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More farmers kicked off land in ongoing invasions

 SW Radio Africa 27 June 2019

More commercial farmers have been kicked off their land in recent weeks as part of ongoing invasions across Zimbabwe. (379 Words) - By Alex Bell

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Two farmers in the Zvimba District have been forced to flee in recent weeks, after gangs of land invaders took over their farming operations. SW Radio Africa has been told that a farm called 'New Grade' was taken over recently by ZANU PF invaders, just before the farmer was ready to harvest. All the farm workers and their families were also forced to flee the property and have been left without jobs or homes.

It is also understood that the same situation has played out at a nearby farm called 'Pabachi'. That farm's owner is said to be aligned to the MDC councillor in the area, and this could be the reason behind the invasion of his property.

Meanwhile, an elderly farmer in Somabhula was on Tuesday found guilty in a Gweru court of refusing to leave his farm. 87 year old Phillip Hapelt, a South African citizen, was forced to flee his farm earlier this year and was then charged for refusing to voluntarily give up his land. Despite having numerous court orders upholding his rights to the property, a Gweru court on Tuesday instead defended the illegal invasion there. He was charged US$100 for his so-called 'crime'.

The situation comes in the wake of the closure of the regional human rights court, a move that many critics believe was done out of allegiance to Robert Mugabe. The Tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ruled in 2008 that Mugabe's land grab was unlawful, a ruling that has been openly and repeatedly snubbed by ZANU PF.

But instead of forcing Zimbabwe to honour the rulings of the court, SADC has instead closed the Tribunal until at least May 2012, for a second review.

Deon Theron, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) told SW Radio Africa that the decision to close the Tribunal is "without a doubt affecting farmers."

"It is definitely having a negative impact. Maybe they (the land invaders) feel that they have free rein now because the court is closed. But things are getting very tense," Theron said.

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