Dispossessed farmers pursue compensation in US courts

MELBOURNE – Dispossessed Zimbabwean farmer Vernon Nicolle is determined Robert Mugabe will pay for taking over his property.


Now safely in Western Australia after his farm and livelihood were torn from him by the Zimbabwean ruler, the 62-year-old has joined other Zimbabwean farmers in seeking compensation.

The farmers, who say they were beaten and seriously injured while trying to keep their properties, will fight Mugabe in the US courts later this year.

Their land was taken by the Mugabe regime and given to black Zimbabweans in a controversial policy that many Western nations say has caused the financial and food problems crippling the African nation.

Nicolle, who said he was threatened at gunpoint several times to give up his farm and machinery, said he would not stop pursuing Mugabe.

“If Mugabe wants my farm, so be it. I’ll cry, but to steal everything is unacceptable and for that I’ll fight for the rest of my life,” he said last week.

Zimbabwe is starving as inexperienced land owners, army generals, police chiefs and even high court judges leave crops to fail and the land to lie fallow.

Nicolle used to produce about 24 per cent of the country’s wheat crop and he thought his productive farm would be safe from the leader’s scheme. He was visiting Australia in June 2003 when he learnt he had lost everything after a length court battle. – The SundayTimes, Australia

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