Stop the madness

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“We need to be a united front so that everybody has space and we are able to give opportunities of being represented,”

THE invasion of David Connolly’s Centenary Farm in the Figtree area of Matabeleland South by deputy chief secretary in the office of the President Ray Ndhlukula will help shed light into renewed lawlessness on the country’s agriculture sector.

Zanu PF acolytes and some senior civil servants have been causing havoc at the few remaining farms owned by white Zimbabweans at a time the government has been claiming it has put a stop to land invasions. Indigenous farmers who bought their properties prior to the chaotic land reform programme have not been spared the madness.

The illegal occupations have taken a violent dimension in areas like Masvingo where a farmer was struck by an axe in the head last month. Several other farmers had their property burnt by marauding Zanu PF supporters and war veterans.

Former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa has become the latest victim of the Zanu PF-linked thugs after a group of about 50 people illegally moved into his Nyamandlovu farm. The occupation of Dabengwa’s farm would remove any pretense that these invasions have anything to do with aspirations to correct historical imbalances.

It is such government-sanctioned lawlessness that sunk Zimbabwe into the economic malaise that has impoverished everyone and taken us decades back. President Robert Mugabe’s government seems to have lost control of its thugs that are masquerading as land-hungry Zimbabweans.

Even Mugabe’s aides such as Ndhlukula are disregarding the law at the detriment of the economy. A work force of 14 men, nine women and their 75 dependents at Connolly’s farm are going to lose their livelihood just like that. Connolly would also lose half a hectare of tomatoes (65 tonnes), 19 000 cabbages and 500 000 onions as a result of the invasion.

On top of that, he has to find alternative pastures for his 94 head of cattle that have been driven out of the farm. This would come at a cost to the economy, but the government does not seem to care as usual.