by Jim Ring
Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth are the leaders in a legal battle to save the last White-owned farms in Zimbabwe. After the country's Black racist leader, Robert Mugabe made his declaration against "White imperialist farmers", Mr Campbell's and Mr. Freeth's farm were burned to the ground in government orchestrated arson attacks. Just days afterwards, two mysterious explosions shook the remains of the farms. Police are investigating the explosions as a suspected arms cache and briefly arrested Mr. Freeth and held a visiting television crew from Al-Jazeera as hostages for entering a potential crime scene.
Other White farmers have had the same trick played on them in the past. Roy Bennett is a dispossessed White farmer who had been appointed Deputy Agricultural Minister in the power sharing government in February with Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's opposition leader. In 2006, Mr. Bennett was charged with treason after the discovery of an arms cache at a co-conspirators home. The treason charge which carries the death penalty has since been dropped. However, Mr. Bennett is still facing bogus charges of being a terrorist so Mugabe has his excuse not to let Bennett be sworn into his cabinet post.
In the last 10 years over 4,000 White farmers have had their farms seized. About two-thirds of the farm acreage has been given out to about 140,000 Blacks. However, in so doing, 320,000 Black workers and their families have been displaced amounting to nearly 2 million people. The remaining one-third of the White-owned land belongs to Mr. Mugabe, his family and friends, most of whom have little interest in farming or wouldn't have any idea that a hoe is a farm implement.
Now vast tracts of fertile farmland lie fallow. The former Rhodesia, once one of Africa's biggest food exporters is now Zimbabwe, the continents biggest recipient of food aid.
There were 6,500 White commercial farms in 1980 when Robert Mugabe took power. Today only 500 remain and Mugabe will not rest until they are all gone. Mugabe has called on his supporters to "protect their God given land from White imperialists."
The nightmare for Mr. Campbell and Freeth began in 2004 when a government minister showed up at the farm with a paper authorizing him to seize the property. Freeth resisted the move and demanded to go to court over it; a bold move considering by then at least 13 White farmers had been murdered and dozens more beaten up or imprisoned for resisting seizure of their farms.
Mr. Campbell and Freeth have been under constant harassment and intimidation over the past 5 years. On one occasion 15 armed invaders forced their way into Mr. Freeth's house threatening to burn it, kill him and Mr. Campbell, rape the women and eat the children. Mr. Freeth was severely beaten and has never recovered his sense of smell. Mr. Campbell's beating resulted in impaired memory.
Currently 170 White farmers are being prosecuted in court for not giving up their land; others are being systematically terrorized.
This is what we can expect of a Black-run government--anywhere--including here. Be warned!