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Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Thursday, 31 March 2005 11:31 UK

Zimbabwe voters: Olley

Zimbabweans have voted in the country's fifth parliamentary election since independence. A panel of eight people told the BBC News website who they supported, and gave their hopes and fears for the future.

HenryOlleyKeeganFreddieRichardPreciousPedzisayeVelempini

Olley

Writer and film maker Olley, 50, told the BBC News website that as a beneficiary of the land reform programme he will give his vote to Mugabe.

Zanu-PF is the only party in Zimbabwe that has a vision for the country.

Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Olley holds the opposition responsible for the suffering

It is the only party that has a credible economic policy to lift us out of our economic doldrums.

The fact is that if you are going to develop a country it has to start from the land.

An agrarian revolution must take place.

For example if you look at England 200 years ago, it was an agricultural society.

If you look at most countries, their development began with an agrarian grounding and so Zimbabwe cannot develop without going through an agrarian revolution.

To me, Zanu-PF, so far, is the only party that understands this.

I now own land as a result of the land reform programme.

I followed the procedure set out in the newspapers.

I went back to my village and registered myself on the list of those who wanted land.

It was then left to the Chief (who fortunately for me is my uncle) and the Chairman of the Land Committee in the area to decide who was to be allocated a piece of land.

Map of Zimbabwe showing the capital city, Harare
Olley's farm is north of the capital city, Harare

I am trying hard to develop my 60 acres.

I have built a road on it and a borehole for water on it.

I have livestock and grow maize and paprika at the moment.

Next I will grow a crop that I can export.

In five years time I see it thriving which will mean I will no longer have to work.

My farm will sustain me.

I could not vote for the MDC as I believe that they are responsible for a lot of the suffering that has taken place in the country over the last five years.

They have been driven by their hunger for power.

They are not a credible government in-waiting.

All they do is organise mass stay-aways, campaign for economic sanctions and for South Africa to cut our electricity. They travel round the world asking the world to isolate Zimbabwe.

I don't know how that can solve Zimbabwe's problems.



Your comments:

Olley that's the way to do it. For starters work hard on stuff which can first of all feed you and your community. then work on benefiting Zim as a whole. Well don't take Vicky (below) seriously. After all those who used to have farms in Zim were cronies of the queen. The other thing is that she doesn't understand is that because of African's extended families, a village is mostly comprised of related people. So your uncle gives you land but denies it to other cousins. So that gibberish from her is uncalled for. Good luck. "Pamberi" Zimbabweans.
Manga, Lilongwe, Malawi

I truly agree with you, Olley. I am from Manicaland, Buhera North (Murambinda Growth Point) and have known Morgan Tsvangirai ever since I can recall. It is true that Morgan is very good in dreaming and when he does that he actually thinks his dreams resemble reality. It started with his job at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), where he exercised some public leadership through mass stay-aways and so on. It was very easy for the neo-imperialist foreign policy strategists to lure him into mainstream politics so as to exacerbate their desire to regain control over ourselves.

He chose to give up his activist career for a political one, with the latter proving to be fiasco in his camp to the extent of desperately roaming around Europe advocating for stiffer economic sanctions. Knowing very well that his actions owed an explanation to his electorate, Tsvangirai instead started again to advocate for the ongoing elections be declared null and void by his masters.

Only a few weeks left before the elections kick off, we saw Tsvangirai and his clan launching their manifesto in Masvingo. So identical to that of Zanu-PF, their manifesto lacked wisdom from those who crafted it and left most of their fans confused whether they really mean change or they are just talking political jargon. Zanu-PF is the only way forward for Zimbabwe as an independent democracy.
Tendai, Dallas, Texas

It's a pity that Mugabe's land reform process encourages intelligent film makers like Ollie to become farmers. What sort of future does a country have when land is taken away from those who know how best to farm (and thus feed its people) and given to people who are not trained, skilled or experienced in farming? What about all the poor rural farm labourers with the agricultural skills.

Unfortunately they don't have the benefit of nepotism that Ollie had. It's a shame so many people in Zimbabwe see this kind of act as being beneficial and therefore feel that Mugabe is doing the country a service. Can they not see the rapid slide into poverty all around them?
Andrew, Thailand (ex-Zimbabwe)

You surely represent a considerable number of Africans who do not cringe at the aspect of corruption. I can only conclude that your government officials (uncles) are responsible for this for it seems like "blood is thicker than water".
Yaya Lole, Juba, Sudan

I agree with Olley and disagree with some of the comments people have written. Mugabe has done what is right for the country, yes Zimbabwe may go through a period of trouble, agriculturally and economically but the land distribution process was inevitable.

I can't believe you people think that it was ok for 1% of the country to own such a vast land settlement! No one can expect everything to run smoothly in the early stages of Zimbabwe, look at the United States of America, took it a very long time to abolish slavery and no one gave it as much sanctions and isolation as Zimbabwe has received, and why is that? Is it because America is run by white people while Zimbabwe is black?

Mugabe is not to blame here, the western powers are, Mugabe can only do so much to help his people. How come BBC, CNN, and all those western media don't report on the violence and intimidation the MDC inflict on Zanu-PF members?
Elizabeth, Canberra, Australia

It really annoys me to constantly read about this agrarian revolution Zimbabwe has to endure. We don't need it! What we need is an economy capable of creating wealth for the country and its citizens through means that are not only linked to parcels of disputed land. Why must we be 200 years behind the world? Industries such as farming, mining and manufacturing are necessary but are also major users of finite resources. I think Zimbabwe needs to create a climate conducive to service industries such as tourism.
Tawanda, Brisbane, Australia

If ever there was a meaning for narrow mindedness - I have just read it. I see many people have commented on Olleys' good fortune. Can Olley tell us whether any non -family members of his uncle's family were also given as much land? More importantly would Olley consider Zanu-PF to have such vision should he have not had an uncle to hand out land on their behalf - what if he was one of the thousands who were promised land and has never yet been handed a title deed?

Of course life is good if you can close your eyes to the depression and dark times looming over the country over the last few years - but being a firm believer in what goes around, comes around - where's the assurance that such vision might change to view that's not so advantageous to oneself? How can he be so sure that the land he is currently working so hard, wont be taken away in a few years time by another such vision?
Claire, Zimbabwe

First you must ask why the government feels it is necessary to secretly import maize from Zambia whilst telling the outside world that we have enough food. Also ask yourself why the maize coming from Zambia is grown by farmers who Mugabe kicked out? Also ask yourself why black commercial farmers who supported the opposition lost their land.

If there was independent media in Zimbabwe, the rural people would be able to see what was really going on. I am now immune to my own people's suffering. If they let Mugabe back into power, then they deserve the misery which will follow.
Mike Nhando, Zimbabwean in London

I can understand the bitterness of Zimbabweans that have deserted the country. Ever thought about the footprints in the sand? These guys deserted the country when it needed them most and are now helping in the development of their new-found homes. To them everyone who got land is Mugabe's relative and I wonder how many relatives Mugabe has!

The fact is most people in particular MDC supporters and their handlers, thought the fast-track land resettlement would never be done and never bothered to participate. How could they when the white farmers and Tony Blair and Bush were financially backing their bid to oust Mugabe? Five years down the line, they now want the land and are now crying foul.

Sorry guys, you can't make a difference to Zim - you have to be in it to win it. Whatever the outcome, Mugabe will still be President and Head of State until his term expires in 2008. The country is bigger than all of us and I wish we could all work for the good of the country and not a particular political party.
Vimbai, Harare, Zimbabwe

Oh Ollie, my goodness me! Open your eyes man! Are you blind? Smell the coffee before it gets cold. Oh, sorry I forgot- there is no coffee on the shelves to buy. Why? Because Roy Bennett's coffee estate was unlawfully stolen by an illegitimate government. I will add too that there is no sugar available either because the sugar estates were also stolen. Milk for the coffee - "maiwe" remember when a pint cost 15c? And that was not that long ago either!
Anonymous, Harare

I remember Olley from 10 years ago, when he was looking for aid money for some film project or other. Sounds rather as if he has simply changed the cattle he milks. Woe to the people who work on his farm if, as he says, "In five years time I see it thriving which will mean I will no longer have to work." Guess he has as good an understanding of farming as he does film making and economics. Olley, old chap, it will take many years of your children's lives to see Zimbabwe thriving, after you and your ilk has finished sucking it dry.
Tony, Johannesburg, South Africa

I respect Olley's views because everyone must be free to choose whom they want to support. It is only unfortunate that, in my opinion, Olley's decision is mainly based on the fact that he is a beneficiary of the loot. All his accusations against the MDC are misguided, baseless and incorrect.
Alfred, Harare, Zimbabwe

Ollie, how nice for you that the person deciding who gets the land was your uncle. How many more of your relatives benefited from this nepotism? What about all those poor people who don't have such relatives who are starving as the land can no longer feed them?
Vicky, Canada

We must support the resettled farmers with resources to the same level as was done to the white farmers who were persuaded to get into farming by getting grants from the former colonial governments. There are mistakes that were made but this should not be used to distract us from the whole idea of sharing the land. It took them more than 30 years to be productive.

The opposition has caused a lot of suffering for example, their calling for sanctions (which they claim are targeted at Mugabe) resulted in only Zimbabwe being excluded from the global funding for HIV regardless of the fact that we have the third highest incidence but all other countries are benefiting.

Furthermore, most poor countries have been given reprieve (for example Mozambique) by the UK to pay their debts, but Zimbabwe must still pay every cent (because of dislike for Mugabe). When they say Zimbabwe must pay every cent, it's not Mugabe paying but the same people supposed to be protected by the targeted sanctions. I would support Zanu-PF. Zanu-PF cares for people because Zanu-PF is people.
Leon Mutasa, Cape Town, SA

Olley, I am truly sorry that you have been unable to realise why the MDC have endorsed mass stay-aways, and why they have travelled the world to speak about the injustices in Zimbabwe. But after 25 of Jongwe (Zanu-PF) can you honestly say that the suffering experienced in Zimbabwe has been caused by MDC? Come on now! I understand that you are voting Zanu-PF after all you have your farm now.

But next time you are driving to your farm with the fancy road look around you and think about the poverty you will see surrounding your farm. Olley, look around and tell me again how MDC has caused this? If you have not figured out that Zanu-PF doesn't care for you or anyone else who votes for them, then perhaps when you try to make something more of your farm in a few years you will understand the evil that is Zanu-PF.
Vimbai, USA

It depends what Olley means when he closes his mind and declares that Zanu-PF is the only party with a vision for the country. It is not surprising that this comes from somebody who was given a farm by Mugabe. He did not work hard to earn that farm. He is very grateful to Zanu-PF which has made him a farm owner overnight. Zimbabwe needs people who not only think about themselves but who think about the future of the country. Dangerously, Olley is not one of such people.
Sipho Phani Sibanda, Manchester, UK

Have you ever thought about those people who have suffered as a result of Mugabe's actions! Those who owned farms put their blood and sweat to make the farm successful. These farmers showed us how a country can compete globally and have a thriving economy. Those farmers bought the land from the government to farm it.

Now once these farms are a booming progress, Mugabe has to interfere and destroy all the goodness that these farmers have spent years trying to build by giving land to his supporters who may or may not know how to even run a farm. Now, I struggle to make ends meet. I am suffering as I am jobless and can only get food if I support his regime. The only reason why Mugabe is in power is because of his use of terror and bribery. I think your comments are very narrow minded and self-satisfying.
Philip Dunzanga, Harare



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