Barnabas Thondhlana, news24.com (South Africa), Sept. 29
Harare — Didymus Mutasa, Zimbabwean minister for state security and land reform, on Sunday denied accusations by the white commercial farming community that he had threatened them, saying they had to report all farm attacks at their nearest police station.
White commercial farmers in southeastern Manicaland province in Zimbabwe are apparently living in fear after a new spate of attacks flared up.
The new wave of attacks came after Mutasa allegedly described white farmers as “rubbish” that had to be exterminated at a meeting two weeks ago.
Several attacks have taken place in Chipinge and Nyazura during the past few days.
One of the worst attacks took place on the Ashanti farm in Chipinge, jointly owned by Canadian-born David Wilding-Davies and Graham Hill, vice-chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe.
About 15 armed soldiers attacked Wilding-Davies last Wednesday after he had come to the aid of his manager, Allan Warner.
Warner, a South African, was allegedly thrown to the ground, kicked and beaten. He received 12 stiches to the head after the attack.
The soldiers were apparently led by Joseph Chiminya, a senior official of the Central Intelligence Service.
“Chimiya had an Uzi machine gun. He aimed it at me and fired but fortunately it didn’t go off,” Warner said.
Gideon Mostert, a coffee and dairy farmer in the area, was attacked by the same group a few hours prior to the attack on Wilding-Davies but managed to find shelter in a local church.
Mostert said a diplomat at the Zimbabwean embassy in London was behind plans to forcefully confiscate his farm, Brackenridge.
In Nyazura, also in Manicaland, the farms of Jene Herrer and David Barnard, Tsungwezi Source and Tsellendal, were also confiscated.
Doug Taylor Freeme, chairperson of the Agricultural Union (CFU), said the attacks in Chipinge and Nyazura had caused fear among the farming community and would have an influence on Zimbabwe’s already flailing agricultural production.
Of the original 4 500 farmers in Zimbabwe in 2000, only 500 remained.