Charles Taffs talks to Alex Bell on Diaspora Diaries

Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union

Alex Bell was joined in studio by Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union, who travelled to London this week to counter the misinformation published in a new book on the land grab campaign. Taffs says the book is trying to brush the reality of the land seizures under the carpet, and paint the exercise as a success. He says this is nowhere near the truth and gives a stark breakdown of the current land situation.

AB: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Diaspora Diaries on SW Radio Africa. Tonight we have a special programme – I’m very, very pleased to welcome a special guest in the studio today – and that is Charles Taffs, the president of the Commercial Farmers Union who is in London at the moment. Mr. Taffs, first of all thank you very much for joining us.

CT: Alex, thanks very much, pleasure to be here.

AB: Mr. Taffs one of the reasons why you are here has been the release of this new book – “Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land” which is on a bit of a press junket in the UK at the moment. Our listeners will know if they tuned into our news broadcasts yesterday that there is concern about this book; one which is something that’s has been raised is that it seems to sanitise what has been a decade of devastation for communities, for the agricultural sector, for Zimbabwe’s future really and we really are hoping we can maybe try and look a little closely at what really is happening to counter some of the misinformation that seems to be coming out in this book. So I’m very pleased that you’ve come to join us. First of all Mr. Taffs, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read any of the details in this book but just very briefly, what is your reaction to what is being touted in this publication.

CT: Thank you Alex. No I haven’t had a chance to read the entire book, I have read extracts. But however I was at the book launch presentation last night (Monday night) where there was a detailed presentation done by the author, or the authors should I say and it was very clear to me that their whole approach was very simplistic, based on empirical evidence on a very, very small section, in fact three farms and… There were 5300 farms that were, have been taken over this period and this empirical evidence from what I could gather from the presentation was based on three farms in Mashonaland Central. Now Mashonaland Central is also a very specific area in that it is a very, very good agricultural area and those results from those areas cannot be applied throughout the other regions. So the regions vary greatly within the country so you must be very, very careful of this. The second thing that struck me is the title itself – “Zimbabwe Takes its Land Back”. My question is – Zimbabwe takes its land back from who? Is it from a force which has invaded Zimbabwe and taken all its land and we’ve managed to get it back or was it Zimbabwe taking its land back from Zimbabwean citizens? 70% of all farms purchased and traded after 1980, have been bought after 1980 within the rules of the Zimbabwe government and in that process, every single farm purchase had to be approved by government. The farms had to be offered to government, and the government had to express an interest or not, whether they would want the farm or not. So in other words, 70% of all farms that were taken were actually offered to government within the first 20 years of independence and for that you got a certificate of ‘No Present Interest’. Now those are the farms that have been taken. So the questions begs to be asked – has it been taken on the basis that we stole the land or has it been taken on the basis that it’s a reaction against white farmers?

AB: It’s from this inherently racist point that it appears this book has been written, writing off the fact that if you are a white Zimbabwean, you’re not actually Zimbabwean at all. The danger of this of course is that there are many people who agree with this.

CT: Yes I think that is a total tragedy. I think 30 years after independence, Zimbabwe, the first 20 years or definitely the first 15 years was on a fantastic trajectory of growth and national bonding and I think that’s all gone awry and I think it’s gone awry for political gain. And I really believe that 30 years into independence, 32 years into independence that we’d still be talking of Zimbabweans in terms of blacks and whites, is a real sad tragedy for us. I think it’s high time now that when you’re talking about people, or sectors or whatever you’re talking about in the case of agriculture, you’re talking about farmers, you’re not talking about black farmers, white farmers – it’s Zimbabwean farmers. And the same with Zimbabwean police, Zimbabwean military – whatever the case may be, it’s Zimbabweans. This black/white issue, to carry on at this stage to me, is disastrous.

AB: Now Mr. Taffs we’ve spoken many times in the past about the need for us to put the issue to bed so we can start moving forward. And one of the key things in this book apparently is that it is saying that production levels finally in Zimbabwe are finally reaching normality, which seems to counter a lot of information which we’ve heard, one being the fact that Zimbabwe is so dependent of food aid. So where are we realistically in terms of production and is it anywhere near back to normality as this book seems to say?

CT: Yes I think that book really needs to be challenged on this issue because it’s doing no-one any favours particularly the people that are starving to death in Zimbabwe. I think it’s really putting a false picture and needs to be attacked in the strongest form. The bottom line is here is that agriculture in Zimbabwe is an absolute mess. It’s a mess across all sectors; there has been a small recovery in tobacco and I’ll use tobacco specifically at this time: tobacco production in 2000 reached an all time high of 247 million kilos and our single biggest global export competitor was Brazil at that time who was producing 350 million kilos. Brazil now is producing 800 million kilos against the increased demand in emerging markets such as India and China. And here we are producing 144 million kilos saying it’s a great success story. It’s not a success story. We should be up in the 600 million mark, that’s the real loss. In terms of food production – we have imported food for the past 13 years. This year again there’s an appeal by the UN after many, many warnings particularly from offices such as mine. There was a total reluctance to get involved because the story going around town was that we were producing enough food to feed ourselves and when it came to crisis point, there was panic and now there’s an emergency appeal from the UN to raise funding to feed 1.7 million people. That 1.7 million people in my view is a low figure. I think it’s going to get worse than that. But you put that into a regional context, there’s a regional shortfall of grain, it’s not just maize, of 5 million tonnes. The question that needs to be asked is: Where’s the maize going to come from or the food’s going to come from? And when you do source that, how are we going to pay for it? We have a situation where our import/export deficit is now over five billion – how is this sustainable? How is it continuing to be sustained? That is the question that needs to be asked. So you factor in all these things – Zimbabwe is not looking good at this time.

AB: Why then do we have a publication like this? Can we look at any justification of why there seems to be such a push to sell the agricultural sector as back to normal? Is there any reason?

CT: Yah I think there are a number of reasons. I think first of all there’s been a number of books on this issue and primarily they’ve been written by academics; and these academics are being asked to write these books favourably for certain influences and that’s what we’re seeing here. We’re seeing this whole issue of the agricultural scene trying to be swept under the carpet and multi agencies and countries encouraging that to happen. I think Zimbabwe’s coming into the limelight now in terms of its mineral wealth; its strategic placement within Africa, both in terms of mineral supply and in terms of access to central Africa, and countries want to get involved and they see the land issue as holding it back. So they’re trying desperately to sweep this under the carpet. My position is very clear: my constituents have to be represented. They, through no fault of their own, have lost everything, together with their employees of which there were 350 thousand. One must always remember – 350 thousand employees plus their families equating to two million people were dislodged, fired, beaten, burnt – you name it in this violent aggressive attack on the commercial farming sector. That constituency needs to be dealt with and dealt with fairly before this can move on and we honestly believe that we have a proposal on the table which can deal with all these issues and take it forward. If it’s not dealt with and swept under the carpet, the conflict will remain and Zimbabwe will be held up for many, many years. We’re seeing countries in the east, Eastern Europe, 55 years on, there are titles that were taken 55 years ago are starting to be re-established. Are we saying Zimbabwe is going to be held up for 55 years? We can’t afford that. Let’s deal with the issues on the table and take it forward now.

 

AB: When we talk about moving forward though, there just seems to me to be a bit of a problem because there seems to be such an active attempt to ignore and to forget the inhumanity particularly of the land reform programme, to forget the human rights abuses, to forget the tragedy that befell so many people because what has been touted especially by for example the state media and the ZANU PF friendly media is that it’s addressing imbalances that already existed and therefore it’s okay. So how do we move forward when this is an argument that is again thrown out over and over and over again?

 

CT: Yes that’s one of the things that saddened me yesterday (Monday). There were excuses being made for the violence based on historical fact. There’s no excuse for violence in any form and the way that this was meted out to a selected part of society was terrible in the extreme. People have been extremely traumatized; not only have they lost all their assets, they’ve been extremely traumatized and their lives have been seriously affected and in some cases people have been murdered. This cannot be acceptable in this modern time by anybody or any country and it needs to be dealt with and we need to sit down as a country and bring all these issues to the table and finalise a solution so this country can go forward.

AB: But when we talk about that – how do we finalise the issue? Is it about everyone being on the same page, is it about putting it to bed? How do we finalise it?

CT: Well I think it’s a number of issues. The first thing it’s mutual respect. I think everyone, all the players need to have a mutual respect and they need to look at it from a Zimbabwean’s perspective and not from a perspective of persuasion by outside factors. I see Zimbabwe being pushed in certain directions by certain countries – it’s very dangerous. We need to take control of ourselves because if we allow ourselves to be pushed in certain directions we’re going to become a slave to a system down the line. Zimbabwe needs to take control of its own fortunes and as such we need to respect each other. The second thing – we can’t hide behind fictitious fact. Let’s put the facts on the table and deal with those facts in a comprehensive fair manner. If we hide behind facts such as these books are putting out, we’re not dealing with the issues because the issues on the table are not factual. We need to correct that.

AB: Something that this book doesn’t seem to take into account at all is the legal argument of what’s happened. The land grab was for one declared completely unlawful by the SADC Tribunal. We know since what has happened with the Tribunal being so stifled as a result of this ruling that it cannot function properly. But there is no mention of the fact that this is a disregard of the rule of law and that the rule of law is being completely ignored in these cases, that property rights still aren’t being respected.

CT: No that’s absolutely right. The SADC Tribunal, the highest regional court was actually suspended because SADC didn’t know how to deal with this because the ruling was that, not only was it unlawful but that it was racist in its implementation. And not only that, we’ve had farmers in the Investment Dispute Court case, the investment conflict that have been awarded awards for the loss of their businesses and yet those still have not been dealt with. So what we’re saying to the Zimbabwean authorities is that until such time as you deal with it, you’re not going to get real investment coming to that country. And you add that onto the indigenization programme which is a massive threat on direct foreign investors whereby 51% of your businesses have got to be handed over to an indigenous body. Losing control of your actual business investment – how can this encourage investment? So all these factors need to be brought to book and taken into account and a way forward forged through that.

AB: Well Mr. Taffs, for a moment I want to talk really about the human elements of all of this because we are talking about a nation whose poverty is insanely high, the highest it’s ever been, unemployment the highest it’s ever been, people still reliant on food aid – as someone who is a farmer who has been involved in this sector for so many years, has seen it go from what was the bread basket of the region to what it is now, when you look around at what’s happened, how do you feel about it?

CT: I think it’s tragic. The social impact because of the land reform has been huge. We must remember that many, many of these commercial farms, 60% of these commercial farms had schools. Many of those schools were funded in their entirety by the farmers themselves and some were with government support. Many of these farms had clinics so when the commercial farming sector was taken out, we lost a lot of that social impact for up to two million people. What we’re seeing right now is a massive social downfall of the people of Zimbabwe; poverty is at an all time high; the average age expectancy is down from 65 to the mid-30s; a lot of people have dropped out of education; our health system is on its knees; our education system is a fraction of what it was. One of the fantastic legacies of Zimbabwe after independence was the education system and one of the fantastic legacies of that is that we have a very educated population. Unfortunately we’re going into a generation that is not going to be the case; the education system is certainly not where it was and we’re seeing a situation where there’s been a lot of intellectual flight because the opportunities in Zimbabwe are not there a lot of people have left and you’re getting professional people, doctors and so on, not in the country but within countries in the region or have left Africa altogether. This is a total tragedy and we need to turn this around.

AB: One thing which has come out recently is that there has been a call for an urgent land audit. What do you make of this call?

CT: Yah this land audit was part of the Global Agreement in 2009 and should have happened and in fact from my understanding, the EU have offered to pay for such an audit but it has not taken place and the question needs to be asked why has it not taken place? I think the reason for that is quite simple is that the authorities don’t want to uncover the real facts of the land takeovers and who owns what or who’s taken what. But in order for us to move this thing forward we need an accurate assessment of who is on the ground, who is where and so on, so we can take this forward because we need to come up with a comprehensive agricultural structure going forward and in order to do that we need to know what’s actually on the ground at this time.

AB: A final question then Mr. Taffs – if we don’t sort this out as a matter of urgency, where do you see things going in the near future because this isn’t something I suppose that’s going to be another decade down the line, this is something that is happening now, so if this isn’t sorted out now, what happens?

CT: Well to me it depends on the influence of outside countries. If we don’t get an internal settlement and we allow, or Zimbabwe allows other countries to start increasing their influence, we’re actually going to be colonized again through economic colonization. I have no fact about that and I see it happening already in certain sectors whereby the Zimbabweans are mere players and the control is done outside of our borders. We can’t allow that to happen but I do feel that if Zimbabwe carries on the way it is going, it is going to become a failed state. Economically it cannot continue. You cannot have a balance of support in excess of your GDP and that’s where we are right now and we need to create a productive base across all sectors and the bottom line of that is: property rights. If you create property rights across all sectors, you’ll get that investment and we can start creating productivity, increasing jobs, social impact and so on. The whole business cycle can be re-established. Until that is done, Zimbabwe has got a very, very bleak future. However the potential for Zimbabwe is fantastic if we get it right.

AB: On that note, we’ve come to end of tonight’s special programme. You’ve been listening to Diaspora Diaries on SW Radio Africa. I’m Alex Bell and I’ve been joined in the studio tonight by my special guest, the president of the Commercial Farmers Union, Charles Taffs. Mr. Taffs thank you so much for joining us.

CT: Alex thanks very much, it’s been a pleasure.



26 Responsesto “Charles Taffs talks to Alex Bell on Diaspora Diaries”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Mr Taffs does not care for facts from an “academic”, he would rather trust his on anecdotal “evidence”!

    No wonder white farmers have been losing this argument, scientific research does not mean much to them!

    Its, true, many farms received “no interest” certificates from the government before 2000. However, I know of no promision in the Lancaster House agreement that stipulated that once the state failed to acquire the farm once, it could not try to acquire it again at a later time! The fact that white farmers had sold the farms amoung themselves STILL failed to meet the Lancaster House agreement that Land would be TRANSFERED from WHITES to BLACKS. As long as whites exchanged farms amoungst themselves, land reform remained a pending task.

    Mr Taffs does himself a disservice by coming to this interview unprepared. He falsely claims the tobacco production was 247m kg in 2000. The correct figure is 237m kg. However, it should be noted that the average tobacco production prior to 2000 was actually 180m kg, Mr Taffs tries to make it look like 237m kg was the norm! He falsely claims over 17% of our children have no access to education (the 2 million former farm workers). Yet, the UN found that our literacy rate in 2011 was 92%!

    He claims that our life expectancy is in the 30s, yet a simple check on google will show it to be 53 years.
    Not only does Mr Taffs show a complete lack of understanding of the driving matrix within the country he puports to know a lot about, he has an accomplice in this ignorance in Alex Bell who never once stands to correct the interviewee!
    My advice to Charles Taffs and the CFU is to target their rhetoric towards the British government. This is the country that AGREED to replacement of white farmers with black farmers in 1979 at Lancaster. They also agreed to fund this transfer. If any kind of compensation is to be paid at all, Taffs should start negotiations with David Cameron, pronto.
    Because, I can tell you, not a single penny of Zimbabwean taxpayer money is going to be released to fund the reclamation of our once stolen land!

    • Anonymous says:

      Zanuoid. We could have taken these farms nicely without having to kill these white folk. Violence was totally unnecessary and political cronies got most of the productive ones anyway. Just look kuti Gushungo vane mangani?

      • Anonymous says:

        Every death is regrettable. However, lets be serious here, 12 white farmers died over a period of 4 years! In South Africa an average of 189 farmers per year were murdered during the same period!
        While I prefer the One man One farm concept, don’t let mutiple farm-farm ownership distruct you. If ALL farms had been taken from whites and handed over to just 100 Black indegenes, this would have satisfied the ideal of transfering land from whites to blacks.
        What you are talking about here is “equitable” distribution, a concept never discussed at Lancaster and one that should come ONLY after land had been taken. This is the phase we should seize ourselves with now, but never a big deal during the racial transfer phase!
        Know your synchoniscities and don’t confuse yourself into inaction!

        • Anonymous says:

          What is interesting here is actually I agree with you on a lot of things. The British as former colonialists have to take their share of the blame, the white farmers are not saints, they didnt treat people well at all. Land Reform is the way forward and it is not negotiable or reversible.

          I think its ridiculous to try and compare Zimbabwe and South Africa. We are poles apart. Deaths might have been few but what of the beatings, lootings and general violence that came with it? Can you really justify it by saying after all, South Africa is worse??? Its a bit like seeing your mother being beaten by your father and justifying it by saying inga baba Shupi pa next door vanorova Mai Shupi everyday? Thats a lame excuse. Hand on heart, South Africans are the least kind of people we as Zimbabweans want to be compared to.

          You have to agree with me, the majority of the farms have been plundered. The best and most productive of the farms have not been given to the best black farmers but the best connected cronies, relatives and politicians. Even if CFU massaged the figures to push their own agenda productivity on the farms has dipped by at least 50% or more overall. Unnecessary force and violence was used to grab the farms when a peaceful legislation or government gazette could have been used and land redistributed since the blacks dominated the parliament anyway. Multiple farm ownership is even worse now amongst blacks than it was when there were white commercial farmers. The black commercial farmers are treating their workers worse than what the white folk did.

          Do you or do you not agree?

          And by the way, there is no need to be verbose. Simple plain English will do thank you.

          • Anonymous says:

            I never said it was ok for 12 white farmers to die because SA kills more.
            I implied that this obsession about violence against Zimbabwe’s white farmers is crocodile tears by people who NEVER show similar concern for much higher number of SA farmers being killed for their land!
            If your argument against Zimbabwe’s land reform has to be based on avoidance of violence, then you have to be seen to be condemning violence everywhere else farmers are being murdered over land ownership. especially if one of those countries is right next door to the “pariah” country!

          • Anonymous says:

            Crocodile tears? Why should I show concern about South Africa? We have enough problems of our own to worry about another country. We as Zimbabweans are renowned the world over for being clever & smart, yet we could never come up with an easier solution for the land crisis? And why can’t you answer my simple question? Do not try and evade it.

          • Anonymous says:

            I was not talking about you! You and I are too small to matter in the bigger scheme of things!
            I was talking about the people that have sold you these false outrages, the ones that have trained some Zimbabweans to be more concerned about 12 white farmers instead of 300 000 indegenous new farmers.
            Zimbabwe came up with a solution to land reform; Mugabe, Thatcher and John Major implemented it for 17 years without any problems!
            Problems only arose when Tony Blair took a different approach and decided to renage on the Lancaster agreement. Under those circumstances, our gallant War Veterans forced Mugabe to implement the ONLY other viable approach to transfer the land!
            Today, 12 years later, a new book by British professors shows that reform has now increased employment at the farms from 167 000 workers to 1 000 000! A 497% increase in employment! Our farmers are now earning more forex from their tobacco than white farmers ever did in their 1000 years stay on the same land.
            Whats not to like about this program?

          • GBZ says:

            Batani, I think you have lost the plot here pal and I do believe your farm employment figures are a figment of your imagination. Having said that, it is clear as day that Mugabe orchustrated the land grab to win votes and to demonise the whites and cause a division in this country that has brought its people to its knees. “A house divided is a house fallen” and the division was not just between white and black, it is worse between black and black, and it is clear that the intention was to wipe out the Ndebele people with the Gukurahunde masacres, and Im afraid this glutonous greedy bunch of clowns that have surrounded Mugabe sucking off the sacred cow have not at one time considered the people they are meant to represent and sent this country into a death spin.

            One has to understand that every single commercial farm WAS a well oiled machine that made this country “The breadbasket or Jewel of Africa” (quote R.G. Mugabe) and suddenly the teams of highly organised and trained technicians were ripped away from this incredible national wealth machine and were replaced by ignorant people who thought they were going to recieve the wealth of the Mukiwa…..guess what? Yes you are right, they failed and now no one knows what to do with this failure, or is prepared to admitt they screwed up seriosly and lets try to fix it!!! No this bunch of ignorant, arrogant fools continue to take the remaining few farms that are producing, even to kicking off settlers that have been given land so a “cheff” can move on. What a calamity, this government could not organise a party in a brewery!!

            Why for goodness sake did the government not come and say to the “Farmer Brown” er sorry “Farmer White” ” Mr White we need your farm and are going to take it, BUT we are going to pay you full commercial price for your land on condition that you allow us to employ you to train the new “settlers” “opperators”, “Technicians” for one or two years to be able to run this machine properly”. This would have cost an inth of what our country has lost and we for sure would have a far better situation than we have now. NO WE CHASED OUR MACHINE OPPERATORS TO OTHER COUNTRIES!!! And now the very people that we chased are growing maize in Zambia etc and supplying our hungry mouths, and the president has the embarrased gaul to tell gmb to rebag it as it has the names of our exported commercial farmers on the bags. Too late sir, we knew about it before it arrived.

            When is someone going to wake up and tell it as it is? I say Vote NO, lets get a decent constituion and get rid of this bunch of thieving morons that are clueless about running a country without corruption, intimidation,torture, rape, murder and mahem…

          • Anonymous says:

            1) The farm employment figures are from the book “Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land” by 3 professors, 2 British and 1 Zimbabwean.
            2) Whats wrong with Mugabe doing something popular that makes him win votes? In case you did not know; Polticians are EXPECTED to do that!! In exchange for the power they want, we demand for them to pursue issues that are popular with us the povo!
            3) There was never any untiy between blacks and whites. What existed was an uncomfortable detente;we got the politics and whites maintain the economic control. Blacks tried to reconcile, whites felt too superior to engage.
            4) Gukurahundi was a civil war instigated by disgruntled former ZIPRA forces uncomfortable with being led by shonas. Repeating that a war that killed 2 000 people (official Catholic count) or 20 000 people (new figures banded about without research) over a period of 6 years, out of 2 million Ndebeles, was a “genocide” will NEVER make it so!
            5) Go and ask the British/American governments why they agreed at Lancaster in 1979 to take land from whites and hand it over to blacks.
            6) The rest of your questions have already been answered elsewhere on this comments.
            7) The bunch of thieving ignorumases we are going to get rid of are the multiple MDCs; idiots that feed off of inferiority complexes and call for sanctions that destroy their own relatives’ lives!

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      Nobody can say it better than you, mwanawamai. Quite frankly the British government should be taken to task for the problems it left behind as if it never colonized this country. If anything, Zimbabwe should now claim for the payment of reparation from the British government for close to two hundred years when our people and country were subjected to the plunder, deprivation, abuse of our human rights and dignity, the murder of our people whose cry for independence were mercilessly subdued by their colonial master. The list for the ills our people suffered under British rule is endless and should be compensated. The Aborigines of Australia, native Indians of the Americas, Japanese compensation after the Second World War, the Marshall Plan that was introduced by the allied powers for reconstruction of Germany after the war were all paid reparation to have a fresh start. And yet we never got any meaningful financial assistance from Britain when the country got independent after the unjust and senseless war perpetrated by Ian Smith which the British government never condemned. If anything, they propped up the Ian Smith regime that exterminated thousands of our people. We should demand reparations from the British government. And the time is now!!!!!!

  2. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    Is Alex Bell the only specialist for the land question in Zimbabwe at SW Radio Africa? It seems to me, she is the only one who has been tasked to handle all the most difficult land related issues of the land. So sad it is, she talks from the perspective of the so-called white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe and never from the indigenous farmers’ point of view. Alex is obviously a spoilt white man’s daughter who was brought up and taught to think, behave and act like a white supremacist who had no feelings for a black domestic servants working in her house but staying at the back yard of the premises. Alex still dreams of the coming back of those glorious days when rhodies rule again Zimbabwe.

  3. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    Is Alex Bell the only specialist for the land question in Zimbabwe at SW Radio Africa? It seems to me, she is the only one who has been tasked to handle the most difficult land related issues of the land for Zimbabwe. So sad as it is, she talks from the perspective of the so-called white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe and never from the indigenous farmers’ point of view. Alex is obviously a spoilt white man’s daughter who was brought up and taught to think, behave and act like a white supremacist who had no feelings for the black domestic servants working in her house but staying at the back yard of the premises. Alex still dreams or yearns of the coming back of those glorious days when rhodies controlled and dominated all facets of life in former rhodesia.

  4. Mike Rook says:

    Statistics vary depending on their source Batani, and yours are no more or no less credible than those of Taffs. As for the Lancaster House agreement I know of no provision that stipulated that, “if the state failed to acquire the farm once, it could use murder mayhem and beatings to acquire it again at a later time.” The Lancaster House agreement stated that land would be transferred from whites to blacks, “on a willing buyer willing seller basis. “You accuse Taffs of doing himself a disservice by coming to the interview unprepared: that assumption based solely on differently sourced statistics is mischievous, misleading and simply not true. You say Taffs “shows a complete lack of understanding of the driving matrix within the country he purports to know a lot about.” Really Batanai! Taffs is a ‘hands on’ farmer permanently residing in Zimbabwe. The content of the book he was correcting was co-authored by two academics domiciled in UK who spent just two months in Zimbabwe. The third author from the University of Zimbabwe speaks about the experience of women in Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme. Your comment vis-à-vis Alex Bell, who is a journalist not a statistician, indicates some considerable frustration with SW Radio Africa for facilitating Taffs right of reply. The book’s authors refused to be interviewed! Finally Batani the British stopped the transfer of funds to replace white farmers with black farmers due to lack of financial transparency by the Zimbabwe government. SADCC Tribunal listen up! In direct contradiction of your ruling Batani is telling you loud and clear, “not a single penny of Zimbabwean taxpayer money is going to be released to fund the reclamation of our once stolen land.” Respect the rule of law Batanai and you may regain some credibility.

    … And would you believe it! I now see none other than Perfidious Albion’s ZANU/PF spokesperson Cde Chimbwidos has commenced posting his usual hysterical and offensive rants and raves. Good morning to you comrade.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      It is all a pack of blue lies that I have commenced posting hysterical, offensive rants and raves to anyone, Mr Englishman. You should for once listen carefully and not talk to me as a slave master for the problems created by the United Kingdom when it ruled the country against the will of the people will simply not go away. We need sober English people to talk over this problem as we have a legitimate claim for reparations. We have been some of the most abused people on earth, enslaved, colonized, murdered for speaking out against foreign domination and control, deprived, denied human rights and dignity and today your country has slapped economic sanctions against my country. For what Mr Englishman? Are Zimbabweans human beings as the English people and if so what justification is there for your country that plundered our natural resources and human labor for nearly two hundred years to continue punishing my country and its people? Are you not ashamed as a country that you just walked away from Zimbabwe without helping a country that you plundered for this long? And where are your morals as a country that believes in Christianity, a country that brought missionaries to Zimbabwe to propagate the teachings of Jesus? Will I be wrong if I tell you right now that with your behavior, you can no longer convince the majority of our people that their is god the almighty they have always believed in for the last two hundred years? For if there was god as your missionaries taught us, he would not have allowed my people to suffer this long at the hands of the British government and its people. I propose that it is just a mirth and a pack of lies that god exists. I also propose that my people were made to believe in the existence of a god we have never seen unaware it was used to control our mind-set. We were foolish but we can now see clearly now. We demand to be paid reparations by the British government for the abuse and suffering we endured at their hands for close to two hundred years. The Aborigines are being compensated by the Australian government right now, the native Indians of the Americas have been compensated for the abuse, the Japanese were paid reparations soon after the Second World War and so was Germany that had brought untold suffering to the entire world through what famously became known as the Marshall Plan. And why was Zimbabwe left out after the senseless and unjust war perpetrated by Ian Smith regime that exterminated my people? Tell me why Mr Englishman? The only logical answer I can give you is that we a bunch of ‘negros’ and we do not matter. But the ‘negros’ are now waking up from their slumber, Mr Englishman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Once statistics vary, the next thing clever people do is investigate the credibility of the sources. Mine come from ZTA and ZTMB, where does Charles’ come from?

      Also, where does Taffs get his data for children out of school? Mine comes from UNESCO and the CIA Factbook.

      Lancaster House did not anticipate the British never reneging on the payments, thats why there was no provision of what could be done if payment was not forthcoming. And, lets be real here, 12 white farmers died in a span of 4 years, 189 white farmers were being murdered each year in SA over the same period!

      My grandmother is “on the ground” just like Taffs, yet I can promise you that both she and Taffs are as ignorant to the big picture of whats happening in the GLOBAL Zimbabwe agriculture scene than a British scientist that comes into the country and research on it for just a few months! Thats science my friend! Being “hands on” means nothing! Knowing how to gather information and analyse it means everything!

      Who knows the details of your internal body structure more, the Radiologists that put his machines on you for 5 minutes or you that carry the body your whole life? Being “there” means nothing, my friend!
      I did not complain that Alex Bell interviewed Taffs, I showed disappointment in her lack of preparation! A professional journalist always preps themselves with facts about a subject which they are going to conduct the interview. If she gets a chance to interview George W Bush, would she let him get away with saying just 200 Iraqis died during American occupation?
      You are lying about British funding! Linda Chalker, the conservative minsiter for Africa whom Clare Short took over from wrote a glowing report of Zimbabwe’s land reform between 1980 and 1996. Are you suggesting that this british minister was covering up for ZANU corruption? Blair decided to stop funding land reform in 1997 for 2 reasons; 1) he said he was not obligated for see thru policies deviced by conservatives 2) he said he wanted to try a different approach, “poverty alleviation” he called it, something he NEVER bothered to consult Zimbabwe on!
      SADC Tribunal was an improperly constituted entity whose ruling carry no validity! Only people fishing to rent legal opinion, who are desperate and are running away from real legally constituted AND recognized rule of law institutions would put any value to that defunct entity!

  5. super mondo says:

    no investment in zim and no more aid ,,withdraw all ngos..the west will not deal with racists and biggots. no more aid to sadac either

    • Anonymous says:

      Zimbabwe has been recieving MORE investments over the past few years than any time before 1999! You know why? Investors care about profits, even as they pretend to show concern about “bigotry, human rights, democracy” etc! Angloplats and Implats are shutting down mines in SA, the “rainbow nation” and investing billions in Zimbabwe, the 51% indegenization nation!
      Australians are competing with Russians for our uranium. The British want to be involved alongside the Chinese in our diamonds.
      The West is the most corrupt entity in the world! It colludes with a murderous repressive Saudi Arabia where no elections are allowed, to bring “democracy” to Syria!
      The West is so drunk on money and oil, its closest Arab friend is a country whose citizens sponsored the worst terrorist act in America!
      No sane person takes the west seriously. Smart people know to get western money without being enmeshed in their stupid political rhetoric!

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      Which aid and investment are you talking about, Mr Buffoon? For your information, the European Union and the Americas are only interested in helping people in their regions. Just look at the interest they have in helping Greece, Spain and Portugal as if they are the only countries in the world that are in need of financial assistance. And what has they given to African countries, the same countries they plundered in natural and human resources for hundreds. European countries and the United States are what they are due to slavery and our natural resources they just took free of charge and yet they do not care about us. May I be blunt in asking your level of education for it seems to me you are not very knowledgeable about world events. You probably need a little bit of panel beating to know the world around you, mate.

      • super mondo says:

        you reply with your braindamage..get a life wanker

        • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

          Exactly the response I expected from you. Just one sentence which has no meaning. Mr Buffoon, it is time you keep quiet when you do not know things. Nobody will say you are an idiot or a big time fool.

  6. Mike Rook says:

     

    I am in harmony with you Cde Chimbwidos. My ancestors too were enslaved by marauding uninvited colonisers. First came the Romans in 43 AD followed, by the Saxons in 450 BC and then the Vikings arrived from Denmark in 793 BC. Those crafty Vikings divided us up into two tribes, Scottish and English (the old colonial divide and rule skulduggery). Then to cap it all in 1066 our king Harold was shot in the eye by invading French and Normans. Like you I am trying to get redress. The Italian government is most unsympathetic saying that we benefited immensely from being part of the Roman Empire and that we still use some of their infrastructure such as the cobbled streets, and that I should be thankful we were civilised. The Vikings are even more difficult to litigate against as they were a mixture of German-Dutch, southern Danish and northern Danish. I have approached the European Court of Human Rights, but it seems bogged down with land compensation cases from those pesky white commercial farmers from Zimbabwe. We must stand together Cde Chimbwidos! Perhaps we should reconcile and file a ‘class’ action against our oppressors!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mike, this seems like a joke to you? You make it sound as if the europeans have resolved their terrirotial differences. However, a quick journey thru French/British wars, German/French wars, WW1, WW2, Scottish cessation attempts in present-day UK, Northern Ireland wars, Belgian secession between Flanders and Wallonia, show you that europe is far from dealing with these same issues.
      To convince Zimbabweans that compensation is not due because colonialism had “civilized” their way of life; first convince the Israelis who still receive compensation from the Germans today, that their ancestors benefited from european cilivilization and would have been as backward as their Arab cousins had they not migrated to europe! Tell the French to give back land they took as compensation from Hitler’s Germany. Then tell America and britain to return the compensation funds the Germans paid them after WW1.
      Compensation to Zimbabwe’s indegenes is no joke. Mandela’s forgive and forget philosophy has been a huge opium to white guilt. That needs to end soon!

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      ”First came the Romans in 43 AD followed, by the Saxons in 450 BC and then the Vikings arrived from Denmark in 793 BC”. You seem not to know which historic period comes first before the other. It is noted that you state that year 43 AD comes after 450 BC. You do not know that year 450 BC comes first before 43 AD You got your dates mixed up in ways that have made your article somewhat awkward.

      The good thing is that while your country was invaded by the Normans from France in what famously became known as the Norman Conquest of 1066, there was intermarriage between the conquerors and the enslaved English people to the extent that by the 13 century there were no traces of the Norman people as they all became the English people. In 1215 the Great Magna Carta, a legal document was passed by your country and still remains on the statute books of England and Wales to this day. One of its most important provisions was that King John of England was to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitrary. It was the first legal document that was forced onto the King of England for the first time in the history of this country by his subjects in an attempt to limit his powers which were repugnant, abusive and to protect their interests that were at stake. But that is a very long time indeed, Mr Englishman.

      Here we are talking of the period not longer than 33 years ago when my country and its people were brutalized, murdered for standing against tyranny and dictatorship by a foreign power. The Aborigines who are being compensated by the Australian government is a recent development, Mr Englishman. They had a legitimate claim for compensation and the Australian government had no qualms in coming to their assistance and today the Aborigines are being helped by their government to have a fresh start in life. The native Indians of the Americas have been compensated and continue to receive preferential treatment from the American government to this day except the descendants of slaves in the same country for what other commentators say is due to racial discrimination for there is no reason why the Afro-Americans can not be compensated for the injustices their ancestors suffered at the hands of the white plantation owners.

      Germany and Japan, countries that caused untold suffering to mankind during the last world war were recipients of reparation to reconstruct their countries after the war. But we got nothing when the senseless and unjust war perpetrated by Ian Smith with the help of foreign powers, came to an end in 1980. We have a legitimate claim for reparations Mr Englishman. It is this straightforward.

    • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

      ”First came the Romans in 43 AD followed, by the Saxons in 450 BC and then the Vikings arrived from Denmark in 793 BC”. You seem not to know which historic period comes first before the other. It is noted that you state that year 43 AD comes after 450 BC. You do not know that year 450 BC comes first before 43 AD. You have your dates mixed up in ways that have made your article somewhat awkward.

      The good thing is that while your country was invaded by the Normans from France in what famously became known as the Norman Conquest of 1066, there was intermarriage between the conquerors and the enslaved English people to the extent that by the 13 century there were no traces of the Norman people as they all became the English people. In 1215 the Great Magna Carta, a legal document was passed by your country and still remains on the statute books of England and Wales to this day. One of its most important provisions was that King John of England was to proclaim certain liberties to his people and accept that his will was not arbitrary. The late Lord Denning who is described as one of the greatest legal minds of the United Kingdom described the Magna Carta as ”the greatest constitutional document of all times… the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.

      The Magna Carta was the first legal document that was forced onto the King of England for the first time in the history of this country by his subjects in an attempt to limit his powers which were repugnant, abusive and to protect their interests that were at stake. But that is a very long time indeed, Mr Englishman.

      Here we are talking of the period not longer than 33 years ago when my country and its people were brutalized, murdered for standing against tyranny and dictatorship by a foreign power. The Aborigines who are being compensated by the Australian government is a recent development, Mr Englishman. They had a legitimate claim for compensation and the Australian government listened to the pleas for assistance and had no qualms in coming to their help and today the Aborigines are being assisted by their government to have a fresh start in life.
      The native Indians of the Americas have been compensated and continue to receive preferential treatment from the American government to this day except the descendants of slaves in the same country for what some commentators consider as racial discrimination being practiced against them for there is no reason why the Afro-Americans can not be compensated for the injustices their ancestors suffered at the hands of the white plantation owners in the United States.

      Germany and Japan, countries that caused untold suffering to mankind during the Second World were recipients of reparation to reconstruct their countries after the war. But we got nothing when the senseless and unjust war perpetrated by Ian Smith with the help of foreign powers, came to an end in 1980. We have a legitimate claim for reparations Mr Englishman. It is this straightforward sir.

  7. Mike Rook says:

    Cde Chimbwidos, chronological confusion with my BC’s and AD’s could be due to dyslexia. An unforgivable error! You too seem bewildered: as initially you addressed me as a racist ‘Rhodie’ and more recently as ‘Mr Englishman’ and in one discourse you actually used my name and referred to me as ‘Mike.’ In some ways you remind me of Cde Chinotimba. I only met him once in a bar called the ’Beer Engine’ in downtown Harare. I made a point of introducing myself and tried to have a rational discussion on Land Seizures. He was slightly inebriated and I like to think it was the alcohol rather than the topic that incurred his wrath. My old friend from the 1970’s Cde Charles Ndlovu aka Webster Shamu was sitting nearby (now Media, Information and Publicity Minister) and he grabbed him be the scruff of the neck and ejected him. Anyway I digress! After Independence 1982 CFU produced a hard cover book, ‘Zimbabwe Agricultural and Economic Review’ to publicise and promote the newly independent country. The book’s Foreword was provided by the then Prime Minister Robert Gabrielle Mugabe. ‘Let’s turn swords into ploughshares’ was the theme. You mention Nelson Mandela Cde Chimbwidos! Unlike you he was incarcerated for most of his lifetime. If he can move on so can you! I leave you with these two quotes by Madiba: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Have a good day Comrade!

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