Retired Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Laureate, Desmond Tutu of South Africa, is supporting formation of a charity to aid commercial farmers in Zimbabwe affected by the government's controversial land reforms.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Trust has been established in Britain to "provide a focal point for international support" for farming families and other agricultural workers caught up in the haphazard and sometimes violent land redistribution program. The aim is to alleviate the "hardship and suffering" of those farmers who have been directly affected by the civil unrest, according to Lao Watson-Smith, the trust's administrator.
Tutu, who condemned his own government's endorsement of Zimbabwe's controversial presidential election in March, is patron of the trust.
At least 11 farmers and seven workers have been killed, thousands assaulted and abused and nearly a million farm workers and their dependants displaced since February 2000 when members of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe National Union-Patriotic Front and veterans of the liberation war of the 1970s, launched raids against the farms. The raids targeted properties of white farmers accused of campaigning against a draft constitution that included a clause allowing the government to seize, without compensation, any farm belonging to white, large-scale farmers. The invasions intensified prior to the presidential election.
Nearly half of the farm workers affected are descendants of migrant workers from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia who lost their citizenship last year when the government passed a law declaring them ineligible for resettlement under the land reform program.
Article from: ENI