Western reconstruction assistance to Zimbabwe is being held up because
President Robert Mugabe's supporters are continuing to disrupt farming
activity on white-run farms. Meanwhile, a white Zimbabwe commercial
farmer has been elected as president of the regional agricultural union
and vice president for Africa on the world body representing most
small-scale and communal farmers.
From the launch of the unity
government in Zimbabwe in February, Western governments stipulated that
development aid would only be given to Zimbabwe if several conditions
were met. One of those was a cessation of farm invasions and other
disruptions on farms by supporters of President Robert Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF party; and, the security services which still answer only to
These activities are a continuation of the chaotic
land-reform process begun in 2000 by Mr. Mugabe's government, under
which some 4,000 commercial farmers have lost their land, much of it to
high-ranking ZANU-PF members and Mr. Mugabe's cronies.
that, invasions have continued and there has been a continuous effort
by supporters of President Mugabe to disrupt and prevent farming
activity, and police are charging landowners with trespass.
factions of the Movement for Democratic Change have demanded an end to
these actions and say there must be a moratorium on the question of
land. President Robert Mugabe says the land seizures by his supporters
must continue, because all agricultural land has been nationalized.
tell VOA that negotiations between Mr. Mugabe and the two MDC leaders,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambare, to resolve the matter remain
stuck on several important points. A new round of negotiations begins
Western diplomats say, until this issue is settled and
production allowed to continue, there will be no meaningful Western aid
to begin the massive start of rebuilding Zimbabwe's destroyed economy.
Taylor-Freeme, who will be prosecuted for trespass in a district court
in northern Zimbabwe, Tuesday, was recently elected as president of the
Southern Africa Development Community's Southern African Confederation
of Agricultural Unions. He was also elected the African vice president
of the World Federation of International Agricultural Producers, which
represents millions of mainly small-scale and communal farmers around
He says his election means he represents the vast
majority of southern African farmers. He says the confederation's
support for beleaguered Zimbabwean farmers in the last few years has
"There's been a very consistent message from
them," he said. "These bodies are structures to promote agriculture
and, with the destruction of the agriculture sector in Zimbabwe, this
goes against all their principles, and so they have been pretty strong
. With SADC being given the mandate to resolve the Zimbabwe issue and
because SACAU is part of SADC it puts us, or it puts me, in a very
strong position to try and deal with the recovery of agriculture."
says all Zimbabwe's farmers are impatient for a resolution of the land
question, which has led, in large part, to the collapse of the economy
which has depended on agriculture for generations.
Zimbabwe, both large or small-scale farmers, none of us can farm
effectively. So collectively there is a message from the grassroots
levels, saying come on we need a balance. We need to help each other.
I believe there is enough land for everybody and so there is a voice
coming from the bottom to political leaders, we need to resolve this
and get the country productive again," he said.
Taylor-Freeme remains hopeful there will be a resolution to the current deadlock.
am still pretty confident that with time, reality will dawn," he said.
"If you want investment, if you want financial access to the world's
resources, you have got to come into line with international policies
and regional policies. I give it a couple of months before that will
all come into line. I am still pretty confident that it will come
Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mutambara, the
deputy prime minister, have failed to find common ground on land
ownership and farm disruptions. However, they are now discussing a
moratorium on action against land owners.