News / Africa

End Near for Zimbabwe's Last White Farmers

Zimbabwean farmers attend a meeting of white commercial farmers in capital Harare (2010 file photo)
Zimbabwean farmers attend a meeting of white commercial farmers in capital Harare (2010 file photo)

Zimbabwe's Supreme Court heard a case on behalf of three farmers who claimed the constitution excluded confiscation of their land because they bought their properties after the colonial era ended with independence in 1980.

The Supreme Court did not agree and quickly dismissed their application.

One of the farmers, Colin Cloete, a former president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union at the height of often violent land invasions seven years ago, was one of the applicants.

He, like many of his colleagues, has been arrested, harassed and appeared in court many times, to try to stay on his farm.

Like most surviving white farmers, the cost of going to court to try to fight his eviction has been unaffordable.

Looking back over the long and difficult years, Cloete, now 58, said his struggle to remain on his farm did not make economic sense.

“Economically we should have moved off then, at the beginning, as we would have been 10 years younger and that much more energetic,” said Cloete.

Cloete said he had begun looking looking for a house in Harare, not least so he could move his possessions to safety.

He said the land invasions launched after Mr. Mugabe lost a referendum in 2000 had hurt him and Zimbabwe’s economy, and no one had benefited from this except the elite in the ZANU-PF Party.

“We are treated like second-class citizens, we are treated like we are still just visitors to this place.  My father was born in this country, before Mr. Mugabe, but I am still a visitor,” said Cloete.

Farmer Ken Bartholomew, who was born on his farm, said if he had known what the future held in 2000, after land invasions began, he would have quit farming immediately.

“I would have moved off and done something else, not what I have gone through, with the stress and the amount of finance we have used to fund courts, lawyers. I would have left,”said Bartholomew.  

Commercial Farmers’ Union President Deon Theron said the group has warned farmers of their bleak prospects.

“The writing is pretty much on the wall for us.  We have been fighting for how many years now to try and continue to try and find a way of dialoguing to resolve the conflict in an amicable way, but all the doors have been closed on us,” Theron said.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (file photo)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (file photo)

Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF Party changed the constitution in 2005 to make all white farms named for acquisition in local newspapers, state property.

Very few evicted white farmers have received compensation for the loss of their homes and businesses on the farms.

Most of Zimbabwe’s top politicians and public servants, including judges, among them those presiding at the Supreme Court are beneficiaries of white-owned farms.

Most farmers say that without dramatic and urgent political change, the only white farmers who will survive in the short term are those who have made private arrangements with district political warlords loyal to ZANU-PF.

The 27-month-old inclusive government, which includes the majority party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has failed to rescue any white farmers from eviction.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid