via Commercial farmer slams UK Zim investment conf - The Zimbabwean 25 September 2015
Why are they in the UK when they despise white folk?
The following is the text of a letter from a former commercial farmer to Sharon White, a partner in the UK legal firm Stephenson Harwood, which is hosting a Zimbabwe Trade and Investment Forum in London this week.
Both yourself and the senior partners at Stephenson Harwood have a legal and moral obligation to listen carefully to what myself and a number of other Zimbabweans have to say with regard to you allowing a delegation of Zimbabweans, which includes a number of senior government ministers and politically well-connected individuals, to use the Stephenson Harwood premises to once again “dupe” the British public into investing in a so-called investor friendly Zimbabwe. In reality there is nothing further from the truth. We attended a similar investor forum in 1985 and lost millions in the process!
I have at least had the decency to write to you five days before the forum, whereas we were only given an hour to vacate our farm under the instructions of one of the individuals you will be hosting!
Apart from them having blood on their hands, they are all directly responsible for the economic and political collapse that has seen Zimbabwe go from being the bread-basket of Africa to the basket-case of the continent! Apart from being totally corrupt, their racist attitudes are unacceptable in this day and age. Why are they in the UK in the first place, when they openly despise white folk and preach hatred towards us while back in their own country?
Look East policy
I’ll tell you why, because their Chinese masters have pulled the rug from underneath them, their “Look East” policy has failed, the agricultural sector is a total failure and they now have to import maize from neighbouring Zambia and South Africa. They are totally reliant on foreign food and financial aid. They are absolutely desperate and are now grabbing at anything and everything!
They blame it all on the drought or Western sanctions, yet the dams are full. But they chose to loot and steal all our irrigation equipment on the farms and smelted it down into aluminium ingots as they’ve done with all the copper wire from our rural phone lines. It’s one of the richest countries on the continent in terms of mineral wealth, yet the sector is confined to the corrupt political elite. Ask how the ex-minister of mines amassed his fortune. We can answer that for you, but would prefer it if you did your own due diligence.
Folk in the UK talk about a couple of hundred thousand Syrian refugees seeking refuge in Europe. Have you ever given thought to the four or five million Zimbabweans who live in exile in South Africa, the UK and the USA because of these same deceitful individuals who will be here to spread more lies about a non-existent economy?
In 1985, five years after Zimbabwe gained Independence from Britain, a number of us (South Africans and British) attended a similar “investment forum”, where we were duped into believing that our farming expertise was required by the Zimbabwe government in order to revive the agricultural sector. Mugabe told us that there was room for everyone to farm in Zimbabwe. A number of us took up the challenge, believing that our investments would be safe, as the offer came from the president himself. How wrong we were!
Having completed a thorough due diligence exercise I went ahead and purchased a farm, which came with the relevant Zimbabwean Government “letter of no interest”. In other words the Zimbabwe Government did not object to me purchasing this farm land – which happened to be derelict at the time – and they had no intention of farming it themselves. Over the years we invested in excess of £5.5 million in this model farming operation. We employed 280 permanent staff who lived on the farm along with their families.
They were housed in electrified houses. We built a clinic and a school and they all had land on which to grow vegetables. In addition we allocated 100 acres on which the workers grew maize for their own use. We supplied the fertiliser and seed and prepared the land for them. Every acre on the farm was utilised. We generated much needed foreign currency for the government coffers. We grew a variety of summer crops including maize and invested in a state-of-the-art irrigation system which enabled us to grow a Winter Wheat crop. We also ran a large livestock operation with over 2 500 animals.
At gun point
On the instructions of a senior government minister we were given an hour to get off our farm, at gun point, leaving everything behind including the crops in the ground, millions of Pounds worth of farm equipment, over 2 500 animals and all our personal belongings. We left the farm that day with the clothes we were wearing and nothing else. They stole everything we owned! We’ve never been compensated a single penny for what these individuals stole from us and today the farm lies in ruins with our home being used as a brothel, all the equipment stolen, not an animal left on the farm and no crops in the ground!
We had every dollar tied up in our crops in the ground and in farm chemicals, fertiliser and diesel etc. They stole it all and you expect folk like me to ignore the fact that you are encouraging a bunch of thieves and liars to do the same to the British investor community as was done to us? We fell within the maximum farm size bracket, we created employment, we grew maize which is the staple diet, we paid our taxes, we paid for youngsters from the farm to go to university, we paid for the teachers and health worker on the farm, when we had a spare tractor or two we cultivated lands belonging to a chief in the area, we kept out of politics, we never once fell foul of the law. We met all the relevant government criteria apart from one issue … we were white!
There are 12 of us plus our legal team here in the UK. We intend serving papers on two of these individuals and will be accompanied by one of your senior partners in the process of doing so. We have had 5 000 brochures printed outlining the current economic situation in Zimbabwe, how it has got to this, who is responsible and why, which we will distribute outside your offices the day before and on the day of the forum. We do not want to see British investors being lied to by these individuals.
We are sending out over 2 750 emails to senior executives and CEO’s of companies listed as being your clients. Over the past month we’ve had a team working on establishing a communications link with every one of them. We are openly querying why you are granting these individuals the opportunity to use the Stephenson Harwood premises to lie to the British public about non-existent investment opportunities in Zimbabwe? We also have a prominent UK radio station prepared to allocate four hours of air time to us leading up to this forum, which we intend using to outline what is going on in Zimbabwe.
I’m sure you’d feel the same way as we do were you in our shoes, considering the justice system in Zimbabwe is totally politicised in favour of the ruling Zanu (PF) party and the fact that we’ve exhausted every legal avenue on the African Continent. This has left us no alternative but to seek legal recourse via various other options.
I’m not interested in being compensated for my land, but I want to be compensated for our farm improvements which included a multi-million Pound dam, all our farm equipment, included 23 tractors, lorries, irrigation equipment, greenhouses etc, all our livestock, our crops in the ground at the time and all our personal possessions.
I attach a number of recent press articles which should be enough to convince you that what you are doing by allowing these individuals onto your premises, is morally wrong. – Zim Farmer, by email