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John Nkomo
"My party is not for violence"
 real 28k

Zibonele, Czech Republic
"The media is only interested in white problems"
 real 28k

Saeed Godanna, Canada
"What Mugabe is doing is very courageous"
 real 28k

Mike, Zimbabwe
"There is corruption throughout the land"
 real 28k

Alan, Zimbabwe
"We've all been prepared to give up land from the beginning"
 real 28k

Romi Buckheit, Zimbabwe
"The violence is escalating"
 real 28k

Emmanuel Sabadadube, US
"Land needs to be redistributed"
 real 28k

Thursday, 20 April, 2000, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Zimbabwe crisis: Your views and experiences

Zimbabwe has been described as a "powder keg waiting to explode" by Attorney General Patrick Chinamasa, who has warned that any attempt to evict squatters from white-owned farms could spark a civil war.

Can the conflict be resolved?

Chairman of the ruling Zanu-PF party John Nkomo took your questions in our LIVE programme online and on BBC World Service radio.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

Your reaction

Mugabe is a criminal and should be treated as such...Although he is calling white farmers the enemies of Zimbabwe, Mugabe is the one who is the enemy of Africa and humanity as a whole. This ageing man is so selfish that he doesn't care about leaving his beautiful country in one of the worst turmoil. The world shouldn't sit back and watch while this thug butchers his own people. If I believed in races I sure would be ashamed of being in the same group as Mugabe.
Andre Ruhigisha, Canada

Racism is such a easy card to play. This man has been playing it for years.

Mark, England
I lived in Zimbabwe in the late eighties and experienced Mugabe's dictatorship methods firsthand when he tried to blame South Africa for killing Samora Machell. Now it seems that it is open season on White Farmers. The same White farmers that provide Zimbabwe with most of there badly needed foreign currency. Most of the 'Veterans' that I have seen 'liberating' Farms were not even born when Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe was having its 'liberation war'.
Racism is such a easy card to play. This man has been playing it for years, would any western country be allowed to get away with what is happening in Zimbabwe?
Mark, England

The great sadness of all this is that Mugabe is employing racism ("its all the fault of the white devil") to prop up his political support (much as European racists have done in France, Austria, Italy and elsewhere). Clearly the land was illegally expropriated many years ago, but from whom? Until this is clearly agreed, the present (white) incumbents have the greatest claim to their farms. At such time as agreement is reached (possibly by arbitration) the farmers must pay adequate compensation - they may argue that they have paid for the property, but unfortunately it was not the vendors to sell.
Craig Harry, England

Can anyone explain why these murders have not been reported as racist. It strikes me that had they been black Africans murdered by whites the reporting of this whole affair would have been very different indeed. Is it any different to ethnic cleansing?
Tim Hawkins, England

Mr. Mugabe has said that he is more worried about "his people" than the farmers. What about the two opposition party supporters who were brutally burned to death? Are none of us "his people?" No, we are people of Zimbabwe, it is just the thugs and the "war vets" who are his people. I am sad that it has come to the point where the people of Zimbabwe, black and white, can not be guaranteed of their safety. I would rather he not classify me as one if his people, but that does not stop me from being Zimbabwean.
Philippa, Zimbabwe

Does racism now only apply to the persecution of non-white races?

Doug Ritchie, United Kingdom
I find the worlds attitude towards the crisis in Zimbabwe highly amazing. If this was a white led country and Blacks were getting killed the Major Powers in the world would be looking at sanctions and the UN would be getting involved. This is a black led country and now whites are being persecuted and the world does nothing. Does racism now only apply to the persecution of non-white races? The situation has deteriorated so much that if the police and the army are unwilling to defend the whites in Zimbabwe then maybe the whites should take ALL MEASURES to defend themselves. If I remember correctly, when the blacks in South Africa resorted to terrorism to protect themselves against apartheid the international community welcomed it. Maybe the whites of Zimbabwe should follow suit.
Doug Ritchie, United Kingdom

I was 13 at the time Robert Mugabe declared independence. I attended a 70% black government school and lived my life in a happy, racially tolerant society until 1998. In fact, having at one time lived for a year in America and now for 18 months in Britain, I believe our race relations in the absence of our President's perpetual and inflammatory remarks, to be more cordial than either of these countries.
Not surprisingly, Mugabe's anti-white sentiment has risen proportionate to the decline of our economy. To those of you who talk of acts of terror enacted against black people during our 15-year civil war, I say 'move on and keep quiet'. I know many Zimbabweans of all colours who could relate horror stories enacted in our time of war (I certainly could), but this serves absolutely no purpose, particularly now when innocent people are being killed.
Wake up UN. Do your job of peacekeeping before this situation gets more out of control. Mugabe, plainly, does not intend to perform this task himself.
J Taylor, UK

Obviously Zimbabwe is headed for anarchy the 4000 white farmers that constitute probably 50% of that nation's GDP, will either flee, be murdered and their properties destroyed. Then when these clowns ruin all the productive land and the infrastructure, Mugabe will be off to the UN/IMF for a handout.
Robert, Australia

Things have now come to a head because all diplomatic efforts to solve Zimbabwe's lands problems were ignored by the British.

Spear Katibu, Zimbabwean/Canada
I am a Zimbabwean based in Canada. What I do not understand is the concern now being expressed by the British over what is going on in Zimbabwe. In 1997 Tony Lloyd visited Zimbabwe where he had the temerity to tell journalists that Britain had no obligation to honour the promise it made during the Lancaster House negotiations. Things have now come to a head because all diplomatic efforts to solve Zimbabwe's lands problems were ignored by the British, particularly the Tony Blair government. Germany is still paying the Jews for its ugly past. Why then should Britain not pay for its ugly and brutal past? Does it mean that blacks in this world do not need to be compensated?
Spear Katibu, Zimbabwean/Canada

We are told by our leaders, in an advertisement on Independence Day, "Without doubt, the cornerstone of our success over the last two decades has been the unity, peace, and stability that we all enjoy today." Why then, are they allowing, if not encouraging, two decades of achievement to be destroyed.? The peace, unity and stability we are supposed to celebrate today, according to this advertisement, has been marked by the death of a second commercial farmer near Bulawayo, while Police again allowed the killers to drive away unhampered.
David Mills, Zimbabwe

Tribes were scattered all over Zimbabwe. Is the land being given back to the individual tribes? I doubt it. Simply first come first served. When these so called freedom fighters, get their piece of land, will they farm it for the good of the country and it's people or for the good of themselves? They will simply grow enough for themselves to live and so the much required foreign currency will not be available and they will simply "rape" the land of all its goodness and put nothing back. This has been proved in many countries time after time. Unemployment will rocket and the whole economy will crash. As an ex Rhodesian I am saddened by the whole even and my deepest sympathies go out to those that have lost there loved ones and to all Zimbabweans black and white who will be the losers.
N Taylor, UK

There is one thing everyone overlooking , I think or maybe just trying to avoid admitting. The only way that guy is going to step down is by force. We all know this and there is no other way. I know that that man is not going anywhere until someone does him in. That's the only way. He is going to call a state of emergency and we all know what that means. THE ARMY. WHO CONTROLS THE ARMY? I suggest that someone tells the guys in the army not to do anything when he declares his state of emergency. Instead they must make sure that the war veterans are kept under control.
Jellyb, Zimbabwe

Reading many of the comments recorded on this page there is a common sadness that such despotism is once more rearing its ugly head in Africa. There is and has only ever been one way to conquer despotism and that is for the majority of the people affected to rise up against the despot. Such 'democracy' will triumph in Zimbabwe as the basis of its Government is founded on so much of the British institutions - freedom to act, freedom to speak, freedom for all the people.
Gerald W B, United Kingdom

We have seen the sad destruction of our once rich and glorious African colonies, since the winds of change speech. African Governments should be inviting back our pioneering youth to resettle the land and bring a firm hand to the task of rebuilding the country. The white settlers who have built up so much from scratch have as much right to own and farm as the tribesmen. African countries are largely artificial groupings, with a collection of tribes living in their bounds. The whites largely created Africa as we know it.
G F Sandeman, UK

Lets wait and see how the vets will perform after they are handed the farms.

Martha James, Tanzania
Mugabe surprises me with his war veterans, I am sure many of them do not even know proper farming methods because many never learnt agriculture in school, yet agriculture holds almost 70% of Zimbabwe's economy. Lets wait and see how the vets will perform after they are handed the farms. No repairs will be done to the machinery because they do not even know what fertiliser to apply where and how. Let Mugabe compensate the white farmers and I am sure farming in Zimbabwe will come to a halt the moment the vets take over.
Martha James, Tanzania

If the native Zimbabweans want all their land back from the white owners, let them - after all white property and crops have been raised to the ground. That is the only way they will learn to reap what they sow, that is, if they are bothered to.
Hazel, UK

Yes Mugabe has gone mad, yes he is encouraging illegal occupation of farms, which is wrong. BUT one has to look at the history of Africa to understand what is happening today. The whites ruled in such a way as to ensure that there was an elite that ruled over the rest of the much poorer population, it was kept that way... even after independence. The existence of the elite and the subtle racism that continues in the farming districts makes it not surprising that some people are still prepared to support Mugabe and kill the people they resent the most - the farmers.
Sally, UK, ex-Zimbabwean

Mugube is nothing but a terrorist. Why should we be surprised by his latest behaviour? Over 20 years ago his men killed one of our family friends - the missionary Wendy White. The murderers have never been brought to trial but are instead part of the ruling elite.
Tim Eldridge, UK

I always thought that Mr Mugabe was strong enough to see the country through all the difficulties ahead after Independence.

Alison Carman, United Kingdom
I lived in Nyamandhlovu, Zimbabwe for 4 years, Martin Olds was my neighbour. He did not deserve to die such a violent death. Now that the conflict has reached Matabeleland we can expect to see further violence in the country. I always thought that Mr Mugabe was strong enough to see the country through all the difficulties ahead after Independence. On this anniversary of their independence I would like to ask Mr Mugabe to think of the future for all people in his country; the Shona, the Matabele and the whites. He had a lot of respect when he took over the presidency and could regain this by working towards conciliation. I also send my sincere condolences to Alf and Gloria Olds and to the families of all those touched by the current tragedies.
Alison Carman, United Kingdom

I would like to add a comment about the killing that went on today at Nyamandhlovu. Mr Martin Olds on the first white person to receive a Bronze Medal of Valour for saving MR G Parkin's life on the 11 Jan 1989 from a crocodile attack. Approx. 1 year later Mr Olds went to the State House where he shook hands with Mr Mugabe to accept the medal. Nymandhlovu Police they have had a history of poor service especially where whites are concerned, this has been highlighted tragically by today's events.
Lisa, Zimbabwe

Mugabe's strategy is working...he is going to create terror and the whole world are going to give him what he wants in order to stop the bloodshed. Watch - Britain will give money to resettle the blacks, and farmers will not be compensated. The opposition will be defeated because of the terror he is installing and the Mugabe supporters will rule strong because the first world once again gives into Mugabe just to stop the violence.
Linda Edwards, Canada

Having been to Zimbabwe in my year out and after meeting some of the most amazing people I have ever met I am upset at the thought of the unrest which is there now. It is again more evident of unrest in former colonies. Robert Mugabe is obviously the worst leader that they could ever have had. Yes England could accept some of the responsibility but not all as it is his incompetence as a leader that has brought all of this unnecessary violence to the streets of a beautiful country.
Olivia Finucane, England

Is it any surprise that after Mr Mugabe's recent incitement, "war veterans" who are now killing white farmers and have been instructed to invade their land. Another example, sadly, of Mr Mugabe's disgusting dictatorial attitude to government. I know that the troubled history of this beautiful country, but I fail to see how the latest round of violence will help to resolve anything
Malcolm, UK

Personally, I think Robert Mugabe has been destroying Zimbabwe ever since he took over. The country has only been going down and down and now they've hit rock bottom. If he stays in control of the country, it's just going to get worse (and we thought when you hit the bottom, you can't get any worse¿ (wrong!) Get rid of him and let the country get back to its beautiful self.
Colin Webb, England

Zimbabwe is suffering from the same core problem as most of Africa - Bad government.

Amoroso, Kenya
Zimbabwe is suffering from the same core problem as most of Africa - Bad government. We have a vacuum of quality leadership in Africa that can be filled by the ever richer, ever larger community of African intellectuals living in the developed world. Are we going to come to the rescue of our continent or do we still feel that no one will listen to us. I'm not sure yet.
Amoroso, Kenya

I was a resident of Rhodesia from 1976 to 1978. I remember one day reading in the Rhodesian Herald about a white farmer who was convicted of beating a sixty-year-old farm worker to death because he had planted the maize seeds to close together. He was fined $300 (about £200). Where were the calls for justice then?
I remember white farmers putting African workers in their car boots to take them to the fields. I remember drunken white soldiers boasting about throwing people out of helicopters and other horrors. I remember sitting in a crowded city centre restaurant being shouted at as a "kaffir lover" because one of my companions was "coloured". None of this makes Mugabe right - but why the western sympathy for the white farmers? When did they ever say sorry?
Will Rogers, Britain

Zimbabwe is going to starve and many will die if he carries on. Why is Mugabe not arrested for his crimes against humanity during the Matabeland massacres in the 1980's? I applaud the call to seize his assets - but they must be returned to Zimbabwe from where they were stolen.
The international community must put extreme pressure on him now before another African nation and its people are destroyed by one mans greed and corruption.
Andrew, Australia

Did they fight the Rhodesian war merely about land? Were they not also fighting against racial discrimination?

Noel, UK
I appreciate that there may be past injustices and very real land issues in present day Zimbabwe, however have the war veterans possibly forgotten an fundamental point. Did they fight the Rhodesian war merely about land? Were they not also fighting against racial discrimination? Were they not also fighting for democratic rule? It appears to me that they have lost the war on these fronts entirely.
Noel, UK

A friend working for a large commercial farming for export operation in Zimbabwe told me that not only are the "ex-veterans" occupying farms, but expecting the resident farm workers to evacuate their villages so that they can do so. Very little seems to have been said about this. In some cases, resident workers have managed to persuade the ex-veterans to go away and leave them alone. These villages are their homes, and the farms are their livelihood.
My friend also told me of a case where the farm workers had courageously protected a farmer by asking him to go away while they negotiated with the occupiers. Luckily it worked. As far as I know, nobody has given space to the views of the farm workers. Farm occupation is not, fundamentally, a black-white issue: it is a question of anarchic thugs being given free reign to act in their own interests against anyone. Personally, I doubt that they will share out the land they have acquired by threat. A second colonisation?
Claire Archibald, Italy

The argument for throwing the white farmers out of Zimbabwe sound oddly familiar ... Something to do with a small, economically powerful minority in a Central European country some years ago.
Pål H. Bakka, Norway

What has been overlooked so far is the fact that the white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe borrow money up front to plant the current year's crop. This represents the largest junk of the domestic loan market. With the farms being occupied, the crops are not being harvested. The consequence of this is that the farmers do not repay their loans and the already fragile Zimbabwe banking system collapses. Never mind the huge loss of foreign exchange from the tobacco harvest rotting in the fields.
Graeme Sanders, UK

Why doesn't anyone talk about the debt Britain owes to Zimbabwe

Roy Culley, Switzerland
Why doesn't anyone talk about the debt Britain owes to Zimbabwe and other ex-colonies for the exploitation during the past 200+ years and more? We gave them Christianity (a crime no money can repay but we gave them nothing else) and took everything else from them. We have a huge debt to these people.
Roy Culley, Switzerland

In my opinion you should have delayed this program until Mugabe was available to answer to all what has happened before and during his absence. In any civilised country the leader would come home to deal with the problems he has made for Zimbabwe. As a one-time resident of that country I am very sad that the goodwill which I found there on my last visit has gone and the responsibility is surely Mugabe's.
Jean Ferrier, New Zealand

The only thing I'd like to say to those white farmers in Zimbabwe, is: get out of there, de-root yourself although nobody cares about it...You are not there long enough it seems; it will never be long enough to satisfy a loud fraction of the majority. Move to Canada, Australia, Argentina, go farm there; heaven knows that country needs farmers and leave Zimbabwe to its potential civil conflict. Now it's a tragic white-black conflict; soon, I despair, it will be a black-black conflict. Too sad again for Africa.
Anne Berry, Germany

Mugabe has a just cause but a very poor way of implementing the land redistribution policy. He should look beyond at the majority people having land but what they can do with it as well. The bottom line is that to be able to use the land well for commercial basis either for agriculture, as is the case, one should have the means and the will to do. Take an example of other African countries where there is not this problem of land distribution. Many people have good and fertile land but it is heavily under-utilised for agriculture purposes. The point is that be a successful farmer even at a small scale level, one should be properly trained and/or naturally have the strategy and capacity to do so.
Luke Chimuka, Zambian student

For about 20 years now millions of blacks have been suffering trying to scrape a living from barren land and no-one complained. Now, only about 900 whites have some problems and everybody talks about a crisis. The media should talk about problems which affect whites as well as blacks.
Zibonele, Czech Republic

A court in Zimbabwe has ruled that these squatters are in violation of the law and have no right to occupy these farms. If these war veterans believe that they have a right to this land then they should appeal the ruling. A nation of law must enforce its own rulings even when they are unpopular. If Mugabe wants be respected as the leader of a great nation, he cannot support lawlessness.
Doug Moyers, USA

The Zimbabwean government should be ashamed of itself

Mazi Nworah Okafor, Berlin
The Zimbabwean government should be ashamed of itself. After all these years of bad leadership and governance, Mr Mugabe does not want to accept his woeful failure.   Had he done his duties such as uplifting the standard of living of his people since independence, the land issue would have been settled in a more civilised way. My point is that these occupiers are ignorant in politics and governance and do not realise that their enemy is Mr Mugabe and not the white farmers who have done a lot to develop those lands.  
Mazi Nworah Okafor, Berlin

What are Britain and the United Nations going to do about this ethnic cleansing? How many more innocent Zimbabweans, black and white, have to die before the international community reacts to stop this dictator bringing the country to it's knees in his desperate attempts to maintain his iron grip on power?
Expat in Exile, UK

The people of Zimbabwe must stop Mugabe before he goes too far

Ubong Effeh, UK
The land issue in Zimbabwe will have to be addressed, and soon. However, the solution does not lie in the hands of Mugabe, who has become a disgrace to all Africans, and a curse to his own people. His actions are very much in line with a known pattern: An African leader renders his country literally bankrupt after two decades in absolute power. He starts a civil war and blames it on colonialism. The people of Zimbabwe must stop him before he goes too far.
Ubong Effeh, UK

President Mugabe is obviously going about the land reforms the wrong way but the British government and the BBC has handled the crisis wrongly. They have carefully ignored the injustice present in the land distribution in Zimbabwe - an acknowledgement of the need for land redistribution and financial support would have been more fruitful.
Obinna Mbonu, Nigerian in the Netherlands

This 'conflict' has nothing to do with land. It has everything to do with the corruption of Robert Mugabe.

Dave, UK
This 'conflict' has nothing to do with land. It has everything to do with the corruption of Robert Mugabe. He is a political tyrant who has bled Zimbabwe dry to fill his own pockets and those of his ZanuPF cronies. The ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe, both black and white will now suffer, at the hands of one of Africa's most successful, and richest, dictators. The British government (of all persuasions) bear some of the blame for keeping him in power for so long. Now is the time to pull the plug on Mugabe. He has bankrupted what was one of the richest countries in Southern Africa, and condemned its people to poverty. If 'ethnic cleansing' is deemed wrong in Europe, then it should be deemed wrong in Africa, and the West must take a stand. Otherwise we have no right to comment or demand a solution.
Dave, UK

It is very sad that the international community does not take any action against such ethnic cleansing.

Ladislav Klaboch, Czech
It is very sad that the international community does not take any action against such ethnic cleansing. It would be nice to see Mr Mugabe before the Hague court of human rights.
Ladislav Klaboch, Czech

As a white Zimbabwean farmer who has had to flee from my home, I send out a plea to the rest of the world. We are being executed by our government because of the colour of our skin, all in an attempt by a thoroughly corrupt leader to cling to power. Can anyone help us?
Lorraine, Zimbabwe

The situation is far worse in Zimbabwe than what the media make it out to be. We are now living in terror, ready to evacuate at any moment, due to the instability of this wonderful country. We wanted to put MDC posters up, and my dad says we can only do it at night, when NO-ONE can see us - isn't that dreadful? We can't even voice our opinions without being scared for our lives. Why should this country suffer because of one mans selfishness, and lust?
farmer gal , central zimbabwe

I would like people to know that not all white Zimbabweans own land. My parents have both been born and bred in Zimbabwe. They own a beaten up car rent a house and have full time jobs, this is the case with many other whites. I am almost glad that they have never earned enough to buy a farm as most of my friends parents did. Where are these families going to go and what are they going to do? Where will the farm workers go what will they do? Zimbabweans are going to die because of one man and his evil.
Christopher Schofield, Zimbabwe

I am not Zimbabwean, but my wife was, and still has family farming there. What amazes me the most about the "land-grab fiasco", is that most of the farmers there have legally purchased their land. Secondly, as is apparent to anyone who has had the privilege of travelling there, it seems to have ample open and unoccupied land, so why take what another developed with sweat and tears ? The answer to me is simple, "too much effort", breaking new soil requires hard work, developing infrastructure requires ingenuity, consistency and co-operation, all traits which are sorely lacking in Africa. Let them continue to lay blame on the "hapless" and underrepresented members of their communities, just don't expect the rest of the world to continue to fund a situation that seems to lack the capacity to raise itself out of it's own primal mire.
John Takoulas, New Zealand

This is yet another example of racism in reverse.

W. Muzungo, Ex-Kenya
Having lived and worked in Africa for years, this is yet another example of racism in reverse. The Zimbabwean Government is obviously unable to solve their own problems, despite 20 years of "governing". So its "blame the white man" time again and risk civil war. I am somewhat astounded and disappointed by the total silence of the hypocritical so-called "international community" - they did not hesitate to spend $70m a day in Kosovo to protect an ethnic group but they obviously don't want to rock the boat in Africa. This is going to set a bad precedent for other African nations, just look at Namibia, RSA and Botswana: Who owns the most land there? Wake-up call!
W. Muzungo, Ex-Kenya

It very much sounds like Mugabe's propaganda is personal and for his own benefits. The transition from the white run, white owned economy should be done in a more systematic way like it was once done in India and many other countries.

Some people used to compare politicians to thugs and in this instance I don't blame them. Mugabe, who I wrongly believed to be upholding the rule of law and order and to protect all Zimbabweans irrespective of race, tribe and political affiliations, is behaving in most irreprehensible manner by encouraging lawlessness. Does Mr Mugabe still think of himself as a rebel leader who is not subject to the law of the land or repressive regime he is fighting against? Imagine what would have happened if the squatters had, occupied his palace, demanded his resignation, cut his wife with a machete, killed a police officer who is trying to keep law and order. Will he still block the court order to evict them? You be the judge.
Sukuma Samson, Canada

Is there a legal definition of "black' and 'white' in Zimbabwe?

Osie Osborne, New Zealand ex Zimbabwe
I have a question? Is there a legal definition of "black' and 'white' in Zimbabwe? In South Africa the infamous Population Registration Act was repealed after the end of Apartheid. Has ZANU(PF) racism got a legal basis? There is a legal distinction between commercial freehold farming and subsistence communally owned farming. Are 'Africans' of all 'colours' going to lose their freehold commercial farms? I understand that Mugabe and most of his fellow senior politicians own commercial freehold farms? Are these going to be given back to the people. If so, what is next? Will the freehold land in the urban areas also be given back to the people.
Osie Osborne, New Zealand ex Zimbabwe

My prayers are that Zimbabwe be a peaceful country where every citizen respect every other citizen. Lets follow a part that leads to mutual harmony.
Karkoga Bamhare, Living in Canada

First, the whites in Zimbabwe will get sent back to the UK, then the Blacks in North America will get sent back to Africa, then the Native Americans will send the whites back to Europe, etc.... This seems to be backwards thinking, maybe we should all just learn to play nice eh?
Mike, Canada

It is very reassuring to hear that so many Zimbabweans, black and white, have not been distracted by the Mugabe race hate propaganda. These intelligent people have shown that they know exactly what the megalomaniac Mugabe is up to. I think this shows that there is much hope for Zimbabwe, as long as Mugabe goes soon before the damage is irreparable.
Graeme, England

I am a white Zimbabwean - I was born here - I have nowhere to go.

Sarah, Zimbabwe
I am a white Zimbabwean - I was born here - I have nowhere to go. The farmers were agreeable to land distribution from the very beginning, provided it was done fairly. They drew up plans and presented them to government. The government then took it upon themselves to take the land they wished and give it to their buds. All that land is standing idle whilst 20 year old 'war veterans' are destroying productive farms. Once they have taken the farms how can they possibly hope to run them? Please will someone out there help us before our home is destroyed....
Sarah, Zimbabwe

I don't really understand the orientation of the so-called white people living in Africa. They came to Africa, Africans as kind and generous as they are, gave them the best hospitality they can offer. Gave them food, water, beds, homes and land to cultivate. I strongly support the blacks to use any available means to take back what is rightfully theirs.
E. Edwin, USA

Our problem is that we have a corrupt government and it is time for a major change in government.

Louise, Sweden
I am a Zimbabwean and I don't think that this situation will be resolved by a civil war. Our problem is that we have a corrupt government and it is time for a major change in government. The people of Zimbabwe should be allowed to vote for who they want and not be afraid to. Mugabe is trying to move away from the important issues. He has robbed the country and is just trying to stay in power so that his tracks will be covered. I just pray the people of Zimbabwe don't give up. It's high time he paid for all that he has done.
Louise, Sweden

If the next elections are held and the opposition gain power we may just be witnessing the birth of Zimbabwe, where all her people will be proud to call themselves Zimbabweans. On the other hand if Mugabe keeps power the politics of blame will be used as a panacea to keep control.
Stephen James, UK

I read with some amazement some of the comments by various persons. There is the one from Somalia - a country in tatters - who seems totally anti European and wants all the whites to leave Zimbabwe. The majority of these whites are just as African as you and no more European than you. As to your dislike of Europe - Who do you think is feeding your country my friend? There is the American in the Netherlands; excuse me, but are you not occupying a home that really belongs to a Dutchman. And don't say it is yours because you paid for it, so did the white farmers. There is the man from Kwa-Zulu, Natal; did you make sure you were not displacing anybody before you moved to America. Do my arguments sound pathetic to you? Well they are no more pathetic than yours. Why should Britain pay for Mugabe's incompetence? A lot of other nations around the world were once colonies of Britain. Why is it only in Africa that they blame Europe for their problems? Yes, The land issue needs to be addressed, but not like this. Mugabe is just taking Zimbabwe down the road to ruin,
Chris W. Whybrow, Philippines

Because of these land occupations current crops are not being harvested and new winter crops are not being planted. Farmers will not be able to pay their debts and will go bankrupt. If this happens, the economy in Zimbabwe will collapse as, an agricultural economy, no foreign exchange will come into the country, and there will not be any money to pay for food imports to replace the unplanted food crops. Taking farms away from whites may sound like a fair and noble idea, but the reality is that most of these re-distributed farms will be used for subsistence farming. Unfortunately subsistence farming does not feed a nation. Unless something is done about this now, the world will end up paying later in the form of economic/food aid to Zimbabwe.
Aris, UK

I want harmony, success, and happiness in the place I was born and raised. I want to work, as I have, for a better life for us all. I want a place I can call home.

Homeless, No Man's Land
Born in Zimbabwe, raised in Zimbabwe, forced to leave because of the colour of my skin. Where do I go? UK? I have no right of abode. I am not a British citizen. Where is my home? I have no farm, I have nothing. Just my skin colour. That's enough to make me the expense of Mugabe's desperate attempts to retain his dictatorship. He's not the only black Zimbabwean who can lead. Don't let the actions of a few desperate men convince you that Zimbabwe has a racially unstable society. Anyone taken in by Mugabe's last playing card has got to look at themselves and think "do I really want to be his puppet?". What do you want? I want harmony, success, and happiness in the place I was born and raised. I want to work, as I have, for a better life for us all. I want a place I can call home.
Homeless, No Man's Land

I personally think Mugabe is out of his mind. I didn't realise until now that the man is insensitive. I just wonder what is going on in the old head of his. The land issue should be dealt with constitutionally. I am a Zimbabwean, and as it is I think Mugabe should obey the law since nobody is above the law. The man should lead by example. The invasions were not a solution to the land issue. As a politician this man should have shown his maturity in politics not to exhibit his love for the party Zanu Pf at the expense of all other citizens.
Fanuel Wax Chakawa, Zimbabwe

Please let there be no racism or discrimination from both sides of colour. When are we going to learn to live in harmony as human beings?

Bernard Mukwavi, Zambian studying in Canada
It is very embarrassing to witness what is happening in Zimbabwe. This should not be a race issue. Britain's or Zimbabwe's response should be fair. They should treat the white Zimbabweans and the black Zimbabweans equally, by addressing their needs fairly. If white Zimbabweans truly consider themselves to be true Zimbabweans, they should see the suffering of their fellow (black) Zimbabweans and propose social reforms that will address issues of poverty in the country. Black Zimbabweans should also not look at white Zimbabweans as enemies but fellow citizens having equal rights. It would be wonderful to get all true Zimbabweans, white yellow, black green etc. working together to solve issues in the country. Please let there be no racism or discrimination from both sides of colour. When are we going to learn to live in harmony as human beings?
Bernard Mukwavi, Zambian studying in Canada

History abounds with instances where unsophisticated but well intentioned people have been manipulated by clever rogues. Zimbabwe's war veterans will soon wake up to the fact that they have been used by a group of greedy and cynical crooks who are desperate to retain their grip on power. If you had looted the country for years you would not be happy to face justice, go to prison and have your loot taken away. The only way to avoid justice is to stay in power!
Tendai, Zimbabwe

Who are the commercial farmers supposed to give their land back to? The land tenure system in Zimbabwe recognises two forms of land ownership - private freehold and communal. I presume the commercial farms would have to be given to the people and cease to be freehold and revert to communal ownership. The financial institutions will not lend money to the communal owners of the land to develop it. The financial institutions will not lend the present owners of any freehold money to develop it if its ownership is under threat. Mugabe and his war veterans are taking the country back into a communally owned form of land tenure that can only support agrarian subsistence farming. If they get their way and are allowed to flaunt the laws of the country Zimbabwe will become a rural slum
Osie Osborne, New Zealand Ex Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's potential as a tourist Mecca is unsurpassed by even it's rich cousin to the South, but for one small-minded, tribalistic dictator has been able to bring it to it's knees.

Michael Bagley, South Africa
I am an American who has emigrated to South Africa and have lived in, written about and worked in Southern Africa for twenty years. I have recently been to Zimbabwe for the third time and found no animosity between the races at all. A racist despot in the person of Robert Mugabe has created the present situation. Ask him about his own human rights records in regard to the Metabeli. What has happened to all the young Metabeli men and what of his own young Mashona that have died in his useless alliance with the Congo forces. This is another classic example of "Africa grow up" Zimbabwe's potential as a tourist Mecca is unsurpassed by even it's rich cousin to the South, but for one small-minded, tribalistic dictator has been able to bring it to it's knees.
Michael Bagley, South Africa

I am white and was born in Zimbabwe. The sad truth is that white Zimbabweans are in control of the most arable lands and thus control the economy. However, while it may seem fair and just to take that land back, one wonders if those claiming the land really know how to farm effectively and actually make a profit viable to support a nation? Mugabe has been in power for twenty years and came in with hope and optimism that all Zimbabweans could live together, he has betrayed that hope and has caused the crisis. He promised to bring prosperity to all Zimbabweans but as he has lined his own pocket he seems to have forgotten that pledge. We cannot keep harking on about the colonial days or the days when Zimbabwe fought for independence. The fact is we had a great opportunity to lead the way in Africa and it has been squandered and we are all guilty. I pray that peace will come to Zimbabwe and that the nation will be able to share in the joys of democracy, freedom and wealth soon.
Jeremy Thompson, USA

It simply looks like another country in Africa is heading for utter chaos. The UK should seriously consider sending in the military to keep the peace. It really should be the responsibility of United Nations to send in peacekeeping troops.
Jim Cunningham, USA

Whether black or white a Zimbabwean will always be. Mugabe should not fool us to think that he is being just by forcefully taking land from the whites. Why the whites land and not black? If war vets are to regain their respect they should be fair to occupy the Cabinet Ministers farms. l am a black Zimbabwean who strongly against these invasions but not against land redistribution.
B.M., Australia

Mugabe does not own the country; he runs it for people.

O. Tapera, Zimbabwean in USA
The land is not the real issue. Mugabe's real issue is power, and more of it. He uses any means to gain and retain as much power as possible. It is evil of the greatest degree to divide people along racial lines. Suppose all whites leave the country, the next thing Mugabe will do is divide people along tribal lines. Zimbabweans, white or black, should not allow themselves to be diverted from the real issues; namely, good governance and change. Mugabe does not own the country; he runs it for people.
O. Tapera, Zimbabwean in USA

We in Canada stole the land from the Indians. We managed to become the numerical majority, and don't lose much sleep over it. For us to prognosticate on Zimbabwe is presumptuous at best. But here at least we have the rule of law, and a tradition of rights for minorities, unlike in Mugabe's kleptocracy. The failure of Zimbabwe is a moral one, not related to any past injustices, but to present greed, present corruption and present incompetence. Mugabe, in his personal moral failure, has failed his people and the country that once held so much promise. When he has finished with the whites, he will return again to victimise that other minority, the Matabele, thousands of whom he had killed in 1983.
John Nicholls, Canada

Dear God: Please may this not be South Africa in a few years time... Amen.
Jacob Silverstein, USA (ex SA)

In the interests of law and order and human decency the world must rally to support the white Zimbabwe farmers.

Jean Illingworth, Australia
There are many facts that need to be stated clearly. Who 'owned' the land before the Shona moved onto it prior to white people moving onto it? Mugabe and his cabinet have pocketed the 30 million odd pounds that the British Government donated to buy back the land from white farmers. Mugabe is now one of the richest men in the world - he wasn't 20 years ago. The white farmers are largely responsible for keeping the economy such as it is, going. Without them the country will become another Ethiopia in the not too distant future. In the interests of law and order and human decency the world must rally to support the white Zimbabwe farmers.
Jean Illingworth, Australia

Given the present situation, of political turmoil, in Zimbabwe, I would not be overly surprised if Robert Mugabe, or some lesser government official were to seize totalitarian power in Zimbabwe! The world should watch Zimbabwe very closely, as the odds are astronomical that Zimbabwe will be the next trouble spot.
Peter Crawford-Bolton, UK (in US)

Black Zimbabweans should join their White Zimbabweans to make a better country, lest they will end like Somalia or Ethiopia and be hit with droughts and diseases. Population control is one more area the Zimbabweans need to focus. We have too many children born with limited or no resources. Most of the present day Zimbabweans have paid for their lands and so it should not be taken from them by force. Britain should probably enforce the law with a force of army and get rid of Mugabe and his garbage Mafia.
Chandru Narayan, USA

Mugabe's record on land redistribution is dismal. Unless redistribution is done in a rational and methodical way, the people of Zimbabwe will become even more impoverished. Ultimately people want employment and a better standard of living. Few Zimbabweans link this aspiration to access to land.
John, Harare, Zimbabwe

Never have I felt so depressed about my country or my family's future.

Andrew MacGregor, Zimbabwe
I am white Zimbabwean, born in Zimbabwe and have lived here my whole life. I love this country and its people but Robert Mugabe's current campaign of violent propaganda for the forthcoming general elections make it very difficult to go about our daily lives. Looking in to the immigration criteria for various countries around the world it would be almost impossible for my family and me to leave. A place to feel safe and to call home is not too much for a man, his wife and their two small children to ask.
Andrew MacGregor, Zimbabwe

The Zanu-PF vote is all but lost in the urban constituencies. This makes the rural areas vitally important to their campaign strategy and explains the widespread intimidation of both the farmers and the farm workers. The real land issue is how to effectively expand the existing farming base by integrating more commercial black farmers into the mainstream agricultural industry. The wholesale distribution of land is not the issue. It is the effective utilisation of legally obtained land without disrupting our present agricultural output for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
Lawrence Chicksen, Zimbabwe

Lives are at risk and it is not enough for the British Government to wait and expect us to suffer such inhuman conditions.

A white farmer, Zimbabwe
As a result of the British government's inaction it is not safe for any white to remain in Zimbabwe - whichever party wins the election there will be war. Britain has a responsibility to us as we were encouraged to move to Rhodesia and the land was purchased effectively from Britain. I believe the fair and humane thing to do is to compensate all whites directly.

Many Zimbabwean residents of British descent posses dual nationality recognised in British law but not in Zimbabwe. If those people register - as the British High Commission requires them to - they run the risk of being either imprisoned or deported. The moment they register as British citizens they technically no longer have authority to remain in Zimbabwe. In current circumstances they would not receive a residence permit and would lose everything anyway. There are thousands in this position including British pensioners. The lack of understanding at the British High Commission is beyond belief.
A white farmer, Zimbabwe

Mugabe says that the MDC will not rule in his lifetime. Ian Smith said never in a thousand years would he except majority rule. Are these men related?
Izzy Fox, Zimbabwe

Have we noticed that the majority of those who support this land invasion are located outside of Zimbabwe? If the people of Zimbabwe either black or white wish to function in a free and democratic society than the rule of law has to be adhered too.
Troy Ginn, United States

This messy situation is the fault of British imperialism, which caused so much global turmoil in the Twentieth Century. It is time the British realized they no longer rule the World and take responsibility for their oppressive actions. God Bless Mugabe!
Brian Kelly, Netherlands (originally USA)

We [whites] are an ethnic minority in the process of being sacrificed for a vote.

A. Forest, Zimbabwe
Myself, my husband and 3 children were born in Zimbabwe and lived here all our lives. We lived on a farm until recently and during our stay did everything we could for our workers, from delivering their babies, to paying for funerals. We lived as one family and helped each other. Suddenly they are all being told to hate us, beat us, humiliate and destroy all that we worked for together. Our Government has not given a thought to who is now going to provide wages for these workers. They have now been deserted. This has gone way beyond a need for land, this is now proof that there is no law, no one and nothing will stop this. We are an ethnic minority in the process of being sacrificed for a vote.
A. Forest, Zimbabwe

It's extremely heartbreaking to see a lot of small innocent white kids and their moms being forced out of their cozy homes and beautiful huge farms. However, most simple-minded whites will only see that part of the suffering. Hundreds of years or slavery and intentional discrimination of blacks cannot be forgotten easily, and some form of payback is inevitable if blacks are to ever regain their self-confidence. I just hope there will be no dead people, and that UK will accept white farmers as their responsibility and compensate them.
Obrad Bjelic, Malta

People who were helping other injured marchers were being viciously assaulted.

Bev Clark, Zimbabwe
On 1st April we marched for peace in Zimbabwe. All cars were being searched. Cars filled with MDC and NCA supporters were being turned back at road-blocks. It was good to see familiar faces and inspiring to be a part of such a multiracial and joyful group of people in spite of the ominous police presence. The Police were trying their best to convince everyone that the gathering was unlawful. A few of the earlier arrivals had already been arrested for not "dispersing when instructed to do so". Organisers reassured us that a court order was on its way, to prohibit the police from interfering in the peace march. True to their word, the order was produced shortly thereafter. About 2 hours from the time the peach march set off, at the corner of Union Avenue and First Street a group of so-called war vets - rather Zanu-PF paid thugs - ambushed the Peace March. They were young and violent and they were looking for whites. How is it that the police allowed them into the city to violently attack a peaceful demonstration? The police chose to fire teargas at the fleeing NCA supporters. Film footage shows the police running with the disgusting thugs, chasing the marchers. It is clear that Mugabe and his cronies need hired thugs to do their dirty work. Mugabe is milking the race card for all it's worth. On the ground it's different. The people of Zimbabwe want peace and stability not civil war.
Bev Clark, Zimbabwe

What these war vets don't seem to realise is that apart from the 4500 farmers, there are thousands of families being supported by these farms. If the land is divided up, will these people still be able to make an honest living? Somehow I doubt it very much. There is not enough land to go around and therefore it must be used to it's maximum potential. The Western world should make Mugabe and all his cronies realise that if they want the experienced commercial farmers out, then they mustn't come running with their tails between their legs begging for aid when they're all starving in five years time.
Ralph, Zimbabwe

The war vets who fought for the country 20 years ago - what are they now doing but bringing the country to its knees?

Jane, Zimbabwean in Switzerland
I think that this issue is being focused on the white (British) versus black (Zimbabweans) problem. May I remind you all that not all Zimbabweans are black. There are many of us with white skin and brown skin and slanted eyes that consider ourselves to be very Zimbabwean. Loyalty to a country should not be considered on the basis of skin colour. Those war vets who supposedly fought for the country 20 years ago - what are they now doing but bringing the country to its knees? All Zimbabweans need to work together on this one. Do not let a "deranged despot" tear us apart this way.
Jane, Zimbabwean in Switzerland

All this talk about 'send them back to Britain' sounds a bit racist to me. Also the 'make Britain pay' brigade pre-suppose that Britain actually made money from the Empire (from about 1900 onwards it didn't). On a more optimistic note, I am heartened by the near unanimity of Zimbabwean contributors who can see that this is an attempt to appeal to the most base emotions for electoral gain.
Paul Yardley, England

It is indeed sad to read about the misery of the white farmers. But the distribution of land is clearly inequitable. The government should have come up with a land-ceiling act as in India and limit land holding more than a certain limit by an individual. This would have prevented all this lawlessness. The white farmers also need to understand that in a country where 50% of the population is unemployed and mostly black, sharing is the way to security and harmony.
Sandeep Bhoot, India

So Mugabe holds a gun to the heads of his hostages and tells Britain to cough up hard currency or he'll shoot. The hostages are all of us in Zimbabwe and Britain knows that we all suffer if the farms don't work. Mugabe needs the hard currency to fund his adventure in Congo, he will sell the white farms to the UK and give them to his supporters anyway because he just doesn't care.
Keith Battye, Zimbabwe

Day after day we are given accounts of the white peoples' view and very little of black Zimbabwean opinion.

Name Here
I don't think your reporters in Zimbabwe are doing a fair job in reporting about the so-called crisis there. Day after day we are given accounts of the white peoples' view and very little of the black man's view of events. I know the Wyley-Birches your reporter Grant Ferret visited a couple of weeks ago. They are some of the worst racists I have ever seen. I personally remember an occasion back in 1995 when as a clerk at the bank where they hold their accounts she would insist on wearing gloves before shaking my black hand. In Mr Ferret's view they are poor white angels being victimised by evil black gangs.
Magosha G, Zimbabwean in US

It seems upsetting that the rightful owners of land have to live in poverty while rich farmers own huge tracts of land, live in utter comfort and civility. The land has been unfairly shared out by the previous governments of both countries. Violence, however, is not the way to get your land back.
Zaki Moosa, South Africa

Any black Zimbabwean who experienced Ian Smith and white Rhodesian oppression will commend our legendary war veterans for finally activating the third and final phase of the Chimurenga wars. Are you "white squatters" surprised to see that we have no sympathies for you now? Please just leave our inferior country and go back to your superior Britain.
Samanyika, Zimbabwean student in USA

The scary thing is that even after 25 years of independence and democracy whites are still not seen as human. It is discouraging to South African whites who wonder what will happen in twenty years time here.
Peter, South Africa

Mugabe is doing the same as many other leaders have in the past. He is diverting attention from the real mess he has created with his ill-conceived adventurism in Congo.
Clive, Kenya

My question is what are the fellow Africans doing amid this situation in Zimbabwe. I have been listening with hope to hear a word from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). The EU has already raised concerns.
James, Botswana (student in the UK)

The current violence against whites in Zimbabwe is horrific. The government has taken land - who has it been distributed it to? I think the whole situation is sick and Mugabe is ruining the country for everyone. The poor people will starve - but he doesn't mind as he is one of the richest people in the world - so he is ok. It's a shame because this country could be rich and prosperous for everyone.
Peace Lover, Zimbabwe

Destroying the commercial sector can only make matters worse.

Andrew Hubbard, UK
I am not a Zimbabwean, but I have visited Zimbabwe often and stayed there with friends who are farmers in Centenary, one of the commercial farming areas worst hit by the squatter and war vet occupation. These young third generation farmers want to stay in Zimbabwe not because they can make a fast buck at the expense of the landless masses, but because it is their country as much as it is anyone else's and they want to work hard to make Zimbabwe a success. True, land is not fairly distributed, but the commercial farmers recognise this too and are willing to give up land for redistribution, but not through illegal occupations. Indeed, my friends in Centenary sold a farm in the early eighties to the government for resettlement; it isn't something new. However, Zimbabwe also needs a viable commercial farming sector, to pull in the foreign currency which it so desperately needs. Moreover, the present situation is also putting paid to any hope of tourism making up the shortfall of foreign currency. Zimbabwe has made huge advances since I first visited in 1985 and the economy is one of the most diverse in southern Africa, but the present government seems hell bent on destroying all of that.
Andrew Hubbard, UK

The situation in Zimbabwe can only be solved by Zimbabweans alone. Western powers should try by all means to stop discreditincrediting (to be jealousy with) powerful African leaders like Mugabe simply because he is not following western politics. We trust our leaders and they will never let us suffer for a long time. Let the few lose their wealth in order to save the majority. It is better for Zimbabweans to live ten years in chaos than to live 100 years under the influence of the western ex-colonialists.
Miriro Tachiva, Zimbabwe

Mugabe became Zimbabwe's ruler almost 20 years ago by promising land to people that fought to get him into power. However, he then turned around and distributed most of the allotted land to political supporters in return for party funds. When the war veterans finally lost patience almost 20 years later and began organising uprisings, Mugabe incited the veterans to take land from the white farmers. The government has assisted the veterans by transporting them to white-owned farms in government vehicles with instructions to 'take what's rightfully yours'. There are less than 50,000 whites out of a total population of about 12,000,000 (that's less than 1 in 200).
Bryan Noar, Zimbabwe

It is ironic that the very people who doggedly fought against racism are perpetrating racism.

Bharat Bhushan, Germany/India
Segregating Zimbabweans into whites and blacks is racist. It is ironic that the very people who doggedly fought against racism are perpetrating racism. Blaming colonial powers for land distribution problem seems an easy way to score some political points. All farmers (blacks or whites) are contributing to Zimbabwean economy and it is a healthy economy that matters most to Zimbabweans. Remember that Idi Amin of Uganda drove people from South East Asia out of Uganda. It did no good to Uganda.
Bharat Bhushan, Germany/India

I emigrated from Zimbabwe to Canada in 1998. First it is the whites that will be sent packing, then the coloureds. Then they will discover that there are still too many black Africans to divide between. The Shona tribe is in power now. They will take the land and deny the Matabelei in the south. That is when the real blood bath will start. The other races are too small in number to put up any credible opposition.
Antony Uniacke Hawkins, Canada

How can you talk of reconciliation when a small group occupy all the best land? The only way to have peace is to give back land, now.
D.Dlodlo, Zimbabwe

To think I once sang songs in praise of Mugabe just shows how much he fooled me and I have, since then, realised how politically ignorant I was. Why now, after all these years has Mugabe decided to take this stance on the land situation? If Mugabe doesn't step down Zimbabwe doesn't have a prayer.
Stabile Mpofu, Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans know there is only one solution for economic recovery in Zimbabwe and that is to place the land in the hands of the majority indigenous people of that country. Mugabe's government has to be commended for understanding that poverty alleviation starts with land redistribution.
Mabhunu Muchatunda, S. Africa

Twenty years ago BBC was lauding Bob to the heavens. Hopefully you folks are pigging out on Humble Pie. I feel sorry for the ordinary people of Zimbabwe, who had such high hopes 20 years ago.
Dave, USA

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