesterday, about 125 workers were waving placards denouncing Ndhlukula’s decision to invade the 1 200-hectare farm. The workers, who are now huddled in a tractor garage at a nearby farm, told the Daily News that they were stranded.

The mantra by Zanu PF that the farm invasions were essentially a political matter, part of the “unfinished business” of Zimbabwe’s liberation war against Ian Smith’s illegal white-minority regime, cannot go unchallenged at a time the country desperately pines for foreign direct investment.

Right now the country is in the throes of a debilitating economic recession characterised by a biting liquidity crunch and deflation. This is a time the rule of law must be upheld.

We have lost funding from the IMF and World Bank after a row over economic mismanagement. Western governments have cut bilateral aid, banks have suspended commercial credit, Zimbabwe’s foreign reserves have been exhausted and the country has been hit by serious crises.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF government has also become engaged in a war of words with Western governments over violation of bilateral treaties protecting farms.

Does government hope to re-engage Western governments and earn budgetary support when it does not want to respect property rights? 

Mugabe has repeatedly expressed his support for the farm occupations, and has increased the tension by telling white Zimbabweans that they should leave the country if they are not prepared to give up their land. To back down now would be seen as another, big personal humiliation.

But the alternative, ignoring the law, would be even more damaging.  Thousands of veterans of the 1970s war against white minority rule have invaded the majority of the country's 4 500 commercial farms. The veterans have demanded land they say was stolen by the British from their forefathers in the 1890s.
The liberation war veterans continue to grab more land.

Comments (1)

No rule of law in Zimbabwe. Property rights continue to be disregarded. Farm invasions will continue & so will the speedy decline of the economy.Destruction of commercial farming to redress colonial land imbalances seriously reduced gvt revenue base but who cares. ''THIS IS ZIMBABWE FOR BLACK ZIMBABWEANS.'' All whites should leave. 'What self-destruction!!'

KUTAMBURA - 20 August 2014

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