The remaining white commercial farmers across the country are facing intensified threats by mobs of land invaders, as the lawless invasions of farms continue.
Last week Banket farmer Roy Crawford was reportedly abducted from his farm and tied up with barbed wire, apparently for “failing to chant election slogans supporting (Robert) Mugabe.” Crawford was eventually released after the police arrived, but his farm was sealed off by a gang.
And then, over the weekend, a Nyazura couple was forced to leave their home after a siege by a violent mob. The group used stones as missiles to try to break into the property, injuring farmer Dolf du Toit. He and his wife eventually fled with a police escort and their home has been completely looted.
Karoi farmer Mike Bishop, who has also been forced off his farm, has explained how his workers and their families were beaten when they tried to fend off the land invaders. Meanwhile in Nyazura, more than 2000 workers and their families have been left destitute since March because of the seizure of four farms in the district. Workers in Mashonaland are at the same time reportedly being forced to attend all night ‘re-education’ camps.
Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the campaign against the farmers is happening on two fronts. He explained that about 170 farmers are fighting long running court battles trying to secure their legal rights to their properties. But at the same time, lawless gangs have been taking over farms and evicting farmers, “which is totally unacceptable and unlawful.”
Taffs explained that this ongoing devastation of the farming community is just one part of a larger problem, explaining that the country is now almost wholly dependent on imported crops.
“We have to import one million tons of maize between now and the next harvest, which is $200 million in import duty. We also have to import about 400,000 tons of wheat, with is another $200 million in import duty,” Taffs explained, adding: “We now somehow have to find close to half a billion dollars, just to get food into Zimbabwe.”
He said that the ongoing farm invasions have “further compounded Zimbabwe’s bad image,” and that “amongst all of this, it is now near impossible to get credit. Lines of credit are being slammed shut over these reports.”
“The farmers meanwhile are fighting a losing battle because on one hand they are running out of appeals and running out of law, but on the other hand gangs are summarily evicting farmers and taking the law into their own hands,” Taffs said.
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