New law is the final straw

LAST week was a cataclysmic week in the history of Zimbabwe. It was cataclysmic not so much for the law that sailed through parliament without a hitch — we have come to expect it of our legislators that more and more draconian laws will be passed by them

for the sake of power — the week was cataclysmic more for the deafening silence that met it.


The senate will pass the Bill (it next sits on October 3) and then, after that, the president will sign it into law.


On that day, anyone on any land that has received a Section 5 notice sometime in the past six years will have 45 days to get out of his house and wind up his farming operation. If he does not, and he has no lease or offer letter, he will face criminal penalties that will involve up to two years’ imprisonment.


Not a single white man has a lease or an offer letter to my knowledge except perhaps the odd foreign non-Zimbabwean passport holder.


The silence appears to be all-encompassing. The legal fraternity, the press, farmers and their workers themselves, the church, the international community, businesses in town, the unions, opposition political parties, human rights groups, people that eat… all appear to have greeted the passing by parliament of this Bill with silence.


If the law takes its course, and it surely will, the last 400 or so white farmers and perhaps a hundred thousand workers and their families will be off the land. Many, if they try to stay, will be in jail. The ethnic cleansing will be complete.


What country in the world would greet a law which will deprive a certain racial group and their workers of their homes and livelihoods with such a silence? Imagine if it were the minority blacks in America or the Muslims in Europe who had built their homes and businesses in those countries and were having such a draconian law passed against them!


The effect of this new law in Zimbabwe will be to speed up the economic demise. Productivity will decrease. Food and forex will become scarcer. Investment, already at an all-time low, will shrink further. National infrastructure will fall further into disrepair. Schools and hospitals will deteriorate. Poverty will increase….but the party’s power base will be consolidated. The history of the past six years speaks for itself in this regard.


Like the last plums in the Christmas pudding, the farms will go to a few high ranking party faithful who will ingest and destroy them. These are the obvious results of this Bill that our country’s leaders are pushing through and that everyone else seems to be allowing to pass in silence.



Ben Freeth,


Harare.