Woe to those who plot evil
By Pius Wakatama
The lawless harassment and eviction of the owners of Kingston Deverill farm in Zimbabwe’s Centenary district, Mashonaland Central province, has come to our attention and we, the Christian Prophetic Voice of Zimbabwe, are deeply concerned that lawlessness should continue to cause such suffering to the people of Zimbabwe.
Approximately 20 police officials armed with AK-47 rifles arrived at the farm at dawn on January 29 2016 and proceeded to evict the elderly couple, Phillip and Anita Rankin, from their home.
Their lawyer Nyaradzo Maposa, and a pastor drove out to the farm to assist the Rankins, but were denied access to them by the police. The police could not, however, produce papers authorising the eviction to take place.
Despite this, the officers forced their way into the house and loaded much of the Rankins’ furniture and other household effects onto police lorries.
When Rankin read out Section 74 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, headed “Freedom from arbitrary eviction” which states that “no person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court…,” the officers merely laughed at him.
They then handcuffed the barefoot Rankin and drove him around for seven hours on the back of a police armoured personnel carrier, with his lawyer tailing him in another vehicle in order to make sure that he did not disappear.
Eventually Rankin was released well after dark without any charge but was unable to return to his home due to the police barring entry. Additionally, the police have stopped all work on the farm and the valuable crops the Rankins have grown cannot be harvested.
More than a 100 farm workers and their families will be left without jobs or any means of support if the Rankins are not allowed back. The Rankins have no other home or business or way of making a living and will now have a huge debt to repay if they continue to be prevented from reaping their crops.
The beneficiary of the farm is Sylvester Nyatsuro (45), a general practitioner who is originally from Zimbabwe but is now a British citizen. Nyatsuro is senior partner at The Willows Medical Centre in Nottingham and his wife, Veronica, is the practice manager.
In October last year, Veronica came to Rankin’s farm — with the support of the police — to drop off thugs whose role was to intimidate the Rankins relentlessly and force them off their land.
It is significant to note that, in a phone call to Veronica on January 25 2016, the UK-based pro-democracy group, Zimbabwe Vigil, was told by her that she was going to Zimbabwe the following day.
The eviction of the Rankins took place just three days later.
In view of Nyatsuro’s credentials and clearly successful career, we, the Christian Prophetic Voice of Zimbabwe, are surprised that a man of his stature in the medical field would also be content to steal a successful Zimbabwean farming operation from an elderly farming couple — and in the process, jeopardise his standing as a British citizen and doctor.
What makes this illegal farm grab so atrocious is that Rankin is a law-abiding Zimbabwean citizen, born in the country which he loves, and he has no other home to go to.
He did not inherit his farm, but bought it legally after our independence. His only crime is that God created him with a white-coloured skin.
We, the Christian Prophetic Voice of Zimbabwe, condemn in the strongest possible terms such lawlessness by the Zimbabwean police.
The rule of law is fundamental to God’s justice and the abandonment of the rule of law will usher in complete dictatorship or anarchy.
We call on Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to discipline his police officers for carrying out unlawful actions and to allow the Rankins and their workers free and undisturbed access to their homes and crops.
We call upon those who claim to be representatives of the church in Zimbabwe to speak prophetically to our government and to insist on God’s rule of law and justice in our county.
God will not hear our prayers, no matter how loud, unless we repent and desist from such sins as evicting law-abiding citizens from their homes just because they are white.
We would like to point out to the Zimbabwean authorities and to Nyatsuro following Biblical warning: “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellow man of his inheritance.” Micah 2:2.
We pray for the day in our beloved country, which has been deeply corrupted by this avaricious and power-hungry regime, when “Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree and no one will make him afraid.” Micah 4:4.