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PERSONAL ACCOUNT BY MARK SHAW - ONE OF THE CHINHOYI MEN ARRESTED AND SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED On Monday 6th August a large number of farmers from the Banket/Chinhoyi/Karoi areas were gathered in Chinhoyi for a report back from our Regional chairman, Mr Jan Botes, concerning the recently ended Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) annual congress which had been held in Harare the previous Wednesday and Thursday. The meeting started at 0930 hrs and went on until after midday. At around 1000hrs, Mr Boet Pretorius received a telephone message to the effect that his neighbour, Mr Tony Barkley, had been attacked at his home by a group of 40+ settlers who were armed with axes, fence poles and rocks. Boet called me out of the meeting and gave me this report. I immediately phoned the Officer in charge of Chinhoyi Rural Police station, Inspector MUDZIWAPASI, who is well known to most of us due to our involvement in neighbourhood watch duties with the Police. I spoke to him on his direct line and gave him a summary of the report we had received. I asked for Police attendance to this scene as a matter of urgency emphasising that this was not a conflict over land but an attack on a farmer in his residence. He seemed most uninterested and eventually told me he had no transport. I replied that he could easily borrow another vehicle from another Police section or use one of my vehicles. His reply was that he would pass the message to Shackleton Police Post and they would send a cyclist to the scene. I reminded him that Shackleton was over twenty kilometres from the farm in question and therefore he was telling us that Police could not reach the scene for at least two hours. He said that was his decision and rang off. I turned to the farmers around me and informed me of this decision. We all knew what this meant. We now had no option but to help Tony Barkley ourselves. About six farmers left the meeting at this time and proceeded to Tony Barkley's farm. I continued to phone other Police officers in an effort to get help. The record of calls made, as provided by the cell-phone service provider,will show that I phoned the Officer Commanding Police, Mashonaland West Province (no answer), the Deputy Officer Commanding Police, Mashonaland West Province, Assistant Commissioner PRITCHARDT, who told me he was in Bulawayo and therefore unable to help, the Officer Commanding Makonde District (said to be out of his office) and finally the Deputy Officer Commanding Makonde District, Woman Superintendent CHEPATO who turned out to be the only senior Police officer available. I passed the report to her and told her that in view of Inspector MUDZIWAPASI's refusal to attend this scene timeously, the neighbouring farmers were responding to assist Mr Barkley whose life we believed was in jeopardy. She promised to get the Support Unit to attend. Note that at this time we still believed Mrs Yvonne Barkley was in the home and therefore equally in danger- only later did we hear she had gone to Harare that morning before the attack commenced. The Support Unit did not arrive for the next approximately two hours forcing the farmers on the ground to make decisions in the belief that help would not be forthcoming. A report on the radio back to those of us who were still in Chinhoyi said that Mr Barkley was no longer responding to his radio and it was feared he had been overpowered in his home and was now injured or worse. The worst was feared for Mrs Barkley as well. A decision was made to try and negotiate with the settlers to allow two farmers to enter the house and check the Barkleys' well-being. Two farmers approached the group of settlers (now estimated at over 50) The farmers were immediately attacked with bricks, rocks, catapults and branches, both suffering moderate injuries before escaping. The number of farmers in attendance had now risen to about 12 or 14. A decision was made to try and enter the house. A confrontation followed by a violent clash followed leaving approximately 5 persons injured on either side but leaving the farmers in control of the house. Thankfully Mr Barkley was found unharmed - he had not been able to respond to the radio calls as he had been holding his front door against the attempted break-in by the settler groups. The farmers immediately contacted us (the group who had remained in Chinhoyi) and advised us that Tony was safe. The settlers reinforced until they numbered around 70 had regrouped and were threatening the farmers again. I continued to phone Woman Superintendent CHEPATO as Support Unit had still not arrived at the scene. I then left the Chinhoyi Country Club where we had been and I proceeded to the Police station where I went to see Inspector MUDZIWAPASI -the Officer in charge. I gave him an update on events on the farm and told him that several casualties had been suffered. He seemed surprised and said that perhaps he better go and attend the scene. We talked for a while and then I left. Sometime between 12 and 1300hrs the Support Unit were reported to have arrived. The report I received was that they picked up all, or most, of the settlers in their armoured carrier and asked the farmers to follow to the Police station to give statements as to what had happened. By this time the Chinhoyi Farmers Association leadership, who had all been in Chinhoyi attending the meeting, arrived on Liston Shields farm. Amongst them was Fred Wallis, the chairman, and Duncan Moyes, the ex chairman. They all agreed to follow and give statements. Most arrived at the Police station around 3pm and were later detained. In the uncertainty surrounding events, they were followed to the Police station by interested friends and relatives including Mr Louis Fick, who was checking on his brother in law and was immediately arrested. In the early evening Mr Jim Steele, 72, went to the station with blankets for his son. He was also arrested. Neither of these two had been involved in this incident in any way. None of those arrested were informed of the reasons for their arrest and none were permitted to communicate with lawyers or family. Neither were they fed for the first 24 hours of their detention. At 0730 hours the following morning I arrived at the Police station and went to see Inspector Mudziwapasi. I asked him what was happening and whether I could see the detained persons. He told me that he was now taking the farmers as accused persons as the information provided to him showed they had caused the conflict. I asked him how that conclusion fitted with our repeated requests for Police assistance and the threats to a farmer's life and property. He said he was very busy. I remained at the Police station for the next hour, in full view of the settlers, making a few phone calls to advise other concerned people what was happening. Some time after 0800 a Double-cab vehicle marked ZANU-PF had entered the station, disgorged four persons who began to stir up the settlers and other Zanu youth who had gathered at the station. I was pulled out of my car by a person I have now been informed is a Zanu councellor. His accomplices gathered around me in a threatening manner and told me to go back to the office of the Police station (I was parked in the grounds). Once inside the station these persons accused me of being involved in the incident which had occurred the previous day. I told them I had not been on the farm at any time and that Inspector Mudziwapasi could confirm this. We went into Inspector Mudziwapasi`s office and he did confirm that I had been with him. The Zanu official insisted that I be detained. He now claimed that a baton stick had been used by one of the farmers and because all my guards carried baton sticks (standard issue for every security guard in Zimbabwe) therefore I had obviously supplied the baton. Baton sticks are readily available in most hardware stores in Zimbabwe. I said to Inspector Mudziwapasi "It's your call, you know I could not have been involved, but do you have the courage stand up for the truth?" His reply was to hold up his hands in a sign of resignation/surrender and he told me to go and sit in the charge office. Although I was not advised I was under arrest I was no longer free to go. Within a few minutes I was taken to the mother Police station (Chinhoyi Urban) where I was informed I was to be detained. When I asked on what charge the detail at the counter turned back the page in his Detention book and read out the allegation written against the name of some of those detained the previous day: Public Violence. I was told to remove my outer clothing, including shoes and socks and then locked in a cell. I was also not permitted a call to anyone. I asked to be allowed to retain a jersey/coat because of the cold and was told I could keep my shirt or my jersey but not both. All the other prisoners I found had been similarly treated. In my cell I found 7 other inmates, six of them farmers. (One of them, Hamish Barkley,was arrested at the same time as myself when he arrived to visit his father.) The eight of us shared only three blankets, besides three dirty pieces of old blanket being used to cover the floor on which we sat. There are no chairs, beds or windows and the toilet is an open hole in the floor which has no flush mechanism or paper. My cell mates had been in custody for 16 hours and had not been fed or allowed to receive the food brought to them by visitors. They had also been refused use of the blankets brought to them by relatives. I was informed that the farmers had been divided into three groups and sent to different Police stations around the district, namely Banket and Zvimba. Later I heard the Police at Banket had allowed the prisoners detained there to receive food. All the prisoners reported extreme cold conditions and a lack of blankets and deprivation of their warm clothing. At about 1000hrs we were removed from the cell and handed over to CID officers who began to conduct an identification parade using the settlers as witnesses. Of the total of 22 of us only seven were identified. Amongst those seven were Jim Steel, Hamish Barkley and others who had never been on the farm during the whole day in question. Also identified was Tony Barkley who had never got out of his house. Clearly the settlers were confused or merely identifying farmers known to them (most of those identified live in the Alaska area close to Liston Shields farm). The parade continued until around 1600 hrs when we were offered a communal bowl of sadza and a small plate of about 150 grams of kapenta (to share between 22). Most prisoners had now been without food for 34 hours (24 of those in Police custody) The Police now told us they wished to take us to Liston Shields for further identification by other settlers. We agreed to forego lunch to expedite this and were loaded into three vehicles. Half way to the farm the plan was changed and we returned to the Police station. Upon our return we were allowed to consult with lawyers who had arrived during the id parade and the Police began to record individual warned and cautioned statements and fingerprints from all of us. At around 1800 hours food was brought to the station by family and friends and we were allowed to eat. The recording of statements went on until around 1930 hours. During this time the CID arrested two relatives who had tried to provide us with warm clothing and blankets. (Incidentally, in the presence of the lawyers I had complained about the lack of blankets and the officer in charge CID had agreed we should be supplied with more- this was not adhered to). No prisoners up to that time, to my knowledge, had been beaten or physically mistreated. However Zanu officials from time to time would approach us and taunt us or lecture us. A few Police officers, not those directly involved in the investigation, also chose to insult and taunt the prisoners and give us a bit of a political education. At around 2000hrs those of us who had been held at Chinhoyi Police station were taken away from the CID block and returned to the cell. As we entered the cell I was called and told to return to the CID office. Some time later I was told I would be released. When I asked why it was suggested to me that I had been detained for my own safety. I did not push the issue and left the Police station sometime around 100hrs. The following morning I went to work a bit later than usual but was informed by some of my staff that Zanu youth were looking for me as they were not happy with the Police decision to release me. I decided to take my family away from Chinhoyi that evening. We have been warned to remove all valuable things from our home as it is likely to be trashed etc, I pray it will not...

A BRIEF BY THE HON. GOVERNOR AND RESIDENT MINISTER PETER CHANETSA ON LAND, RESETTLEMENT AND DISPUTES ON THE OCCASION OF THE VISIT TO MASHONALAND WEST PROVINCE BY DIPLOMATS AND JOURNALISTS: 22 AUGUST 01
On 06/08/01 ten resettled farmers at Liston Shields farm owned by George Anthony BARKLEY under Makonde district were severely assaulted by about 70 white farmers after they had gone to see BARKLEY to discuss problems of water and cattle movements which were affecting them. BARKLEY made the resettled farmers to wait for him outside his farmhouse under the pretext that he wanted to call the District Administrator to be present. Instead BARKLEY summoned his fellow farmers who immediately came and descended on the unsuspecting resettled farmers whom they severely assaulted using baton sticks, logs and chains. So severe were the assaults that one of the resettled farmers is still battling for his life in hospital. Following this heinous attack, 22 of the about 70 commercial farmers involved were arrested and detained in police custody awaiting trial. During the same period part of the commercial farmers who evaded arrest fled from their farms in the Chinhoyi area on the pretext that they feared for their lives and sought refugee (sic) among colleagues in the Doma and Mhangura farming areas. They got sanctuary at Greenfields, Kismet, Windel Range and Glen Louie farms owned by fellow farmers Detoit, Johannes Style, Hansen Keith, and Leslie THOMAS respectively. It is pertinent to note that it was at these farms that the idea to stage-manage mass looting was mooted by the white farmers in their bid to attract international press attention purporting that there was lawlessness in the country and that whites were victims on their rightful properties. The families of the arrested white farmers and those who had evaded arrest stayed at the above farms between the period 6 to 12/08/01 thus taking advantage of the Heroes and Defense forces holiday to coincide with their premeditated and stage managed looting. Investigations into the forces behind the mass looting have since established that the farmers instructed their farm workers to randomly loot their properties whilst two fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter equipped with powerful photographic and transmitting gadgets hoovered (sic) above recording all the activities which in turn were beamed on BBC, CNN and other western TV and radio networks. That the said aircraft were transmitting to those on the ground coincided with an approach to Governor Chanetsa by the British High Commissioner BRIAN DONNLEY who insisted on proceeding to the Doma/Mhangura area to assess the situation. These developments would therefore indicatge (sic) that recording of the stage-managed looting was a preplanned (sic) move specifically designed to give the false impression of mass victimisation of whites and lawlessness hence justify execution of the much talked about evacuation plan. The allegation by the farmers that the police did nothing in the face of the looting is not true because as soon as the reports of looting were received police deployments were made in the affected areas, arrests were made and the looted property was recovered. To date a total of 123 people the majority being farm workers have been arrested and convicted of theft of property. One hundred and ten of these have been convicted while thirteen were remanded for trial later this month. Relevations (sic) by farm workers when they appeared in court clearly exposed the white commercial farmers' involvement in inciting the looting and that the entire setup was premeditated. Some of the farmers approached state prosecution requesting to have charges withdrawn. This was however turned down to give the law a chance to take its course, and when this was done they paid fines of bail for the convicted farm workers. It is pertinent to note that the 22 arrested farmers were denied bail by a Chinhoyi Magistrate on very valid grounds notably that: they would abscond given the gravity of charges preferred against them, they would interfere with witnesses since most of them are their employees, they could perpetrate similar acts should they be released and it was in the interest of their security and safety that they remain in custody because the Chinhoyi community was calling for their blood. They were eventually allowed bail on 20/08/01 by the High Court.

 

 
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