White Zimbabwean Farmer Killed
White Zimbabwean Farmer Killed

One of Zimbabwe's most prominent white farmers was murdered in an overnight attack on his home Monday.

Kobus Joubert, 67, was shot dead and his wife Mariana, was beaten up by assailants who also robbed them of cash.

Two years ago, Joubert, a former president of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, was attacked by militants loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

The couple were forced to flee their home, Scotsdale farm, in the Chegutu district about 110 kilometers west of Harare, and set up camp in the grass alongside a national highway for several weeks.

When the police tried to move them away, the couple protested saying that they had no other home.

Their roadside sojourn attracted negative publicity even from Mr. Mugabe's supporting media.

A family friend said Tuesday the late vice president Joseph Msika, who had tried to assist several white farmers since land invasions began in 2000, secured a permit for Joubert to remain in his home and continue farming.

Mike Clark, an official at the Commercial Farmers' Union who monitors unrest on remaining white occupied farms, said he was not sure of the motive of the murder. He said defining the motive for murders on farms had become "a very sensitive matter."

He said Joubert had planted 50 hectares of tobacco, which in these days of reduced production, was a large crop.

The farmers union said that when attackers beat up Joubert's wife Mariana they also took her laptop computer accusing her family of being members of prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, now in a difficult inclusive government with Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Even though the heat of land invasions eased in the last five years, scores of white farmers and their workers have been injured, invaded, robbed and evicted.