Posted on September 1, 2004

Zim Farmers Arrested For Not Leaving Land

Basildon Peta, Saturday Argus (SA), Aug. 28

Zimbabwean police arrested six white commercial farmers for allegedly refusing to comply with a law requiring them to vacate their farms designated for seizure.

Sources confirmed that more than 20 other farmers were also being investigated. State media said the farmers in the tobacco-growing town of Karoi in western Zimbabwe had defied notices to leave their properties in line with an amended land seizure law requiring farmers to leave their properties once the government publishes its intention to acquire them.

The tightly controlled Herald newspaper quoted a provincial police official as saying most of the arrested farmers and those being investigated had more than one farm each but were refusing to leave to make way for landless blacks.

But farming sources said the arrested farmers had one farm each and others were not even farming after their properties were taken.

“This is a continuation of this regime’s policy of ethnic cleansing against all whites in this country,” said one Karoi farmer, who did not want to be named.

“They will cook up anything to get rid of us. Do you honestly believe there are still farmers owning more than one farm each after they stole 90 percent of our land? It’s them (government officials) who now own several farms each.”

Police spokeperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrests in media interviews but declined to comment further.

President Robert Mugabe’s repression is increasing despite his repeated pledges to regional leaders to improve the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and embrace new electoral reforms.