Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

Zim farmer protests to the EU

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 
later.
"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 
yesterday.
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 
ministry.
The veterans also want a |review of their monthly allowance of about R1 400, 
which they say is below the poverty line. 

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