Zimbabwe: Harare intensifies drive to expel white farmers

“Zimbabwe, also grappling with its worst ever economic crisis, has since 2000 relied on food imports and handouts from international food agencies mainly due to failure by new black farmers to maintain production on former white farms.”

By Simplisio Chirinda

HARARE – The Zimbabwe government has intensified a drive to expel white farmers issuing eviction orders to more farmers and threatening to arrest those that have not vacated their properties after the expiry of a September 30 deadline to do so.

Less than 600 white commercial farmers remain in Zimbabwe after president Robert Mugabe’s government began seizing land from white farmers, then numbering about 4 000, for redistribution to landless blacks seven years ago.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) that represents white farmers, at the weekend said the government had issued eviction orders to more farmers following a court ruling two weeks ago that farmers still occupying land after the 30 September deadline were in breach of the law. “About 10 of our farmers in different parts of the country were served with fresh eviction notices by officials from the Ministry of Lands and also received phone calls from the police notifying them of the intention to charge them and have them prosecuted in court,” said CFU vice-president Deon Theron.

The farmers ordered to vacate are from the Karoi and Hurungwe farming districts, according to Theron.

A magistrate’s court in the farming town of Chegutu two weeks ago rejected an appeal against eviction by 10 white farmers, ruling that their continued stay on farms earmarked by the government for redistribution to blacks was a violation of the law.