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The news from Zimbabwe

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  #131  
Old 03-22-2002, 09:29 AM
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Well, today's bit of excitement is that my brother-in-law's resident war-vets have kidnapped some of our cattle ... we even got a ransom note!!! Signed "The War Vets" (how imaginative).
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  #132  
Old 03-22-2002, 09:59 AM
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Sorry to hear about that Sam. It sure doesn't sound good for you. It sounds as though there is little protection from the police as regards to what is happening there. Is there any hope that things will turn for the better, or is that too far fetched to imagine?

Ed
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  #133  
Old 03-22-2002, 10:33 AM
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Well, Ed, we all hoped that things would improve once the elections were over, but they're getting worse, not better. So, I don't know what we do next, really.

Know anyone who wants to buy a farm in Africa?
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  #134  
Old 03-22-2002, 12:36 PM
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Considering what the news might be, this actually seems kind of mild. But just how many is "a few" cattle? I know that over here losing just a couple heads of cattle can be devastating for ranchers. What is the threat if you don't pay the ransom?

And what do you mean by your "brother-in-law's resident war-vets"? They live on his land? In his house? (But you said he was still there...)

The other day I was telling a friend that I wondered what a "normal life" is, but after reading your posts, I'm beginning to think that I my life is pretty "normal"!! In any case, I don't think I want to buy your farm - no matter how cheap you're selling it!

I hope the cattle (and you and your family of course!!) don't come to any harm and I'm continuing to send good thoughts your way!

Jeanie
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  #135  
Old 03-22-2002, 11:47 PM
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The "resident war-vets" are those who've assumed ownership of the farm and built their houses in the fields. In fact on that farm there is quite a village that's sprung up out of nothing. In that instance, they have not invaded my brother-in-law's own house, as yet, so he is still living in it.

You're right - it is mild compared with what could have happened ... What's a few head of cattle (8 in this instance) when it could have been us who were kidnapped??!
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  #136  
Old 03-23-2002, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
The "resident war-vets" are those who've assumed ownership of the farm and built their houses in the fields. In fact on that farm there is quite a village that's sprung up out of nothing. In that instance, they have not invaded my brother-in-law's own house, as yet, so he is still living in it.
Very interesting - a twist I hadn't yet considered. So the war vets aren't necessarily violent all the time, just kind of "move in" and build houses? Is your BIL able to do any farming? If not, are the war-vets taking "care" of the farm and animals? (I assume he has/had animals like you.)
Jeanie
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  #137  
Old 03-23-2002, 02:51 AM
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It's a strange scenario and one that is different on every farm. Some w-vs say they want "co-existence" while others just try and drive off the farmer and take over completely. On my BIL's place the war-vets have kind of got "their" area and he has his, so yes, he is able to carry on some sort of farming operation, although with the w-vs taking advantage of their current impunity in the eyes of the law, there is so much criminal activity going on (blatant theft & extortion, not to mention the nastier stuff) that normal farming is pretty much impossible.
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  #138  
Old 03-23-2002, 09:54 PM
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Hmmm - interesting. The possible scenarios seem endless. I just can't imagine how hard it must be to make contingency plans when there are so many factors involved.

I was just reading a report that says some of the food shortages in Zimbabwe are due to the reduced output of the white farms being occupied by the w-vs (that in addition to the drought.) So it's obvious that Mugabe is exacerbating the food shortage situation by allowing the w-vs to run rampant.

You said that the w-vs have built a small "village" on your BIL's land. Do they do any farming themselves? How do they support themselves? Are they supported by the government?

I guess I'm trying to make sense of some of this using my "western logic" and it's not working too well.

Jeanie
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  #139  
Old 03-23-2002, 10:10 PM
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It's quite sad that Zim used to be self-sufficient as far as food production was concerned (one of three or four countries in Africa). Now they rely almost totally on food aid (which I'm sure that Sam will confirm, is also manipulated by govt "agents").

It's much easier to sit under a tree and get food for free
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  #140  
Old 03-24-2002, 12:20 AM
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Jeanie - most definitely the food shortages are exacerbated by the land invasions. Hundreds of farmers have been prevented from carrying out any farming activity at all. Given that many of these are large scale commercial producers, that's a big chunk out of the country's crop.

Africans, by tradition, farm at "subsistence" level, i.e. small, hand-tended crops with poor yields in comparison with commercial crops. That's fine if all they need to grow is enough food for their (extended) family plus a bit over to sell for cash, but not much good for filling the nation's grain stores. And what the war-vets are doing is turning highly productive farms over to this traditional, low-yielding agriculture. Hence the food shortage.

Added to that is the fact that the government hasn't supplied the seed & fertiliser that the warvets had been promised, so what crops they have planted are hopeless.


Al - I'm sure a lot of food aid has ended up in private bank accounts in Switzerland ... and thereafter spent at Harrods ...?!
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