Land Grab


The Malaysian government on Tuesday protested to Harare over the seizure by a former top army general of a Malaysian-owned banana farm in eastern Zimbabwe. Charge de Affairs at the Kuala Lumpur’s embassy in Harare, Mohamad Nizan Mohamad, told journalists in Harare that Vice President John Nkomo promised to take the matter to President Robert Mugabe – a friend of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. “The issue of our existing investments and how they have been affected was raised and the response was positive and encouraging,” Mohamad said after meeting Nkomo yesterday. “We were assured by the Vice President that our matter would be taken to the President.” Retired major general Edzai Chimonyo last January seized the banana farm in Burma Valley in the eastern Manicaland province, claiming he was allocated the property in 2006 under Mugabe’s controversial land reform programme. The banana farm is owned by Matanuska, a farming organisation owned by Malaysian investors and is protected under a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement (BIPPA) between Harare and Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysians also own several other agro-business projects in Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces that has some of Zimbabwe’s best agricultural land. Mohamad said the Asian investors had made significant investment on the land and were planning to expand operations once the dispute over ownership of the banana farm was resolved. Mugabe’s chaotic and often violent programme to seize white-owned farm land for redistribution to landless blacks also saw several farms owned by foreigners and protected under bilateral trade agreements between Zimbabwe and other countries seized without compensation. The seizure of private land has raised questions about Zimbabwe’s commitment to uphold property rights as well as agreements entered with other countries. But the veteran Zimbabwean leader, who has in the past backed seizure of white-owned land including farms protected under bilateral agreements, will be caught in tight in spot over the Malaysian–owned farm given his perceived close ties to the Kuala Lumpur establishment.

Mugabe has not made secret his clearly improbable wish to turn Zimbabwe into the Malaysia of southern Africa. He has also regularly holidayed in the south east Asian country since the United States and European Union governments banned him and his top allies from their territories as punishment for stealing elections and failure to uphold the rule of law, democracy, human and property rights. Mugabe’s land reforms that he says were necessary to correct a colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and banished blacks to poor soils, are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food shortages after he failed to support black villagers resettled on former white farms with inputs to maintain production. In addition critics say Mugabe’s cronies in his Zanu PF party and the security establishment – and not ordinary peasants – benefited the most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as many as six farms each against the government’s stated one-man-one-farm policy.

(Source)

A Zimbabwean magistrate court on Tuesday gave four white farmers 24 hours to vacate their properties, the Commercial Framers Union (CFU) said on Tuesday.

The mainly white CFU, which last week criticised the power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for failing to end chaos in the farming sector, said the magistrate ruled that the four farmers were guilty of refusing to vacate their properties.

The union said the farmers were slapped with a US$800 fine each and ordered to immediately move out of their homes and vacate their farms by Wednesday (today) evening – in a ruling that highlights worsening fortunes for Zimbabwe’s white farmers who have also come under increased attacks from Mugabe’s supporters since formation of the coalition government.

The evicted farmers are Algernon Taffs of Chirega Farm, Dawie Joubert of Stilfontein, Mike Odendaal of Hillcrest Farm, Mike Jahme of Silverton Farm – all from the south eastern district of Chipinge.

According to the CFU, the magistrate said if the four failed to vacate their properties as ordered by the court they would spend the next two years in jail and the union indicated that the farmers were preparing to appeal against the eviction orders.

“Under the Constitution of Zimbabwe everyone has the right to appeal but the magistrate denied them this right saying there was no doubt in his judgment. Urgent applications are currently taking place in Harare on behalf of the evicted farmers,” the CFU said, adding; “The farmers are desperately moving their life’s belongings into the local Dutch Reformed Church for safety.”

The unity government of Mugabe and Tsvangirai has watched helplessly as members of the security forces and hardliner activists of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party intensified in recent weeks a drive to seize all land still in white hands, causing deep frustration among the farmers.

The beleaguered white farmers, in a strongly worded statement last week labelled the ongoing farm seizures a “crime against humanity” and called on the coalition government to act to end lawlessness on farms in keeping with the 2008 power-sharing agreement that gave birth to the administration.

Under the power-sharing agreement Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who is third signatory to the pact, promised to restore the rule of law in the farming sector, including carrying out a land audit to weed out multiple farm owners – nearly all of them senior ZANU PF officials who have hoarded most of the best farms seized from whites.

The coalition government is yet to act to fulfil the promise to restore law and order in the key agricultural sector, while more farms – including some owned by foreigners and protected under bilateral investment protection agreements between Zimbabwe and other nations – have been seized over the past few months.

And to make matters worse, according to the CFU, police and judicial officers who are supposed to enforce the rule of law were also among the beneficiaries of the free-for-all land grab.

(Source)

While the campaign to drive white farmers from their farms intensifies, the Zimbabwean government is giving 100 000ha of land to controversial South African businessman Billy Rautenbach.

The land will be used to grow sugar cane which will be converted into bio-fuel.

“It’s an absolute disgrace, when we’re being driven off our farms like dogs – farms which produce food for Zimbabwe,” Charles Taffs, deputy chair of the Zimbabwean Farmers’ Association told Beeld on Wednesday.

The Nuanetsi estate in the Masvingo province belongs to the Josua Nkomo trust and is not one of the farms which have been seized from white farmers since 2002.

“It’s a matter of principle, and not because Rautenbach is white or about white farmers. He has close ties with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. It’s all about money. Besides the loss of land for urgently needed agricultural production, over 10 000 people will be driven off the estate,” said Taffs.

Rautenbach will apparently invest over $1bn in the project through his company, Zimbabwe Bio-Energy. President Robert Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa, minister of defence, allegedly own shares in Rautenbach’s company.

A South African court has recently acquitted him of a string of criminal charges, in return for his testimony in the trial of former police commissioner, Jackie Selebi.

The decision to make the land available to Rautenbach has the support of deputy president, John Nkomo, who’s also one of the trustees.

However, it doesn’t carry the approval of all Zanu-PF supporters in Masvingo. The transfer of highly fertile soil is being opposed by the provincial leadership of Zanu-PF.

“We have to ask ourselves: where is black empowerment if we’re going to allow one white man to take over such a large piece of land?” said Lovemore Matuke, provincial chair of Zanu-PF, according to the Zimbabwe Times.

He’s supported by the governor of Masvingo, Titus Maluleke.

According to the government mouthpiece, The Herald, Nkomo said in reaction to the criticism that those who are opposed to Rautenbach’s role, are “witches who oppose the development of Masvingo. Billy [Rautenbach] is our friend and those who want to drive him off the farm, are MDC supporters.”

The MDC is opposed to the Rautenbach project as well.

A spokesperson for the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, on Wednesday said such a project “should only be considered after a comprehensive land audit has been completed in Zimbabwe“.

(Source)

Dear Friends and Family,

This is a copy of a report made to the South African Ambassador… that which we feared came upon us – another victim of the land invasion in Zimbabwe. Why the SA Ambassador? – Gavin and Kirk are both SA registered citizens and SA is part of the SADC group and just a few weeks ago SA and Zim signed an agreement in favour of the SA citizen farmers in Zim.

A friend (Kenyon Ziehl) was kicked off 3 weeks ago, then it was Raymond Finaughty on 24th Dec, then us and this morning they started at Dolph du Toit – there are 8 names mentioned – not good at all – the atmosphere among farmers is very thick – who is next?

Footage of our ordeal should be out worldwide in a matter of days…we had someone with a camera throughout the packing and the main thugs coming in and out of the home – Kirk had the worse time as he had the youth marching in and out as they pleased.

There will be names some of you will recognise…

The event started taking place here on the 24th of December 2009. We were at Mr Finaughty’s house helping him pack when Mr Graham Ross from Headlands contacted us and told us that we were targeted to be removed from the farm the next morning (Christmas Day). Fortunately nothing happened on the 25th, 26th and 27th. On the evening of the 28th, a young black man drove up to our gate on a motorcycle, saying that we are next and that they will be coming the next day (29th). The same young man and two other youth arrived on the farm on the 29th. They were heavily intoxicated, threatening that they have come to claim their farm and that we have to move off. Throughout the evening they drove up and down between the two houses causing a lot of commotion.

The next morning (30th) the 3 youth, stopped our workers from performing any work on the farm and sent them home. Mr Paul Grobbler, a family friend, met our lawyer, Mr Chigadza, at the Rusape Police station at 08h00. Mr Chigadza had a copy of the High Court Order that we received, stating that Mrs Agatha Mugomba, is legally in contempt of court should she return to the farm at any given time, which he handed to the Officer in Charge. The officer proceeded to inform them that this is a political issue and that they cannot get involved as he would lose his job should they intervene. We received word from Mr Finaughty that a team from JOMIC (Joint Monitoring & Implementation Committee – a combination of MDC T and M and ZANU PF) were on their way from Harare. During the morning the youth left the farm. The delegation arrived here at about 15h00 yesterday afternoon. We shared everything that has happened here at Msasa Farm with them in as much detail as possible. The JOMIC delegation left the farm at approximately 16h30. Soon after they left, the three youth returned to the farm. They had been at the local beer hall and were highly intoxicated again. We managed to contact the JOMIC delegation that was almost at the tollgate on their way back to Harare. They managed to turn back and returned to Msasa farm to find the three youth here. The JOMIC team proceeded to talk to the three youth to find out what their intentions were.

During the talks, Mrs Oppah Muchinguri (ZANU PF) was harassed by the three youth. A Silver Toyota Prado approached the scene. Mr Didymus Mutasa got out of the vehicle and greeted everyone that was present. Talks between him, the JOMIC delegation and us continued for a while. The talks became heated, at which stage Mr Mutasa proceeded towards his vehicle to leave. Mrs Muchinguri had a long discussion with Mr Mutasa after which he left. The delegation voiced their disappointment towards Mr Mutasa’s way of addressing the situation. They returned to Harare shortly after that. The youth remained on the farm. Shortly after sunset, the same Silver Toyota Prado drove up to our front gate, stood there for a while, and left the farm again. We noticed that the youth had left, but they returned just after 22h45 last night. One of the youth walked past the front gate straight to the transformer and switched off the main circuit breaker supplying our complex with electricity. We sat awake in total darkness last night, monitoring every movement by the youth. They calmed down just after 12 pm last night. At 04h15 one of the youth started driving around on the motorcycle again. At 07h15 the youth once again stated that we are not to start with work on the farm and that we have to negotiate with Mrs Mugomba about moving off the farm. We agreed to see her. She arrived here on Msasa farm at approximately 10h00 in Mr Mutasa’s Prado. Mr Mutasa and another lady accompanied Mrs Mugomba. My son and I went into my farm office with the abovementioned people. Mrs Mugomba was very straightforward and said that we have to get off the farm by 18h00 today. Mr Mutasa suggested that they go and discuss the issue and that they will only communicate with my son Kirk. During the meeting a person by the name Vashco arrived at the office as well. He is well known in the area for being the person who arranges all the youth to intimidate and cause chaos on the farms during the invasions. They all left peacefully. Later during the morning, Kirk got a phone call from Mr Mutasa stating that they had drawn up a proposal for us to consider and that Vashco will be brining it out to the farm himself.

Vashco arrived here on the farm just before 13h00. We met them down by the workshop. When we arrived there, Mrs Mugomba as well as two young gentlemen who did not want to disclose their identity or where they were from accompanied Vashco. They handed us a 3 page handwritten document with the conditions they were proposing. They eventually made it clear that if we don’t sign the document they would rally more youth in town and come and make life difficult for us. We managed to phone Mr Graham Ross who drove here from Headlands to help with the negotiations. He spent considerable time trying to reach an agreement. At about 15h00, Vashco and Mrs Mugomba told us that they give us till Saturday afternoon 15h00 to vacate the farm. The two gentlemen walked around our premises, making us open all our sheds, storerooms, workshops etc. The made an inventory of all the farm equipment including all 5 tractors, 4 trailers, 4 water carts, workshop tools, generators including our brand new 30 KVA, all farms implements including ploughs, harrows and irrigation pipes etc. They then continued to tell us that we could move our furniture and household goods, but that the rest belonged to Mrs Mugomba and that we could not take any of it.

Currently we are in the process of frantically arranging people to assist us in getting our goods off the farm. My son Kirk, and myself are both South African Citizens, and appeal for assistance in any form as soon as possible. We are desperate and we are not getting any assistance from the police force or any other source. Mrs Woest went with their lawyer to the sheriff of court. She paid him US $200 to activate the restraining High Court Order against Mrs Mugomba. The sheriff of court could not go to the farm as there were no police officers to accompany him out there.  Should we fail to meet the deadline, they are threatening us with violence.

My SA ID Number is: – 622/000633 issued 7 Feb 62

My son Kirk Woest’s ID: – 820521 5230 084

Yours truly,

Gavin Woest

2/1/10

From Mina -

Because I went to the cop station and someone there informed the youth I was there they confronted Gavin that night – calling him to the gate – and said ‘your wife was at the cop station in such and such a car and because of that your time has been brought forward by 24 hours. I felt terrible putting more pressure on my family.

1/1/10

At 7 am people started arriving to help pack up all our household goods. Kirk had a labour force team packing with him until 11.30 pm on 31st Dec so he was more ready than us.

It is such a long story but by 11 am we felt the tension rise to a point where we decided to not hang around longer than necessary.  We managed to get all our household goods off which is now stored in various places in our town.

Sadly!!!!!!!!! Gavin was not allowed to touch any of his workshop tools – my heart aches every time I think of it – it is what he could make a livelihood from, but the thugs decided differently. We will be perusing an avenue which could possibly allow him to go to the farm under Police escort (if they decide to do their job properly???) and get some of the tools off. The carpentry tools were also not allowed to be touched. They also swiped Kirk’s 250 motorbike.

We are living in a little complex in our town hoping for some direction to get some work in Harare… that is the thought today but tomorrow something else could come up. We leaving our options open.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2010 – we may have started off on a negative but believe it will climb to a very high positive.

Keep well

Lots of love and God bless

Gavin and Mina – Kirk as well.

(Source: via email)

Multinational Swiss food giant Nestle on Tuesday sought to allay fears that it had resumed purchasing “blood milk” from a farm owned by the wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, insisting that it was maintaining its stance of sourcing milk “exclusively from contracted farmers.”

The Swiss-based company, which courted controversy last year after it emerged that it was the main buyer of milk from a dairy farm owned by Grace Mugabe, denied reports that it had apparently agreed to a deal that could see it once again indirectly buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate.

A Nestle spokesperson said that it no longer had any direct or indirect ties with Gushungo farm.

“Nestle reiterates its commitment to source milk exclusively from its contracted farmers,” the spokesperson said.

Nestle Zimbabwe shut down its Harare factory in December following weeks of pressure from pro-Mugabe militias and empowerment groups to resume purchases of milk from a dairy farm owned by the president’s wife.

It only resumed operations last week after an assurance by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube that milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate would now be absorbed by local processors and not the Swiss-based firm.

Nestle stopped buying from the dairy farm in October but not before an international protest by human rights groups which triggered calls for a worldwide boycott of its products.

The Zimbabwean First Lady reportedly gained control of the dairy as a beneficiary of her husband’s controversial and internationally criticised land-reform programme.

The decision to stop milk purchases from Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairy Estate did not go down well with local indigenous pressure groups led by the pro-Mugabe Affirmative Action Group (AAG) which said the move was tantamount to the company imposing sanctions on the country.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and the AAG last month led a group of protesters that allegedly threatened Nestle with closure unless it resumed the milk purchases.

(Source)

The South African government has an obligation to protect the rights of the South African farmer evicted from land in Zimbabwe last week, civil rights initiative AfriForum said on Monday.

It said it had asked Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to intervene urgently to safeguard the lives and property of Ray Finaughty and his family.

Finaughty, who farmed cattle, chickens and tobacco at Rusape, was reportedly given three hours by invaders to abandon his farm on Christmas eve.

AfriForum spokesman Willie Spies said that in terms of a North Gauteng High Court order, Finaughty was entitled to protection in term of an investment agreement signed last month by both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“Unless assurances are received from the minister soon that steps have been taken to protect Mr Finaughty and his family’s lives and property, AfriForum will go ahead with urgent legal action to ensure this,” Spies said.

“It is a tragedy that innocent South African citizens are subjected to this kind of harassment just before Christmas.”

According to website www.zimbabwesituation.com, Finaughty and his family are safe and in Harare.

It said though he had handed over part of his farm for President Robert Mugabe’s government land reform programme, in 2007 a senior Reserve Bank employee had tried to seize the rest.

Finaughty had since then been in court on numerous occasions to try to retain his land.

Finaughty was one of 79 commercial farmers who last year won a ruling from the Southern African Development Community Tribunal in Namibia that Mugabe’s land grabs were unlawful.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe’s former chief media policeman Tafataona Mahoso has invaded a commercial farm near Mutare, giving the white owner only 48 hours to vacate the property that had been his home for years.

Top military commanders, officials and supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU PF party have stepped farm seizures despite formation of a unity government nine months ago and a ruling by the SADC Tribunal outlawing land grabs.

A devastated Charles Bezuidenhout told of how Mahoso – who ordered the closure of independent newspapers including the Daily News during his time as chairman of the now defunct Media and Information Commission – last month stormed his Welverdien Farm accompanied by an army of AREX officers and announced he was taking over the property.

Bezuidenhout initially resisted Mahoso’s attempts to evict him apparently because the former journalism lecturer did not produce an offer letter from the government showing that he had been allocated the farm.

Mahoso went away only to return this month with an offer letter for the 200-hectare farm and told Bezuidenhout to leave immediately.

When Bezuidenhout attempted to seek help from local police he was simply told that if Mahoso – earmarked by Mugabe’s ZANU PF party to head the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe – wanted the property then the farmer had to make way.

“Its the law of the jungle really. Mahoso and Agritex people produced an offer letter and just took the farm just like that,” said Bezuidenhout.

Earlier Bezuidenhout had accepted a government offer to subdivide his farm between himself and state-appointed “settlers”, an arrangement government officials assured the farmer would allow him to continue farming. But that was until Mahoso turned up demanding the piece that Bezuidenhout had kept after subdivision of his farm.

Mahoso did not answer his phone when The Zimbabwean on Sunday tried to contact him last Friday for comment on the matter.

(Source)

Whenever I look at the charred ruin of what a few weeks ago was our home, and see on my bed when I close my eyes the flames that engulfed everything we owned, I can not help thinking of the flames that, to the nationalists of Germany, were the final solution to the Jewish question sixty years ago.

My wife’s grandfather, Landale Train, used to tell us of when, as a South African prisoner of war next to Dachau concentration camp, he used to smell the sweet sickly smoke of the burning Jews from the crematorium incinerators.  The very word, “holocaust,” comes, I understand, from the Hebrew word “olah” which when translated to the Greek is holokausten.  It means “a burnt offering to the Lord.”

Gradually, terribly, the German National Socialists had been working towards the final solution of the Jewish question for over two decades.  It culminated in the grand titled, “Kristallnacht,” where thousands of Jewish homes and synagogues and businesses were burnt down in November 1938.  The SS wrote at the time: “we no longer hear the world screaming…we shall take the Jewish question to its final solution.  It is total elimination…” All police stations were told beforehand in a directive from the Gestapo chief that: “actions against Jews and especially their synagogues will take place in all Germany.  These are not to be interfered with.”  The burning began and the victims of destruction were arrested.  In the next few days 30,000 people were sent to Dachau and other camps.  The concentration camps had begun.  Landale smelt the smoke of their final annihilation a few years later from Stalag 4.

Living in Zimbabwe, I can not help feeling that a NAZI nationalist type agenda lives on in the hearts of some of the African leaders today.  Just as racism was the central and pervasive theme of NAZI ideology, so it is under Mugabe in our time.  Propaganda has to portray a simple message to a mass audience.  Just as  the nationalist agenda in Germany taught people to hate other people that are not the same, so the nationalist agenda in Zimbabwe mirrors this aim. The message being spun to the party adherents is that all Zimbabwe’s problems are related to the white man.  Mugabe calls the white men “criminals” just as Hitler called the Jews “criminals.”  The NAZI party talked of their rise to power and the sorting out of the Jewish question as the beginning of a German “renaissance.”  Echoes of the German “renaissance” live on in the “African renaissance” where white men can not be called “Africans” by the black nationalist leaders because of their pigmentation.  They can not belong.

The white population, which at its height numbered  270,000 in Zimbabwe, has been in a state of exodus ever since the black nationalist racist policies began here.  It has now been whittled down to perhaps 20,000.  The relentless purge of white farmers in Zimbabwe which continues, has seen ninety percent of farmers being forcibly and illegally evicted over the last 7 years.  We have left our homes and livelihoods without compensation, through a persecution process that has left some of my friends dead and others severely debilitated or traumatised.  Most of our homes and other property has been ruined or burnt.  Further, the invasions have resulted in over a million farm workers losing their homes and livelihoods too.

We live in a country where a desert stares out through the furtive eyes of so many of our soul scorched compatriots.  Anne Frank wrote in her diary a little before she was captured in her attic and taken away and burnt at the age of 15: “that’s the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered…”

After they burnt our house my nine year old son Joshua, who saw the only home he had ever known consumed before his eyes asked me: “is water stronger than fire; or is fire stronger than water?”

I thought a bit and I said to him: “fire is very strong and consumes everything if water isn’t available to quench it – but if there is water, fires are extinguished and fire is weaker.”  Unfortunately, at out home, we did not have water because the thugs that have been persecuting us, had stolen our tractors and water carts and other fire fighting equipment; and so they laughed while our home burnt because they knew that the fire would burn everything we had.

There is a metaphor there.  The nationalist fire that burns Zimbabwe with racial hatred burns on so strongly because nobody has cared enough or been brave enough to pour enough water on it and to put it out.  So it was in Germany.  Indifference served the NAZI cause. The small acts of complicity allowed the arrogance and cruelty of power to consume the Jews and ultimately destroy Germany.  All of us have memories of times we should have done something and didn’t.  In Germany not one of the 1.4 million workers on the railways that transported people to their deaths is known to have protested or resigned.  At the Wannasee conference where the “final solution” was agreed in January 1942 there was no voice of opposition despite the fact that half the delegates were intelligent and educated people with doctorates from German universities.

Have the Western “civilised” nations learned anything from the holocaust?  If such racist practices were to take place against minority groups in Western nations today in a climate of  fear, would there be an outcry? Or would it be easier to allow it all to take place again?  In Africa, despite  an African International Court – the SADC Tribunal – ruling that the confiscation process of our home and farm is racist and illegal, nobody in the western nations halls of power appears to be willing to lift a finger to stop the rule of law and human rights breakdown.  The money rather goes to treat the symptoms.  Zimbabwe is now the most food aid dependant country on earth.  We also have the lowest life expectancy on earth; and the madness is just allowed to go on by the rest of the world.  More than that, yesterday I heard that our local police officer in charge, Chief Inspector Manika, who has allowed the brutalisation of our workers and destruction and burning of our property, has been sent on a peace keeping mission with the United Nations to Liberia!

When my parents-in-laws house was burnt on the farm, two days after our own,  the fire consumed a battered wallet that had been from Landale.  In it there was a treasured photograph of my mother-in-law as a little child with “Stalag 4” stamped on the back.  It survived that holocaust of the 1940s and was carried with  Landale till the day he died.  It came to Angela recently.  Last month, in Zimbabwe’s version of the holocaust, it went up as the smoke of black nationalist incense – an offering to their “Lord.”  The solution to the black nationalists white problem was in hand.

The German writer, Von Weizacker wrote for his people after the holocaust: “whoever closes his eyes to the past becomes blind to the present.  Whoever does not wish to remember inhumanity becomes susceptible to the dangers of new infestation.”  It is sad that the most of the Western leaders of today have such short memories.

(Source)

Background:  The Beattie family were some of the most productive farmers in Zimbabwe.  When the rule of law prevailed they used to grow 1300 hectares of crops under irrigation and 1700 hectares of crops dry land.

They also had a substantial livestock production enterprise.  In 2009 the 300 hectares of citrus trees are now all but completely ruined.  The approximately 3000 tons of commercial maize off 400 hectares and 600 tons of seed maize off 100 hectares is not able to be planted this planting season.  The 800 hectares of soya beans that they grew each year producing approximately 2000 tons of soya is not able to be planted in 2009 either.  The 800 hectares wheat crop which produced 5000 tons of wheat each year was also nonexistent this winter.  This year the invaders stopped all wheat from being grown on the farm and did not grow any themselves.  With the Zimbabwean national crop in 2009 the lowest ever at approximately 20,000 tons, the Beattie family alone could have increased the national crop by 20 percent if law and order were allowed to prevail in Zimbabwe.  The Beattie family used to employ between 1200 and 1400 workers in peak season.  This year the majority of these workers are unemployed.  63 double houses as well as 5 managers’ houses and 7 cottages on their estate have been taken over with the occupants being removed without eviction orders from any court.

Below are just some of the events that the Chegutu police have allowed to take place over the last few months that have led to such a dramatic break down in this once very productive farming operation:

14 August 2009:  Invader Hanyani and people from the Ministry of lands came to demand use of cottage in garden of main homestead.

15 August 2009: The front gate was smashed and the locks removed.  5 vehicles drove into the garden and the invaders spent the whole night drinking and dancing.  Fires were lit on the lawn. A police report was made RRB no. 0611011 but Chegutu police did nothing to arrest the perpetrators.

16 August 2009:  A goat was slaughtered and cooked on the lawn by the invaders while invaders carried on getting drunk.  Invader Hanyani and Nicholas led the break in to the main house area.  The cottage was then occupied and the furniture removed.  Sue Beattie was assaulted and threatened with a large iron bar to her neck.  Mr. Thomas Beattie finally got a police team out which included Assistant Inspector Bepura; Inspector Sasa and Inspector Zengeni.  Mrs. Beattie laid a charge against those who had assaulted her. Police put pressure on Mr. Beattie to allow invader Hanyani and his wife to move into the cottage that they had broken into.

17 August 2009 and beyond: Sue Beattie had a doctors report regarding her bruised neck from the assault.  Given previous severe medical problems with her trachea the assault was potentially life threatening.  This report was taken to police Inspector Sasa in Chegutu police.  As at 24 November 2009 no follow up or arrests have been made.  Invaders Hanyani, Nicholas and others moved into the cottage.  Sue Beattie was then away until 10 October 2009 attending to her sick son, Hamish, who died at the age of 39 on the 5 October.  In the meantime the pressure and harassment from the invaders continued with them parking their vehicles in the garden by the main homestead, drinking, playing loud music at all hours of day and night and letting the Beattie’s dogs out.

9 October 2009: The invaders stole pipes and 95 liters of milk.  This was reported to Chegutu police but no arrests were made [RRB no. 0694062].

23 October 2009: The lock was broken to the stable office by the invaders. This was reported to Chegutu police but no arrests were made [RRB no. 0699144]. Thomas Beattie was threatened by the invaders. This was reported to Chegutu police but no arrest were made [RRB no. 0699145].

28 October 2009:  Nicholas demanded of Sue Beattie, with threats and abuse, that the garden equipment be removed from the shed next to the back door of the homestead.  Sue Beattie made a report to police on 29 October and when police did nothing made a second report with Thomas Beattie on the 30 October.  When nothing happened to restore law and order they also submitted a letter to the Officer in charge Chegutu police but still nothing happened to stop the invaders.

1 November 2009:  Police told Thomas Beattie that he must remove his guards.  Invader Hanyani threatened Thomas Beattie with violence.

2 November 2009:  The stable block of out buildings near to the homestead was taken over by invader Hanyani.  Invader Hanyani vandalized the stables by knocking down the interior walls and blocking up the doors.  A lock was removed from the access gate.  Buckets and a watering can and a badza were stolen by the invaders from the garden.

5 November 2009: Sue Beattie wrote a letter to invader Hanyani which was copied to the police asking invader Hanyani not to continue to harass her and disturb the peace and to return her stolen garden implements.

15 November 2009: Thomas Beattie was threatened by Nicholas and another new invader called Seti who said he was there to make sure that he evicted the Beattie’s.  Thomas Beattie left to get his guards and make a report to the police.  The police came out and invader Nicolas made a false report that Thomas Beattie had made racist comments.  The police threatened to arrest both parties.

22 November 2009:  Invader Hanyani put his own lock on the main gate.

23 November 2009:  Invaders locked the Beatties out of their home.  They chased Thomas Beattie with sjamboks and sticks.  The Beatties workers in the citrus orchards were also chased away.  A report was made to the Chegutu police but no arrests were made [RRB no. 0699145] and the Beatties were blocked from getting to their home that night.

24 November 2009:  Another report is made to the Chegutu police.  Invader Hanyani said that he would give the Beattie’s a key to the gate where he had also put an armed guard.  He did not do so.  Invader Seti threatened violence with a sjambok but eventually allowed Sue Beattie to her house on foot.  The oil from the generator was stolen as well as the diesel from the tractor in the invaded stable yard.  A report to Police was made but no one was arrested [ report RRB no. 0699159 ].

25 November 2009:  Sue Beattie took video footage of invader Nicolas coming at her in a very threatening manner.  He proceeded to swear abuse at her and threaten her.

26 November 2009:  Lands officer Kunonga along with invader Hanyani and other thugs arrived early at the Beattie’s home early in the morning to demand that the Beattie’s vacate their home.  A report was made to police.  At time of writing the situation is very threatening and Chegutu police still refuse to stop the harassment.  Strategic fires have been lit around the thatched double storey homestead and the threat of being burnt out is very real.  The member in charge Chegutu Police Station, Inspector Zengeni, the stood down lands officer Kunonga and Edna Madzongwe are all involved in this lawless attack.

(Source: via email)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has defended land reforms blamed for plunging his people into starvation and lashed out at the West for imposing “inhuman sanctions.”

Addressing a UN food summit Tuesday, Mugabe said the policy under which thousands of white-owned commercial farms were seized in 2000 was a quest for “equity and justice.”

He blamed the subsequent meltdown of Zimbabwe‘s economy on “hostile interventions” by “neo-colonialist enemies” that have imposed “illegal and inhuman sanctions.”

Western countries have slapped travel bans and asset freezes on Mugabe and his top aides. The ban does not apply to United Nations summits.

(Source)

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