The
Zimbabwe
Letters

     
  Violence against farmers.  
     
 
Two of the thugs were armed and they held Bruford's wife at gunpoint while physically assaulting him. In the chaos that followed, Andrew was shot on the shoulder and sustained a flesh wound

 By Tererai Karimakwenda

Violence against the remaining white commercial farmers has gained momentum as a farmer was injured in a shooting in Harare South and evictions continued in Manicaland over the weekend. Another farmer was forced to leave with no time to pack on Tuesday night in Rusape.

The shooting in Harare took place early Sunday evening in Beatrice. John Worsley Worswick of Justice for Agriculture said the area had been peaceful until three thugs attacked Andrew Bruford and his wife at their farm. A chunk of masonry was thrown through their lounge window and the three immediately appeared inside the house. Two of the thugs were armed and they held Bruford's wife at gunpoint while physically assaulting him. In the chaos that followed, Andrew was shot on the shoulder and sustained a flesh wound. Worsley-Worswick said it appears the thugs had no intention of killing the couple or of robbing them either. Nothing was taken and the physical attack did not go any further. The three simply left.

Worsley-Worswick believes the attack was political and probably meant to scare the couple into vacating their property. The thugs' open display and blatant use of weapons also signifies that the government may be sanctioning these recent attacks in a renewed effort to scare off the remaining commercial farmers. Bruford was treated in hospital.

The most recent attack and eviction was in Rusape in Manicaland. Trevor Gifford of The Commercial Farmers' Union said it started Monday night when a group of about 25 thugs knocked on the windows of the Rusape farmer, so far identified only as Michael. Gifford said the farmer was told to leave the property by 6pm on Tuesday night. Michael has 33 hectares of tobacco, 10 hectares of maize and about 18,000 chickens.

We spoke to Michael Tuesday afternoon as he was trying to finish packing his chickens before the deadline. He told us the people evicting him were in the house and he could not speak. He said the new owner was a man named "Tsorai" who had a 3-year old offer letter. Michael then hung up. Over the weekend two farmers were evicted in Manicaland. One was from Nyazura and the other from Chipinge.