Zimbabwe appears complacent and forgetful of the previous mistake of farm eviction as Black militants Zanu-PF began evicting a white farmer from his land, the first incident since the ouster of Mugabe.
A recent incident of farm eviction has generated a fresh wave of public outrage. This is as the country is struggling to feed after confiscating land from whites and crippling the agricultural sector by the then leader Robert Mugabe.
A video clip of a senior Zanu-PF official’s son arriving to evict the owner of a well-known farm has sent jitters through Zimbabwe.
Remembrance Gwaradzimba, son of provincial minister Ellen Gwaradzimba, went to FarFell Coffee Estate accompanied by police and armed with an eviction notice issued by the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Settlements.
The farm is run by retired Swiss banker Richard Le Vieux, a reputable farmer who has been in the business of exporting coffee, avocados and macadamia nuts for the past 30 years.
Mbudzana (“Junior”) demanded to be shown “his land” by the farmer.
“I have got this offer letter. Do you respect it? It has 229 hectares. Show me the 229 hectares, show me my land according to the offer letter. How is that difficult? I will stay wherever I want to stay in my piece of land,” said Mbudzana in a dialogue that was recorded on video, with Le Vieux who kept asking questions.
The 229 hectares that Mbudzana wants has an almost ripe crop on it. If he takes over the land he is expected to simply harvest. His “offer letter” to take over the farm was issued on January 10. FarFell Coffee Estate is contesting the matter in the high court.
Le Vieux said he challenged the legality of the notice but declined to comment about the matter as it is sub judice. “My lawyers are handling the matter so there is nothing to talk about. All I want is for my world-renowned coffee brand to be saved,” he said.
The “eviction team” went to the farm last Sunday accompanied by a police chief from Chipinge: inspector Dohwa. The policeman said the farmer’s refusal to let them onto the land as it was a resting day was disrespectful.
“I actually thought you would respect us as police officers, and when we come, we normally don’t just come to have fun,” said Dohwa.