Farm workers admit defeat

injuredBULAWAYO - Farm workers have abandoned work fearing arrest and prosecution for continuing to till the land at white-owned farms being targeted by Zanu (PF) officials and sympathisers. (Pictured: Zanu (PF) heavyweights have targeted the workers on white-owned farms, many of whom have required hospital treatment for their injuries)

A report by the Commercial Framers Union (CFU) said that thousands of farm workers had become targets of Zanu (PF) officials, in a bid to intimidate them from continuing to work at the last remaining white owned commercial farms.

“Farm employees are under constant threat and, when the farmer is not present, the attorney general’s office (AG’s) frequently targets the employees. A significant number have been prosecuted and even imprisoned, resulting in their being unable to produce desperately needed food for a food-insecure nation heavily dependent for the last decade on food aid,” Deon Theron, the CFU president wrote in a report detaining the continued disturbances on white-owned farms.

Farm grabs by Zanu (PF) officials and army officers continue despite the formation of a unity government that has called for a stop to farm disturbances. A SADC tribunal outlawing the land grabs has largely been ignored.

According to Theron, the current increased onslaught against CFU members and employees will have a huge catastrophic effect on “the ability of the nation to feed itself in the 2009/2010 season.” About 150 white commercial farmers face prosecution for contesting moves to grab their farms. The chaotic land reform which began in 2000 is blamed for the yearly food shortages, a charge that President Robert Mugabe denies.

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