Monday, October 10, 2005

Reverse land grab

A very confused and confusing (perhaps understandably so) article reports “whites invade farms in Zimbabwe”:

Several of Zimbabwe's new farmers, resettled on at least four farms in the Chegutu area, have been sent packing by some former white commercial farmers who "invaded" their land. They cited a recent High Court ruling that nullified land offer letters issued by the government under the land reform programme.

As much as I sympathize with the “invaders”, who at least know what to do with the land and pay their workers punctually, I miss the point of the whole exercise and I am afraid it will trigger Mugabe’s blind and cruel retribution.

The High Court last week nullified offer letters issued before the promulgation of the Constitution Amendment (No. 17) Act 2005, creating a new wave of uncertainty among scores of new farmers whose land is being contested.

Judge Bharat Patel ruled that the new farmers' offer letters were invalid since they were issued before the promulgation of the new law which makes all land acquired under the land reform programme state land.

Mugabe as usual is creating chaos and unlawfulness where before was wealth, law and order.

A survey by Beeld in Chegutu revealed that some new farmers were being evicted after former white owners were granted eviction orders by lower courts on the grounds that the offer letters were invalid as ruled by the High Court.

Their former workers were reportedly assisting them resettle on their original farms.

"Whites were much better than our balck brothers as we have now gone for more than three months without being paid at this farm," said Gibson Menje, a "foreman" at Ardlui Farm.

At Hallingbury Farm, the new farmers said the white commercial farmer had returned and was busy with his own operations.

He said 16 farmers were allocated plots on the farm.

One of the farmers, Obert Kudyarawanza, said the white farmer started tilling land allocated to the new farmers while workers on the farm were allegedly ordered not to work for the new farmers.

"We are in serious trouble here.

"He (the white farmer)says he is seeking eviction orders so that he can return to his farm."



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