Banket farmer lucky to be alive after ‘assassination attempt’

Mugabe’s message to voters

By Alex Bell
18 December 2012

A farmer in Mashonaland West insists he escaped a deliberate ‘hit’ on his life, after he was shot in the face on his property on Monday night.

Piet Zwanikken, a Dutch national who has been farming on his Riverhead farm for 15 years, is now recovering in hospital with a serious face wound. The bullet, shot at close range, went through his nose and grazed his cheek. On Tuesday morning he was in surgery where doctors worked on rebuilding his nose.

He spoke to SW Radio Africa from his hospital bed on Tuesday and said he is lucky to be alive.

“I believe this was an assassination attempt. A deliberate hit. It is all an attempt to force me off my farm,” Zwanikken said.

Zwanikken has faced worsening intimidation and threats in recent months, after the Lands Ministry handed a suspected CIO agent an offer letter for Riverhead farm in January. This is despite the fact that the property is meant to be protected by a bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPPA), between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands.

On several occasions the suspected CIO agent, Charles Mupanduki, has attempted to take over the farm and land invaders working for him succeeded for a few days in August. During that time Zwanikken lost thousands of dollars worth of farming equipment and eventually had to get a court order to force the invaders off his property.

He explained that on Monday night three land invaders who work for Mupanduki, called him to his gate and said his tobacco stocks were being stolen. He told SW Radio Africa that he did not believe them, so he thanked them and turned back to his house.

“Little did I know that one of them, named Peter Macheka, had a gun behind his back. As I was turning to go I just saw out the corner of my eye this bright flash. This guy had shot at close range and next thing I knew I was shot. I was with my son and we both ran back to the house. I am just so lucky that bullet didn’t kill me,” Zwanikken said.

The shooting comes as information had been received of a detailed ‘hit list’ supplied to the CIO, which contains the names of people who could ‘make an impact.’ John Worsley-Worswick from Justice for Agriculture said such a ‘hit-list’ has likely been made ahead of elections, to silence anyone that could ‘rock the boat’ ahead of the poll.

“Fortunately this shooting on Monday has not resulted in another murder. This is politically motivated though and driven by chefs, so we are very sad and alarmed, but not terribly surprised. Farmers are always targeted ahead of elections,” Worsley-Worswick said.

It is suspected that Zwanikken might have been deliberately targeted because he is a Dutch national, and relations between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands have soured significantly in recent months. A group of Dutch farmers, kicked off their Zimbabwean farms ten years ago, have been stepping up their campaign to ensure they are compensated. According to an international arbitration court, the Zimbabwe government owes the farmers almost 24 million euros.

“The Dutch embassy has also been increasingly vociferous and critical of the Zim government, so it seems linked,” Worsley-Worswick said.

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17 Responsesto “Banket farmer lucky to be alive after ‘assassination attempt’”

  1. wilbert_mukori says:

    This GNU was supposed to implement a number of reforms to ensure the restoration of rule of law and that the next elections are no repeat of the orgy of violence of 2008. Whilst MDC would like the nation to believe that the dysfunctional GNU has achieved this important task and so vote YES in the upcoming referendum; for once Zimbabwe judge for themselves whether this is indeed the case and not just follow corrupt and incompetent political leaders like sheep.

    Mugabe and Zanu PF have no intention of risking losing power by hoilding free and fair elections and the acts of intimidation, rape and even murder are going to get even worse as we prepare for the next elections. The people of Zimbabwe must vote NO in the coming referendum and thus have the reform implemented and a trully democratic constitution – not this Copac rubbish the dysfunction GNU has produced.

  2. super mondo says:

    this farmer was shot for being white and farming which is the result of ignorant greed.a cio wants the farm because of all the hard work of the farmer has done.all four responsible for the attack should be charged with attempted murder.can the police do their job.

  3. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    Oh Gosh, no, no Aah, these foreign farmers have been adamant when asked to leave the farms they have occupied illegally, anyway. Farms that were grabbed and invaded from their rightful owners over two hundred years ago have to be vacated for there to be lasting peace in this country. This has nothing to do with being greedy, reforms, rule of law or any stupid language that is being used by idiots and fools to justify illegality in my country. People need to know where we came from as a people to be able to understand the complexities we have in the country today. The bottom line is, if someone has been your enemy before, chances are that that he/she will be again in days to come. And not only that, he/she will weaken your power base by causing distraction and division like these bastards who claim the farm was invaded when the guy was given ample time to leave the farm. And whose fault is it when one wants to fight with established authority? The only logical thing to do in present Zimbabwe is to leave the land when instructed to do so. I left my farm which the government later used to resettle people and yet I am a freedom fighter. What is so special about a Dutch farmer or any farmer for that matter who has been asked to leave the farm for whatever purpose by this government?

    • warvets are lazy racists says:

      your ignorance of the report ,shows how fu cked up you are,determined to carry out your racist evil views. zimbabwe will continue to delapidate untill it is a desert because of shits like you.hurry up and die with mugabe.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        I have nothing to hurry for mate. We as a people of this country are determined to correct the injustices of history, colonialism and racism that was practiced against my people. And I am not about to apologize to anyone for speaking my mind because these are historical facts known by anyone keen to read our story.

        Where on earth can a minority of foreigners control 99 per cent of all arable land and what could be the justification of that shit, mate?

    • Anonymous says:

      We told you long back that this Chimbwido Warvet is a true racist, evil, satan,with diabolic ways of thinking. He is not a Zimbabwean but a Malawian.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        I went to Malawi on holiday last week and it was lovely. I like Malawian girls, they look fantastic. I will be going again soon after X-mas.

    • david taylor says:

      Warvet – Your comments, as always smack of ignorance and blatant racism.
      In fact you sound like a ZANU-PF parrot. In case you did not know, there is supposed to be a court system in Zimbabwe. This person is (and has been) using the court system to remain on this property. He does not deserve to be shot in the face, because some CIO operative wants the farm.

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        I do not advocate the use of violence in whatever form in resolving problems that can be resolved through peaceful means. I only gave advice for those who may want to hold on to their farms to do the logical thing and that is to vacate the land. It does not help anyone if one is beaten up or killed simply because one can not surrender or give up the land which was not acquired through legitimate means. You and me know that the land question in Zimbabwe is one of the thorny issues that were left unresolved by the former colonial power, the United Kingdom. It was one of the pressing issue that led to the liberation war that resulted in millions of our people dying to reclaim our stolen heritage. Consequently, it is not racist if those who acquired the farms through illegitimate means are asked to leave the land in order to pave way for the rightful owners of the land. And never in the history on mankind have the black man been a racist. If anything, the black people of this country have been humanitarians who have been taken for a ride by the former colonial power followed by rhodies who have abused our hospitality by treating my people as second class citizens in their country of birth. For me this was racism of the highest order that foreigners who came to my country without invitation went on to treat his hosts as hewers of wood and drawers of water. And if you read history well, no black man has done this to any other race but your people. You can therefore not preach to me about racism because your argument is hollow and lacks substance.

        • david taylor says:

          ‘Warvet’ –

          This person bought the farm 15 years ago, and presumably had government consent to make the purchase. It was not obtained illegitimately!

          I can see where you are coming from, but you may want to not exaggerate to make a point. ‘Millions’ did not die liberating Zimbabwe.

          And to correct one of your comments earlier – 99% of arable farm in Zimbabwe was not white-owned prior to independence in 1980.

          And third, you may want to rethink your idea that Zimbabwe was liberated. It sounds that an oppressive white government has simply been replaced by an oppressive black government.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            My answer to the above queries are as follows,

            1. Once you use the term presumably, it means you do not know for a fact so we can not talk about issues you are not very clear in your my mind.

            2. I was involved in the armed struggle in liberating Zimbabwe in which case I am fully aware of the millions of people who died fighting in freeing themselves against foreign occupation and domination.

            3. There is statistical data that shows that 99 per cent of arable land was owned and controlled by whites who comprised only 5 per cent of the population of former Rhodesia. Up until year 2000, this position was pretty much the same when my people decided to take the law in their hands in taking back their land the so-called farmers in Zimbabwe had refused to relinquish.

            4. Zimbabwe has been a sovereign and independent state since 1980 and its leadership was given recognition by the United Kingdom. It is no wonder President Mugabe was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of the role he played in uniting the people of Zimbabwe, blacks and whites to be precise. Mugabe became a dictator in the eyes of the western world when he decided to side with his people who had taken the law in their hands in reclaiming their stolen land. Since then, impediments have placed against the leadership of this country for them to fail, that we are fully aware. No country in the civilized world has succumbed to pressures that Zimbabwe has been able to sustain for almost the period the country has been independent. For over a decade, the country has survived without any balance of payment support from the International Monetary Fund. It has been slapped with economic sanctions since 2000 when the people of this country decided to take their land from the white people who had owned and controlled it illegally. Just give me any country in the civilized world that has been able to withstand such pressures and survive as Zimbabwe? My answer is no country in the civilized world has been as resilient as Zimbabwe.

    • David James says:

      There will never be peace in Zimbabwe…catch a wake up

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        The government of Zimbabwe has put in place laws that allow it to take any piece of land it deems fit and there is no going back on this principle.Those who disregard the laws of the country will simply be arrested and sent to prison, end of story.

  4. david taylor says:

    Thank you to SW RADIO for covering this story. This certainly sounds like some sort of CIO hit to me. CIO operatives may not have actually conducted the shooting, but it certainly looks as if they either financed it or provided the weapons. The Mugabe mafia at work?

  5. Pasinejongwe says:

    “Final Battle For Total Control” Hitler once said those words.

  6. happyhorse says:


  7. AJGovender says:

    Unfortunately, the african people are very far behind the rest of us Indians, whites and even coloureds. They aren’t very intelligent, that is just how they are made so they try to grab the land as they want jobs but they have no money to work the land. They need the white people to support them but now they chased the white people away. Once all the farms have been undertaken by these stinky stupid squatters, Zim will then fall flat and there will be nothign left and then they will be pleading for you white people to come back to help them. Its just their mentality, they dont get far in life. But dont worry… its alllll going to come right back and bite them in their ugly elbows. Dont react to their silly comments, they do it to get a rise out of you and then they winning…. just let them and mugabe rot in hell… let them all starve of hunger first though and then get tortured slowly,,