Although less than 25 years ago, Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, was a net food exporter, the current policies of the nation’s dictator, President Robert Mugabe, have produced a serious famine in the land.
Mugabe – through both unofficial violence and official government policy – systematically has driven white farmers off their land, some of the most productive in all of Africa.
Cathy Buckle, a Zimbabwean farmer, has been updating WorldNetDaily on events inside Zimbabwe, which have for the most part been overlooked by the establishment media. Buckle is also an author, having compiled stories of the killings and harassment of white farmers in a book on the Zimbabwe land grabs entitled, “African Tears: The Zimbabwe Land Invasions.”
“The events of this last week in Zimbabwe are almost beyond belief. According to world relief agencies, including the World Food Program, the U.N. and Oxfam, 1 million Zimbabweans will be in urgent need of food aid within the next month. Our government, having acknowledged the crisis and held out the begging bowl, announced this week that they would not allow anyone but themselves to distribute the food as it comes in. The government has banned all foreign aid agencies from distributing humanitarian food aid,” Buckle told WorldNetDaily.
Zimbabwe’s minister of information spoke at a press conference last week and declared, “We will not allow strangers to roam around our country interfering.” The minister claimed foreign aid agencies were “planning to smuggle election monitors into Zimbabwe using the guise of food aid to ‘decampaign’ (destabilize) the present government.”
Says Buckle, “Can there be anyone now who believes that the Zimbabwean government actually cares for her own people? It is criminal that 1 million people face starvation because our government has prevented farmers from growing food and have allowed people calling themselves ‘war veterans’ to rule supreme for the last 20 months. I can hardly bear to think how people who do not support the ruling party will survive. How can any government refuse to allow donors to distribute the food they have collected?”
Buckle explained that the imminent food crisis has been overshadowed by what she called the “devastating announcement” that Mugabe’s Land Acquisition Act again has been amended. The strongman now has plans to evict over 4,000 white farmers in Zimbabwe.
“Farmers who have been served with a section-8 letter informing them of the seizure of their land have been told to immediately cease all farming operations and have 90 days to get off their farms and out of their homes. The starvation we face now will be compounded a hundred fold in 2002 and 2003,” Buckle said.
“I say this not because I believe only whites can farm but because the people squatting on farms simply do not have the experience or capital needed to grow more than enough food for just themselves. The mere fact that they cannot even plough the land they have invaded and, as I write, are waiting for the government to give them seed, demonstrates this fact very clearly.”
Buckle continued, “More worrying is the evidence that many of the men squatting on farms are being paid to do so and are not farmers at all but political pawns. I gave proof of this in my book “African Tears” and told how an American TV crew actually filmed the ‘war veterans’ receiving their weekly pay for squatting on my farm.”
Zimbabwe’s minister of agriculture, Dr. Joseph Made, told South Africa’s media that any payment of compensation to farmers evicted from their farms would be up to the British government. The UK is the former colonial ruler of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia. Made said that Zimbabwe’s government would pay for “improvements” (the buildings, fencing, dams, etc.) but could only afford to pay 25 percent now and the balance over 5 years.
“While farmers have been frantically trying to decide what on earth to do now, both with themselves and their families but also with nearly a quarter of a million people who work for them, the country has seen burning, looting and beating in Bulawayo. An abducted war veteran was found murdered. Two terrified young men stood in front of a TV camera and ‘confessed,’ but there was a huge wave of arrests. As I write, more than 16 people are in police cells – all are active members of the official opposition MDC party; one is an MP. Many have been denied their rights to legal counsel. Many have been held for more than 48 hours without being charged. All have been denied bail,” said Buckle.
Buckle said that the rule of law is rapidly vanishing in Zimbabwe.
“A magistrate in Gokwe convicted two government supporters of robbery and sentenced them to eight months. That night the magistrate was attacked by a mob in his home. His windows were smashed, furniture trashed, and he fled bruised and terrified into the night. The magistrate is unable to return to either his home or workplace and is in hiding,” explained Buckle.
“I met last week for tea with a farming couple in their 70s who survived the most terrifying experience recently. A mob of 40 ‘war veterans’ got into their house at night by breaking down the back door. While this elderly couple hid in their bedroom the ‘war veterans’ smashed the windows, climbed onto the roof and broke a hole in the asbestos with a steel pole. They looted the contents of the fridge and deep freeze, stole tools from the garage, cutlery from the kitchen and then smashed glasses and plates. They put the plug into the sink, turned the taps on and flooded the lounge, dining room and pantry. They smashed the bedroom window where the couple were hiding and tried to set the curtains alight.”
Continued Buckle, “For three hours, 40 men roared and shouted and destroyed. The police were called at 7 p.m. and did not arrive until after 10 p.m. The following morning, three men were arrested. They were found with two of the 25 geese that the mob had stolen. This couple is not leaving. They have been terrorized repeatedly in the last 20 months but are not leaving. This is their home.”
When Zimbabwe’s anarchy stops may have a lot to do with the nation of Libya. The London Telegraph recently reported that Muammar Gadhafi and Libya are dispatching 10,000 mercenaries to Zimbabwe. The Telegraph reported that each mercenary will be given a Zimbabwean passport.
“Gadhafi has been cooperating with the West in the new war on terror. Perhaps that is why he is being given a free hand to operate in Zimbabwe. Why won’t the U.S. and UK help us?” Graham McKeever, a Zimbabwean farmer living in Harare told WorldNetDaily.
According to Geoff Cooke, an ex-Rhodesian intelligence officer, Mugabe’s use of foreign troops to suppress the people is not unprecedented.
“Mugabe used North Korean mercenaries to kill off more than 30,000 Matabele tribesmen in northern Rhodesia who opposed his rule. This was done back in the early 1980s. Mugabe is not opposed to using foreign troops,” Cooke said.
The Southern Africa Financial Gazette, the bible of commerce in Zimbabwe, reported that in anticipation of civil unrest, Mugabe ordered The Ministry of Home Affairs to seek authority from Treasury to make a down payment of $Z105 million to an Israeli company recently contracted to supply nearly $Z1 billion worth of special vehicles and water cannons that can be used in riots by the Zimbabwe Republic Police ahead of presidential elections next year.
The Financial Gazette reported that the equipment being bought is part of a wider government strategy to ensure that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is adequately equipped to deal with any possible riots ahead of the election, which Mugabe is seen losing.