Farm invasions stepped up

The President of Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers Union this week warned that the country was heading for ‘disaster’, with farm invasions intensifying across the country.

Troy Maidwell who was hit over the head with the barrel of a gun during the attack in Umvutcha last weekend.
Troy Maidwell who was hit over the head with the barrel of a gun during the attack in Umvutcha last weekend.

His statement comes in the wake of several violent attacks from Zanu (PF)-aligned thugs in Umvutcha, Bulawayo and Mazowe. Last weekend, the Fletcher family were attacked in their home by intruders who assaulted them with machetes and made off with $16 000. A 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy were affected by the incident.

On Willsbridge farm in Barwick East, Mr Fussel was ordered off the last 40 hectares of his land by a gang of war veterans on a directive from the Governor, Martin Dinha, and the District Administrator, Mrs Nyakudya.

Fussel is clinically blind and he and his wife were forced to leave most of their belongings behind, including chemicals for farming, tractor spares, furniture, two motorbikes and cattle branding equipment. They also had to abandon their 125-strong herd of cattle and the garlic that they were growing for export.

Despite several trips to the police station to collect police officers, the men stood in the background while war veterans harassed and intimidated Mr Fussel and his wife.

CFU head, Charles Taffs, said that the situation is extremely serious, describing a “definite spike in invasions with orders coming from high up in the government”.

Currently, a South African national who leases a Belgian owned tobacco farm near Mazowe, is fighting to get the government to intervene, after he was evicted by land invaders this week. The farm, Taveydale, is one of the biggest tobacco producers left in the country. The South African farmer is also meant to be protected under a bilateral investment agreement between Zimbabwe and his country.

“Things are really intensifying and there is no effort to intervene. I have spoken to the MDC side of government, but there has been response,” Taffs said. “We seem to be a lost sector, and all the concern and focus is on mining. But the thing is, primary agriculture has to be restored, because without agriculture, Zimbabwe has no chance. And we are heading for a disaster if this carries on.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that a Zanu (PF) official from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee was behind the invasion of a German-owned farm recently. The farm, owned by the Von Pezold family, has faced repeated threat of seizure despite an investment protection agreement (BIPPA) between Germany and Zimbabwe.

Zanu (PF)’s JOMIC representative, Kizito Kuchekwa, is behind the most recent invasion of the Von Pezold’s tobacco farm.

Post published in: News
  1. Bob Fernandes

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