Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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‘I’ll fight until Mugabe pays for the farm he stole from my family’

‘I’ll fight until Mugabe pays for the farm he stole from my family’

http://www.standard.co.uk/

Lindsay Watling
14 December 2012

A Londoner forced off her 3,600-acre farm in Zimbabwe vowed today to keep 
the pressure on Robert Mugabe’s regime as it admitted illegally seizing 
land.

In a landmark statement, the ruling Zanu PF party this week acknowledged for 
the first time it had an obligation to pay compensation to Timolene Tibbett 
and a group of other former farmers who were victims of land-grabs — but 
then claimed it did not have the resources to do so.

Mrs Tibbett, whose family was kicked off their land in the Macheke district 
in 2001, said she would not stop campaigning until justice had been done. 
She accused Zimbabwe’s ruling elite of siphoning millions of pounds from the 
country for its own use.

The Kensington-born former equestrian competitor and 10 others were promised 
a payout in 2009 after a court awarded more than €23.9 million (£19.3million)to victims. But the mother of three, who is heading a campaign by Justice 
Zimbabwe, is yet to receive a penny and is living in a small flat in Harlow, 
Essex.

Mrs Tibbett blames the stress of the ordeal for her husband Rolf’s premature 
death. He died in 2008 from a perforated ulcer, aged 50.

She said: “The Zimbabwean government inflicted a terrible cost on my family 
and many others in this illegal action. Our hard-fought World Bank 
compensation claim is yet to be paid and we will be campaigning until 
justice is done.” At the Zanu PF annual party conference which started this 
week, an official report accepted that Mugabe’s land-grab campaign was in 
contravention of investment protection agreements taken out by the farmers.

The report stated: “The agreements require that the government pays fair 
compensation in currency of former owners’ choice. In this regard, the 
government has an outstanding payment of 16 million (£12.9 million) awarded 
to Dutch farmers.” But the report went on to claim there was no money to 
fund the compensation.

In 2009, a World Bank international court in Paris awarded the 11 former 
farmers more than 16 million with an additional 10 per cent interest for 
every year since the land was commandeered, taking the total amount owed to 
23.9 million.

Mrs Tibbett argued that the money was available: “Reports from NGOs and MPs 
prove billions of dollars of diamond wealth have disappeared from Zimbabwe. 
At the same time Mugabe’s ministers have become fabulously wealthy.”

Campaigners are urging Foreign Secretary William Hague not to ease sanctions 
on Zimbabwe when the EU meets next year. The group’s 11 members have also 
suggested that previously seized Zimbabwean assets held by the UK Treasury 
are used to cover some of the money owed. 

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