Toronto – A white Zimbabwean farmer has reportedly fled to Canada after his farm was invaded by men “closely linked to high ranking politicians”.
According to CBC, Mark and his wife Danielle McKinnon together with their three children were forced to leave their farm by a local sheriff, court official and a group of men who were ready to evict them.
The McKinnons are part of larger evictions as thousands of other white farmers have been forcibly removed from their farms in the southern African country.
Reports indicated that at least 4000 farmers were evicted in the southern African country at the height of the country’s controversial land reform programme.
Reliving his experiences in his home country, Mark reportedly said that before he was evicted from his farm he was kidnapped in 2013 by a group with very high connections to ministers and government.
He said that the men had allegedly been promised land and “told to help themselves to farm plots close to Harare”.
He added that, he was violently attacked for hours, before the police arrived.
“They wouldn’t let me go… they wanted me to sign over a piece of paper saying that I allowed them to have a piece of the farm. I kept assuring them that I wasn’t the person to give land. [It] wasn’t my land anyway. It was state responsibility to give land,” Mark was quoted as saying.
According to reports President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.
Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.
The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation struggle.
Critics of the reforms have blamed the programme for low production on the farms as the majority of the beneficiaries lacked the means and skills to work the land.
Mugabe vowed in recent years that whites would never be allowed to own land in Zimbabwe, further adding that the few remaining white farmers “must go”.
The veteran leader claimed that Zimbabwe was “no country for whites” as far as land was concerned.