Zimbabwe: A little bit of balance would be good regarding this story: I appreciated your coverage, but there are other things to think about as well

Bronwyn Larner larner at halenet.com.au
Wed Apr 9 09:38:04 BST 2008

I appreciate Diggers take on the Zimbabwe situation. But I am not totally persuaded that violence is to be commended.


Forwarded from crikey.com


Zimbabwe: a white farmer's story


As the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, Crikey received the
following email from a family of white farmers whose property has been
co-opted by local officials -- this is their story in their words. 

First, some background from emailer Eric Harrison:

In the hopes that the justice system in Zimbabwe would prevail, Digby
Nesbitt and his family kept silent as the nightmare began to unfold -- they
had various court orders that should have prevented it from ever happening.

Ordered to evacuate their farm by November 30, 2007, they stayed because
they were assured that lands minister Didymus Mutasa was coming to the
Lowveld on December 19 to resolve the issue. On December 18 they were told
the trip had been postponed to early January.

At the end of January a Mr Veterai, the assistant police commissioner, who
had threatened Digby Nesbitt on several occasions, arrived at the farmhouse
with about 15 people, including his wife and some green bombers (Zanu PF
youth militia). He showed the Nesbitts a new letter of offer saying he was
taking over 71 hectares instead of the original 40 that he had been

"This meant that absolutely nothing was left for us. When I told the
governor, Mr Chiwewe, he said that Veterai's offer letter was fraudulent and
he said that I should tell Veterai that he had said that. Veterai replied
that he did not care and that he was taking his 71 hectares and that no
politician would stop him because they are all corrupt," Nesbitt told The
Zimbabwean on Sunday in an exclusive interview.

This is Nesbitt's account of what happened in the following weeks:

Veterai had just broken into our office down at the compound and taken
everything out and dumped it on the lawn. He also broke into my mother's
cottage and took all the keys with the result that every time I went to feed
her cats, I had to climb through the lounge window where two louvers were

Veterai threatened our crocodile manager, Sam, and said that he was going to
kill him and throw his body into the croc pen. A couple of weeks before, Sam
was told that he was going to be castrated if he did not move out of his
house. While we were in South Africa during the month of December, his
furniture was thrown out of his house into the mud as it had been raining.
Since then he and his family had been living in the little cottage next to
our house. He was scared out of his wits. 

Veterai came into our lounge and sat down, saying that he and his family and
guards would be moving in with us that day, whether we liked it or not. When
I said that I objected, he called me a racist and said that it was because
he is black that we did not want him living with us. He shouted and ranted
and raved like a madman again, saying that he knew how to eat with a knife
and fork and that he knew how to use the bathroom properly.

He just made himself at home in the lounge for the rest of the day while his
family moved their pots and pans etc into our kitchen. They took over the
three guest rooms down the passage and the guards were posted in the lounge
and dining room. Our front gate was locked and two booms were put up, one
down at the compound and one just outside by the stables. We were prevented
from leaving the house.

ily;pos=1;date=09042008;sz=300x250;ord=633433432393156250?" \nad

On the Wednesday morning the guards unlocked our front gate obviously
wanting us to leave everything and run. Our minister's wife and another
friend came to see how we were doing and we were sitting in the one section
of the lounge, away from where the guards were. Veterai walked in from the
bedroom where he had locked himself in until that time. He said that I had
called him a baboon and started shouting and screaming and going beserk like
a lunatic. I was flabbergasted as it was a total lie -- I would never insult
anyone like that, no matter what. Anyway, he calmed down eventually and went
out of the room. 

After my visitors had left and I was walking back to the lounge, Veterai
came walking out and as I passed him, my dogs (dachsi, Jack Russell and two
very gentle mongrel crosses) started barking at him. He immediately lashed
out at me, saying that I had set the dogs on him and kicked them, at the
same time pulling out his pistol and pointing it at them, saying that he
would shoot them and anyone else who got in his way. That night we locked
ourselves in our bedroom at about 5.30pm and went to bed absolutely

On the Thursday morning we woke up, got dressed and went through to the
kitchen to organise breakfast only to find about four women busy cooking
sadza on our stove. We then proceeded to the lounge and found an absolute
mess, obviously a party had been held the previous night as there were empty
beer, liquor and coke bottles scattered all over the carpet and the
furniture was in disarray. I confronted Veterai about the mess and said that
it was disgusting; he immediately twisted what I said and accused me of
calling him disgusting.

Later that morning the member-in-charge from the Police Station in Chiredzi
came out to the farm and basically informed us that there was nothing they
could do about the situation unless there was any violence, as this was a
"land issue".


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