Zimbabwe Zimbabwe flag. Click to return to the home page. Crisis

Home | ZimCrisis#84 -- CFU Statement, July 3rd

Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 23:25:47 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#84 -- CFU Statement, July 3rd
Cc: "African press":;

Statement by T.K. Henwood, President, Commercial Farmers' Union

The full Council of the Commercial Farmers Union met today Monday, 3rd July, 2000 to deliberate and plan the way forward following the Parliamentary Elections. The Council are unanimous in their condemnation of the lack of vigorous application of the rule of law in commercial farming areas, said President Tim Henwood.

Farmers, their families and their workers have been subjected to the most brutal violence by war veterans in the run up to the parliamentary elections, resulting in widespread damage to property, huge loss of product, demeaning humiliation, beatings and the tragic murder of a number of the community, while reaction from the police has been absolutely minimal. Throughout the period of the farm invasions, farmers have observed remarkable constraint and shown a most responsible attitude, despite almost intolerable provocation.

The elections are over now and yet the extortion, destruction of property, theft and the threats continue largely unabated on farms. This must stop forthwith and I therefore call for the immediate return to the rule of law and the protection under the law to which all members of the community have an inalienable Constitutional right.

Two High Court orders, one on 17th March and the other on 13th April, 2000 have declared the farm invasions unlawful and have required the appointed leader of the war vets to instruct his followers to vacate the farms, failing which the Commissioner of Police is to remove them. To date no attempt at all has been made to remove the squatters by either party, the former of which has already been found guilty of Contempt of Court.

The situation is simply no longer tenable and farmers are frustrated and angry at their inability to farm their properties efficiently. Work stoppages continue, farmers are instructed to discontinue farm operations and demands are now being made that they immediately vacate their homes and farms as the war veterans are taking over their properties.

Productivity is already affected in that the wheat crop may be reduced by 40 000 to 50 000 tonnes while the tobacco crop may be 50 000 tonnes down - to say nothing of the many other commodities that the country depends upon for food and forex. Farmers are unable to plan ahead and are not investing in their farms as confidence has evaporated. The downstream effect on industry and other sectors of the economy are now being felt and worse is yet to come. The prognosis for forex availability next year for importation of fuel and power is worsening by the day.

Farmers appreciate the need for land reform and for long have offered to work closely with Government on the programme. However, gazetted lists for mass acquisition of farmers' properties do little to engender confidence in the industry and further isolate Zimbabwe internationally, denying access to support from the donor community, so essential for such a programme to succeed.

We currently have a list of 180 farms offered to Government for the programme and I have no doubt a similar number will be made available from the list of 804 farms gazetted on 2nd June, 2000 for acquisition.

We also understand that the donor community, despite all that has taken place over the last four months, are still available to assist with the programme once farmers and Government reach agreement on the way forward.

There can be no progress on this most important issue until the rule of law is re- introduced to our country and the unlawful occupants of the farms are removed.

There is a way forward on the land reform programme, to which the donors, the stakeholders and Government have already agreed and which was captured in a Joint Communiqué following the all-important Donor Conference of September, 1998 and committed to a Government policy document shortly thereafter. However, lists gazetted for mass acquisition are not a part of that agreed policy and do nothing but drive donors and investors away while destroying confidence in the industry.

T K Henwood
Commercial Farmers' Union


Commercial Farmers' Union
Agricultural Information Services Department
Visit the CFU Web site:- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu

Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List

This is currently a manually administered mailing list. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send your request to DELETED. Personal requests for removal will be carried out immediately. Requests from governmental, political or press organisations (or their representatives) will be treated less favourably. The purpose of this list is not necessarily to redistribute published news reports. Rather, it is intended to distribute reports from or directly affecting people in Zimbabwe. If you have seen something before, I apologise. Hopefully that will not be a regular occurrence. Any reports from respondents that are relayed to the mailing list will be done so anonymously.

Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List Archives -- http://www.niner.net/zimcrisis
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk