11 white farmers must stay

'11 besieged white farmers must stay'

Daily News - Tendai Kamhungira, DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER  

29 November 2015

HARARE - Chief Chiweshe and Mashonaland Central Province war veterans have thrown their weight behind 11 commercial white farmers facing eviction from their properties.

Centenary white farmer Phillip Rankin, owner of Kingston Deverill Farm and his colleagues are living in fear after veterans of the 70s liberation struggle laid siege at their property. The stress of the siege is tormenting their families

Rankin, whose farm was delisted by the government in 2001, has been suffering constant threats from veterans he believes are being sent by UK-based Sylvester Nyatsuro, who reportedly has an interest in the property.

But Chief Chiweshe and war veterans are in full support of the white farmers.

In a letter seen by the Daily News on Sunday to the president of the Chief’s Council, Fortune Charumbira, Chief Chiweshe said the 11 white farmers were fit to remain at their farms.

“May you, president of the Chief’s Council, be aware that I, Chief Chiweshe as the chief of the area have over the past years affirmed that the remaining white farmers have not had any problems with the government’s land reform programme and have worked with the ruling party and local leadership as well as with the community. Hence these individuals are also my subjects,” the letter reads.

“It is my humble submission that being the chief in the area, where the white farmers of whom local war veterans leadership and the community attest of a cordial relationship, bring to your attention with the view of lobbying for a procedural approach to this issue bedevilling my community and leadership.

“Once this is done, harmony will return to my area and development will take place for the good of the local economy and the country at large.”

Of late, the country’s remaining white farmers have joined Zanu PF to save their properties.

They are even gracing Zanu PF rallies, donning the party’s regalia and showering praises to the chief architect of the land reform programme, 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

Their safety has always been a cause for concern over the past years as they suffered intermittent threats, which put them at risk of losing their properties.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), through a letter written by one of its Mashonaland Central members only identified as B Nyemba, also supported the 11 white farmers’ continued stay at the farms, adding that they were living amicably with the community.

“The 11 white Zimbabwean farmers have lived with the local community in a harmonious manner for over 14 years since the start of the land reform programme,” Nyemba’s letter written on behalf of war veterans in Muzarabani District reads.

“We as local leadership of the war veterans in Muzarabani district do hereby write in support of the said farmers to be issued with offer letters so as to protect them from potential future threats of intimidation and extortion.”