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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' at 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid