Zimbabwe Threatens White Farmers On Evictions

Reuters, August 8, 2007

President Robert Mugabe’s government has warned it will arrest white Zimbabwean farmers resisting evictions from new land targeted for black farmers, state media reported Wednesday. Critics say Mugabe’s controversial seizures of productive commercial farms from hundreds of whites and low output from new farmers has plunged the southern African state into a severe economic crisis in the last seven years. Industry and union officials say about 600 of Zimbabwe’s 4,500 white farmers have kept their land after the sometimes violent grabs by Mugabe’s supporters.

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Risk of arrest

More than 4,000 white commercial farmers have lost their properties under the reforms. Last year authorities passed a constitutional amendment barring former owners from challenging the seizures in court. The official Herald newspaper said on Wednesday some farmers who were given notices three months ago to wind up their operations “risk being arrested for resisting eviction after the expiry of the 90-day notice period.” The daily quoted Minister of State For Security Didymus Mutasa, who is also responsible for land reform and resettlement, as saying that the government would move against the farmers accused of going to court to delay their departure. “We have a list of farmers resisting eviction  . . . and we are going to act accordingly to redress the situation,” he told a meeting attended by senior government officials. Mutasa was not immediately available for further comment. Severe food shortages

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