Military Deploys to Remove Country's Remaining White Farmers

Sources say the deployment was ordered by the Joint Operations Command, which brings together top-level officials of the Defense Forces, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Central Intelligence Organization and the prisons.

The Commercial Farmers Union said that of the approximately 300 white commercial farmers still on the land, 152 face the imminent threat of losing their properties to politicians of the former ruling Zanu-PF party.

Zimbabwean Attorney General Johannes Tomana told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the army is justified in deploying soldiers on the farms, charging that the white farmers have disregarded eviction notices.

Political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya said the attorney general is misreading the law and the the military should not be used for enforcement purposes.

Commentator John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe warned that the latest military deployment will scare away investors, adding that Tomana wrongly concludes white Zimbabwean farmers have no rights.

A tribunal of the Southern African Development  Community in 2008 found in favor of a group of Zimbabwean and South African white farmers who argued that their property had been illegally seized, and that they had not been compensated properly under the land reform program.

Zimbabwean officials initially refused to heed the order and this year said the country did not recognize the jurisdiction of the Namibia-based tribunal.