Fresh farm invasions in Zimbabwe
By Eddie Cross
On Tuesday in the Chipinge Magistrates Court 4 major farmers were given 24 hours notice to leave their farms. Up to 10 000 head of cattle are involved including the last remaining major pedigree Brahman herd in the country.
Also in jeopardy is the major source of milk for the Chipinge Dairy of the Dairibord. All are individuals who would qualify for protection under the recently signed Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement with South Africa. All have been on these farms for most of the past century.
This act confirms the intention of the State to ethnically cleanse the farming districts of remaining farmers. It reinforces the flagrant disregard for the basic rights of these farmers and violates the principle of security of tenure and assets.
All the farms are highly productive and are occupied by farmers who, in 1980 set out to bring healing to their district – one of the hardest hit in the liberation war, with 50 per cent of all farmers killed, by opening discussions with local war veterans and undertaking – on their own volition and at their expense, the resettlement of new farmers in the District.
It was at their initiative that the Commonwealth Development Corporation established a large scheme for small scale dairy production and much expanded coffee production. In response the State established the Chipinge long life milk plant there at a cost of US$20 million with the assistance e of the Dutch Government – all of this is now in jeopardy.
These farmers are being forced to leave their farms, standing crops and plantations and their livestock. The value of these assets runs to tens of millions of dollars.
This is an act of legal vandalism of the highest order.