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Zimbabweans supporting Liberty & Livelihood

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  • msbrown@boltblue.net
    The following - for all it s sympathy with the genuine concerns of those who took part in the march here in London (as opposed to the Countryside Alliance
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2002
      The following - for all it's sympathy with the genuine concerns of those who
      took part in the march here in London (as opposed to the "Countryside Alliance"
      organisers) - perhaps best reflects how the sabotage of a 'rural issue' in
      Zimbabwe by the black ruling class is akin to the sabotage of rural issues in
      the UK by a privileged minority:

      Taken from the Zimbabwe Indymedia Website
      ReF; http://zimbabwe.indymedia.org/news/2002/10/442.php

      Zimbabweans supporting Liberty & Livelihood
      by Albert Weidemann Thursday October 03, 2002 at 04:00 PM

      Zimbabweans Supporting Liberty & Livelihood

      Zimbabweans supporting - Liberty & Livelihood

      The reasons Zimbabweans both black and white supported and marched alongside
      Liberty and Livelihood was that issues pertaining to rural Britain in our view
      were about countless thousands of ordinary men and women whose livelihoods
      depend not only upon farming, tourism, fishing, shooting, hunting and many
      other allied trades which are deeply affected and in crises. These are grounded
      in some of the same core issues as Zimbabweans are forced to endure. Town and
      country in Britain and Zimbabwe need each other and cannot (indeed, should not)
      exist in isolation from each other. Whilst many of their core problems are
      identical (affordable housing, access to reliable public transport, quality
      education, jobs etc) rural areas are doubly handicapped because they have to
      deal with geographical isolation, an ageing population, a declining
      agricultural base, higher costs of living, lower standards of living and lower
      rates of Government spending.

      The situation in the agricultural sector of Zimbabwe is catastrophic. The
      commercial sector of agriculture has almost totally been decimated. It is now
      illegal for many farmers to grow food for a country in which over half the
      population more than 6.5 million (United Nations estimates) - face starvation.
      Customs officials are currently holding food aid between the South African and
      Zimbabwean borders (Beitbridge border post). Desperately needed food
      consignments have been denied entry into the country by Zimbabwean officials
      who may well destroy tons due to permit restrictions and the lack of concern
      coupled with continuous restrictions placed on independent humanitarian

      The media have consistently reported on Africa's tragedy and its people
      suffering from hunger which increases daily in Southern Africa, of which the
      greater proportion are enfact from Zimbabwe. Whilst human rights abuses along
      with state sponsored violence escalates. The forced migration and dispersment
      of Zimbabweans will have no other alternative than flee rural areas to the
      urban towns and cities as was the case in Mozambique. Those forced to leave
      either from persecution or otherwise would also seek refuge and have crossed
      into neighbouring African countries. The escalation of Zimbabwean refugees both
      black and white into European and other countries continue to rise as the
      oppression of a regime are unleashed with impunity to demolish and detain those
      who seek freedom of speech, movement and association. Democracy and
      Liberalisation a gloomy illusion - The truth and reality is that African
      countries specifically South Africa lacks substance and makes a mockery of
      President Thabo Mbeki's initiative on ''African Renaissance'' along with his
      NEPAD initiative based on democracy, responsibility and good governance. Whilst
      giving credibility either directly or indirectly to a despot who has remained
      in power for 22 years.

      Approximately 1 million Zimbabwean farm workers and their families have been
      displaced. These people have lost their homes, their livelihood, education,
      healthcare and any chance of a better future. Many of them are living in tented
      camps, where they are still harassed by agents of the Mugabe regime. Others are
      in informal settlements without proper sanitation. Water borne diseases such as
      cholera are now on the increase in these areas. Malnutrition and HIV make this
      group even more vulnerable.

      In the cases of genuine new settlers, they have not been provided with any
      infrastructure. There is no help with agricultural inputs, no irrigation, no
      equipment, no financial assistance. They do not get title deeds and therefore
      cannot even apply for bank loans. Productive farms, which have been illegally
      taken, are generally not been given to landless peasants. Instead, most of them
      have gone to the political and military elite.

      Agricultural ancillary companies are no longer viable, and the economy in small
      agri-industry based towns have imploded. Animals on farms, both pets and
      livestock, have been deliberately starved and in some cases tortured.

      Over half of Zimbabwe's wildlife, including endangered species such as Rhino
      and wild dog, have been poached. This mass slaughter of the game in the country
      also impacts on the tourism industry, which has almost totally collapsed. This
      means further job losses and no foreign currency coming into the country. This
      is needed for vital supplies such as medicine, fuel, electricity and food.

      Taking part in the biggest protest of any kind in Britain with an array of
      people from all walks of life, different backgrounds and cultures. The police
      respectful and tolerant to all - impartial and without prejudice. The
      campaigners against the protest protected by legislation too and consideration
      given to their opinion and voice. To many a great success - to some bitter
      blow. However for the many Zimbabweans an opportunity of freedom of speech,
      movement and association with out fear of intimidation or reprisal. The scene
      in Zimbabwe sadly has radically changed and becomes more repressive daily. The
      urban and rural areas of Zimbabwe are under draconian rule. All voices
      regardless of race, colour or creed along with humanitarian consideration are
      effectively neutralised by the Zimbabwe Government.

      By Albert Weidemann - Human Rights Activist.


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