Another day, another ‘poor white Zimbabwean farmer’ story in the “international media,” this time originating in South Africa, rather than the usual source, the UK.
The story has all the now familiar elements: Brave, committed, patriotic and hard working white Zimbabwean farmer just wants to get on with the business of feeding the starving natives who don’t have a clue how to farm. But the irrational government of Robert Mugabe won’t let them, going to absurd extents to prevent them from feeding the nation.
Excertpts from “‘It’s a nightmare” :
Louis Fick has been farming with pigs, crocodiles, cattle, fish and grain near Chinhoyi since 1993. He said the last of 3 500 pigs will be finished off within weeks, while all his cattle had already been killed. This is partly due to the ban on animal feed and partly because the senior Reserve Bank official who had seized the farm in July 2007 was limiting Fick’s farming activities to 5ha of the 400ha farm.
Nothing was happening on the rest of the land, said Fick. He is part of a group of farmers who will now once again approach the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal to try and force President Robert Mugabe’s government to reinstate their ownership of expropriated farms.
Fick said prominent employees of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank were increasingly targeting farms. On his farm the new owner prohibited the supply of animal feed for the first time in April last year, and then again since last week.
They are making it incredibly difficult and are in effect allowing no feed. “We have to throw the feed over high security fences and then load it onto vehicles, but then they lock up the vehicles so that we can’t move. It’s not fair towards the animals. Fortunately I can feed the pigs to the crocodiles.
In its heyday, the farm as an integrated enterprise supported 3 500 pigs, 12 000 crocodiles, 1 500 cattle and a fish hatchery. Eighty hectares had been planted with wheat and soya.
Theron said most of the remaining 300 white farmers were currently being forbidden to plant and the persecution of farmers who refused to stop farming was continuing.
“It’s a nightmare.”
Okay, point taken: White Zimbabwean farmers are under siege by the government and it is difficult for them to operate. We have known this for close to ten years now, and this story does not add anything really new to what we have been hearing and reading for that time.
And granted, just as Mugabe’s regime and its supporters use crude propaganda to get their points across, the white farmers have their sympathisers and supporters using similar tactics far and wide. In this case I doubt that this story is unrelated to the farmers’ bid to go back to the SADC Tribunal which recently issued a sympathetic ruling to them which the Mugabe government predictably ignored.
That the regime of Mugabe is bad news in countless ways has been obvious for a very long time. But frequently, the efforts of the white farmer-sympathising “international media” to depict him as the devil incarnate do not at all help those white farmers.
In this case, I wonder why the reporter did not pose the question of why, in a country in which we are ad-infinitum told is on the brink of starvation, this particular white farmer chose to feed his pigs to crocodiles than to people.
If Mugabe is the ultimate bad guy, it is hard for me to see white farmers like Fick as the good guys of Zimbabwe who are being prevented from saving the natives from starvation!
Quite unintentionaly, this story exposes the deep racial issues at the heart of “The Zimbabwe Crisis.”