Onslaught against farmers threatens future investment

Former CFU President Deon Theron said that until property rights and the rule of law are honoured in Zimbabwe, the country can never recover

By Alex Bell
19 December 2012

Future investment in Zimbabwe remains under threat, because of the ongoing campaign to remove all commercial farmers from their land.

This week a farmer in Mashonaland West, Piet Zwanikken, was shot in the face as part of efforts to force him to leave his farm. Zwanikken, a Dutch national meant to be protected by an international agreement (BIPPA) between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, is still recovering in hospital from a serious wound to his nose and cheek.

He has been fighting for his property rights since January after his farm was gazetted for ‘redistribution’ by the Lands Ministry. But Zwanikken told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that he will do all he can to remain on his land.

This is not easily done when the legal system is biased against the farming community. On Friday another BIPPA protected farmer, this time a South African citizen, faces losing his farm once and for all, after years of intimidation and harassment.

Piet Henning, who has owned land in the Chiredzi district since 1965, will be appearing in court on charges of illegally occupying government land. Henning told a South African newspaper that Friday’s court date is his “27th or 28th” appearance and he expects to be found guilty.

The farm that the Land Ministry has gazetted for takeover is a small portion of the original farm he was forced to give up as part of the land grab campaign in 2003. Since 2008 Henning has been in and out of court trying to secure the rights to his farm, but with little success.

Former Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Deon Theron, who was another victim of the land grab, told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that until property rights and the rule of law are honoured in Zimbabwe, the country can never recover.

“We desperately need new investment, but investors need confidence and there is no confidence in placing any investment in Zimbabwe. There are no property rights, there is only rule by law, not rule of law,” Theron said.

Theron said the ongoing seizure of land, which is being done under the guise of ‘indigenisation’, is “a complete farce and a vote buying gimmick,” that does not benefit the ordinary Zimbabwean. He said that hundreds of working Zimbabweans lose their jobs every time a commercial farm is seized, “so there is only empowerment of the few, not the masses.”

“We all know there is a role for indigenisation, but if it’s done to garner votes or boost ZANU PF’s popularity, then it will not work,” Theron said.

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20 Responsesto “Onslaught against farmers threatens future investment”

  1. Chimbwido Warvet says:

    Land is the basis of nationhood and if we do not have it our way, the black people of this country will remain the hewers of wood and drawers of water for foreigners for generations to come. This is our time to get our land back to its rightful owners who are the indigenous people of this country or to put it bluntly, the black people of this country. Our motto is for all foreigners who invaded and grabbed our land through illegitimate or illegal means to give back land to its rightful owners now. We will not compromise on this principle.

    • Common Sense says:

      And the people with their eyes open will soon realise that your principle is flawed.
      So you are saying that if a white man buys a farm off a black man TODAY, the government is allowed to take the farm back any time they feel like it in the future, without compensation?

      And more bluntly, whites can NEVER own land in Zimbabwe?

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        Before I can answer your questions, I want to find out from you whether or not you agree with the principle that our land is the basis of nationhood. Do you also agree that our land was stolen from the indigenous people to satisfy the exclusive interests of the whites who invaded my country? And were the indigenous people of this country ever paid for their land that was taken at gun-point and how about the abuse they suffered for over two hundred years at the hands of people who came as hosts and later become their masters? If you answer the above questions, perhaps I will then begin to understand what stuff you are made of and I will be obliged to answer your questions above.

        • david taylor says:

          OK Warvet, just to please you, let us say that land is the basis of nationhood. Actually it is one of the bases, but again just to please you, let’s say it is the only basis.

          Now, in your view, should white-skinned people born in Zimbabwe definitely not be allowed to buy a farm? Should only black-skinned Zimbabweans be able to own a farm?

          And of the course the bigger questions is, are only black skinned people born in Zimbabwe, Zimbabweans?

        • wilbert_mukori says:

          This is a nonsense argue starting nowhere and going nowhere. It is the people who are more important than land. Nyika vanhu, as we say in Shona.

          Are you telling me Mugabe has murdered over 30 000 innocent Zimbabweans to establish and maintain this de facto one-party dictatorship for the sake of the land. The land issue came to the front only in the late 1990 when the foundations of the distatorship had already been laid. After that it was the stalking horse behind which the dictatorship hid its continued oppression.

          Zimbabweans have a right to free and fair elections and that right is sacred and to deny them that right is tyrannical; period!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            Your interpretation of the Shona idiom ‘Nyika Vanhu’ is highly perplexing. I am completely baffled by the ignorance you have displayed here. People can never be more important than the land as people die but the land remains for use by generations and generations to come. On it, people use the land for their livelihood, for instance, building houses, schools, exploitation of minerals, creating wealth or businesses and a host of other important things. It is no wonder, the land is the basis of nationhood not only for Zimbabwe but for any other country in the world.

            The land issue did not come to the fore only in the late 1990, you bloody f…ng fool. The land question in Zimbabwe has been the thorniest issue dating back to 1890 when Cecil John Rhodes and a group of white thugs invaded and occupied my country against the wishes of my people. You do not even know that there was the First Chimurenga War that was waged by my people in 1890 that was aimed at driving away the white invaders of my country. It makes me wonder your level of education if you do not know such basic facts about the country you claim to be yours. I am now beginning to doubt whether you are a true Zimbabwean. Ask any Grade 7 student in Zimbabwe, he/she will give a narration of this history which is in black and white.

            David Taylor agrees that the land is the basis of nationhood but wants to know whether the white man can own a farm in Zimbabwe. Quite frankly, it is no time to talk of the white man owning land in Zimbabwe before the injustices left behind by 200 years of colonialism have been resolved. Land that was invaded and occupied by the white people against the wishes of the indigenous people of this country need to be given back to their rightful owners before we can talk about that. This is what I call the restoration of the rule of law when my people are given back their land that was stolen in the first place. We are not going to compromise on this principle. And this has nothing to do with the forthcoming elections as this problem has always been there for hundreds of years.

          • wilbert_mukori says:

            Is that your excuse for murdering so many innocent Zimbabweans and being the author of so much misery and despair; because “people can never be more important than the land”. Thank God the curtain to this tyranny is coming down and those responsible for so much suffering are finally going to face justice.

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            This is all in your dirty mind and I have no time in discussing your filthy and unfounded allegations.

    • wilbert_mukori says:

      Blacks what, 90% of the white owned farms than at the beginning of the land seizure in 2000. The Zimbabwe economy shrunk by a staggering 84% in the six years 2002 and 2008 alone throwing millions out of work. The land issue is about looting by the ruling elite.
      The other big issue you are avoiding here is Mugabe and Zanu PF denying the ordinary Zimbabweans their right to free and fair elections.
      Mugabe may have Tsvangirai and Ncube in his pocket he should know by now that the fight for free and fair elections is not over; not by a long shot!
      Since when have institutionalized looting and tyranny matters of “principle”!

      • Mukanganyama says:

        You are an idiot who has no respect for the Zimbabwean people you claim to represent. If the black people of this country do not own and control their land, they will just be nothing. Their sovereignty and independence will be hollow and meaningless if they do not control and own their land 32 years after slavery and colonialism.

  2. wilbert_mukori says:

    Mugabe is so desperate to win the next elections the violence we are witnessing here is bound to get worse unless we stop him.

    For years Mugabe and Zanu PF thought they are the king of the rock, they will rule Zimbabwe to the end of time. The tyrannical regime has done absolutely
    everything from throwing the kitchen sink to the murder of over 30 000 to kill
    the very idea of regime change. But when an idea is founded on justice it can
    never be killed or stopped. All Mugabe did was delay regime change and harden the people’s resolve to their just demand to have a meaningful say in the governance of the country and thus effect regime change if they so wished.

    The very thing Mugabe has done so much to kill is now upon us; REGIME CHANGE is written everywhere and is heard even in the whisper of the wind.

    Professor Jonathan Moyo, the cursed Machiavelli of Zimbabwe politics, was right when he said in a free and fair election Mugabe would lose to a donkey; that is how much the tyrant is loathed by the nation!

    In 1965 Ian Smith said there would be no black majority rule in a “1000
    years” but was forced to eat his word 15 years later.

    Mugabe’s dictatorship has lasted a bit longer but now finally its last hour upon the stage is here. No doubt the tyrant and his cronies will be asking of fate; why
    now when power is tasting the sweetest ever, when there is so much loot to hold-on to and so very many skeletons to hide? When the history of Mugabe and his tyrannical rule is finally written, it will say that above all else, it was the
    sickness of greed that killed the dictatorship.

    Mugabe is making the last all-out effort to stop regime change. At the Zanu PF party conference in Gweru he tried to rally his thugs by promising them a
    free-for-all loot spree with his “100%” black ownership of everything in Zimbabwe. The response from his thugs was muted; even the idiots amongst
    them know there really is every little wealth left in the country worth looting.
    And they also know that another looting spree will drag the country back to
    chaos of 2008 brought on by the looting of white owned farms; something the up
    to now very docile Zimbabwe public may not take laying down this time round!

    Mugabe left the conference a beaten and broken man. Gone is the in-your-face bravado of yesteryears; there can be no doubt, he too has seen and heard the REGIME CHANGE everywhere, clear as daylight and loud as church bells.

    In fact Mugabe is nothing but a fatally wounded tiger, still on its feet and
    dangerous because of the adrenalin charge. He has no intention of running a
    free and fair elections and it is folly to think otherwise.

    PM Tsvangirai and MDC are misleading the nation by encouraging them to accept the Copac draft constitution knowing it will never deliver free and fair elections.

    The best course of action is for the nation to reject the Copac rubbish and thus
    force the full implementation of all democratic reforms and drafting of a truly
    democratic constitution and then and only then can there be free and fair

    Mugabe is a dangerous political opponent only because he fights dirty; have free and fair elections and he is nothing but paper tiger!

    • David taylor says:

      You make a lot of excellent points

      It is clear that Tsvangirai and the MDC will be used to ferry the new constitution through, elections (which will be violent and not free) will be run, and Mugabe will ‘win’ the elections.

      As you point out, the new constitution does not guarantee violence free elections, Tsvangirai has no ability to stop the violence, and Mugabe will win no matter what.

      It’s ironic that Tsvangirai, as PM, will be (and is) responsible for running the election, and yet there is no ways anyone but Mugabe can win. So essentially the MDC is running an election that Mugabe is guaranteed to win.

      We keep on making concessions believing we are making progress, when maybe what is required is a resounding rejection of the constitution. By voting yes, we are essentially ensuring Mugabe remains in power.

      • wilbert_mukori says:

        As far back as 2002 US Ambassador Chris Dell said in a cable not meant for public consumption but later leaked to WikiLeak that Tsvangirai was ” a flawed and indecisive character” If the truth be told and it must the Ambassador should have said and the Zimbabwean electorate are even worse, they are as blind as deaf bat.
        Tsvangirai’s blundering defies all the laws of this world. Why he entered into such a one-side power sharing arrangement, no one knows. Why he has failed to have even one of the democratic reforms implemented; not even he has ever explained that. And as you correctly pointed out he is now wasting time on issues that are not important whilst ignoring those that matter.
        And through all these years of blundering from pillar to post the people of Zimbabwe have yet to ask Tsvangirai one pertinent question. Of course if the next elections are going to be a repeat of the 2008 elections it is the ordinary people who will get the beating and therefore would be seeking guarantees that there will be no violence. Instead they are set to just accept Tsvangirai’s word that there will be no violence and ignore what they can see with their own eyes.
        A flawed leader with followers who as blind as a deaf bat; is it a wonder the nation is stuck in this hell-hole!

      • Chimbwido Warvet says:

        Of course, you say Wilbert Mukori has made excellent points because he represents the white establishment and foreign capital in Zimbabwe and has never spoken on behalf of the indigenous people of this country. If anything, Wilbert is an Uncle Tom. And of course, US Ambassador Chris Dell was and is like most black Uncle Toms in the United States who do not represent the majority of impoverished Black-American people who since the so-called freedom and emancipation of slavery are still not really a free people. Chris Dell was good at talking about Zimbabwe’s economic and political problems, but what has he done for his own Black-Americans who are still struggling to make ends meet after more than 200 years since the so-called emancipation of slavery? Can we really say there is democracy and no more slavery in the United States when what we see is exactly the opposite of what freedom and democracy really entails? Of course, the world is full of hypocrites and US Ambassador Chris Dell was a typical hypocrite and an Uncle Tom at best.

        • wilbert_mukori says:

          This Mugabe dictatorship has murdered over 30 000 innocent black Zimbabweans and he still goes around posturing about fighting for black empowerment, national dignity, etc. He is fooling no one; the people may be powerless but they are not stupid.

          There will be REGIME CHANGE in Zimbabwe and about time too!

          • Chimbwido Warvet says:

            I think I have given too much information and it is best to give it a rest and await the results of the general elections. All I can say at this stage is any regime change in the country is in the hands of the Zimbabwean people and non of us has an answer as to what the people will decide on election day. Let us wait and see.

  3. Gandanga says:

    Land should be ours i mean black Zimbabweans,where is the blackman’s land in Europe?If they think Tsvangirai will reverse this exercise then they are living in a dreamland,if they think Zuma who is behind the scenes being used by the British will be of any effect in our internal issues then they are lost and him Zuma will zoom into thin.

    • david taylor says:

      Gandanga – why don’t you back to your desk at the CIO.

    • wilbert_mukori says:

      This is not about the land but about denying ordinary Zimbabweans their right to free and fair elections. Over 500 people were murdered in the orgy of violence in 2008 ; how many of the murdered were white farmers?

      Mugabehas argued that he would never allow anyone else to rule Zimbabwe and thus deny the people their basic right to a free and fair election including denying many of the right to life itself on the feeble grounds the new government would reverse his land reforms. It is therefore not whether or not his opponents will reverse the land reforms that we should be concerned but that Mugabe has no right to deny the people the most basic rights.

      The people’s right to have a meaningful say in who governs is sacred, because it is the key pillar on which good government stands and without which there can onlybe bad government – a dictatorship.

      To discuss the land issue whist a tyrant deny you the vote is like entering a burning house to set a mouse trap.

      Just because PM Tsvangirai and his MDC friends have proved to be so incompetent and as malleable as mud in the dictator’s hands does not mean all Zimbabweans are therefore stupid not to see what Mugabe is doing! Zimbabwe’s “internal issues” my foot!

  4. Mukanganyama says:

    Is it not surprising that when this so-called news outlet that when it addresses the question of farmers it’s reference is that of the so-called white farmers? The indigenous farmers are not give the status of farmers.