From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ACNS: Tutu leads formation of charity to aid farmers in Zimbabwe
Worldwide Faith News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fri, 21 Jun 2002 07:21:22 -0700
ACNS 3025 - ZIMBABWE - 18 June 2002
Tutu leads formation of charity to aid farmers in Zimbabwe
[ENI] Retired Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Laureate, Desmond Tutu of South
Africa, is supporting formation of a charity to aid commercial farmers in
Zimbabwe affected by the government's controversial land reforms.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Trust has been established in Britain to "provide
a focal point for international support" for farming families and other
agricultural workers caught up in the haphazard and sometimes violent land
redistribution program. The aim is to alleviate the "hardship and suffering"
of those farmers who have been directly affected by the civil unrest,
according to Lao Watson-Smith, the trust's administrator.
Tutu, who condemned his own government's endorsement of Zimbabwe's
controversial presidential election in March, is patron of the trust.
At least 11 farmers and seven workers have been killed, thousands assaulted
and abused and nearly a million farm workers and their dependants displaced
since February 2000 when members of President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe
National Union-Patriotic Front and veterans of the liberation war of the
1970s, launched raids against the farms. The raids targeted properties of
white farmers accused of campaigning against a draft constitution that
included a clause allowing the government to seize, without compensation,
any farm belonging to white, large-scale farmers. The invasions intensified
prior to the presidential election.
Nearly half of the farm workers affected are descendants of migrant workers
from Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia who lost their citizenship last year when
the government passed a law declaring them ineligible for resettlement under
the land reform program.
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