Supreme Court upholds ZANU PF theft of ‘protected’ land

By | June 5, 2014

via Supreme Court upholds ZANU PF theft of ‘protected’ land | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Supreme Court has this week upheld the ZANU PF seizure of a German owned farm in Mashonaland Central, stating that the government does not need to honour an international protection agreement on the property.

This is despite the property, Frogmore Farm, being covered under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between Germany and Zimbabwe. The farm was previously owned by the Forrester Estate group, an agricultural company run by the German Von Pezold family. The family used to be the largest German investor in Zimbabwe, with multiple agricultural properties across the country.

But since the launch of the land grab campaign by ZANU PF, the Von Pezolds repeatedly faced land invasions and threats of violence on their properties. The family eventually approached an international Investments Dispute tribunal to arbitrate in the case against the Zimbabwe government.

Frogmore Farm was seized by ZANU PF member Lovemore Makunun’unu in 2007, after receiving an offer letter from the state. The legal owners secured an eviction order for Makunun’unu in 2009, on the basis that the land was BIPPA protected, an agreement that stipulates that any acquisition by Zimbabwe be fully compensated for.

Makunun’unu appealed this and, after a lengthy process, the Supreme Court on Monday quashed the High Court order and declared the ZANU PF member the legal owner of the property, dismissing the BIPPA and the compensation needed.

Lawyer Tapson Dzvetero, who represented Makunun’unu, reportedly welcomed the court order as a “positive move in favour of beneficiaries of the land reform programme who were allocated offer letters in respect of farms covered under BIPPA.”

“The agreement does not affect the legality of the acquisition of these properties in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Those beneficiaries remain entitled to their properties under the land reform programme,” the lawyer was quoted by the Herald newspaper as saying.

The ruling backs up recent comments by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who dismissed claims that BIPPA protected investments in Zimbabwe were safe from seizure. He told Parliament last week that government would only have to compensate the investor, despite no compensation being made to date for seized assets.

“Under the BIPPAs, government is not prevented from compulsory acquisition of assets. It is required to pay compensation,” Chinamasa said.

His comments, and this week’s court ruling, are both at odds with a ZANU PF politburo directive made last month, with the body stating that BIPPA protected land in the Save Valley Conservancy would be protected.

Former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth, one of the many victims of the land grab campaign, told SW Radio Africa that this confusion was hampering any economic recovery efforts. He said the doublespeak was indicative of “the breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe,” which was preventing investment.

“We need investment and the only way that is going to happen is if the people who are investing know that their money is safe,” Freeth said.

He added: “When the rules are constantly changing, and when people like the Von Pezolds lose court challenges, despite legal documents like BIPPAs, it makes it all very uncertain. And what investors are seeking is clarity.”


23 thoughts on “Supreme Court upholds ZANU PF theft of ‘protected’ land

  1. andy

    And the minister of finance is expecting money from the E.U. These clowns are a joke.

  2. Bambazonke

    The best and easiest way for all the BIPPA farmers to get some form of compensation is to start attaching property outside the country like air Zim plains etc , who the hell is going to invest in Zim if they grant an order like that. Let Chinese colonies Zim and change the name zimzang . Wake up there are more Chinese illegally mining than there are whites living in Zim that’s cause there investment is protected by the politicians outside the country $$$$$$

    1. Doris

      Exactly. And there are farmers who have already had a court ruling in their favor, which entitles them to grab those assets. Watch this space!

  3. andy

    Good idea, the only problem is what assets does the government have abroad? air Zimbabwe hardly fly outside the /”country and embassy buildings are protected by international law.

  4. zanupf fear me

    The judiciary I predict will be among the first to swing in unity square

  5. Isu Zvedu

    Andy, sadly but true, E.U. will and has been that proverbial “gift that keep on giving”. Zanu PF continues to be funded by these same vilified western “evil imperialists.”

    1. Petal

      Repeat someone needs to pinch their ears if this is happening
      Surely these bufoons must be sweet talking their way. Someone should them the proof and perhaps they will stop the funding – if someone somewhere does it you will be assisting the masses

  6. Justice

    Obviously the judges would rule this way because of their own illegally grabbed properties – shame on them!

  7. Bambazonke

    Andy there are 28 properties registered in the name of the Zimbabwe government currently in South Africa, of which 2 have diplomatic Imunatey .we just need some one 2 set an example like Von , I will be laughing all the way to the eu bank

  8. roving ambassador.

    Its good that Zanu is showing its true colours. Zanu is the laws the judge and the enforcer.
    Be warned.

  9. word writer

    high court correct. farm land is zimbabwe government controlled under zim sovereignty. an offer letter ws given. case closed. but compensation must be given by the owner- zim govt. the two issues are separate. the owner of the land is zim govt not the invader makunununu. of couse germany will not be amused, but with the recent fear that china is getting influence in zim, and eu losing it, germany will DO nothing.

  10. Ruramai

    word writer, what sovereignty for a basket case of a country that can’t even feed itself, has no national currency and is constantly going around the word with a begging bowl?

  11. RR

    And just when you thought you saw a glimmer of light…………bang!!

  12. Brian

    And what, pray tell, are the land holdings of the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, Justice Paddington Garwe, Justice Wilson Sandura, Justice Vernanda Ziyambi and Justice Luke Malaba? Will history smile kindly on their deliberations? Will history see them as judicially independent champions of the rule of law in ZANU-Zim? Are they exemplars of probity and justice worthy of the admiration of Zim’s youth?

  13. muntu

    I said it: invest in Zim and your investment will be forfeited by zanu crooks. Take the legal route and they’ll line up judges for you.

  14. Michael Saruchera

    European Union must just tighten screws on this government. i know sanctions are painful but it seems that is the only way to deal with this illegitimate government. People might think that sanctions will hurt the Zimbabweans in general but even now we are suffering. Please EU deliver us from this evil.

  15. Rose

    The Zim government has never been made accountable for their actions because foreigners keep giving aid and keep on investing in the country, furthermore two million Zim live in SA. It has been stated that there is 80% unemployment in Zim…is it possible that most of the 20% employed are employed in South Africa?…if so they are in for a shock because SA is now clamping down on immigrants. Regarding seizing Zim properties in SA I believe this was successfully done. Don’t know if it involved all their properties.

  16. Petal

    it of no use waffling on and waffling on about EU tightening the screws someone or a group of people e.g. Civil Society Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers need to pinch the EU’s ears- ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS- Someone or a group needs to act now


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