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White farmers living in ‘constant fear’

The few remaining white commercial farmers say they are living in constant fear after repeated legal and political overtures failed to stop violent evictions, farmer representatives have said.

Charles Taffs, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Vice President told the Zimbabwe Independent that the eviction of white farmers had intensified over the past 10 days, further threatening Zimbabwe’s fragile food security.

Zimbabwe was producing less than 10 000 tonnes of wheat –a third of national requirements — because of lack of security of tenure caused by evictions and electricity blackouts, Taffs said.

“The pressure on the farmers is countrywide and it is very well planned with even the police themselves largely involved in the evictions. Farmers are living in constant fear for their lives due to the harassment,” said Taffs.

“The only thing we can do is to put pressure through the courts. We have tried to negotiate with the GNU but this has failed. We are appealing to the principals that we need to put Zimbabwe back on track, the situation is absurd.”

Chairman of Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance, Christopher Jarrett said police last week arrested Nyamandlovu farmer James Taylor and his son Matthew for remaining on his Cedor Park Farm which was allegedly acquired by the government.

Jarrett said this was despite an interim High Court order for the occupier of the farm, only identified as H Chiguru, to vacate the property until a final determination on the matter.

Jarrett said Taylor gave up his Shirville Farm alongside Cedor Park for resettlement and in return the notice under the Land Acquisition Act to acquire Cedor Park was withdrawn by the acquiring authorities.

Jerry said: “It therefore does not qualify as “State Land” in terms of Constitutional Amendment 17 which in any event has been struck down as illegal in terms of the rules of the Southern African Development Community Treaty.”

“Nevertheless the farm was invaded some months ago by one H Chiguru who proffered an offer letter which “authorised” him to occupy Shirville Farm.
He said Chiguru, who is occupying the farm, was in violation of an interim order that ordered him to vacate the property.

Police Superintendent Ngerazi and Assistant Inspector Monyera are accused of harassing Taylor and his son demanding to know why they have not vacated his farm as instructed by the police.

In Inyathi, farmers Goff Carbutt and 78-year-old Ed Grenfell Dexter were arrested last week and later taken to the Attorney-General’s office in Bulawayo where they were released without charge. The state said it could summon them to court later. They were however told they would not be allowed to return to their farms.

Jane Sharp, a Shamva farmer, and her husband were arrested and detained overnight at Shamva Police Station immediately after winning a court case allowing them to return to their farm and collect movable property.

In Marondera, a group of about 40 Zanu-PF youths allegedly looted and trashed the homestead of Helen Newmarch, who runs a small farm, seven kilometres from the Mashonaland East provincial capital.
“Commercial agriculture will never resuscitate itself under the current regime. No one will come and invest any money in agriculture with this instability that is happening,” Taffs said.


Wongai Zhangazha

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