Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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'My Zimbabwe farm was stolen by Mugabe's thugs now I live in tiny Harlow flat'

'My Zimbabwe farm was stolen by Mugabe's thugs now I live in tiny Harlow flat'

 

http://www.standard.co.uk

 
Family: Timolene Tibbett, husband Rolf and two of their children in Zimbabwe

A Londoner forced off her 3,600 acre farm in Zimbabwe told today of her 
battle to get justice from Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Timolene Tibbett, 56, was thrown out of their home with her late husband 
Rolf and their three children by a pro-government group known as the War 
Veterans in 2001.

The Kensington-born former equestrian competitor was promised compensation 
by a court but has never received a penny.

She has now been reduced to living in a small flat in Harlow in Essex and 
says the stress of the ordeal led to her husband’s premature death.

“It’s extremely difficult. I have no friends and very few family here. I 
have a couple of relatives, but my children are not here with me. They are 
scattered all over. Life has changed drastically, dramatically for me,” she 
said.

Determined not to give up, however, now Mrs Tibbett is leading a campaign 
called Justice Zimbabwe to force Mugabe to pay the money she and 10 other 
farmer families are owed.

They have sent a 2,500-signature petition to foreign secretary William Hague 
protesting EU plans to lift sanctions currently imposed on the southern 
African nation.

They have also suggested previously-seized Zimbabwean assets held by the UK 
treasury are used to cover the money owed.

“I can promise the Zimbabwean government we are not going away,” said Mrs 
Tibbett.

“We are going to be on their toes until we see that justice is done and we 
get paid - we have a good case. I’m sure we will win.”

Describing the build-up to her family’s eviction, she told the Standard: 
“There had been lots of intimidation of our workers and a neighbour of ours 
who was an opposition supporter was murdered.

“The War Veterans came to the farm, they got near the house and demanded 
certain things. There was chanting, shouting and screaming.

“We stuck it out for about three weeks, watching and listening to them.

“Finally, my husband said he could not stand to watch the family’s 
livelihood and that of all our workers being allowed to die - it was very 
frightening.”

After being forced to leave their land in the Macheke district, which Mr 
Tibbett had worked since 1986, the penniless family fled to Harare to try to 
set up a business, but times were hard.

Mr Tibbett later travelled to Nigeria for work, coming home every couple of 
months to see his wife, but the stress became too much and in 2008 he died 
from a perforated ulcer, aged just 50.

After a brief spell in South Africa, Mrs Tibbett returned to the UK last 
year.

In 2009 a World Bank international court in Paris awarded more than 17 
million euros to her and 10 other victims, a figure that has since risen to 
23 million due to interest.

At the time, the Zimbabwean Government agreed to settle the debts, but three 
years on the money remains outstanding. 

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