Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

The Rule of Law in Africa

By Eddie Cross

At a meeting in Harare yesterday Mr. Mugabe stated quite clearly, that the persons responsible for the murder of white Zimbabwean farmers during the land invasions would “never be prosecuted”. Tens of thousands of people who were members of Zapu and lived in the south west of the country were murdered, beaten, raped, tortured and harassed between 1983 and 1987 during a campaign that Mr. Mugabe named “Gukurahundi” or the storm that “washes clean”. Over a million-people fled the genocide and moved to South Africa and Botswana. Not a single person has been prosecuted for any of these crimes.

Young victims of Operation Murambatsvina
Young victims of Operation Murambatsvina

During the campaign that Mr. Mugabe called “Murambatsvina”, which roughly translated means getting rid of the “rubbish”, another 1,2 million people were displaced in 2005, this time from informal settlements around the towns and dumped in the bush hundreds of kilometers from town in the middle of winter. Thousands died of exposure and hunger. Their only crime was to vote against the Zanu PF Party of Mr. Mugabe.

In the seventeen years since the MDC mounted its campaign to get Zimbabwe back to its former status as a democratic State, over 6 000 of its leaders and members have been the subject of abduction and in many cases, never seen again. MDC has records implicating over 2 000 Zanu PF leaders and officers working for the security services which clearly record killings and gross human rights abuse. We have recorded over 700 murders of MDC leaders and the numbers imprisoned and beaten or tortured must run into thousands. So many have been hospitalized that we have an organisation that is solely dedicated to helping these victims with medical expenses.

In our first campaign in 2000, two young activists were burned alive in their vehicle while campaigning for Mr. Tsvangirai. Their killers were known and the case against them irrefutable – one was a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation – they were never arrested and charged. MDC tracked the CIO Officer for 15 years until he died of natural causes – as the leader of the duo he was promoted several times.

In my own case, I made a statement in the House of Assembly as a sitting member of Parliament in 2012 and was threatened in the House by a senior Zanu PF Member, then followed the next day for 150 kilometers, where four young members of the CIO threatened me and stated in front of my wife that “they could shoot me at any time and nothing would happen to them”. I laid a complaint with the police, identified all four with their ID and force numbers and the Bases from which they came – nothing, no investigation, no action.

The following is a list of white Zimbabwean farmers killed during the farm invasions: 

FARM MURDERS SINCE 2000

1. David Stephens 15 April 2000
2. Martin Olds 18 April 2000
3. Allan Stewart Dunn 7 May 2000
4. Henry Swan Elsworth 12 December 2000
5. John Weeks 14 May 2000
6. Tony Oates 31 May 2000
7. Willem Botha 23 July 2000
8. Gloria Olds 4 March 2001
9. Robert Fenwick Cobbet 6 August 2001
10. Terrence Ford 18 March 2002 (remember the little dog curled up against his body)
11. Thomas Samson Bayley 1 May 2002
12. Charles Anderson 2 June 2002
13. Pieter Silverton January 2004
14. Ole Sunde 6 February 2005
15. Donald Stewart 26 November 2005
16. Phillip Tenant 1 April 2006
17. Mary Austen 17 November 2008
18. Bob Vaughan Evans 7 July 2009
19. Ray van Rensburg 16 July 2009
20. Sophia Hart 29 August 2009
21. Kobus Joubert 26 October 2010
22. Lourens Abrams Korsten 28 February 2011 (Assaulted 31 December 2010)
23. Mike Campbell 6 April 2011 
24. Colin Zietsman 2 September 2011
25. Keith Nicholson 14 September 2011 
26. Bobby Ervine 8 April 2012 (Assaulted on 2 October 2011) 
27. Catherine Francis 14 May 2014 (Assaulted on 10 May 2014)
28. Malcolm Francis 20 May 2014 (Assaulted on 10 May 2014)

What is not recognized very often is that 78 black Zimbabweans who were farm managers were also murdered during this period. Many were friends that I had known and worked with for many years. All fine men and women, completely dedicated to their farms and families and staff. The Constitution of the Country, crafted in London by the Foreign Office and endorsed by all the national leaders of southern Africa and by all Zimbabwean leaders, guaranteed property rights, security of person and the rule of law. It had been amended 19 times but these rights were untouched.

Since Independence in 1980, it was the commercial farmers who drove economic growth with output rising on average by 15 per cent per annum during the first 18 years. Increasingly they were being joined by black farmers and by 1997 some 1200 of the 6000 farmers that existed at Independence in 1980, were black. They employed a third of the national workforce, enjoyed no subsidies of any kind and generated half our exports. 60 per cent of local industry was dependent on them for markets or raw material. They were recognized as being among the most productive farmers in the world, holding world records in yields and advanced conservation techniques. Zimbabwe was totally self-sufficient in almost all foodstuffs at prices that were the envy of our neighbors.

Then they made a mistake – they voted for the opposition in 2000 and the gates of hell opened. In the next 5 years the infrastructure built up and paid for by the farmers was destroyed. 25 000 tractors of 75 horse power or more were stolen. 300 000 hectares of irrigation were destroyed, the equipment from transformers to pumps to pipelines, torn up and sold for scrap. 3 million head of beef cattle and hundreds of thousands of other animals including wild animals were slaughtered for consumption. 23 thousand homesteads and 350 000 staff houses were taken and in most cases burnt or vandalized. Farm buildings worth hundreds of millions were destroyed. 10 000 farm dams, built by the farmers themselves were left full and idle, many breaching when no maintenance was carried out.

In 10 years Zimbabwe crashed, in 2008 our inflation was doubling prices every three hours, three quarters of our population was on food aid, nearly all food was being imported and employment had crashed to just 10 per cent of all adults – 70 per cent in the Civil Service. The great majority of the farms taken over by force were derelict and abandoned – a third of our banks went into liquidation. We had 150 000 cases of Cholera, 60 000 cases of Tuberculosis and 50 000 cases of Malaria. One third of our population had fled the country and another 3 million had died of causes from malnutrition to starvation and exposure.

And this is all about the rule of law. Today Mrs. Mugabe, that disgrace of a “First Lady” has been allowed by the Zuma Government to leave the country after she committed a crime in Sandton and was being sought by the Police. She left from the same Military base outside Pretoria where the President of Sudan had been allowed to leave South Africa after a warrant of arrest had been issued against him. This shows total distain by the South African leadership for the rule of law and the belief that leaders are above the law. In this context Mr. Mugabe’s comment about the fact that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe will “never” be prosecuted takes on special significance.

We may mourn for everyone on that list above, but in fact we should be mourning for all of Africa, because it is everyone who suffers when there is no rule of law and I am afraid, that applies today to much of the Continent and perhaps more than anything, this explains our poverty and deprivation.

Eddie Cross
Harare 15th August 2017

  • Ndezvake izvo.

  • old wounds let leave it .whats the way forward

  • People should repent of their sins now, lest we forget that hell is real.That day God will purify the earth by getting rid of any evil. Aaah , killing humans as if you own them,Shame Africa!

  • Akula last esingena khona thina safelwa sitshiyeni sinjalo u cnt bring back the dead

  • we ddnt prosecute ana coltart ma selous scouts or anyone in the smith regime. so yes no to prosecution let’s move forward

    • You must be one of the murderers being protected.

    • dont care abt the opinion of machete wielding ndeveres like u

    • Tambai zvakanaka

    • Mm now it’s about Ndebeles?.Thought it’s about criminals who committed crimes whether Shona or Ndebele.

    • the moment u branded me a killer without knowing me, il also label u. no wonder u r bitter

    • remove that little knife in yr pocket

    • You gave me the reason to brand you when you supported protection of criminals.A normal person will not want criminals to get away with crime especially murder.

    • David Coltart was not a Selous Scout so stop with the lies! We are so tired of it!

    • At the end of the bush war amesty was granted to both sides. Gurukahudi and the murder of farmers was a different matter!

    • Spot on

  • so he is not only a racist but a genocidal murderer—vote him back in just to stick it to the west and let your country suffer

  • So does these two kids on the photo have anything to do with gukurahundi?

  • Were Ian Smith and General Peter Walls prosecuted?

  • Start arresting anyone associated with the Smith regime they’re all over the world living large then go for anyone who you consider to have committed human rights crimes, Smith and his people commited crimes of humanity but are the first to raise their voices about mugabe nxaaaaaaaa

  • Yes I myself blame the Gukurahundi we lost relatives and our loved ones but as for Eddie cross he must shutup whites were treating our elders like slaves he is crying for a small number of white people what about blacks the whites killed and they didnot allow blacks to move freely in our own country now its painful because it was you whites shutup cross go back to your motherland!!it may be you whites who caused that massacre mairambidza vanhu kuswika kunana fourth street maiti zvopera nei just compare the mass graves you have caused compared to below 20whites who were murdered now you mention gukurahundi to get hearts of pple from this region NXAA

  • This madala is so evil eiiiix,to him asloong ur not a zanu pf supporter to him ,ur noting ,it means hes behind all the killings in this country,but mark my words he ll soon leave us

  • Gukirahundi ndo campaign here ndosaka muchidyiwa

  • Let’s hear it from someone else not Eddie Cross. You belong to a more guilty brood of vipers. Rather preach forgiveness because if the chapters of our bygone era were to be reopened, you and your lot would have nowhere to hide. Please don’t open old wounds.

    • Will it make a difference if I said it???

    • Mqoe SelalamaCd Dube nop…u would have betrayed your own kind…..and unfortunately u will be licking the a€€s of people who wanted and still want your kind off this planet

    • Forgiving yes but prosecution must .

  • This Eddie Cross must just Shut up or shut down whicheva way he likes..vamwe vese can complain not Eddie cross nxaaa

  • Dear Mr Cross….who ever wants to run a prosecutin of the land related cases..must start with u amd your grand fathers…..All that ill gotten wealth u inheritted is from past crimes, worse than what we can imagine…so u shouldnt be allowed to enjoy it freely.

  • during the smith regime, black pple were killed n raped and they were no prosecutions made, so what’s the fuss all about… let them live freely..

  • Whites must be arrested first and leave Gukurahunde victims

  • Eddie cross go to hell your kinsmen including you have killed many of our people and who prosecuted you?

  • Whites bombed blacks in chimoi Mozambique and killed mbuya nehanda but no white person was prosecuted.

  • The hate speech on here is unacceptable!

  • LOUD SOUNDING NOTHING……..CROSS

  • These issues belong to different constitutions. What is in our current constitution can not be used for third and second chimurenga unless if they are not disputing corresponding areas

  • Were colonial oppressors such as Ian Smith and Peter Walls ever prosecuted over their brutal murder of innocent black people?

  • NJA

    No Rule of Law on the African continent . One Rule that those in Leadership positions their families and bootlickers get away with it and some go further to hide behind diplomatic immunity if they commit a crime and the Other Law is for the ordinary person if they commit a crime they get prosecuted it needs members of civil society and human rights organisationto readress this