Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Inside Zimbabwe: Bob sweettalking farmers

It's true. Zimbabwe's government, which violently seized land from its commercial farmers in a frenzied desperation for platform, has been quietly making concessions with its former commercial farmers asking them to return to their old properties.

Reid Estate about 15 kilometres north of Bindura (the provincial capital of Mashonaland Central Province) is being returned to it's white owner. The estate, which at it's peak in the 90's exported it's produce to Europe, was recently offered back to the Reid family who are well liked in the Bindura community. Before they returned, the Reids however demanded that their farm be cleaned up and asked for restitution for their developments which had been destroyed by the "vets."

Off course this means that the people who were led by ZANU-PF to give up their original homes for the farms or "minda mirefu" (long fields) now find themselves homeless. Many in Zimbabwe anticipate that thousands of (farm) invading families will be swept out from commercial farms under the guise of the Tsunami (cleanup operation). Where they will go is still a mystery.

I cannot confirm what kind of concessions they got from the government, but I know it is widely believed that operations at Reid Estate will be reverting to normal soon.

Mugabe's inhumane cleanup operation continues to plunge deeper into chaos as the government is running out funds and ideas for dealing with the newly displaced victims of it's cleanup. Sokwanele on Monday noted that government officials at Porta Farm (a squatter holding camp) told people who sought refuge there that it was full and they need to go elsewhere.
"People that have been moved from Porta farm and taken to Caledonia farm, have been told they can go back to Porta because Caledonia is overcrowded! The remaining Porta people are being asked by Police where they want to go to because Caledonia is full."
Even worse is that the police are now arbitrarily repatriating people to the rural areas. My impeccable sources report that the police are sending people back to whatever rural district their national identity card was registered with. Every Zimbabwean over the age of 16 is supposed to carry a government issued ID card. The ID card has details about what district it was issued in. The district number is what the police are using to send people back to the remote parts of the country. The problem with this is that many thousand of people registered their identities in districts which are not where they are from. There were either working on a farm or visiting relatives and when the mobile registration units passed by, they registered themselves.

So people are now being sent back "home," except that for many this is not where home is.
  • << Home