To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

December 09, 2008

SADC court orders Zimbabwe to stop land seizures

by Paulus Ashipala

A southern African tribunal recently ruled that Zimbabwe's planned seizure of dozens of white-owned farms violates international law and must be halted immediately. The ruling by the Southern African Development Community tribunal (SADC) in Windhoek, Namibia, came amid growing impatience in South Africa and elsewhere in the region with Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic crisis.

"The applicants have been discriminated against on the grounds of race," the tribunal said in ruling in favour of more than 75 white Zimbabwean farmers who challenged the legality of a controversial land redistribution programme begun in 2000. "The (Zimbabwe) government is directed to take all necessary measures through its agents to protect the possession, occupation and ownership of the land by the applicants."

The tribunal also ordered that a handful of farmers whose land had already been confiscated should be compensated by June 30, 2009. The court's ruling will likely embarrass President Robert Mugabe's government but will almost certainly not divert Harare from its current plan to carry with its land reform programme.

Mugabe's government has seized thousands of white-owned farms and redistributed the land to poor blacks. The move has led to the collapse of the country's once prosperous agricultural sector, pushing millions to the edge of famine. Zimbabwean officials were not immediately available for comment on the ruling. Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has previously said that no court will force him to reverse the land redistribution policy.

SADC, a regional grouping of 15 African nations that includes Zimbabwe, has been pressuring Mugabe and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change to move quickly to form a unity government under a Sept. 15 power-sharing deal. The two sides, however, have reached a deadlock over the control of key ministries in a future cabinet.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who defeated Mugabe in the first round of a March presidential election and then boycotted a second round won by Mugabe three months later, has accused the Zimbabwean ruler of trying to make the MDC a junior partner. South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, the frontrunner to become South Africa's president next year, have urged Mugabe and Tsvangirai to compromise for the sake of the Zimbabwean people. Zimbabwe is suffering from an official inflation rate of 231 million percent and chronic shortages of food and fuel. An estimated three million of its people have fled to neighbouring South Africa.

Reuters

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP