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Zimbabwe - same old, same old

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by ManlyBacker, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

    +971 / 7
    Despite the crowds in the street hailing their new PM, Morgan Tsvangirai, nothing has changed in the real power plays of Zimbabwe.  This includes intimidation of the in-coming government's ministers through prosecution (see bottom of article) and now an attempt to finally purge every white farmer off their lands. I am glad it was Malcolm Fraser (;)) but I really despair that the situation is horrendous and keeps getting worse. All this while the populace struggles with the effects of a cholera epidemic and food shortages. 

    Mugabe's birthday present: purge of last white farmers
    Peta Thornycroft in Harare
    February 16, 2009

    He is already planning to celebrate the occasion with vast quantities of champagne and caviar, even though half his country faces starvation.

    But just in case the Bollinger does not provide enough fizz, his acolytes are preparing an extra surprise: a fresh onslaught against Zimbabwe's last white farmers.

    Police, prosecutors and magistrates loyal to Mr Mugabe are understood to be co-ordinating mass summonses against the few hundred remaining white owners in an effort to bring them to court and serve eviction notices.

    The deadline for the action is next Saturday, the day before Mr Mugabe's birthday and a week before his planned official birthday bash, which has already provoked criticism for its extravagance. The hospitality will reportedly include 2000 bottles of Moet & Chandon and '61 Bollinger champagne, 500 bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky, 400 portions of caviar and 8000 lobsters.

    While no official reason has been given for the eviction campaign, insiders say it is timed to hand Mr Mugabe a potent propaganda gift for his birthday celebrations, which normally feature grandstanding anti-colonial speeches.

    Last Tuesday, in contravention of justice laws, groups of law enforcement officials held a secret eviction strategy meeting in Mutare, 260 kilometres east of the capital, Harare.

    The plan is to send out court summons to all local white farmers who have defied eviction orders, aiming for speedy trials and jail for up to two years. Meanwhile, the new occupants, mostly servicemen, will be allowed to move onto the land.

    Among the farmers summonsed was Michael Mackersie, who will go to court on Monday for the 63rd time in three years. "If I lose this one I think that will be it," he said.

    The Law Society of Zimbabwe said it would expel any members involved with the action.

    Beyond legal moves, the campaign has also involved violent harassment. Mike Odendaal, a farmer, is surrounded by a pro-Mugabe militia at his home in Chipinge, about 65 kilometres south of Mutare.

    "We have advised him to stay inside," said Deon Theron, vice-president of the Commercial Farmers Union. "If he moves outside he may be attacked, and they will take his house and then he is gone.

    "This is the biggest push against us in the last few years, worse than the violent weeks after the opposition [Movement for Democratic Change] won last year's election."

    In November Mr Mackersie was one of 78 farmers who won their case at the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, a court of last resort, which ruled Mr Mugabe had ethnically purged white farmers and failed to pay compensation.

    It ordered that those white farmers who had resisted the land grab, in which more than 4000 white farming families were evicted, be left in peace.

    Mr Mugabe, who introduced the land grab policy nine years ago as part of a campaign to redress perceived colonial injustices, has said the tribunal has no jurisdiction in Zimbabwe.

    ? Treason charges against Roy Bennett, the Movement for Democratic Change's nominee for deputy agriculture minister, have been dropped but replaced with charges of attempting to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage, his lawyer said yesterday. He will appear in court today.

    Telegraph, London;Agence France-Presse
  2. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +466 / 6
    We have a student studying with us, from Harare.  Lost her only brother last week to the cholera epidemic, though the coroner (hahaha as if an autopsy was done when even the hospitals can't treat the live people) said it was "apendicitis". 

    Have to keep the cholera count down you see. 

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