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Home | ZimCrisis#133 -- Message from Zimbabwe

Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 14:44:22 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#133 -- Message from Zimbabwe

Hi everyone,

A message I received via forwards from someone in Harare. His full name and address were attached, but I have removed them as I usually do unless I have explicit permission to publish them.


Dear all,

Have you ever watched your parents as you get older and remember how they used to comfort and hug you when your life was in tatters, maybe over some all important prized bush knife you had lost because you did not put it away? Well I have for four months watched my parents lose everything except their family and wish I could return a hundred times that comforting reassurance to them that things will work out.

It started back in April when the war veterans moved onto my parents' ranch in the Midlands situated on the Lundi River. At first the comrades were armed, the standard AK which the Police seemed to have a hand in and they set up their base outside their home, getting drunk and disorderly every Friday and Saturday night when their Government paymasters arrived to resupply them. Back then in April one Friday night they broke into the house and trashed what they could on the back veranda kitchen area. Dad then chatted to his war vets and they agreed to move off to the farm store on the main road which suited them. The Police never charged anyone. There they hung around, poaching, stealing fruit off Dad's orchard and cutting timber which the local intelligence service shipped to town for resale.

Before the elections Mom and Dad decided that it would be better if they moved their vehicles off the farm and house contents as ranching requires many hours around the ranch and with Mom alone in the house was not sensible. My brother, his wife and young family and the folks moved into the nearby town, cramming their possessions into an old age cottage and a rented house. Dad would then travel out to the Ranch and carry on with his ranching daily. I laughed when Dad would phone and say better the war vets than Mom and the cramped conditions?

Time went on and the elections passed with just the normal hassles which go along with war vets demanding a slice of your life. Labor having their wages stolen and having to sing and dance naked with buckets of water on their heads to the praise of the great Mugabe.

Then the exciting news came that a foreign mining house had found diamonds in the communal lands to the south of them and wanted to speak to Dad about buying his ranch as it was the only one which suited them for resettlement of six hundred families with one hundred and fifty hectares of irrigation. The mine was so badly needed for a district where the gold mines are closing down and thousands are out of work. So what a wonderful opportunity to fulfil one of Dads lifelong dreams to turn his ranch into a training center for the district for which it is, was so ideally suited.

Then early July things turned sour. The war vets approached Dad and said he was not to lock his house, barns and sheds one Friday night. Dad refused, what a request and it was obvious what was up. The next morning while going out to the ranch he saw his Massy Ferguson tractor on the side of the road , the engine seized. The war vets had tried to steal it , to burn in the communal areas to show that they can still do this. The Police for once reacted and the accused were arrested and charged with motor theft. Police then called a security meeting with the farmers and the local war veteran commander was livid that a meeting had been called and demanded to know how they could do this without him as he was in charge of the district and not the Police and Government. Death threats were then issued against my brother and they tried to find where he lived in town to carry this out. So they moved again, further away. Mom and Dad remained.

7th July 2000 Dad while on his normal trip to the ranch got to his entrance and found that for a far as the eye could see down the road all the major trees had been felled blocking entry in. He has not been back into his farm since and the Police will not escort him in as their Command in Gweru are obviously involved or pathetic. The people working on the farm were chased off and Dad found housing for them in town. After much leg work Dad managed to get the agreement with the local warlord that the labor could go back onto the Ranch and check the cattle of which $20 000 000 worth remained. It was discovered that the war veterans had ransacked and damaged their house, used his grinding mill, milled and stolen his maize crop. They were also in the process of cleaning out his workshop. The interior fencing is being stolen at such an alarming rate that the cattle are now everywhere on the ranch. Anyhow after a week of not being able to water his herd Dad managed to deploy his herdsmen into the Ranch and rounded up the herd as best they could and reported back to Dad on the condition etc. of their cattle. This week now eighty head have gone missing, just short of a million dollars stolen and still there is no intervention by the authorities to end this situation.

15th July the mining house announced they would not be developing the diamond mine due to the insecurity in the area and country. Now I ask you, as all hope fades for my parents ever recovering anything from their forty years of hard slog, "Who are losers in this?" My parents, who if ever they are supported by the Police and these hooligans and thugs are moved off to have to rebuild forty years or give up. The workers on their ranch? Or is it the 600 hundred families which would have been moved from the communal areas onto their ranch to be greeted with brick under asbestos houses and fenced plots, plenty of grazing and a heifer herd to start them off, not to mention the one hundred and fifty hectares of irrigation and technical back up to which they would have had access to. Or is it the two hundred and fifty miners and their families which would benefit from the massive open cast mine and the training using the latest drag mining equipment? Or the country which now loses another business and the potential investment of millions and the right to earn even more through diamond exports? Or is it the district traders who are seeing their customer base slip into poverty as no investment comes into a mineral rich district? What is it about the areas where Zanu PF won the election through brutality that gives them the right to destroy the lives of many?

Now we enter a week of job stay away to protest against this madness which has been imposed on the country just because an era has come to the end which was supposed to be immortal. Watch the reaction of the President to the massive voice which just wants this madness to cease and get back having the basic right to work and feed ourselves. I put my bottom dollar on a reaction of vindictiveness and retribution, like that of an abusive parent in a dysfunctional family. Common sense has to prevail. It is hard to believe that the above events are taking place. This is not just the death of a district, but Zimbabwe and the people who live here, because of the few who have no heart or morals.



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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