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Zimbabwe: 40,000 Farmworkers Victims of Latest Government Violence

Posted to the IUF website 09-May-2008

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According to the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), close to 40,000 farmworkers have been "affected by the current terror campaign", victims of violence and/or eviction from their workplaces.

"As if the damage suffered by the farm workers in the 2000 land invasions was not enough", says GAPWUZ general secretary Gertrude Hambira", workers are once again the target of political violence following ZANU (PF)�s defeat in the last elections. Our wounds are still to heal and we are now being subject to pain and torture." GAPWUZ has recorded 39,752 farmworkers who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the new wave of "manufactured invasions" of farms by so-called war veterans.

"Farm workers have been hospitalized after sustaining injuries", continues Hambira, "And as we all know, the farms are among the most remote areas and this means they have little or no access to adequate health care. The Standard of 4 May 2008 reported that four bodies of murdered people are rotting at Guruve Hospital as their relatives cannot come and take them for burial for fear of victimization.

"As we speak right now, over 400 families countrywide are sleeping in the cold after being evicted from the farm homes. These families are reportedly being denied access to health care and food. Some workers in Manicaland have also been hospitalized after being beaten out of their farms. Some have resorted to the mountains for fear of victimization.

"One GAPUWZ field officer and 15 others were last week arrested on allegations of having organized workers stay-away. They have since been released and will be summoned to court."