A white Zimbabwean family fear for their future after being forced off their farm by police, who have since occupied their home and confiscated their tractor. Phillip and Anita Rankin, who have farmed tobacco in Zimbabwe for decades, were handcuffed by police and dragged off their land so it could be claimed by Sylvester Nyatsuro, a black British doctor who runs a weightloss clinic in Nottingham.
The property was stormed by police officers, who have since taken over their home and even confiscated their tractor when workers tried to continue efforts to grow tobacco, and the stress of the situation has made Mrs Rankin ill.
It comes after the family was ordered to leave their home of more than 30 years last year but refused to leave without being compensated for the £300,000 crop they planted.
Dr Nyatsuro, who is supposedly linked to the Mugabes through his wife Veronica, apparently turned up at Kingston Deverill in September with a government document saying that he was now the rightful owner of the land.
Two dozen settlers then moved into a nearby cottage and caused problems for the family, according to Mrs Rankin, 54, who has three children with her husband. She said:
‘This is actually too much for me. This has been going on for months. The people in the cottage have not behaved well towards us.
‘They would come to the kitchen door and stare at us and they made so much noise. Sometimes we could not be in the back of the house. It was a very tough situation and it went on and on.
‘We don’t know where we will live or what we will do. I am born and bred on a farm. I don’t know town life. And I only know Zimbabwe.’