79 year old white commercial farmer arrested

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Harare – A Harare Magistrate on Friday sentenced a 79 year old woman commercial farmer to three months in prison for allegedly refusing to vacate her property of 52 years.

Magistrate Archie Wochiunga sentenced Hester Theron, a white commercial farmer to three months in prison and ordered her to vacate her Beatrice Farm next month.

Theron, a 79-year-old widowed farmer from the Beatrice area was sentenced after she was convicted last month for contravening the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act.

The State accuse Theron, the mother of Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Deon Theron, of refusing to vacate her property and ignoring a contested offer letter given to a new black owner under the controversial and often violent government backed land seizures.

Theron’s sentence was however wholly suspended for five years on condition that she does not commit a similar offence.

Wochiunga also ordered Theron to vacate her Friedenthal Farm in Beatrice near Harare by December 08.

Theron’s lawyer Godfrey Mamvura said he will file an appeal against both conviction and sentence in the High Court on Monday.

Theron who owns Friedenthal, a dairy and beef-producing farm has been living on the farm since 1957 and employs 17 workers.

Earlier on Friday the CFU said Zimbabwe commercial farmers were failing to plant their crops due to the escalation of violence and disturbances on farms which would result in the nation failing to produce enough food to feed itself in the 2009/2010 farming season.

CFU said the police were ignoring their reports of violence and theft on farms classifying the cases as ‘political.’