Mugabe steps up campaign of fear against white farmers

The harassment of white farmers in Zimbabwe is continuing, with supporters of Robert Mugabe continuing their efforts to frighten political opponents and rekindle support for their beleaguered president.

It seems that the campaign of intimidation, which last weekend was focused on farms in the Masvingo province in the south-east of the country, has been moved to other areas to the north and west of the capital Harare.

Joy Borland, whose Chidza Farm was looted last Saturday, told FWi on Wednesday (9 April) that the mob had moved on and the situation was “calm, if precarious”.

But former sugar cane grower and citrus exporter Eric Harrison, who was evicted from his farm in 2004, told FWi that the intimidation was still going on in other parts of the country, with well-orchestrated mobs looting houses and beating up farm workers.

“I’ve had reports that a farmer in Chinhoyi (about 100km north-west of Harare) had his whole house trashed last night by over 300 Green Bombers and Youth Brigade,” he said. “There was another in Banket and another in Beatrice, and I am sure there are many more.”

Another first-hand account has come from a fourth generation Zimbabwean farmer, already fighting in the courts to keep his farm:
“As I write this, I have the melodious singing voices of about 30 men and women, and the heavy beat of the drums outside my security gate.
I was visited by this group, who informed me that I was not wanted here, and that I have 12 hours to pack and leave.
The leader of the group, read out the reason for my not being welcome, and that was because I had dinner up on the Hill to “celebrate” the MDC win!
Anyhow, I have reported the matter to the police who say they are coming out now.
These bastards spent the night in my Lodge on top of the Hill. They assaulted my man before he managed to run away.
It would seem that this whole thing has been organised by Bob and his cronies.
I have lined up some lorries to come and help if it becomes necessary to move.
So much for free and fair elections!”

It is estimated that there are less than 300 white farmers in Zimbabwe, compared with 4200 when Mr Mugabe started his policy of land seizure in 2000. Newspaper reports say that 60 more have been forced off their land this week.

It is understood from sources in Zimbabwe that 200 serving army officers are being deployed around the country, to organise a pro-Robert Mugabe campaign in the expected “run-off” presidential election.