A white farmer who has been campaigning to force the Zimbabwean government to compensate farmers who were dispossessed of their land during the land reform programme says the Gukurahundi massacre of the 1980s, in which thousands of people from the Midlands and Matebeleland were killed, was a “racially inspired genocide”.
In his testimony to the United States House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global on US-Zimbabwe relations two weeks ago, Ben Freeth said there was need to maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe because Mugabe had also decimated the white farmers with only five percent of those who were on the land in 2000 remaining on the land.
He did not explain how Gukurahundi was racially inspired only saying: “The racial record of the Mugabe regime is dire: first there was the racially inspired genocide of the 1980s when the current regime murdered an estimated 20 000 Ndebele people.
“Then there is the white population in Zimbabwe which has been depleted in numbers by approximately 90 percent. In the last 15 years the white population on the commercial farms has been systematically and lawlessly driven off their farms and is now less than 5 percent of what it was; and the ethnic cleansing of those rural areas continues.”
He added:“The last 5 percent of white farmer, who are persistently terrorised or criminalised, face two years in jail for committing the ‘crime’ of farming their land and living in their own homes on those farms – in a country that is starving.”
Freeth, whose father-in-law, Mike Campbell, took Zimbabwe to the Southern African Development Community Tribunal and won the case, said United States sanctions on Zimbabwe should not only remain in place but should be strengthened.
“At the same time, in the spirit of Godly truth and the Martin Luther King civil rights movement ethos, it is important that the USA makes a complaint to CERD (Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination)and asks for an investigation of the Zimbabwe Government.
“Until non-discrimination, property rights and the rule of law are restored to the people of Zimbabwe, hunger, deprivation and regression will continue to be the order of the day. Racial discrimination takes a nation into a never ending spiral of hate and recrimination. There is no way forward while it is allowed to continue. Silence is the sickening sound of tacit approval,” he concluded.
Freeth documented the trials and tribulations of his father-in-law and his family into a documentary entitled: Mugabe and the white African.
He is also the executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation which seeks justice for victims of torture and abuse; works towards the restoration of the rule of law where it has been demolished; and assists those forced to live in extreme poverty with survival skills.