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New Wave of Farm Evictions Disrupts Zimbabwe Crop Preparations

With just three weeks to go before the start of Zimbabwe's maize planting season, the government is pursuing fresh farm evictions around the country based on a new law that increases state powers to drive white commercial farmers off the land.

Fresh evictions have been reported in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland West provinces, despite statements in recent months from top officials including the two vice presidents and the central bank chief saying commercial farm evictions were over.

Two white farmers in Mashonaland West received summonses this week to appear in court for refusing to vacate their properties. Another 50 farmers across the country have been handed eviction notices under a recently promulgated law saying anyone who receives a Section 5 notice of state land takover must vacate within 45 days.

The law makes it a crime to refuse, with a penalty of up to two years in prison.

VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe was unable to reach either of the two farmers scheduled to appear in Karoi magistrate’s court Tuesday to face such charges, or to obtain a comment from the Commercial Farmers' Union of which they are members.

Independent farming expert Roger Mpande told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that these evictions are not driven by land reform policy objectives, but by greed.

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