ZIMBABWE – Hendrik Olivier, the director of the Commercial Farmers’ Union, an organisation which represents mainly the white farming community in Harare, says Mr Rankin is now a ‘hostage’ on his farm as he cannot leave his homestead.
“Mr Rankin is under siege. He is a hostage. The situation is not good as the police will not give him any help,” he said.
Even if he does not lose his farm, Mr Rankin fears the harassment will cause his crop to be ruined, costing him up to £240,000 in lost revenue. He has planted 110 acres of tobacco for the current summer season and needs to water it this week as it is exceptionally hot in Zimbabwe.
“I irrigated last week and I need to do so again now but I can’t go outside and turn the water on as the crowd is there and that would be the end as they would then move in and take over my house. They want me to make this mistake.”
Mr Rankin bought his 2,000-acre farm, Kingston, 32 years ago and received a certificate of no ‘present’ interest from Mr Mugabe’s new government.
After invasions of white-owned land began in 2000 ago he said he handed a third of his land to the government for resettlement on the “understanding” that he could continue to farm, but had suffered multiple attempted invasions of his farm since.
The current seizure of his farm was “by far the most serious,” he said.
Neither Dr Nyatsuro nor Mrs Mugabe responded to request for comment.
Zimbabwe has been unable to feed itself since 17 million acres was seized from about 3000 white farmers from 2000. They ran about 500 farms and employed more than a million workers.