Zim farm grabber 'immoral', church must intervene, says white ex-farmer

2017-07-08 06:30
Part of Robert Smart's property. (Frank Chikowore, News24)

Part of Robert Smart's property. (Frank Chikowore, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Harare – A white former Zimbabwean farmer, Ben Freeth, has reportedly urged the International office of the Pentecostal Assemblies church in Canada to intervene, following fresh land grabs in the southern Africa country. 

Freeth's colleague, white commercial farmer, Robert Smart, was forcefully removed from his property by armed police and a gang of President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party youths outside Rusape town last month. 

The tobacco and maize grower was evicted from his Lesbury Farm, to reportedly pave the way for a presiding bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe church, Trevor Manhanga.

Manhanga was said to have links with Mugabe's party.

According to New Zimbabwe, Freeth, who lost his own farm during the frosty land invasions in the early 2000s, said that the Smart family "bought the Lesbury farm and other farms in the Rusape district and developed them over the last 80 years".

Freeth said that during the sometimes violent land invasions, which started in 2000, the Smart family came to an agreement with the government to relinquish 90% of their 8 000 hectares of land and retained 700 hectares – of which only 120 hectares were arable.

The family did not receive any compensation for the land they lost.

Freeth said Manhanga acted "immorally" after threatening the family with "Jambanja", a vicious strategy used throughout the 16 years of farm invasions to brutally evict farmers and their workers.

He said that the role of the church was "to be the moral conscience of the nation, and it needs to act immediately against Bishop Manhanga... We also call on the international office of the Pentecostal Assemblies church which is based in Canada to intervene in this crisis".

News24 reported recently that more than 150 farm workers had been rendered homeless following the violent eviction.

They appealed to Mugabe’s government to allow their former employer to return to the farm, saying working at Lesbury Estates was their only source of livelihood. 



Read more on:    zanu -pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe land reforms

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

French Bulldog helps kids with facial differences

Lentil Bean is a french bulldog who was born with a severe cleft nose, lip and palate.

 
 

Paws

Weird things dogs do
Makeover saves dog’s life
For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.