affected by the controversial farm invasions of 2000 are believed to have died following their displacement, a report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum has said.
Advisor to former president Nelson Mandela, Advocate George Bizos, has also lambasted the land reform programme for its violent nature which has left many suffering.
According to a report by the human rights non-governmental organisation last month, a million people living on commercial farms suffered incidents of assault, torture, being held hostage, illegal detention and death threats.
“More than 10,000 farm workers are believed to have died after their removal and the consequent loss of employment, housing, nutrition and access to health-care on the farms,” it estimated.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum said this report was the first detailed study on the human rights violations against white commercial farmers and their black workers during the land grab.
“There is a plausible case for crimes against humanity having been committed in the past seven years by Mugabe’s regime. There is a compelling need for these to be investigated and the perpetrators to be charged and tried,” it said.
At least 4,500 farms seized illegally by President Robert Mugabe since 2000 have followed the same pattern overwhelmingly, and turned one of the most robust and enterprising agricultural industries into a model of neglect.
The 4,300 farms seized illegally by Mugabe’s regime since 2000 have followed the same pattern overwhelmingly, and turned one of the most robust and enterprising agricultural industries into a model of neglect.
The human rights report says that Mugabe’s “ill-advised land reform process” had “devastated the economy and created an enormous humanitarian crisis”.
Its findings “point to an organised seizure of land planned by officials, not a spontaneous seizure by landless blacks, as the Government claims”.
It estimated that farmers’ and workers’ losses amounted to $US8.5 billion.
Compensation of anything near that figure would bankrupt the Zimbabwe Government, the report said.
Zimbabwe’s maize production fell 74% between 1999 and 2004 while the national cattle herd has shrank by 90% and production of flue-cured tobacco fell from 237m kg (233,200 tons) to 70m kg.
The United Nations says that 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe are facing serious food shortages because of the drought poor, management and poor land reform programme.
Featurecredit Bishop Asare. caption: Reduced to rags, the appalling fate of
children of farm workers
BY TRUST MATSILELE
More than 10 000 farm workers who were