Nyamandhlovu Farmers Gary Godfrey and Nigel Fawcett, together with Nigel's manager Russell McCormack were theatrically escorted yesterday morning under armed guard from the charge office to the police holding cells at Nyamandhlovu. They are to be charged under the Gazetted Lands (Consequential Provisions) Act for occupying State Land without an "Offer Letter", Permit or Lease. Both Gary and Nigel have been arrested previously for the same offence but on those occasions the Prosecutor declined to prosecute either of them. In fact, Chief Superintendent Matsika (cell phone +263 912 465774) who arrested Gary on
5 February 2009 for the same offence has we are told just had a judgement of US$50 000 (enforceable for thirty years) handed down against him.
This ruling awarded damages to another farmer for his similarly wrongful arrest and incarceration.
The facts leading up to these arrests are these: On Monday 31 May 2010 the police began their harassment by cutting the power supply to Gary's Highfields Farm. In so doing they deprived his staff and 35 settled families, together with numerous cattle, sheep and laying hens of water. They also stopped the staff from working with the result that all the livestock had their food supply cut off simultaneously.
On the same day the police went to Nigel's Kennellys Farm nearby and also instructed the staff there to cease work. In spite of the province's police officer commanding, Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterayi, having told the SPCA that he cared not if all the livestock died, after employing the good offices of Nyamandhlovu State Veterinarian Dr. Dube and the SPCA, and with the spirited intervention of many settlers the staff on both farms were allowed back to work. The people and livestock again received water and the livestock were fed.
The sale of farm produce which had earlier been stopped by the police was allowed to re-commence. However neither Gary, nor Nigel and his manager Russell, were allowed to return to the farm and the police who had been left at the two homesteads were instructed to arrest the three should they return.
Subsequently, after the three did not compliantly return to the farm to be arrested the ban on the sale of produce was reinstated by the police.
This appeared to have been done in order to bankrupt them into surrender. In an act amounting to incitement to commit theft, the staff at Highfields have just been authorised by the police to sell the farm produce on condition they do not hand the proceeds over to Mr. Godfrey.
It quickly became an untenable situation. To carry all the costs of production without any of the income is impossible and yesterday the three went to the Nyamandhlovu police station in an attempt to sort out the situation. In spite of their co-operation they were immediately jailed at gunpoint and now have the prospect of sleeping for several days on the bitterly cold concrete floor waiting for the police to produce the dockets. Gary certainly has a High Court order authorising him to use his farm assets until the State has followed proper process. This order the police as usual disregard.
Initially the Lands Department stated that they had instructions that only six white farmers were to be left farming in each district. The rest had to go. Now it appears that this partial ethnic cleansing has been sharpened and refined to leave only two white farmers per district.
Since they are unable to expel the remaining farmers through the courts the method is to jail and intimidate them until they "voluntarily" agree to vacate. This bullying was the method used to remove James Taylor and his son Matthew from their Cedor Park Farm even though the beneficiary had an offer letter for a different property.
In a move that could only be described as vindictive, Assistant Inspector Monyera (cell phone number +263 712 599676), after taking instructions on the telephone, reneged on his earlier undertaking to bring the three before the Magistrate who was holding court that day. The court room actually forms part of the Nyamandhlovu police station. Monyera claimed there were no dockets for the two which is ludicrous considering they have already been charged for the same offence. Monyera spitefully insisted they should remain in custody until the next court day which should be on Monday five days later.
When Advocate Cherry asked Monyera whether Debbie McCormack could return to Kennellys to collect clothing and food for her jailed husband he merely said "I am not hearing you."
Between them, Godfrey and Fawcett employ some 160 staff which will leave approximately 600 persons destitute with the seizure of the properties.
Not only that, the settlers, the staff and the general public are highly disgruntled at the current turn of events. They are incensed because they do not want the owners expelled to be replaced by police and CIO.
They are also annoyed that eggs and tomatoes which are in short supply have been produced on the farm but up to now have been left to rot on the instructions of the police.
Both Godfrey and Fawcett are South African citizens and their investments should be covered by the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement entered into between Zimbabwe and South Africa last November.
This Treaty is powerless. It makes no headway against the conduct of a renegade and corrupted legal system.
C M JARRETT - CHAIRMAN
SOUTHERN AFRICAN COMMERCIAL FARMERS ALLIANCE - ZIMBABWE
16 July 2010