Zimbabwe: Supreme Court Opens Hearings on Evictions of White
27 May 2004, 15:44
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has opened hearings in a case testing
constitutionality of a law banishing white farmers from their
The farmers are represented in this case by one of South Africa's
respected constitutional lawyers, Wim Trengove.
He argued before
the five Supreme Court Judges that the law, which allowed
for confiscation of
white-owned land, was unfair and violated Zimbabwe's
law gave farmers 45 days to leave, and made it a criminal offense for
harvest their crops after that deadline. Hundreds of farmers were
after the law was enacted in 2002.
The government's campaign to drive
white farmers from their land started two
years before the law was
Farmers who brought this constitutional challenge to Zimbabwe's
court say few would return to their land, even if they won the case.
say many white farmers have left Zimbabwe and those who remained do not
the means to start up again. Many of the farms have suffered
damage since their white owners left.
But the farmers say
the case is important because it would give them legal
grounds for future
compensation claims against President Robert Mugabe's
government and Britain,
the former colonial power.
Out of the thousands of land expropriations,
only about 350 cases have been
settled by consent and about a dozen by the
courts. The rest of the cases
are still winding their way through crowded
Zim farmer takes land reforms to court
May 27 2004 at
Harare - A white farmer went before Zimbabwe's top court
on Thursday to
challenge parts of the controversial land reform laws under
property was seized and given to black farmers.
Quinnell and his wife, who owned a farm north of Harare, have been
of their only source of income since they were forced to leave
their land in
They appeared before all five judges in the constitutional
court to try to
have their eviction order overturned and amendments to the
laws declared unconstitutional.
targeted amendments made in 2002 to the land laws that
reduced from 90 days
to 45 days the timetable given to farmers to wind up
their affairs after
receiving an eviction order.
'The act does not meet the
constitutional demand for a reasonable
The amendments also allow
the government to resettle people on the farm and
make it a crime for the
farmer to interfere in the process.
"The act pursuant to the amendments
does not meet the constitutional demand
for a reasonable notice," said South
African lawyer Wim Trengrove,
The lawyer said
Zimbabwe farmers facing an eviction order should be given "a
opportunity to wind up their affairs and adjust their lives to
acquisition of their land."
The case has taken two years to come to
Since Quinnell started his legal battle in 2000, most of
farmers have been evicted from their farms to make way for
The number of whites still in farming has
reportedly dwindled to fewer than
400 out of an estimated 4 000 four years
Before the legislation was amended in 2000, farmers were given 90
wind up their business and resettlement could not take place if
challenged the eviction order in court.
Trengrove argued that the
amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, made two
months after President
Robert Mugabe won another term in office in March
parliamentary procedure because Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa had not
yet been sworn in when he introduced them.
Neither had Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made, who signed Quinnell's eviction
notice, the court
Mugabe swore in his cabinet ministers three months later, in
State lawyer Loyce Matanda-Moyo however argued that as
Mugabe was an
incumbent, the ministers' swearing in was not needed to make
"The mere fact that they (Quinnell's lawyers)
sued them as ministers means
they recognised them as ministers," she
Farmers who lost their land under the land reform programme were
the government's intention to acquire their farms two years
an eviction order, she argued.
Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku reserved judgement, saying the court
needed time to consider
submissions made. - Sapa-AFP
Farmer faces murder charge
27/05/2004 19:38 -
Harare - A farmer will be charged with murder in the shooting
death of one
of a group who took over part of his farm, police said on
Spiro Landos also faces a charge of attempted murder for
another settler during a dispute at the farm near Odzi,
220km east of the
capital Harare, police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka
Landos, 45, was also hurt in Monday's clash and is being held under
guard at a hospital in the eastern provincial capital of Mutare,
President Robert Mugabe's government has seized about
white-owned farms in an often-violent campaign to redistribute
land to black
Landos had already relinquished part of his
property to the settlers, but a
dispute arose over the boundary between them,
according to his lawyers.
Police said the settlers claim Landos was
injured as they tried to disarm
However, Landos's lawyers said he
fired a pistol in self defence when he was
assaulted by the
Landos, who is of Greek descent, is the second farmer to face a
charge since the land redistribution campaign began in 2000. The
carries a possible death sentence.
Another farmer was jailed
for 15 years in 2001 after being convicted of
running down a settler in his
truck and killing him.
Sixteen farmers have also been killed in violence
blamed mainly on ruling
party militants and veterans of the guerrilla war
that led to independence
from Britain in 1980. No one has been convicted of
Committee Starts Probing Bennett
The Herald (Harare)
Posted to the web May 27, 2004
parliamentary privileges committee that was appointed to probe the
Chimanimani MP Mr Roy Bennett (MDC), who assaulted two Cabinet
week in Parliament, started its preliminary
Mr Bennett assaulted Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde
Patrick Chinamasa and Anti-Corruption and
Anti-Monopolies Minister Cde
Didymus Mutasa when the House was considering an
adverse report on the Stock
Theft Amendment Bill.
The chairman of the
committee and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
Minister Cde Paul
Mangwana said in an interview the full hearing on the case
would be held this
"We started our preliminary investigations today (yesterday) and
the video footage in which Honourable Bennett assaulted the two
ministers," he said.
"Hon Bennett was also present during the
viewing of the video together with
his lawyer Advocate Eric Matinenga. We
believe that after viewing the video
footage this is enough for us to start
Other members of the committee are Water Resources and
Development Minister Cde Joyce Mujuru, Chief Jonathan
Mangwende, Harare East
MP Mr Tendai Biti (MDC) and Bulawayo North-East MP
Professor Welshman Ncube
The privileges committee was appointed
to investigate whether the conduct by
the opposition MP was not in contempt
Magistrate Queries Fundira, Kuruneri's Court Appearance in Civilian
The Herald (Harare)
May 27, 2004
Posted to the
web May 27, 2004
A HARARE magistrate court yesterday
queried why Finance and Economic
Development Minister Chris Kuruneri and
safari operator Emmanuel Fundira,
who are accused of breaching the Exchange
Control Regulations, were brought
to court wearing civilian
This occurred at the routine remand hearing of the two who are
being held at
the Harare Remand Prison on separate charges of externalising
large sums of
Kuruneri and Fundira appeared in Court
6 clad in designer suits and they
were further remanded to June 9.
two sat side by side in the dock from about 9 am and were taken back
holding cells around 1:30 pm after the court adjourned.
According to Mr
Bruce Mujeyi of Gollop and Blank who was representing
magistrate Ms Sukai Tongogara wanted to inquire, in her
chambers, if accused
persons being remanded in custody were allowed to wear
their civilian clothes
when appearing in court.
"The court queried why my client was wearing his
own clothes," Mr Mujeyi
said referring to Kuruneri.
He said the court
also queried Fundira's appearance in his clothes.
Charges against the
minister who was arrested late last month arose between
2002 and 2004 after
he allegedly externalised US$1 million, 37 000 British
pounds and 30 000
euros to South Africa where he is constructing a property
Kuruneri is also alleged to have contravened the Citizenship Act of
by possessing two passports without the permission of the Minister
Fundira is alleged to have externalised more than
US$100 000 from hunting
The State alleges that sometime in
2002 Fundira who is the chief executive
officer of Makuti Game, Safari and
Lodges entered into an agreement with Out
Of Africa Adventurous, a United
It alleges that, the agreement stipulated that Out Of
would source clients on behalf of Makuti Game, Safaris and
These clients, the State alleges, would then make advance
payments to the
US-based company in foreign currency.
would, in turn, deposit into Fundira's accounts at Nedbank in
Las Vegas, the
It is further alleged that Fundira failed to repatriate
the money amounting
to US$101 388, which was proceeds from hunting and
Khaya Moyo Blasts SA Media
The Herald (Harare)
Posted to the web May 27, 2004
ambassador to South Africa, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, has castigated
African media for twisting a recent interview between British news
Sky News and President Mugabe in their latest campaign to present
Government of Zimbabwe in bad light.
Cde Moyo said in the latest
instance, sections of the South African media
sought to put out the entirely
false notion that President Mugabe had said
the Government of Zimbabwe and
Zanu-PF were not interested in talks with the
could be further from the truth. Only last week the Minister of
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs told Parliament that informal
taking place between Zanu-PF and the MDC and that when this is
parties involved will be in a position to report to their
parties," he said.
Cde Moyo said in December 2003 both President Mugabe
and the MDC leader Mr
Morgan Tsvangirai said formal negotiations would start
as soon as this
informal dialogue was concluded.
"The Government of
Zimbabwe and the ruling party Zanu-PF remains committed
to this programme of
engagement with the opposition party, to agree on a
Zimbabwe solution to the
challenges that face the country.
"No amount of falsification by sections
of the South African media will
divert patriotic Zimbabweans away from the
path of dialogue already agreed
to by all parties concerned," he said.
Zanu PF supporters attacked the MDC Headquarters last Thursday in what
Witness Magwende described as a peaceful demonstration. The Zanu PF supporters,
who were escorted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, attacked and destroyed the
entrance to the MDC headquarters as is seen in these photographs.
MDC Information and Publicity Department
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