Despite court orders and brave stands, the Jouberts and their workers are finally thrown off their land
This is the continuing story of one white farmer and his family. New readers start here. Back in April I announced the first raid by police on Portwe Farm, home of Mr. and Mrs. Joubert and their 83-year-old mother Ellen Maud Dolphin, in the Bubi district in Matebeleland North.
Initially the Jouberts fought back, with a court order that eventually pushed the police back to the farm boundaries. But not for long. Again in May I reported that the gallant force had struck again, this time at the guest house which Mr. Joubert maintained on his land. Guests were scattered to the high winds, and the police took over.
Now, despite the High Court order banning them from the place, the police have gone in again, and this time, with Mr. Joubert away in South Africa, they have achieved their objective. The Jouberts are evicted.
Fifty anti-riot officers charged in, and won a gallant victory over two ladies. Margaret Joubert and her mother were allowed to pack some belongings, although the leader of the force confiscated their television, sound system, and digital sattelite receiver. Oh yes, and a pair of elephant tusks.
Mrs. Joubert and her mother (who once, incidentally, represented Zimbabwe at international bowling tournaments) were dumped at their neighbours, and left.
From there, she described what happened that day. "They arrived early in the morning. The security guard refused to let them in, but they pushed past him, and at least fifty fully-armed police crowded into the house.
"They wouldn't let me call my lawyer. And when I showed them the High Court order, their leader said if I kept on protesting he would smack my behind."
When the Jouberts had been safely disposed of, the cops came back for the workers.
Farm worker Temba Mpilo told me: "When they evicted Mrs. Joubert and her mother they asked us to work for them. But we refused. Then they told us never to return to the district."
Then all 16 men were bundled into trucks, and dumped at their villages, some as far away as Nkayi, about 100km away.
Anywhere else in the world this story would be seen as an outrageous scandal, a perversion of the rule of law, and outright theft by a totally corrupt police force. In Zimbabwe, it's routine.