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Home | ZimCrisis#112 -- Message from Zimbabwe

Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 14:52:58 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#112 -- Message from Zimbabwe

Hi everyone,

Another letter from a farmer who, I believe, is in the Marondera area. I do not receive these directly so I don't know for sure.


Dear family and friends,

Yes. it's still going on! Everything's got very confused this week what with the Vice President again ordering all the squatters off (all except the 160 farms intended for immediate designation, most of which are apparently vacant) and Hunzvi ordering them to stay on the farms. The squatters are saying they don't want to move. They like the farms they've chosen and aren't going to listen to anyone any more - one was this week quoted as saying "We are the government now". It appears that until the President himself opens his mouth, nothing is going to happen. I think that Mugabe has now completely lost control and he hinted at action last night when addressing his Party, saying that all lawlessness must stop. God only knows how much longer the farmers are going to be able to carry on under these conditions - both mentally and financially. At least now we have a new Parliament, which although not sitting until 1st August, will hopefully have the fate of the farms and agriculture very high on it's agenda. The war vets on the farms have now taken the law into their own hands and have started a rigorous campaign of evicting farmers. Over 70 farms were given "eviction or else" notes on the last two days of this week. Farmers in small areas have gone on strike to protest the on-going lawlessness and while this may have proved effective at defusing minor problems in small areas, have proved largely ineffectual to the overall situation. I think until all farmers get together with all civic leaders, businesses and shops and undertake mass shut downs, the situation is going to continue to deteriorate. Everything has been exacerbated this week with there being no diesel at all - buses, trucks, etc have ground almost to a halt. Some mornings I wake up and actually wonder how the country manages to keep staggering from one crisis to another and if anything will ever be right again.

Last Sunday, barely an hour after finishing my weekly letter, it was clear that I had tempted fate too far as our squatters came back. Twenty of them arrived and had a meeting outside our newly repaired fence. Later they dispersed and we held our breath. On Monday two women arrived at the gate with a letter from Edward (our local war vet). The letter asked that we open the fence and let these two women in with their scotch cart so that they could go and collect all their poles (our poles) and start building their house as they'd bought a plot on our farm. I launched into a very lengthy monologue. I told them that our farm was not designated, that the government did not want our farm, that it was private property, that by cutting all my poles they were committing a crime and that Edward had conned them. They had paid twenty dollars for their plot. At the end of it all, amazingly enough the women apologized profusely, thanked me for explaining it all so nicely and left! I felt really sorry for them.

Tuesday saw Edward and 70 others cut through our newly repaired boundary fence and invade the field again. They had a meeting which went on for some hours and then left. We haven't seen them since but I'm not saying anymore for fear of tempting fate again.


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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