Zim White Farmers Appeal For Protection
This follows the gruesome murder of a Mvurwi white tobacco farmer Colin Zietsman by two black assailants who invaded his family home in the early hours of Friday and further beat up his wife Tinks, leaving her for dead.
“Our farmers are being subjected to constant threats, intimidation, extortion, theft, eviction, violence and murder and the courts and services that we turn to for protection and assistance are offering none,” Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Charles Taffs said to journalists on Monday afternoon.
“We therefore ask our government to immediately intervene and return order and security to the farming sector.”
Taffs accused the police and the courts of allowing the harassment of its members saying this has had negative effects on the country’s starving population.
The CFU boss linked Zietsman’s murder to continued statements by political leaders that the country was heading towards elections next year.
“Every time there is mention of an election we become the targets, it has happened since 2000 and its happening again now,” he said.
He added, “There are so few whites in still occupying farms at the moment. What is the purpose of this persecution? To me this is racial in nature and its got to stop. We are asking for the government to intervene.”
Taffs also said the unity government has failed to protect CFU members from political persecution.
“After the Global Political Agreement (GPA), there was a new sense of hope that some stability would be established. It has not happened. This inclusive government has had no effect in protecting our farmers or their assets.”
According to the CFU,22 commercial farmers have died in the hands of marauding Zanu (PF) supporters in the beginning of the violent land grab in 2000 with no single conviction on the perpetrators having been done.
Since the land reform programme started only 300 out of 4500 commercial farmers still remain on their land.
Meanwhile a young female commercial farmer, Tarin Harvey was last week invaded and chased from her late parents’ Esmnyangeni farm in Shangani by Bulawayo based Zanu (PF) activist and businessman, Joseph Tayali.
Harvey told Radio VOP on Monday that following her eviction from the farm she has already moved her cattle and some of her equipment out of the property.
“My parents who are all late left this farm to me. This farm was my only livelihood since I am a single mother and have no relatives in the country. I have no one to protect me,” she said.
Harvey said her farm was never designated by government for compulsory acquisition since she had already surrendered some of the farms which her parents left her.
“Tayali just came and told me to leave the farm. I was never served with acquisition papers and the farm was never gazetted in terms of section five for compulsory acquisition,” said Harvey almost in tears.
Harvey said before she moved out of the farm last week she had been receiving threatening messages. One of the threatening messages which originated from an Econet number- 0713662783 and shown to Radio VOP reads in part “We want some shares from your business as Zimbabwe empowerment. We want to meet you for signing agreement very soon. Tell your workers to listen to our demands .JJB”
The other message from the same Econet number read: ”Will let you know when we want but very soon. Don’t make mistake my youth are watching.”(sic).
One of the messages demanded Harvey to dispose her cattle at a cheaper price. Harvey’s farm manager. Rixson Kangwena on Monday also received threatening text messages from the same Econet number.
“We have reported all these threatening messages to Fort Rixson police station but no action has been taken so far,” she said.
When reached for comment Tayali denied taking over Esmnyangeni farm.
“There is now way I can take that farm because I have got my own farm in the same area which I was allocated in 2002.That farm which your are referring to was allocated to a certain war veteran and the white lady is leasing that farm. Anyway why do want to protect white people you people,” he said.