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Saturday, 14 September, 2002, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
Diary of a Zimbabwean farmer
Colin Shand,  photo by Declan Walsh of the Irish Times
Colin Shand has worked on his farm for 38 years
White Zimbabwean farmer Colin Shand tells BBC News Online of his temporary escape to peace and quiet in South Africa, and of his concern for the starving workers he has left behind.

Be wary of emails offering money-making schemes and linking to this story - they are fraudulent.

Friday 13 September, 2200 local time (2000GMT)

It is great to be in South Africa with my brother and family, to be less stressed being out of Zimbabwe and it is amazing how peaceful it is by the coast, without worries of who is going to be arrested next.

Unfortunately my cook "Steady" and my workers have still not been paid or received their mealiemeal as my nephew was arrested and detained in Concession Police Station before he could deliver these to them, and is consequently on 10,000 zimbabwe dollar ($185) bail, and now not allowed to go back to the farm.

We are trying to get a driver to take the money out to these poor old starving people!

Is it not amazing that it is not the white population that is suffering but the poor black people that are meant to be getting the land. I will endeavour to help these old folks that have stood by me in the past.

Sunday 8 September, 2320 local time (2120GMT)

This is the last I will be writing for a couple of weeks, as I am leaving for South Africa tomorrow to have a bit of break, and I hope that when I come back sanity will have restored itself and the ludicrous things that are happening will have come to a standstill.

I have still not been able to go back to my farm even though all charges were withdrawn.

The people on the ground - the new settlers refuse to let me go back.

Cows in a white-owned farmed
Farmers like Mr Shand had to leave their animals behind

My nephew went on Friday to take my workers' wages and mealie meal that I give my guys every month, and they tried to pinch it.

So they do not care what happens to my workers. And some of the people that I support on my farm are over 80 years old.

I have to look after them otherwise they will die.

I had a bit of a scare on Friday as I received a phone call from the farmer who is storing my furniture, he has received his section 5 (eviction order) and was concerned that he was going to get 72 hours notice to evacuate his farm.

I am unable to find a house or anywhere to store my furniture in Harare.

But I have left it in God's care.

I feel that the only solution will come from Zimbabwe as the rest of the world, although are sympathetic towards us, are unable to do anything.

Sunday 1 September, 2050 local time (1850GMT)

Well, no news from Saturday morning, except on Friday after all my charges were withdrawn I went to the Member in Charge at Concession Police Station and showed him the document that I was given by the Court in Bindura.

I said that I wished to go back to my farm. He advised me that I had to arrange it with the DA (district administrator), which I did not want to.

He said when he had transport he would go there, especially as my cook, Steady, had just arrived and reported that he was threatened and the settlers had moved in to one of my rondavels (traditional round cottage) inside my security fence.

Mr Shand moved from Chipinge to Concession in 1985

He was also told that he had to leave the farm.

I am waiting for the courts to take action and get an eviction order, so that I may return to my farm and my home.

I know that God will provide and that this country is going to come right but only when the people of Zimbabwe recognise that God is in control and that he owns the land, not the whites or the blacks. And that we as the population of Zimbabwe turn to him and seek him.

I will be going to see my brother in South Africa for a bit of a holiday this week and do some fishing and relax after my traumatic month but will be back.

I do not intend to settle anywhere else and am not intending to ever leave Zimbabwe.

This is my country and I intend to continue living here and make it home for all Zimbabweans black and white, but will speak to you when I get some news.

Saturday 31 August, 1200 local ( 1000GMT)

Well, justice was done yesterday in the Bindura Magistrates Court.

After some anxious waiting and a lot of prayer, I'm at last recognised as free in law to return to my home and farm without danger of arrest.

Some of my staff are still there, having a hard time, and there are a lot of things that we had accumulated over the years that I couldn't move out in the 30 or so hours that I was allowed a fortnight ago.

Those things, and my animals, need my care and I will be glad to stop being homeless again.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe says he is righting a colonial wrong
The big question is whether I can make peace and stay with the settlers there.

The government has now said that it wants to split my farm into 12 small lots of 50 hectares each.

I don't know how they will share the single water source, especially since they have stolen the electric motors from the borehole.

The settlers' existence is about as difficult as mine. The government hasn't given them any legal rights except worthless letters, so they have no chance of getting the finance they need to grow the crops.

I'll let you know what happens.

Thursday 29 August, 2200 local (2000GMT)

Sorry about no news but being off my farm I don't know really what is happening.

I got a phone call from my cook this morning telling me that the settlers are trying to get the keys from him for my house. They broke in on Wednesday and I don't know what they have taken.

I phoned the police this morning and was informed that I had a court order to vacate my farm and had no right to what was left there. Nice law and order!

I am still going to fight and sue the government for payment. Tomorrow I go to court, hope everything is going to be alright.

Will speak to you after court.

Click here to read earlier instalments
Farmer Colin Shand talks to BBC News Online
"I'm not leaving until I get some form of compensation"

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See also:

25 Jun 02 | Africa
18 Jul 02 | Africa
09 Jun 00 | Africa
11 Jul 02 | Africa
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