Skip to comments.Zimbabwe -- D-Day for farmers
Posted on 06/21/2002 3:06:25 AM PDT by Clive
AT least 2 500 commercial farmers slapped with Section 8 Orders will have to close shop on Monday when their 45-day notice period expires.
An amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, which came into force on May 10, gave farmers who prior to that date had been issued with Section 8 Orders 45 days to cease operations.
After Monday it becomes illegal for the farmers to continue farming and anybody defying the edict is liable to a two-year jail term or a $20 000 fine, or both. Theoretically farmers can remain in their homesteads until August 10 but they are not allowed to plant crops or undertake any other agricultural activity.
The move will not only affect commercial farmers but thou- sands of workers who were yesterday placed on forced leave. Marathon meetings were underway in the farming areas yesterday as farmers sought to find a way forward.
A survey by the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) made available yesterday revealed that 2 443 farms, representing 51% of properties owned by white commercial farmers prior to the resettlement exercise, had been served with Section 8 Orders as of June 7.
"With the on-going service of Section 8 Orders, it is not unreasonable to assume that 60% of CFU members' farms (about 2 900) are now subject to a Section 8 Order," a CFU spokesperson said yesterday.
There is an air of defiance among the affected farmers who have vowed to stay on the land. The farmers say they cannot leave before they have been compensated for improvements and equipment still on the farms. Duke de Cudroy of Banket said farmers were in a dilemma as to how they were to proceed after Monday.
"Farmers are not sure about what to do next," said De Cudroy.
"If they continue farming they risk being arrested and if they stop what will happen to their
"What I can tell you for sure is that they cannot go anywhere since the government has not paid them a cent. What will happen to their families? This legislation is criminalising the farming profession," he said
The Zimbabwe Independent learnt yesterday that some of the affected farmers who had applied to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to be allowed to continue farming this week received certificates of service from the ministry headed "Letter to continue farming".
Farmers who spoke to the Independent yesterday said they were not able to gather much from the letters which lacked detail and were fraught with ambiguity.
Vernon Nicole of Banket who received a letter this week said it was not easy to get a clear interpretation.
"You can read it 101 ways," said Nicole. "I don't really know what it means but I can only say that it is proof that I have applied to the ministry for permission to continue farming."
But like many others he is not closing shop.
CFU chairman for Mashonaland West Ed Gundry yesterday said the regional executive had advised farmers to stop work on Monday.
"We have advised farmers to stop work on Monday so that they don't become criminals in their own country," he said.
"We have also advised them to put workers on forced leave pending clarification from the government."
The estimates are that half of Zimbabewe's population of 11.5 million will be starving this austral winter.
The summer crop failed due to the farm invasions and the winter crop, which ought to be in the ground now, did not get planted.
Famine relief operations are already under way.
Scream the truth from the mountaintops and the majority of U.S. citizens will say "Let them starve". But the truth will be obscured by media elites who will let the civil rights 'leaders' scream irrelevent cries of racism in the name of 'equal time'. It is unfortunate that many humble, innocent Zims will starve, and hopefully their descendents will remember the evil visited upon them and their countrymen by race based communism/socialism...JFK
Why give aid to a country that starves its own people by throwing the food machine out then starts begging around the world...who's interest is being served here?