Mugabe remarks spark new evictions

President Robert Mugabe’s reported call to evict all white farmers has ignited chaos in the farming community of Chiredzi. Two white commercial farmers face eviction in a move likely to leave over 60 workers jobless and the future of at least 20,000 crocodiles uncertain.

Masvingo provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti
Masvingo provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti

Jeffrey and Henry Sommer risk losing their thriving crocodile and ostrich projects after the ministry of lands announced plans to take over the 100 hectare piece of land, despite the fact the two farmers had incorporated locals into the venture in compliance with the indigenisation laws.

Although lands and rural resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora denied any knowledge of the fresh farm seizure, sources at the farm said officials from the lands ministry descended on the property last week and gave the farmers an ultimatum to leave the property as it had been acquired by government.

“We saw officials from the ministry of lands and rural resettlement who refused to give their names coming on our property and gave us an ultimatum to leave the property,” said Stanford Gwanzura, a manager at the farm. “They told us that the farm had been taken by the government but they did not tell us who in particular was taking over the property.”

The thriving project was started in 1987 and has become one of the successful money spinning ventures in the country, selling crocodile skins to the Far East.

Masvingo provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti professed ignorance about the issue.

Mugabe recently called for the eviction of the remaining white farmers, saying they should know where their ancestors are and return to their original homes. His remarks have been condemned both nationally and internationally.

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