Renewed anxiety and uncertainty have gripped sections of the farming community following remarks by President Robert Mugabe and other senior officials that government would kick out the remaining white farmers.
Mugabe made the remarks while celebrating his 91st birthday in Victoria Falls two weeks ago, following in the footsteps of other senior government officials, among them Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who have recently threatened white farmers. Mugabe also warned white-owned safaris could also be soon invaded by his supporters.
Commercial Farmers Union director Hendrik Oliver said statements by senior government officials were creating anxiety while also driving new farm invasions, especially in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.
“There is a lot of renewed anxiety on the farms, and after these statements, we expect an increase in land invasions. The invasions have been taking place in particular areas, and over the weekend (almost a fortnight ago) a farmer was evicted from Ledbury Farm in Bindura,” he said.
“We are continuing to engage high offices in government and the police to assist our members, but we hope the invasions come to an end soon to allow farmers to concentrate on agriculture. It is very difficult to plan for the future and invest when you are not sure how long you will be on the farm.”
Some white farmers are under threat after being accused of supporting former vice-president Joice Mujuru and her allies.
In some areas, Zanu PF activists are reportedly going around farms, especially in Mashonaland East, threatening farmers whom they believe were being protected by Mujuru and her allies.
The land invasions disturbances are occurring despite government last month advising white farmers to apply for 99-year leases to avoid losing their land.
CFU members met Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora to discuss how farmers can operate without interruptions.
Mombeshora told the farmers that all farming land belonged to the state and asked farmers to apply through the district and provincial structures to get 99-year leases to enable them operate without disturbances.
Section 72 of the Zimbabwean constitution, which deals with rights to agricultural land, empowers the government to acquire agricultural land for a public purpose, which may include for resettlement for agriculture, land re-organisation, forestry, environmental conservation among other purposes.