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White Farmers Face Prison – For Farming

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Shoppers in an almost empty supermaket in Harare, August 2007.

White farmers in court for growing crops

By Peta Thornycroft, in Johannesburg


Ten white farmers appeared in court in Zimbabwe yesterday accused of growing crops on their land — in a country where millions of people will need food aid within the next few months.

The case in Chegutu district, 70 miles southwest of Harare, exposes the perversity of President Robert Mugabe’s policies. Commerical agriculture was the mainstay of the economy in the days when Zimbabwe was a food exporter.

Since 2000, when the government began seizing white-owned farms, many of them violently, the agricultural sector has collapsed and the economy has gone into freefall, with inflation now at 6,600 per cent, the highest in the world.

The World Food Programme estimates that it will be feeding 4.1 million Zimbabweans, one third of the population, by the end of the year.

But none of that has stopped the Zanu-PF regime.

Now the Chegutu group is charged with violating the Consequential Provisions Act, which gave the few hundred remaining white farmers a final deadline of Sep 30 to leave their land and homes. The colonial-era Chegutu courtroom was packed by the so-called “war veterans” who are Mr Mugabe’s staunch supporters, and “beneficiaries” who stand to be given the properties should the 10 be convicted.

Among them are Edna Madzongwe, the speaker of parliament, and Nathan Shamuyarira, a former information minister and one of President Robert Mugabe’s closest aides.

The farmers, aged from 38 to 75, produce a variety of food from chickens to oranges and have already given two-thirds of their farms to the government for resettlement. All but one still work their remaining land intensively and say they intend to try to continue.

They were remanded on bail and their lawyer David Drury sought to have the case referred to the supreme court, which is due to rule on the constitutionality of the land law. They pleaded not guilty and face up to two years in prison if convicted…

Somehow all of the worst fear-mongering about the region seems to have come true.

And nobody seems to have notice. At least, nobody in our watchdog media.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, October 6th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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