CAPE TOWN, South Africa – As famine conditions worsen in Zimbabwe due to President Robert Mugabe’s farm-seizure program, new information has been made public about friends of the dictator who have taken ownership of confiscated white farms – including a reporter with the Reuters news agency.
Last month, the United Nations World Food Program said that 6 million Zimbabweans in both urban and rural areas need emergency food aid. The agency said that even after pledged aid had been given and government food imports had been made, the country would still have a shortfall of 1.5 million tons of cereal. The statement acknowledged that two years of farm invasions had compounded this massive food shortage and said that unless international food assistance was given urgently, “there will be a serious famine and loss of life in the coming months.”
The famine is a direct result of Mugabe’s henchmen seizing most of the nation’s white- and Indian-owned farms.
According to Cathy Buckle, a white Zimbabwean farmer who recently lost her farm to Mugabe’s land-grab policy, “the United Nations also spoke of the effects of drought, saying Zimbabwe had just experienced the longest dry spell in 20 years.”
“What they did not say, however, was that most of Zimbabwe’s dams are full. In fact, for anyone that has lived in Zimbabwe, the dam percentages are completely beyond belief. Masvingo is 91 percent, Matabeleland 79 percent full, Mashonaland 89 percent, Midlands 88 percent and Manicaland 100 percent full,” Buckle told WorldNetDaily.
“The United Nations says this is our longest dry spell in 20 years, and yet all our dams are almost 80 percent full. Our dams are so full because the water has not been used to irrigate crops. There are no crops in the ground because government supporters stopped farmers from growing food because they wanted the land for their masters – and now 6 million people face starvation. What a sickening irony.”
Buckle said that recently, Zimbabwean Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said that any white farmer who did not put a crop of wheat into the ground would have his farm listed for seizure.
“I’m not sure where the minister has been these last two years, because he has already listed 95 percent of Zimbabwe’s farms for government takeover,” Buckle explained. “There are now only 308 farms in the entire country not listed for state seizure. Neither Dr. Made nor any of his officials are prepared to offer any written guarantees to a farmer that he will be able to grow, reap and sell his wheat before the government moves in and takes the farm over. The 6 million starving Zimbabweans have Dr. Made and his government to thank for their plight. We have become like Somalia and Ethiopia and are holding out our begging bowls to the world. A world that would rather feed us than help us to get a democratic government who care for their people.”
So who has taken control of Zimbabwe’s formerly white-owned farms, one might wonder.
“Last week, the government in Zimbabwe announced that settlers and squatters were being evicted from commercial farms in our nation. All week we have been waiting with bated breath to hear from the Commercial Farmers Union that this is in fact the case and that commercial farmers have begun picking up their lives and getting some food into the ground. From all reports, though, it appears that this is not what is happening. Squatters and settlers are being moved off some farms – those that have been given to Zimbabwe’s VIPs,” Buckle said.
“Lists of the new owners of Zimbabwe’s prime and previously most productive commercial farms have now been made public. The list runs at the moment to 187 names, and it is shocking. … The new owners of Zimbabwe’s commercial farms are not farmers at all. They are not graduates from our agricultural schools and colleges. They are not young men and women who are ready to toil under the baking African sun tending crops and livestock.”
Buckle said that the new owners of Zimbabwe’s farms include government ministers, members of Parliament, police officials, military brass and judicial officers.
Members of the media friendly to Mugabe have also collected prime property.
South Africa’s Cape Talk radio interviewed a Zimbabwean Reuters and ZBC reporter and broadcaster Reuben Babwe, who has been granted ex-white farmland. In defending himself, Babwe told the Cape Talk interviewer that the same thing is being done in South Africa and that he
knows what is really going on with farm repossession in South Africa. The interviewer asked him whether he meant that the farm murders here are part of the repossession drive. Although he refused to admit
this, Babwe said that South Africans are “sitting on a powder keg.”
Buckle told WND, “The VIP beneficiaries have gotten farms ranging in size from 300 to 1,200 hectares, which include the houses, infrastructure and equipment. The list of Zimbabwe’s new commercial farmers is a ‘Who’s Who’ in Zanu-PF (Mugabe’s ruling party). It is a list of the people who have been at the forefront of what has been called Zimbabwe’s Third Chimurenga. The government got back into power on the promise of land to the people, and now we can see exactly which people they were talking about.
“Undoubtedly, landless peasants have also been given land in this Third Chimurenga They have been given little squares of less than 20 hectares with no house or infrastructure, no title deeds and no equipment. …”
Added Buckle, “Nearly 200 people have lost their lives in this Third Chimurenga. Thousands of others have been tortured, beaten, burned and raped and are refugees in their own country. Six hundred thousand people are already surviving on donor food and our government says 6 million face starvation. And 187 VIPs are the main beneficiaries.”
South Africa to follow suit?
Many South Africans fear that Zimbabwe-style farm invasions are just around the corner. Since 1994, over 1,200 white South African farmers out of a total of 40,000 have been murdered, with another 6,000 attacks reported.
South African President Thabo Mbeki of the ruling ANC has given amnesty to several farm killers.
According to the Transvaal Agricultural Union, which is the largest agricultural union in South Africa, the lack of transparency of the presidential amnesty for 33 chosen party members, among other farm murderers, are raising a number of questions with farmers.
A TAU spokesman told WorldNetDaily, “The South African Police Service and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Judge Wilson found that these murders were not politically inspired, yet President Mbeki released them and found it to be part of the ‘struggle.'”
“The SAPS, SANDF (the new South African National Defense Force) researchers and several commissions are adamant that farm attacks are simply acts of crime. Will future presidents release these ‘criminals’ due to their contribution to the ‘extended struggle’? Has membership of the ANC Youth League become the latest qualification required for amnesty, or should farmers read more into it?”
Continued the spokesman, “If this is the case, the ‘Mugabe signals’ in Zimbabwe are clearly recognizable as party members receive the benefits, whilst opposition members are held in modern maximum-security prisons and those outside intimidated and murdered. The president owes the farmers of South Africa an explanation regarding the implications of his decision, namely, are the attacks on farmers politically inspired? Are farms – and therefore farmers, their families and workers – targets of the ‘extended struggle’? And finally, are farm attackers classified as freedom fighters?”
“President Mbeki is leaving his flanks open to a ‘Mugabe label,'” the spokesman concluded.