Zim farmer protests to the EU
21 February 2013
Peta Thornycroft Mercury Foreign Service
Evicted Zimbabwe farmer Ben Freeth has protested to the EU after it lifted
financial and travel sanctions on the leader of a gang of President Robert
Mugabe's loyalists, who fractured his skull nearly five years ago.
Freeth, 43, says he is appalled that sanctions against Gilbert Moyo have
been lifted. He claims Moyo tried to kill him. Human rights activists say
Moyo was also involved in many attacks against Movement for Democratic
Change supporters during the last elections, in 2008.
Freeth, his father-in-law, Mike Campbell, then 76, and Campbell's wife,
Angela, 67, were abducted from their lush fruit farm about 120km south-west
of Harare and taken to a nearby Zanu-PF militia base. There they were beaten
by about 20 party loyalists, who repeatedly hit them with rifle butts in the
head. Campbell never recovered full consciousness and died three years
"The EU's decision is despicable. It is amazing that the EU should lift
restrictions from a man who has shown himself |to be a danger to society,
and who committed crimes against humanity for over a decade," Freeth said
He said Moyo, who is believed to be living in central Zimbabwe, was arrested
weeks after the attack on him and his in-laws, but was granted bail and the
case then disappeared.
Police commissioner Augustine Chihuri was not available at his Harare
office, or on his cellphone to comment yesterday.
Moyo's name appears on a list of wanted people in the Chegutu Police
Station, which is near the Campbell's Mount Carmel farm, which was |taken
from them by Mugabe's former information minister, Nathan Shamuyarira, 85.
He rarely visits the farm, which used to have a thriving export market from
about 40 000 fruit trees, mainly mangos and citrus. Freeth says the trees
stopped producing fruit several years ago.
Meanwhile, 50 000 veterans from the liberation war have sent a committee to
appeal to parliament for a cash gratuity of about R160 000 each, plus
licences to mine diamonds in the alluvial fields in eastern Zimbabwe.
The diamond fields in the Marange communal lands are at present controlled
by Chinese, Lebanese and South African businessmen, in partnership with
senior Zimbabwe military chiefs, or with the Zanu-PF-controlled mines
The veterans also want a |review of their monthly allowance of about R1 400,
which they say is below the poverty line.