Moving off the farm

We moved off our farm today. We had been warned at 2 pm that Mugabe’s thugs were coming for my neighbour and me. We were not sure who was coming but assumed it would be the same group that had evicted our other neighbour the day before.

I decided to move off as I had been told by people who had had the same problem, that if the MUGABE thugs arrived, and there was no person to target, it defused the situation, and hopefully they would leave or worst case loot your home. At least your family and employees would remain physically unscathed, and we could deal with the material loss later, hopefully even have the opportunity to start again.

Our children arrived home from school, they where met by Granny, me and my 1 year old baby girl. We did our best to disguise our anxiety but they, as children do, knew something was wrong even though they bravely said nothing and wolfed down their lunch.

We told them we had to go and stay with their cousins for the night and we needed to be quick as they were waiting to play, all the time knowing that the Thugs ETA was nearing. We packed a night bag, personal documents and a few valuables.

My oldest girl by this time knew what was going and said to her 5 year old sister they had better take their dolls – “the war vets are coming”.

So with a bit of prompting from their father they packed up ‘Sally and Isabel’ like young girls would out there in the normal world, jumped in the Ute with Granny and off they went.

I stayed behind to lock up, do the final checks and took a moment to look around our home, seeing as it was maybe for the last time. I could not believe this was happening, given all the reassurances from Mr Mbeki that there was “no crisis in Zimbabwe” and our government’s claim that nothing is wrong. This whilst their agents still try to intimidate a minority population of 10,000 people, insisting we are trying to- and capable of overthrowing this juggernaut of a regime. Surely this must rather be pure irrational hatred.

As always I hoped for the best, gave the children’s two little dogs a pat, made haste to my Ute as it was nearly 2pm by now, and sped off to be with my family.

I spent the afternoon with my brother in law and we left for his home at the end of the day. At 5:30 pm I received a call informing me that another couple were besieged on their farm. I was not to surprised, as this had been the norm for the last couple of days and I assumed it would end with them being evicted, but managing to leave physically unscathed to deal with their total loss and mental trauma over time as many before them – a slightly cold response to a their plight but the facts as they are.

We arrived home, had a beer but said very little as people under this kind of pressure normally do. Another drink and we relaxed and enjoyed some fun time with all our children and their cousins.

I then received another call to say the couple mentioned earlier were still besieged and shots had been fired with the police not responding even though fellow farmers were at the police station explaining the situation and pleading for a reaction – even offering to transport the police to the scene as no transport was available.

I ended the call and phoned a friend of mine who had been assured that afternoon by the member in charge that nothing like this would be allowed to happen. He promptly called the said member and told him what was going on, the MIC retorted that it was all under control he was on his way to the scene and a detail had been detached from the neighbouring town. With this information I was relieved and sat down for dinner.

Moments later we received a call, the situation had deteriorated further and the MUGABE thugs were threatening to burn down the house with the couple inside if they did not come out and leave.

At this point we had no option but to go and try assist in whatever way we could. We left our very anxious wives and departed for the scene of violence armed with a camera and a double dose of adrenaline, knowing that we could not be armed in any other way as the situation would brand us the antagonist if we got involved in a physical confrontation.

When we arrived at the turn off to the farm there were already several other vehicles there, none belonging to the police, just other concerned farmers waiting and hoping the outcome would not be fatal. Just then a vehicle emerged from the gravel road carrying the freed couple we saw immediately they had been severely beaten but still alive.

We were told that before we had arrived a civilian from the neighbouring town had heard of the incident and managed to persuade four police reservist to accompany him to the scene. This single act of community by a single man and four brave reservists was the weight that tipped the scales in favour of life, along with all the other selfless men who left their own families at home in fear, not knowing what the outcome would be.

The evicted farmers received multiple fractured vertebra, ribs and cheekbones as well as morose bruising, but thank God, they are still alive.
We returned home shaken and disturbed hugged our wives and had a thankful peek at our sleeping children, before going to bed for a rather restless night’s sleep.

The police told us the next day that ‘all was under control’ and they had visited the crime scene. It is however a mystery to us as to why the perpetrators of this vicious crime are still occupying the house of the people they violently removed, and have yet to be arrested.

Let see what the politicians of the world especially Mr Mbeki and the African bystanders have to say next.

I have been told our farm was visited in the early hours of the morning but the thugs left again. We will see what happens tonight.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    I am so sorry to hear this. There is nothing worse than having to leave your home. You are very brave to maintain this blog in the face of all the danger.

    I left Zimbabwe in 2002 and moved to NZ (I lived in Harare). It is amazing how little of the post-election violence has made it onto the New Zealand news.

    All the best to you and your family. I hope you are safe and well, as much as possible.

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