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German-Zimbabwean Relations Troubled by Farm Seizures Despite Investment Pact


The German Embassy in Harare sent a letter expressing its concerns to Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi after being informed of plans to seize a farm in Chipinge owned by German national Heinrich Von Pezold

Farms in the Chipinge district of Zimbabwe's Manicaland province owned by German nationals have been taken over despite a warning from the German Embassy that such invasions by militants under the country's decade-old land reform program could jeopardize assistance from Bonn, sources said Friday.

The embassy sent the letter to Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi after being informed of plans to seize the farm owned by German national Heinrich Von Pezold. The embassy said an invasion of the farm would constitute a violation of an investment protection and promotion agreement between the two countries.

Sources said the farm was invaded Thursday. Neither the embassy nor Von Pezold could be reached for comment.

Trevor Gifford, a former president of the Commercial Farmers Union, whose own farm in Chipinge has been seized, said such farm takeovers surged following a statement by Minister of State Didymus Mutasa saying that those considering a farm takeover should not worry about having a court order in hand to do so.

Gifford said farm seizures are in violation of bilateral agreements with a number of countries.

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