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David Hasluck, Zimbabwean Commercial Farmers Union
"10,000 people are holding the country to ransom"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Zimbabwe farmers plan legal battle
White farmer, Pippa van Rechteren
Zimbabwe's land crisis persists as dialogue fails
Zimbabwe's white farmers decided on Wednesday to resume their legal battle against the government's controversial land reforms.

The farmers gathered in the capital, Harare for their annual congress, where they resolved to file an application to the Supreme Court after the government rejected their calls for dialogue.

As the crisis worsened, the farmers warned of an imminent collapse of the agricultural sector if the government went ahead and acquired three quarters of the land owned by white people.

The government recently warned the farmers against taking the matter to court, and went on to launch a "fast-track" programme, under which it would acquire nearly 2,000 white farms and give them to black people without paying compensation.

Legal challenge

The leader of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Tim Henwood, said the new suit "will specifically challenge the power to take land from an individual without compensation."

President of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union, Tim Henwood
Tim Henwood: Dire consequencies if farms are grabbed
"Massive lists have been published of farms to be acquired for resettlement and banks tell us there will be no finance for affected farmers," he told the congress.

"The CFU does not wish to delay the implementation of a planned and orderly land reform program which we support."

Last month, the CFU withdrew its law suit against the land acquisition process, saying it wanted to work with the government.

But so far there has been no progress in the union's efforts to resolve its differences with the government through dialogue.

This has led to renewed pressure within the union to relaunch a legal battle.

Since June, President Mugabe has served notice to acquire 1,952 of nearly 3,000 white-owned farms he has earmarked to resettle black people.

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See also:

02 Aug 00 | Business
Zimbabwe devalues currency
01 Aug 00 | Africa
Zimbabwe 'murder plot' fails
02 Aug 00 | Africa
Strike paralyses Zimbabwe
03 Aug 00 | Africa
Mugabe denies farm truce
08 Aug 00 | Africa
Summit backs Zimbabwe over land
26 Apr 00 | Africa
Who owns the land?
17 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
The politics of fear
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