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Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 00:56:14 -0700
From: Craig
Subject: A View from Zimbabwe

Hi everyone,

I received the message below from someone connected to the agricultural industry (or what is left of it) in Zimbabwe. For obvious reasons, this person will remain nameless, although he is a visitor to the GNR site and a former resident of NR.

As you can tell, the writer is very much attached to Zimbabwe, but has decided that enough is enough. He has decided to relocate to Zambia, and has asked if there is anyone out there with contacts in the agricultural business there. He is not a farmer, but his business relies directly on farmers for its existence. If you feel that you are in a position to supply this person with contacts in Zambia, I know he would appreciate it. Please send any information you can to me at DELETED and I will pass it on to him.

I have also received some detailed information on how Zimbabweans might apply for asylum in Australia. I have sent copies to the Australian High Commissions in Harare and Pretoria for confirmation. However, I don't actually expect them to fall over themselves to give me that confirmation, so I will be sending that information out to this list anyway early next week, and people can attempt to confirm it for themselves locally if need be.

Just a reminder for those who may have missed it, that there are two Web sites (among many others springing up) where the situation in Zimbabwe is being monitored and where help and information can be found. They are:


Please check in to both of these sites and help out in any way you can.

The message from Zimbabwe follows.


----- Begin Original Message -----

Thought you might like some information on the latest in Zim. We are indeed living in / through an historical era so perhaps we should make the best of it and record happenings for posterity and for stories for our grandchildren... if they / us are still around!

Farm "invasions" continue unabated and the latest is for the squatters to extort money, food or goods from the farmers whose farms they have "invaded" The Government / Party have run out of funds to continue supplying food, pocket money, etc. to the invaders and therefore have encouraged them to do their own thing! The insidious thing is that it is common knowledge that the Government / Party have very little control left and therefore the criminal element is now getting involved. Put this together with the police force's complete inability to enforce law and order and the recipe for disaster has been put in place.

Our latest white farmer victim was a well known MDC supporter and was a councillor for his area having beaten a ZANU-PF candidate and former "freedom fighter" at the polls. It was well known within the district that there was very bad blood between the farmer and the ZANU-PF thug and this was his reward. In any civilised country this blatant suspect would at least been pulled in for questioning but our "gutless" so-called law enforcement agency have turned around and said there are no suspects and that the murder was not politically motivated but just an "ordinary" criminal act!

Late yesterday four farms belonging to clients of our company were invaded. They are all in close proximity to one another and lie in an area near the "Iron Mask Range" in the Mazowe area adjacent to the Christen Bank small-holder farm / residential area. For those unfamiliar with the history of our country, many of the hills in this area are sacred to the Shonas and one in particular being the place where the "sprit" of Mbuya Nehanda is reputed to reside. This spirit has manifested itself through the body of and old black woman who originated from the Mtoko area and who has been sanctified by the Government and ruling Party as being the "true" reincarnation of Mbuya Nehanda who was hanged in Cecil Square during the "first Chimurenga" (war).

The area is therefore very sacred to the Shonas and because of it the farmer whose land this area is on actually donated an area for this woman to live. Much of the law surrounding this woman involves the fact that she never touches or uses anything belonging to or having belonged to the white man. All her food is grown and prepared by blacks and it is reputed that she had to have sex with her father and not fall pregnant in order to prove that she was indeed carrying the spirit of Nehanda.

All the above has now been used to tell these farmers that they now reside on "ancestral holy ground" and that they are no longer welcome. One of the farmers, an ex-Horticultural Producers Association president, had three hundred of these thugs arrive on his farm all armed with axes, sticks and the like and they have warned him that he must leave the area as soon as possible and that if they find him planting even one seed they will kill him. They then demanded food and when he offered them vegetables produced on the farm they rejected this and demanded two cattle. When he refused to comply they slaughtered the cattle and ate them anyway!

The police or army were nowhere to be seen and have yet to attend the scene.

Another sinister development has been the clandestine introduction of the infamous "5th Brigade" in civvies to co-ordinate the activities of the squatters (there are very few genuine 'war vets'). Since their involvement there has been a huge upsurge in the level of violence. It is ALL directed at securing the vote and has nothing to do with the land 'question'! It is important to note that the 5th Brigade was formed by Mugabe soon after independence and they have sworn allegiance to him and not to the state. They are untouchable and much feared by the ordinary folk and also by regular army personnel and are therefore an ideal arm to use to coerce people through their brutal methods.

Once again there is a shortage of fuel as the Government has once again run out of forex. Two ships awaiting off-loading in Beira are unable to do so because the fuel contained has not been paid for! The level of incompetence is astounding even to one such as I from third generation Zimbabwean / Rhodesian.

Rumours abound as to when the elections will be held and the latest is that they will be held from the 15th to the 20th June! I for one find this hard to believe as I think the "Party" will require the maximum time for re-education of the masses.

I have had no response from my "ad" on the Web and so will probably relocate the whole business to Zambia. We are in the process now of going through all the legalities of doing the deed. I cannot see myself leaving Africa and consider myself a true son of Africa and therefore will be more comfortable with just a border between me and my beloved country if we are forced to leave. Time will tell I guess!

I hope you find the foregoing interesting and if I bore you please let me know but it's good to just type away and get it off my chest without having to worry about other "ears" listening in.

----- End Original Message -----