- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2003

HARARE, Zimbabwe A senior Zimbabwean judge has grabbed a prize white-owned farm in the heart of the nation's richest land, knowledgeable neighbors said.
The discovery came as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe congratulated his people on regaining their land from white farmers in a defiant speech to mark 23 years of independence yesterday.
Judge Paddington Garwe seized Mount Lothian farm in the Enterprise area.
It was owned by C.G. Tracey, one of the first white farmers to embrace Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980. The seizure is believed to have occurred last month.
Judge Garwe is judge president of the High Court, the second highest judge in the country.
He is presiding over the treason trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr. Tracey arranged the key donor conference after Zimbabwe's independence. He has been chairman of several important agricultural groups, introduced some of the most innovative farming methods and was highly regarded by the government in the early days of independence.
"Now he is just another white man, and they want him to go," said a former neighbor.
Mr. Tracey, in his 80s, is said to be "heartbroken and confused" about being forced from his home and life's work.
Former neighbors said "C.G.," as he is known, had refused to discuss his eviction, fearing reprisals. He left Zimbabwe on holiday yesterday.
"He thinks that if he says nothing the judge will one day allow him back into his home," said a former neighbor now living in South Africa.
"He is living in a dream world where he believes that order will return to his beloved Zimbabwe. C.G. is an old man and confused after the turmoil. He is not thinking straight."
The former neighbor said Mr. Tracey was forced off the farm by violent ruling ZANU-PF party members posing as landless peasants.
Judge Garwe declined to comment on the assertions, saying, through his secretary, that he would respond to written questions after Easter.
He was appointed judge president two years ago after Mr. Mugabe's purge of independent jurors who had, until then, ruled that the land grab and eviction of white farmers were illegal.
The seizure is the latest in the Enterprise farming area, about 20 miles east of Harare. The area is occupied by more members of the ruling elite a clutch of Cabinet ministers, senior members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the hierarchy of the Central Intelligence Organization than any other of the former commercial farming districts.
Of the 66 white commercial farmers in the Enterprise district before Mr. Mugabe ordered the land grab three years ago, fewer than a dozen are left.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide