The ZIMBABWE Situation
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ZimRights boss granted bail

By Violet Gonda
29 January 2013

The director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Okay
Machisa, was finally granted US$500 bail on Tuesday by High Court judge
justice Felistus Chatukuta, on condition he puts up an immovable asset worth
no less than US$50,000 and surrenders his passport.

The human rights campaigner had been denied bail four times since his arrest
on 14 January on charges of forgery, conspiracy to commit fraud, and
publishing statements that are prejudicial to the State.

Irene Petras from Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human Rights said the bail
conditions seemed harsh and difficult for a rights advocate to raise, but it
is a positive development that the bail was finally allowed at last.

Petras told SW Radio Africa that Machisa is also expected to appear for a
remand hearing in the magistrates’ court on Wednesday, “so we may have an
indication then on how far the state is preparing its case and when a trial
is likely to begin.”

Machisa’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, has dismissed the charges, arguing there
was no evidence linking her client to the commission of an offence.

ZimRights deputy, Leo Chamahwinya, another member of Zimrights Dorcas
Shereni, plus two others – who are not linked to the rights group – are
still in police custody facing the same charges.

ZimRights has also been charged as an organization, in a case the police say
is to do with an illegal voter registration exercise. The organization
denies participating in any illegal activity.

ZimRights members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the organization
has been involved in voter mobilization across the country, which is not

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Civil society denies being snubbed by African Union

By Tichaona Sibanda
29 January 2013

The country’s civil society groups have denied reports that they were
snubbed by African Union leaders who met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over the
weekend for their annual summit.

The state controlled media has been reporting that the AU ignored calls for
the inclusion of Zimbabwe on the summit agenda.

But Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition programs manager, Nixon Nyikadzino, told SW
Radio Africa they never tried to force any discussion on Zimbabwe but wanted
to simply submit a statement to the Heads of State.

‘The reports you are reading from the state media are far from the truth. We
never sought to have any meetings with the leaders or force them to include
Zimbabwe on their agenda. Our message to the AU leaders, via the statement
that we submitted through the normal channels, was for them not to forget
that Zimbabwe is still a burning issue.

‘We are aware that there are more urgent matters in Mali and the DRC but
they shouldn’t forget that there are two countries, Kenya and Zimbabwe, who
have coalition governments created with the blessing of the AU and whose
terms of office are coming to end soon,’ said Nyikadzino, who was in Addis
Ababa for the summit.

He emphasized that their main focus in the Ethiopian capital was to ensure
they built momentum on the Zimbabwe crisis as the shaky coalition government
was coming to an end.

‘As a guarantor to the GPA we urged the AU to have a multi-faceted approach
to the resolution of crises which continue to rock our continent.

‘We feel that the AU, being the mother body politic in Africa, should
continuously be seized with the Madagascar, DRC, Sudan and Zimbabwe question
while at the same time extending its hand to the emerging and ravaging civil
wars in Mali,’ explained Nyikadzino.

He said part of their statement to the AU called on the leaders to remind
the inclusive government to take corrective measures in ensuring that the
forthcoming elections will be decisive, free and fair.

‘We reiterated in our statement that reforms should be implemented before
the holding of an election in Zimbabwe so that people can decide on the
draft constitution presented by COPAC in a referendum.

‘We said there should be an immediate disbandment of all violence related
militia groups such as the Chipangano (Mbare) and Al Shabab (KweKwe) and an
immediate cessation of raids and harassment of civil society organisations
and other pro- democracy movements,’ he said.

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Concern as land-grab chaos ‘swept under the carpet’

By Alex Bell
29 January 2013

There is growing concern that the chaos that highlighted ZANU PF’s land grab
campaign is actively being swept under the carpet, to the detriment of the
country’s agricultural future.

The most recent attempt to normalise the situation has been the publication
of a new book that paints the land grab as a resounding success, insisting
that farm production in Zimbabwe is returning to ‘normal’. Zimbabwe Takes
Back Its Land has been written by three scholars and is based on an
assessment of three farms in Mashonaland Central during one month last year.

The book pays little attention to the inhumanity of the land grabs, ignoring
the human rights abuses that took place and the illegality of the process.
Instead the authors spoke to the ‘fast-track’ owners of the seized farms
they visited and looked at their ‘successes’. The book details how black
Zimbabweans have successfully “taken back their land,” and farms are
returning to the positive production levels seen in the 1990s.

These details are being criticised as ‘misleading’ and an attempt to
‘sanitize’ what happened during the land seizures that began in 2000.
Figures from the remaining commercial farming community differ strongly to
what the book is suggesting. The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and MDC-T
policy advisor Eddie Cross, both agree that the agricultural sector remains
in serious trouble, with the country almost entirely reliant on imported
food or aid to survive.

Figures supplied show that the only meaningful production is in the cotton
and tobacco sectors, which are still nowhere near the levels they should be.
In terms of food, 95% of the country’s wheat is imported, along with 60% of
maize and 70% of milk and dairy products. The most recent statistics
provided by the United Nations on Zimbabwe’s food aid needs, state that more
than 1.6 million people are facing hunger. But it is thought this could be
much higher.

CFU President Charles Taffs told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the land
grab exercise was a disaster and one that was steeped in “political greed.”
He explained it had little to do with real empowerment, especially when an
estimated two million farm workers and their families lost everything as a
result of the seizures. He explained how at least 350,000 Zimbabweans used
to be employed on farms up until 2000, but now there are only about 60,000
farm jobs.

“We can’t hide behind fictitious facts like the ones in this book. The
bottom line is agriculture is in a mess,” Taffs said.

He added: “We are seeing a massive social downfall in Zimbabwe. Poverty is
at record levels, life expectancy has dropped to very young ages, the health
sector is on its knees, and the education sector is struggling. We need to
create a meaningful production base in Zimbabwe to turn this around and
encourage investment, but to get there we need property rights.”

Taffs travelled to London this week to share his views on the real situation
regarding Zimbabwe’s land, to counter what is being promoted in the book.
The books authors are also in London attending discussions on Zimbabwe’s
land situation, and one of the events will be the site of a demonstration
organised to protest the book’s contents.

The London based Zimbabwe Vigil will be protesting outside Chatham House in
the city on Thursday, where the book’s authors will gather for a discussion.
In an open letter to Chatham House, the Vigil said: “We believe the illegal
and violent seizure of commercial farms is an abuse of human rights. British
courts have found this to be the case.”

“If, as claimed in the book, agricultural production is returning to former
levels, the Vigil warmly welcomes it. But this assertion does not square
with the statement by the UN that 1.6 million Zimbabweans are facing
starvation – some 12% of the population – and for yet another year Zimbabwe
needs international food aid.”

The letter adds: “Whether or not the agricultural situation is improving,
and it could hardly fail to, the land seizures were illegal under
international law and the SADC treaty. This has fatally undermined
agriculture sector finance, especially since Zimbabwe has yet to meet its
legal obligations to pay compensation.”

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Zimbabwe has $217 left in the bank, says minister


AFTER paying public workers’ salaries last week, the balance in
cash-strapped Zimbabwe’s government public account stood at just $217,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Tuesday.

"Last week, when we paid civil servants there was $217 (left) in government
coffers," Mr Biti told journalists in the capital Harare, claiming some of
them had healthier bank balances than the state.

"The government finances are in a paralysis state at the present moment. We
are failing to meet our targets."

Zimbabwe’s economy went into free fall at the turn of the millennium, after
President Robert Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms. The move demolished
investor confidence in the country, paralysed production, prompted
international sanctions and scared off tourists.

After more than a decade — during which the country suffered from
hyperinflation of 231,000,000% and infrastructure that crumbled as quickly
as prices went up — the situation is now more stable. But public finances
remain a mess, and local business battles against unstable electricity
supplies, lack of liquidity and high labour costs.

Zimbabwe’s government has warned it does not have enough money to fund a
constitutional referendum and elections expected this year. Mr Biti said
that left no choice but to ask the donors for cash.

"We will be approaching the international community," he said.

The country’s elections agency said it requires $104m to organise the vote.

The government’s national budget for this year stands at $3.8bn and the
economy is projected to grow 5%.

The mineral-rich country is now using the US dollar and the South African


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‘Empowerment a hoax’

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 11:19

BULAWAYO - Combative Bulawayo youths heckled Indigenisation minister Saviour
Kasukuwere on accusations of making empty promises that his ministry would
finance their projects.

There was pandemonium particularly from the Zanu PF youths who demanded
precise answers from the minister they call “Big Brother”, forcing him to
enlist support from a local youth leader to calm frayed tempers.

Disconcerted youths expressed disappointment over the allocation of the
youth fund by local financial institutions tasked with handling the fund.

Speaking during a youth dialogue organised by Kasukuwere’s ministry, a
representative of Youths in Tourism Bulawayo chapter said youth empowerment
was an illusion.

“Most youths have not realised the benefits of empowerment. To them it is
just a mirage and a flickering illusion which does not exist,” the irate
youth representative said.

Innocent Dube of the Zimbabwe Christian Youth Forum expressed concern at the
growing number of business proposals being turned down by banks.

Kasukuwere tried to redeem himself by shifting blame on the banks.

Accusing the banks of not forthcoming for “reasons best known to themselves”,
Kasukuwere admitted the failure of youth empowerment programme.

“When I talk about the reformation of the banking sector, they say that I am
crazy. Institutions must change because our young people must enjoy benefits
from their own country like anyone else in the world,” Kasukuwere said.

“They do not want us to prosper. But time will tell. They will comply. We
are going to ensure that this behaviour stops,” a disoriented Kasukuwere

“I know that it has not been easy, the young people are disappointed.”

In 2010 Kasukuwere promised youths in Matabeleland $3 million for projects
which is yet to see the light of day. - Nyasha Chingono

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Zanu PF empowerment model ‘elite predatory transfer’

on January 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

By Lance Guma

HARARE – As the battle for votes in the 2013 elections intensifies, Finance
Minister Tendai Biti has described the empowerment model being pursued by
their rivals in Zanu PF as the “predatory accumulation from the rich to the

Youth and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara and Finance Minister Tendai Biti
The MDC-T Secretary General said the indigenisation policies being pushed by
Mugabe’s party were “not empowerment; but an ‘an elite predatory transfer.’
Biti said there was a need to expand the national cake so that all
Zimbabweans can benefit from it and not just a few in Zanu PF.

“The starting point is to recognize fundamentally that Zimbabwe is a very
small economy, less than 3% of the entire SADC economy with a mere budget of
US$3.8 billion and Southern Africa’s 3rd smallest economy after Lesotho and
Swaziland, nominal GDP about US$11 billion so the cake is very small.

“The challenge is how do we expand the cake. The point of departure between
MDC and Zanu PF is that Zanu PF starts from the starting point that let’s
distribute this tiny economy which is a rat, lets distribute this tiny rat
to over 14 million people,” he said explaining the MDC counter policy called

“The MDC’s position is that fundamentally, let’s expand this economy. Let’s
have supply side reform that expands the cake so that it becomes an
elephant. And in that way, we can have more economic players than when you
have a tiny population participating,” he said.

Biti argued that the Indigenisation Programme was not nationalisation as
“nobody is getting shares for free. You have to buy them.”

He said in a situation “where the per capita income of the average
Zimbabwean is US$370.00, and in a situation where 85% of the people are
living below the poverty datum line it means only a very few people, a tiny
elite can afford to buy shares in Barclays bank, Zimplats,” he added.

Zanu PF MP and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere hit back this week
by suggesting that MDC-T policies were borrowed from Abel Muzorewa, the
short-lived Prime Minister of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

“It is clearly accepted by the whole world that Zanu PF is going to win the
elections because it has empowered Zimbabweans. The MDC-T is regurgitating
what Muzorewa used to say that ‘leave the whites alone, we just want jobs’
because that is the same mantra that the MDC-T is repeating.

“They are talking about employment creation only, but we in Zanu PF are
talking about decent jobs and empowerment of the people. Who says if I am a
farm owner I am not employed? We want to support our own young people to
create jobs,” Kasukuwere said. Nehanda Radio

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Community share schemes illegal: Biti

28/01/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has claimed that community share ownership
schemes foreign companies are being compelled to implement may be illegal
adding some of the firms were using them to “bribe” their way out of

The community share schemes form a key part of the indigenisation programme
being pushed by Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere but bitterly opposed
by Zanu PF’s coalition partners.

Most major mining companies, among them Zimplats, Unki and Mimosa, have
pledged to donate up to US$20 million to the schemes as part of plans to
comply with the country’s indigenisation laws which force them to transfer
majority control of their Zimbabwe operations to locals.

But Biti, a senior official in the MDC-T, which opposes the programme
arguing it only benefits already wealthy elites, said the schemes rest on
dodgy legal grounds.

“On what legal basis are companies being made to part with US$10 million
dollars or US$15 million?” Biti said, according to a statement released
Monday by his MDC-T party.

“There is nowhere in the Indigenisation act that compels companies to donate
money to a community share scheme or to any farm or to anything so what you
are actually seeing is coercion; companies being forced to part up with
US$10 or US$15 million.”

Kasukuwere says the schemes are aimed at forcing companies to invest in the
development of communities where they operate but Biti said the arrangements
were an after-thought aimed at sanitising a “predatory and elitist”

“In the indigenisation and empowerment act, you will not find the word
community share trust, you will not. Then you come to the regulations,
statutory instrument number 30 of March 2010 that was passed or enacted by
Saviour Kasukuwere, again you will not find the name community share trust,”
said Biti.

“So the issue of community share schemes is actually an afterthought which
is not backed by the empowering act, the indigenisation and empowerment act.
Such that community share schemes don’t actually have legal existence
vis-a-vis the Indigenisation and empowerment act.”

Zanu PF is basing its campaign for crucial elections expected this year on
the “success” of the programme with major mining companies complying with
law despite initial fears many would quit the country rather than give away
majority shareholding in their local operations on the cheap.

But critics say the “success” claimed by Zanu PF is largely driven by fear.
"Most of these companies have massive investments in Zimbabwe [and] they
would rather protect them than be confrontational," Charles Mangongera, a
political analyst said recently.

"They saw how the white farmers were violently suppressed and they wouldn't
risk having their investments decimated by challenging Zanu PF."

Biti also claimed that most foreign firms were using the community share
schemes to “bribe” their way out of complying with the requirement.

He said: “To the extent that there is no company in Zimbabwe that I know of
which has actually parted with 51% of its shareholding whether its Zimplats
or not, you are having the anomalous situation where companies are bribing
themselves out of compliance with the act by paying a mere US$ 10 million,
US$5 million, whatever is the amount of the community share scheme.

“Another problem with this empowerment programme is certainly in the way it
is being implemented; it is very opaque. Nobody knows the circumstances that
those companies are parting with those monies.”

The MDC-T has warned it would review the programme if it comes into power
after the next elections adding the approach taken by Zanu PF does not
address the country’s job crisis and would keep investors out of the

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Zimbabwe heads for elections with a sense of impending doom

The forthcoming elections are likely to be mired in violence as Mugabe and
Zanu-PF have blocked any democratic reforms

Dewa Mavhinga, Tuesday 29 January 2013 09.30 GMT

For millions of Zimbabweans, the new year is less a symbol of hope than of
dread. Elections are supposed to take place in 2013, and judging from past
experience, they augur nothing more than violence, torture and death,
accompanied by economic meltdown and political chaos.

As Human Rights Watch notes in its new report, Race Against Time: The need
for legal and institutional reforms ahead of Zimbabwe's elections, the
former ruling party, the Zanu-PF, has so far blocked important reforms that
could pave the way for peaceful, free and fair elections. The UK government
and the EU should, when they meet next month to review targeted sanctions
against the president, Robert Mugabe, and his inner circle, press for proper
reforms ahead of internationally monitored elections before talking about a
shift in policy toward Zimbabwe.

During a visit to Zimbabwe in November, I got a vivid sense of impending
doom. People told me of their feelings of deja vu: another cycle of
electoral violence was approaching, but little had changed on the ground.
Instead of focusing on pulling themselves out of poverty and on rebuilding
lives shattered by the 2008 wave of political repression, they were bracing
themselves for further chaos.

This is not paranoia. The 2008 general elections were riddled with extreme
violence by the security forces and supporters of Zanu-PF. Security forces
and supporters killed over 200 people and beat, tortured and displaced
thousands more. I spoke to scores of battered victims who told of how the
police failed to protect them or ensure justice. It was a period of terror,
when the state machinery was unleashed on ordinary Zimbabweans and little
has changed since then, despite the formation of a unity government between
Zanu-PF, led by Mugabe, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by
Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe's declaration late last year that Zimbabwe would hold elections this
year with or without a new constitution dashed hopes of a peaceful election
and the promise that a new constitution would level the political playing
field. Some Zimbabweans told me that to avoid being targeted by Mugabe's
thugs and henchmen, as in 2008, they falsely professed allegiance to Zanu-PF
by attending rallies and party activities and making donations to the party.
Others moved around with Zanu-PF membership cards or other party regalia
that included, for motorists, displaying scarves with Mugabe's face or
Zanu-PF's logo.

Zanu-PF supporters have already developed a jingle frequently played on
state television and radio that loosely translates to: "In the [president's]
office, Bob [Mugabe] still reigns supreme." Memories of the beatings,
killings, rapes and other abuses that took place in 2008 remain fresh in the
minds of thousands of victims and their relatives across the country. They
know that those who carried out the violence have not been brought to book,
and that there is nothing to stop them from committing similar acts this

Oppressive laws that were in force in 2008, such as the Public Order and
Security Act, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
often abused by Zanu-PF-aligned sections of the police to punish opponents,
remain on the statute books. Zimbabwe's highly partisan police force
continues to harass and arbitrarily arrest civil society activists and
members of the MDC under these laws. Those who dare to criticise Mugabe or
peacefully protest against economic and political conditions in the streets
can be arrested, beaten or tortured.

The leadership of the police, army and the state broadcaster continue to
brazenly support Zanu-PF, while sidelining the MDC. And the MDC, lacking
control of the state bureaucracy, has been powerless to enact democratic
reforms. The economy has somewhat improved under the power-sharing
government, although these gains are still beyond the reach of many
Zimbabweans living below the poverty line. The country's health and
education systems, decimated before 2009, are up and running. However, even
these improvements can unravel if Zimbabwe rushes headlong toward
ill-prepared elections.

For Zimbabwe's neighbours and international donors such as the UK
government, the establishment of the unity government brought with it a
veneer of normality. Some felt it was time to restore all ties with
Zimbabwe, encouraged by positive reports from the MDC side of government
that all was well in this marriage of inconvenience. However, conditions on
the ground are a sign that neighbours and donors need to exercise caution
before they re-engage fully with the government.

It is also time for South Africa's president Jacob Zuma, who has been
facilitating political negotiations in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), to insist that Zimbabwe's political
leaders put the interests of Zimbabweans first – before all else. The UK and
others should be working with Zuma toward this goal. There is little point
in holding elections that, in essence, will be without choice, and that can
only result in another round of bloodshed and destruction.

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Two-term limit for future Zim presidents

25 JAN 2013 07:56 - RAY NDLOVU

Zimbabwe has edged closer to staging elections this year after major parties
struck a deal on the outstanding issues stalling the draft constitution.

The shock announcement of the agreement has, however, sparked intense public
speculation and suspicion of the events that led to the deal.

Before the announcement, Welshman Ncube of the smaller MDC grouping was
excluded from a meeting between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, and an
infuriated MDC-T delegation walked out of a meeting with the Cabinet
committee, claiming that Zanu-PF was trying to flex its muscles.

Political observers said the haggling showed that differences were far from
being smoothed out. Different accounts also persist on the terms of the new
agreement, with Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions all claiming victory.

Officials said Mugabe was forced to agree to compromises after discussions
degenerated into talk over the upcoming election. "It was highlighted to him
that the country would miss its election timeline if the disagreements
continued and this would extend the lifespan of the unity government," said
an official.

"After that, Mugabe insisted that a solution must be found and a deal must
be reached without fail."

A parliamentary drafting committee must now incorporate the agreements into
a consolidated draft.

Among the issues agreed on are:

Running mates
Party leaders will be able to pick candidates to stand with them in
elections as their deputies. Zanu-PF had initially resisted the proposal,
fearing it would provoke infighting and divisions in the party. However, the
agreement on running mates will only be adopted after 10 years.

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku criticised the clause for being
"stupid" and said Zimbabweans must reject the proposed draft in the

Executive powers
A two-term limit for the president has been agreed to. The clause is seen as
the MDC's attempt to stop Mugabe securing a lifelong presidency. The
president, however, retains power, exercising his executive powers through
the Cabinet and appointing the heads of state institutions. The president
can also dissolve Parliament.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the compromises provide a safe
landing for Mugabe and his allies. "The compromises were meant to create a
zone of comfort for Mugabe. It is a clear statement that Zanu-PF officials
are negotiating terms to ensure their safety," Rusero said.

Devolution and provinces
Devolution of power has been "deferred" and will only be up for discussion
after 10 years. In a seeming appeasement of those opposing devolution -
which was favoured by most provinces in the consultative phase of the
constitution - the principals agreed that the 10 provincial governors will
be replaced by provincial chairs. The chairperson will come from the party
with the most seats in a particular province.

Attorney general
A new national prosecuting authority will be introduced. The attorney
general will now concentrate on advising the Cabinet. Trevor Maisiri, an
analyst from the International Crisis Group, said: "I think it creates a
reasonable framework for the country's desires for democracy. The only
challenge I foresee is the retention of executive presidential powers with
very limited accountability to the other arms of the state."

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MDC-T Crafts Ruling Policy Document

Jonga Kandemiiri

The Movement for Democtratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai on Monday wrapped up its two-day policy conference in Nyanga in
Manicaland Province, where party leaders examined policies they want to
implement should they come to power after elections later this year.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the conference looked at policies
affecting all sectors, including economic, social, education and health.

He said the policy briefs are designed by policy secretaries as mandated by
the party’s constitution.

Mr. Mwonzora said in developing its policy document, the MDC-T became
confident it will win this election.

The party's bitter rival, Zanu-PF, has already indicated that it would
conduct a countrywide election campaign this year based on the
indigenization agenda to disloge the MDC-T from its traditional strongholds.

President Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since the
southern African nation attained independence in 1980.

Mr, Mugabe is among the oldest long-serving African presidents on the

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MDC calls for more reforms

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

as the party prepares to deliver real change

The MDC is ready for the next elections that will deliver real change to the
people of Zimbabwe, MDC Secretary General, Hon. Tendai Biti has said. He
described this year’s elections as watershed comparing them with those held
in 1980 when Zimbabwe gained its independence.

However, he said the MDC will continue calling for major reforms before
elections are held in order to ensure that there is no repeat of the kind of
violence that took place in the country in 2008 when Zanu PF was defeated at
the polls by the MDC.

The MDC’s position as outlined in the Conditions for a Sustainable Election
in Zimbabwe (CoSEZ) launched by the party last year is that there should be
security of the vote, security of the voter, a guarantee for the security of
the people’s will, implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in full
and all other agreed positions including the implementation of regional and
international standards on democratic elections.

“We are very clear on these four issues. We can have elections tomorrow but
if there are no reforms it will be one step forward and 20 steps backwards
and we will have a similar situation like we had in 2008,” said Hon. Biti.

He said the new Constitution expected to sail through when the referendum is
held, will speak on a number of issues that can affect the holding of free,
fair and violence free elections in Zimbabwe.

“In the past it was difficult to register to vote as people were asked to
get letters from the headmen or landlords but the new Act has liberalised
that. The new Constitution further calls for the announcement of the
election results within 48 hrs and the results will be posted outside the
polling stations while all candidates will get soft copies of the results,”
said Hon. Biti.

He said the MDC is insisting on an electronic registration system.

Turning to the staffing at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Hon.
Biti said the issue of opaque staffing at the electoral commission remained
one of the outstanding issues.

“We are not victimising the ZEC staff but the new ZEC board should be
allowed to recruit staff and grade them and retain employees they see as
gems for the organisation,” he said. The Secretary General said as a labour
backed party, the MDC is not insisting that ZEC workers be dismissed but
that there be transparency in everything taking place at ZEC.

He said the MDC was concerned by the increase of political intimidation,
violence and arrests taking place across the country. “That is why we are
saying that JOMIC (Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee) must be
empowered at province, district and ward levels. This will help in
mitigating violence,” said Hon. Biti.

He said Zimbabwe needed AU, SADC and international observers during the
referendum and the elections and that the coming elections should be held
under the 2004 SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections
and that the MDC expected non-governmental organisations and the media to do
their work without being harassed.

“The transfer of power in the next elections will be respected. We are tired
of always being on the agenda of SADC and as the MDC we are JUICED UP for
the elections.

Meanwhile, Hon. Biti said as the Finance Minister he had received
instructions from the principals, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Robert Mugabe to source funds from the international community for the
coming elections as the government could not fund the process.

Hon. Biti said elections will most probably be held in July before the
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Conference in August,
though the dates will be announced by the principals.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Change!!!

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Zimbabwe draft constitution curbs presidential powers

By Nelson Banya
HARARE | Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:16pm GMT

(Reuters) - A draft constitution in Zimbabwe that paves the way for an
election this year curbs presidential powers and strengthens cabinet and
parliament, which have been weakened under veteran President Robert Mugabe's

According to a final copy of the draft charter obtained by Reuters on
Tuesday, the president will be required to exercise power in consultation
with the cabinet, with decrees requiring its majority backing.

The current constitution allows the president to issue decrees alone that
can have the force of law for up to six months.

The new document also limits the president to two, five-year terms, starting
from the next election. However this will not be applied retrospectively, so
Mugabe - who has been in power for 32 years - could technically rule for
another two terms.

Last week, the country's two most powerful parties - Mugabe's ZANU-PF and
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of rival Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai - said they supported the draft, virtually ensuring its passage
through parliament as early as next week.

If passed by parliament, it will be put up for a national referendum between
March and April, a crucial step before elections required for this year
under the power-sharing deal struck between Mugabe and Tsvangirai after
disputed 2008 polls.

Presidential powers to declare public emergencies and dissolve parliament
have been diluted in the draft by requiring two-thirds of lawmakers to back
any such measure in a vote.

Parliament can also be dissolved only for "unreasonably" failing to approve
the national budget.

Although the current constitution requires parliamentary approval in the
declaration of emergencies, it requires only a simple majority. The
president can currently dissolve parliament without parliamentary approval.

Some civil rights have also been expanded in the new document, with clauses
on freedom of the press, access to information, political choice and
activity as well as prisoners' rights.


The draft retains the ban on same-sex marriage in the conservative southern
African state. It also keeps the death penalty, but only for "murder
committed in aggravating circumstances" and makes exceptions for women and
people aged below 21 years or those above 70 years old.

The current constitution allows execution of anyone above 18 for murder.

Mugabe, 88, has ruled the country with mostly a free hand since its
independence in 1980 from Britain and has been accused of hanging on to
power through vote-rigging. He says he will contest the next election
despite questions over his advanced age and concerns over his health.

The president forced the deferment by at least 10 years of a clause in the
new charter requiring candidates to nominate running mates who would
automatically succeed them should they be unable to continue in office.

Until that clause comes into effect, the party holding the presidency can
name a successor at the time that a incumbent is unable to continue.

Some in ZANU-PF want Mugabe to hand over the reins to a younger leader, but
he has steadfastly refused to discuss succession, an issue that has stoked
factional disputes within the party.

The charter had looked in doubt last year when ZANU-PF tried to oppose curbs
on presidential powers and a strengthening of parliament.

Funding problems and constant bickering between the coalition parties have
delayed the adoption of a new constitution, initially scheduled to be
completed in 2010.

Mugabe, who had previously threatened to call a vote before a new
constitution had been agreed, has been held back by regional leaders eager
to avoid a repeat of the violent and disputed 2008 poll that was condemned
by much of the world.

The veteran ruler and his ZANU-PF face a stiff challenge from the MDC, which
says it will breathe fresh life into an economy that shrank by an estimated
40 percent from 2000 to 2010 due largely to Mugabe's seizure of white-owned
commercial farms and what critics say has been economic mismanagement.

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Tsvangirai would end Commonwealth boycott

29/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he will push for Zimbabwe to rejoin
the Commonwealth if he wins presidential elections this year.

President Robert Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the international club of 54
former British colonies in 2003 to protest what he said was Britain’s
meddlesome diplomacy.

"We have the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African
Union (AU) as our mentors, not the Commonwealth,” Mugabe said at the time,
angry at a decision by a committee of the Commonwealth to extend the country’s
suspension over alleged human rights abuses and election fraud.

But Tsvangirai, speaking in Davos, Switzerland, last week, said there were
benefits in returning to the Commonwealth.
“We don’t believe any country can survive in isolation,” the MDC-T leader
said. “We have to work together with other countries and we have a number of
organisations in which we are involved, including the United Nations, the
African Union and SADC, all of which have played a critical role in
resolving our challenges in recent years.

“For a long time, we were a happy member of the Commonwealth family. We can
only hope the Commonwealth still has room for us.”
In a dramatic few hours in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in December 2003,
Commonwealth leaders had agreed a process to monitor “Zimbabwe's progress on
human rights and democratic reform” before allowing its return to the body.

But Mugabe rejected their stance and told the leaders of Jamaica, Nigeria
and South Africa when they phoned him one after another that Zimbabwe was
leaving the group.

"Anything that you agree to on Zimbabwe which is short of this position
[lifting suspension unconditionally], no matter how sweetly worded, means
Zimbabwe is still a subject of the Commonwealth. This is unacceptable. This
is it – it’s quits and quits it will be," Mugabe was reported to have told
the three leaders.

His spokesman George Charamba said the decision to suspend Zimbabwe had been
instigated by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, angry at the land reform
programme, adding: “This is pure racism we fought against to regain our
political independence and we cannot be expected to accept blatant racism to
prevent us from regaining our economic independence.”

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MDC feud report false

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The MDC totally dismisses as false recent reports in the media, alleging a
feud between two of our senior members of party.

The news paper article, which falsely claimed a fight between Hon. Tendai
Biti, the secretary general and Hon. Nelson Chamisa, the organising
secretary was clearly false and misguided. As such it was clearly written
with the evil intentions of causing mayhem, discontent, and despondency
within the MDC family as we prepare for the watershed elections earmarked
for this year.

What is more disturbing is the unsubstantiated claims bordering on hearsay
and mischievous figment of imagination reminiscent of gutter journalism.

We categorically want to set the record straight that the MDC is a united
party and there are no such factional divisions between and among the MDC
leadership as purported in the paper. This reportage is totally repugnant.

Therefore the MDC dismisses the report as inappropriate and inconsequential
and would want to assure the people of Zimbabwe that the party is much
stronger, focused and ready to complete the change come elections this year.
Only yesterday the MDC concluded its annual policy conference which meant to
sharpen its policies ahead of the crucial elections that we are destined to

The Last Mile: Towards Real Change!!!

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Zimbabwe to double Marange diamond output - paper

HARARE | Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:52am EST

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe expects diamond production from its Marange
fields to double to 16.9 million carats this year as companies ramp-up
production in a region where human rights groups have flagged concerns over
rights abuses, state media reported on Tuesday.

The government through its mining firm Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation (ZMDC) operates five joint venture mines in Marange, which
produced 8 million carats in 2012 and generated $685 million in exports, the
state-owned Herald newspaper reported.

Diamond production is expected to reach 16.9 million carats this year, the
paper said based on projections from ZMDC.

ZMDC officials could not be reached for comment.

Diamond revenues have been a source of friction within the coalition
government formed by President Robert Mugabe and long-time opponent, Morgan
Tsvangirai, now prime minister.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, from Tsvangirai's party, has accused the
Marange mines of not remitting diamond proceeds to the Treasury.

Diamond watchdog Partnership Africa Canada said last November at least $2
billion of diamonds from Marange fields were stolen by people linked to
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, but ZMDC said the gems were sold transparently.

The Kimberley Process, a blood diamonds monitoring organisation, has
certified Marange gems but human rights groups have raised concerns about
potential abuses at mines and Mugabe's opponents fear proceeds from diamond
sales will be used to fund a war chest for elections expected in 2013.

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Zimbabwe’s political elite implicated in mining corruption

By Alex Bell
29 January 2013

A preliminary report on corruption in Zimbabwe’s mining sector has
implicated senior government officials in fraud, and prompted calls for
proper legislation to be introduced.

The report by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z) has said that the
diamond sector is particularly marred by corruption. It says the “absence of
a Diamond Act has promoted a free-for-all scenario in
diamond trade where the power elites have literally acted in a ‘liassez
fashion to enrich themselves from diamond mining.”

The report states that politicians, military figures, police and others are
all involved and implicated in the current corrupt scenario at the Chiadzwa
diamond fields. A lack of transparency and accountability has also allowed
political influence to decide what diamond mining contracts are awarded and,
according to the report, “all the companies that have been given mining
rights to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe are those with close links to senior
politicians in government and the military.”

The situation is not limited to the diamond sector and the report has found
that senior politicians have formed syndicates with police officers and
illegal gold panners to engage in organised corruption at Sherwood Block in

“So entrenched is the corruption that whenever there are impending raids,
the gold panners seem to be well-informed of the raids, their timing and how
they will be carried out,” says the report.

It adds: “This clearly shows that the politicians in cohort with the police
as well as the illegal miners are working to deprive the country of gold and
attendant revenues which should contribute to the national fiscus.”

The TI-Z study recommends the broadening of players involved in the granting
of mining rights and mining deals, to ensure transparency and

“Based on evidence prevailing on the ground, the study found out that all
the companies that have been given mining rights to mine diamonds in
Zimbabwe are those with close links to senior politicians in government and
the military,” the report said about the diamond sector in particular.

The study also recommended that all government officials, including
politicians and bureaucrats, should declare their wealth upon taking office.

“Such a measure can be buttressed by a name and shame policy where those
public officials who acquire wealth through the abuse of office are named
and shamed in public without fear or favour.”

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ZRP suspects "explosives" in Chitungwiza blast


by Edgar Gweshe

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has said that preliminary investigations on the
explosion that killed five people at a traditional healer's house in
Chitungwiza last week indicate the incident could be due to "explosives" and
that a police officer was among the deceased.

Addressing journalists at the Police General Headquarters in Harare, ZRP
national spokesperson, Charity Charamba refuted previous claims that a
soldier was part of the five people that died in the incident.

"Let me dispel rumours that one of the deceased people was a soldier. No
soldier was killed in that incident but it was only one police officer,"
said Charamba

"Preliminary investigations are indicating that the cause of the incident
was due to explosives.

"Therefore, we all need to very cautious. We are still carrying out
investigations and we will be updating you. The forensic and bomb disposal
teams are still carrying out further analysis of the situation," she added.

Charamba bemoaned that people were tempering with explosives in a bid to
extract mercury, which is believed to be fetching a lot of money on the
black market.

She said that so far, police have recorded three cases, including the
Chitungwiza incident, of people dealing in explosives.

"In Waterfalls last week, four members of the same family tried to open a
grenade and it exploded resulting in one of them losing four fingers. Three
suspects have since been arrested in connection with the case and
investigations are in progress," said Charamba.

"In another incident in Manicaland three weeks ago, two people were arrested
in Manicaland selling motor bombs to members of the public alleging that
they contain mercury.

"We as police are saying explosives are designed to explode and people
should not believe they will make millions out of them. The possession of
explosives is illegal and highly dangerous," she added.

Charamba urged members of the public to report cases of people possessing
explosives to the police.

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AIDS Activists: Zimbabwe AIDS Figures Skewed

Tatenda Gumbo

WASHINGTON — HIV-AIDS activists are disputing the latest figures from the
National AIDS Council (NAC) showing significant decreases in HIV-related
deaths and new infections.

As VOA reported Sunday, the NAC said HIV-related deaths in Zimbabwe are down
from 3,000 to 1,000 per week and new infection rates have also declined from
an annual average of 66,000 to 44,000 which they credit to anti-retroviral
treatment programs.

But activists say the numbers are skewed as hundreds of Zimbabweans
suffering with the disease at home, are unable to access the necessary
assistance and treatment.

NAC spokeswoman Madeline Dube said the numbers were achieved with programs
targetting treatment and counseling.

Most of the deaths being recorded, according to Dube, are those of people
defaulting on treatment.

Critics, however, charge that NAC has failed to include AIDS groups who work
directly with communities.

AIDS activist, Emmanuel Gasa, of the AIDS and Arts Foundation told VOA that
many Zimbabweans suffer at home and do not seek treatment in hospital
because they cannot afford it.

Most people are sick in places like Bikita, Goromonzi and others and are
failing to access even the public assistance provided by government, said

NAC is pushing for more to be done to ensure the country gets to zero new
infections, a move Gasa said should involve smaller organizations working at
grassroots level.

He challenged the government and donor partners to allow groups to join in
while rounding statistics to pinpoint locals who are not commonly counted.

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Flash flooding strikes Zimbabwe’s dry areas

HARARE, 29 January 2013 (IRIN) - Flash flooding across Zimbabwe’s Masvingo
and Matabeleland provinces, normally dry areas, has caused substantial
damage to infrastructure. While more than 4,000 people across the country
are in need of humanitarian assistance following heavy rains.

“Our area is normally dry, and we were caught unawares by the floods, which
destroyed almost all the bridges and badly damaged the roads. As a result,
communication is difficult,” Alois Baloyi, member of parliament (MP)
representing the Chiredzi North rural constituency in Masvingo, told IRIN.

“I have… been informed that more than 10 adults and at least four children
have drowned. The number of victims could be bigger, though, as a proper
assessment is yet to be done,” he said.

Moses Mare, an MP from a nearby constituency in Chiredzi, said recent flash
floods saw water rise above ground floor window level, and affected more
than 200 families in the sugar-producing town of Triangle.

“The 240 families lost their food stocks, property and blankets. Most of
them lost their means of communication as their cell phones were swept away
and [they] could not immediately communicate the disaster,” he said.

Simon Machaya, teacher based in the Masvingo’s Mwenezi District, told IRIN
that 30 satellite schools in rural communities were destroyed by storms.

“Hundreds of school children are currently not attending school because
their classrooms were blown away. These satellite schools were made up of
fragile material such as home-made bricks and thatched roofs. The little
stationery and books they had were lost and there is urgent need for
assistance,” Machaya said.

Flooding across the region

A 29 January situation report of the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, “Heavy rainfall across the country during
mid-January 2013 affected an estimated 8,490 people, of which 4,615 people
require humanitarian assistance in the form of emergency shelter and
non-food items.”

Across the region, floods have occurred in Botswana and Malawi - where
30,785 people were affected - and Mozambique. In Mozambique, about 250,000
people have been affected, with 146,000 living in temporary shelters, the
OCHA situation report said.

Tropical Cyclone Felleng is expected to shave past Madagascar in the next
few days, and could bring “significant rainfall” despite not making
landfall. There were also reports of increasing river levels in the capital,
Antananarivo, which could “reach alert levels with additional rainfall,” the
OCHA flood update said.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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South African Helicopter Donations Stalled, But Zimbabwe Can Violate Human Rights Without Them

BY Jacey Fortin | January 29 2013 9:07 AM

A human rights group in South Africa has stopped a delivery of retired
military helicopters and spare parts to Zimbabwe defense forces, decrying
the donation as an untimely boon for Zimbabwe’s repressive administration.

It is a sure indication that national elections in Zimbabwe – which are
expected to take place sometime this year – are raising serious concerns
that the ruling party may resort to violence as a way to quash dissent, just
as it has done in the past.

AfriForum, a nonprofit civil rights organization based on the outskirts of
the South African capital city of Pretoria, succeeded in its bid to prevent
the delivery of retired Alouette III helicopters and spare parts to
Zimbabwe. The craft has been used by both South African and Zimbabwean
forces for decades.

The planned delivery was first reported on Friday by the Mail & Guardian, a
South African publication. AfriForum responded the very same day, seeking
and winning an interim court order to stall the delivery, which was granted
by the North Gauteng High Court pending a review of AfriForum’s main

In a press release explaining its objection to the helicopter shipment,
AfriForum argues that the craft could strengthen the same Zimbabwean forces
that perpetrated violence against civilians during a national election five
years ago.

“All indications are that the Zimbabwean army is enhancing its visibility,
mobility and presence across Zimbabwe in anticipation of the national
elections that are scheduled to take place later this year,” it said.

Blessing-Miles Tendi, lecturer in African politics at Oxford University's
Department of International Development, thinks that AfriForum’s concerns
are a bit overblown.

“There is a very strong relationship growing between the Zimbabwean and the
South African forces. They’ve been doing military exercises together for a
very long time,” he said, adding that security forces in Zimbabwe know
better than to use such high-profile equipment against civilians.

“When Zimbabwean forces do carry out the violence, it’s usually small
militias,” says Tendi. “The kinds of weapons that are used include stones
and sticks – soft violence, the kind of stuff that won’t risk external
intervention. It’s ugly, it’s horrible, but it’s below the threshold where
foreign forces or the United Nations would intervene.”

Zimbabwe remains under an EU arms embargo.

Zimbabwe has been run by President Robert Mugabe for nearly 33 years. He
represents the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, or

Zimbabwe’s 2008 election was widely condemned as a sham, since Morgan
Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, won more votes
than Mugabe in the first round but withdrew before the second was completed,
citing a pattern of violence against MDC supporters. Mugabe cruised to a

That year was a bloody one for Zimbabwe, and ZANU-PF security forces bear
most of the blame. MDC officials estimate that 253 people were killed and
hundreds more were injured in politically motivated attacks against
Tsvangirai supporters. Amid continuing violence after the election, a deal
was brokered whereby Tsvangirai would serve as prime minister during Mugabe’s
presidency, a situation that persists today.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled their home country since 2008, seeking
stability in South Africa. But communities there have been less than
welcoming, in part because South Africa suffers widespread poverty and high
unemployment despite having the continent’s largest economy.

This migration is not the only issue giving South Africa a stake in Zimbabwe’s
stability – the two nations are old partners, and South African leaders have
played a large role as a mediator in the political struggles of its northern
neighbor. It was South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki who presided
over the 2008 negotiations that saw Tsvangirai become prime minister (though
that arrangement skewed in favor of Mugabe).

More recently, ANC leaders encouraged Zimbabwe officials to work out a new
draft constitution, a pre-condition to upcoming national elections. The
document was agreed upon by MDC and ZANU-PF last week and will now be
subject to a referendum. If passed, it would make it more difficult for
ZANU-PF to monopolize power, though Mugabe will be allowed to remain in
office for another 10 years.

Mugabe and current South African president Jacob Zuma are personally linked
by a history of fighting oppression; both spent about a decade in prison for
their participation in political organizations supporting black rights
during a time of white rule. Still today, both rely on racially charged
rhetoric in order to rally their mostly black constituency.

But Zuma’s relationship with Mugabe is strained; the South African president
is seen as less sympathetic to ZANU-PF leadership than was his predecessor,
Mbeki. In other words, Mugabe cannot rely on Zuma’s support during Zimbabwe’s
upcoming election.

That casts doubt on the significance of the planned helicopter shipment,
especially considering the two countries’ tradition of military cooperation.

But the international community still has plenty of reason to pay close
attention to Zimbabwe’s national elections, expected to take place by
autumn. The aging Mugabe will once again go head-to-head with Tsvangirai,
and the security forces that proved their corruptibility in 2008,
instigating deadly violence and stripping citizens of their right to a fair
democracy, will be under more serious scrutiny this time around.

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Freed activist Paul Rukanda speaks out
on January 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

MDC-T Organising Secretary for Glen View South Paul Rukanda spent nearly 12 months at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and Harare Remand Prison over a much politicised case involving the murder of a policeman.

Freed activist Paul Rukanda (right) seen here sharing a lighter moment with singer Allan Chimbetu (left).

Freed activist Paul Rukanda (right) seen here sharing a lighter moment with singer Allan Chimbetu (left).

Last month Rukanda and his colleagues were finally granted bail after what many considered to be deliberate delays by a compromised judiciary. Nehanda Radio Managing Editor Lance Guma spoke to Rukanda this week.

Lance Guma: Describe life at both Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and Harare Remand Prison. How was it like for nearly 12 months?

Paul Rukanda: It was a difficult life considering that we were staying in a crowded place full of contagious diseases. My transfer to Chikurubi Prison was after I had clashed several times with security guards at Harare Remand Prison.

But we managed to stand our ground and also managed to sell the party (MDC-T) to both the prison guards and fellow inmates.

Guma: We received reports that some of the activists were assaulted by prison guards and denied medical attention?

Rukanda: It’s true the Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) is incapacitated to such an extent they cannot pay US$10 for some to be attended at Parirenyatwa Hospital. Sometimes they said they didn’t have fuel to ferry those who had fallen ill at Remand Prison for treatment.

We told them that we did not deserve to be assaulted because we had no case to answer; we were just being incarcerated for nothing, so we needed a professional Zimbabwe Prison Service not a ZANU PF entity.

Guma: You spent nearly 12 months in remand prison for a crime you say you did not commit. How did you feel the day you were released?

Rukanda: It was great to be re-united with my family and all my friends and MDC fraternity.

Guma: What happened on the day you were released?

Rukanda: People were in a jovial mood. I could not hold myself with emotions seeing my wife and my kids after a long time in prison for a case that I never committed.

I never believed that I was out of prison considering that ZANU PF is a tyrannical regime which kills people and incarcerates many innocent people who have not committed any crime.

Guma: Many times bail hearings were postponed and excuses given about the judge being sick or the prosecutor being unavailable etc. What did you make of all this?

Rukanda: We knew it was the Zanu PF way of doing things because they feel that we had no case to answer. They felt that they should keep us locked up for a long time in remand prison but to our credit we were all determined to the bitter end and actually they strengthened our spirits.

We will never look back until the hour of final victory.

Guma: What happened the day Inspector Petros Mutedza was murdered? Where you anywhere near the crime scene?

MDC-T Organising Secretary for Glen View South Paul Rukanda spent nearly 12 months at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and Harare Remand Prison over a much politicised case involving the murder of a policeman.

MDC-T Organising Secretary for Glen View South Paul Rukanda spent nearly 12 months at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and Harare Remand Prison over a much politicised case involving the murder of a policeman.

Rukanda: I was not even near the crime scene. I don’t even know what happened to him on that particular day. I was surprised to hear the police were looking for me. It was in August 2011 when they came to my home looking for me.

I was in the rural area, Buhera. That’s when I heard police were looking for me, two months after Mutedza’s death. I was surprised to hear that the police were looking for me in connection with this case.

Guma: Some reports suggested Inspector Mutedza was a notorious policeman in the area and fell out with some vendors at a local bar?

Rukanda: I have no explanation for that one. In my life I have never known or met Mutedza.

Guma: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife Elizabeth paid several visits to your group. Can you describe the visits, what happened and what was the reaction of you and your colleagues?

Rukanda: It was good to be visited by the PM’s wife. She is such as generous woman. The ZPS tried to block her from visiting us but she refused and kept on with her long journey to visit us.

She never gave up even when the officer-in-charge at Harare Remand tried to humiliate her and other ministers who had accompanied her, she persevered.

Guma: What do you think is really behind this case?

Rukanda: They just wanted to weaken the MDC as a political party. I think they wanted to destroy our structures so that in the next general elections we will be weakened to such an extent that Zanu PF will be the beneficiary.

To my surprise the police, judiciary together with other silent forces whom we never thought could join them are definitely behind the destroying of MDC activities in Harare. As activists we will soldier on.

Guma: How is the transition from all that time in remand to getting back home? Are you facing any problems?

Rukanda: Before my arrest, I was working for a private company and as of now, I am no longer employed. I lost my job. So I would appreciate if there are people who can help me to reconstruct my life by finding employment or projects.

I am knowledgeable in paint manufacturing and if I get funding, I can start my own project. I appeal to those who might be interested in helping me to contact me through my number +263772487549.

That work was my only source of income and living with my wife and two kids. I also appeal to party sympathisers to assist all of us because times are very hard. I have a project proposal for paint manufacturing that I think can be funded and will go a long way to re-build my life.

Guma: So what happens from here? When are you back in court?

Rukanda: We are waiting for the State to set the trial date. In the meanwhile times are hard because like I said, I lost my job and I really want to get assistance to bring back my life and to have a stable future for my wife and two young kids.

Guma: Will you be filing a lawsuit against what you feel was an unjust incarceration?

Rukanda: Yes of course, I will sue the state for they have caused the suffering of my family and me. We will definitely sue the state after justice has been done.

To my surprise here in Zimbabwe, the police arrest to investigate and not investigate to arrest, of which they are causing a lot of suffering to a lot of innocent people.

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New draft creates royal political class in Zimbabwe

on January 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Opinion by Rashweat Mukundu

Zimbabwe, we are told, now has a final draft constitution that we as
citizens should either accept or reject in a referendum prior to elections
expected later this year.

The extent of how this document reflects the wishes of the people is a
matter of conjecture, save to say the referendum and adoption of the
document is one of many political rituals we have to go through with no
clarity as to their benefits for citizens of the country.

The nature of the discussions clearly indicates political interest took
centre stage from citizens’ interests. In this regard, it is folly to expect
the document to foster a process of change that resonates far beyond the
political sector to transform our lives socially and economically.

Even as many people did not know what this constitution is about and talked
of the need for food, clinics, roads and jobs during the outreach programme,
those statements spoke to the real issues for the people.

They want a document that focuses on people rather than political issues and
people should be at the centre of the constitutional debate. When
politicians met to debate and compromise on the constitution, it is a
natural expectation they have people at heart rather than party and personal

We note, however, the new constitution has become an intense battleground
for the contrasting political interests and debate has progressively drifted
away from our understanding, participation and control.

There is no doubt there is a facade of Zanu PF having been forced to
backtrack on a number of issues the party was pressing for.

On the other hand, nothing seems to have changed much as there appears to be
no fundamental changes to policies that guide and influence national
governance and the function of key national institutions.

Our political leaders have skirted fundamental issues that include the fact
that challenges we have faced over the past decade are largely defined by
disrespect for the rule of law, dysfunctional national institutions and
their abuse.

With or without a new constitution it appears Zanu PF still has an upper
hand in defining our political destiny.

Even as it appeared Zanu PF’s numerous objections and suggestions to the
constitution have not been fully entertained, the party successfully took
its government of national unity (GNU) partners down a long, winding road in
order to bring us back where we have been since 1980.

That the pillars of Zanu PF control of this society have remained intact is
shameful when, as stated earlier, they are at the centre of the national
decline as a result of abuse and inefficiency.

It is extremely sad the political leadership opposed to Zanu PF had the
cheek to inform us that they compromised with Zanu PF on many constitutional
provisions in order to accommodate Zanu PF’s internal politics of

We now have the strangest language in a draft constitution, of provisions
that will be implemented after six years and others that would come into
effect after 10 years.

We are not necessarily given details of this political horse-trading, save
for an acceptance and confirmation by the MDCs that our lives are in the
hands of Zanu PF, and that we need to give Zanu PF space to deal with its
internal issues and re-organise without disturbances.

This constitution is not about the people; instead it allows President
Robert Mugabe to ease out of political life without embarrassment and do so
outside the control, will and wishes of the majority of people. There is
suddenly a strange political convergence among GNU parties even as they
appear to disagree.

We then ask: does it necessarily need a “new” constitution to negotiate
Mugabe’s exit, or the GNU could simply have negotiated that without taking
the nation down the garden path for three-and-a-half years at a cost of
nearly US$50 million.

This constitution presents change without change; it marks a false
transition and reinforces the continuation of a political culture that we
have known for the past 30 years — that is the dominance of Zanu PF and
subjection of the rest to its will.

While Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says this is a social contract and
about the people, there is little if any citizen footprint in the
constitutional document and process.

The odds against the MDCs are well documented and cannot be overemphasised;
their failure is to leave so much room for Zanu PF and Mugabe to use this
important process to subvert the process of change. By leaving citizens out
of the process the MDCs have missed a chance to reconnect with their
political base that has driven opposition to Zanu PF for over a decade.

It was and still remains genuine grievances that drive opposition to Zanu PF
and these remain unresolved today as desperation increases on a day-by-day
basis. Although it has stabilised the socio-economic environment, the unity
government has largely failed on issues such as service delivery, industrial
revival and employment creation.

Our failure as citizens has been to allow piecemeal “political change” led
by politicians to drive us nowhere. The stakes against the people are huge.
The levels of social decay, suffering, hopelessness and pessimism are
staggering, yet once again we seem to let a chance for change slip through.

Rather than “negotiate” Zanu PF’s internal issues and insert these into the
Copac draft as constitutional issues, the MDCs should have returned to base
and consulted the people on the way forward.

Rashweat Mukundu is chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute

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‘Honoring Tongogara’: Electioneering and Sheer Hypocrisy

The recent clarion call to honor Josiah Tongogara by re-naming the army
headquarters from KG-6 to Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks 32 years after
independence and spear-headed by the commander of the Zimbabwe Defense
Forces, General Chiwenga, smacks of sheer hypocrisy, and given its timing
with elections in the offing, smacks of cheap politicking as well. Are we
really to believe that after 32 years of independence and 33 years after his
death, the powers that be have suddenly awoken to the need to honor Josiah
Tongogara, or is it more occasioned by the looming elections? If it’s the
latter as I and I’d say most people believe, would it be not insulting
people’s intelligence in assuming they would suffer fools gladly.

It appears like a copy cat scenario to the land issue, 20 years after
independence, albeit late in the day even taking into cognisance the 10-year
restrictions enshrined in the Lancaster House Agreement. By contrast Samora
Machel of Mozambique addressed the land issue from the outset in the advent
of independence in 1975, not after 20 years as in the case of Zimbabwe and
only then for political expediency against the backdrop of the serious
challenge from the MDC. Ever since then, ZANU PF has taken the moral high
ground on the land issue as if they alone invented or wanted it, but
something that had always been on the political agenda way back from the
Nationalist era. Sadly, having been done by way of a panic button against
the backdrop of the most serious political challenge since independence, it
resulted in the disastrous chaos that we know all too well!

For both the land issue and the move to belatedly honor Tongogara in the way
suggested, perhaps one can do no better than invoke T S Elliot in the drama
‘Murder in the Cathedral’ when Thomas Becket says (my emphasis):: "The last
temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong

What is more, with all the ZANU PF bigwigs jumping on the bandwagon in
praise of Tongogara is incompatible with independent press reports of
Tongogara’s widow and her children living in dire straits.. How can they
then say they admire Tongogara and yet neglect the family he left behind?
Questions must be asked as to why the government and/or the party did not
step in to help the family rather than leaving them into such dire straits.
And given that some of the people in fulsome praise of Tongagara are multi
millionaires if not billionaires in their own right, why did they not use
their personal financial clout to help the family of their supposed hero. Or
are we to believe that independent press reports about Tongogara’s widow and
her family being in dire straits was all a fabrication

As for Tongogara himself, he must be turning in his grave, not only at the
shameless hypocrisy but also and all the more so, at being used – again!

Benjamin Takavarasha, London

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Good faith: Zimbabwe's obligations under international law to acquire land and pay just compensation
JAN 29, 2013

Executive Summary

What is meant by ‘good faith’ when acquiring land? And what is just compensation? This paper is a search for answers to these questions. It begins by examining the fundamental principles enshrined in international laws, conventions and treaties to which Zimbabwe is bound and obliged to honour. These provide a benchmark against which to evaluate Zimbabwe’s own laws and practices governing the compulsory acquisition of land and compensation. Three fundamental rights take centre stage: the right to fair compensation and prompt payment; the right to the protection of the law and a fair hearing in a court of law; and the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of race or colour. The rulings of Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court governing these rights are compared with those of two international Tribunals: the SADC Tribunal1 and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.2 Before drawing conclusions and making recommendations, the paper dwells briefly on the government’s responses to the judgments of these international courts.

1.International Law and Principles

International Law, Conventions and Treaties

What is international law? The International Law Association defines ‘general customary international law’ as a rule or principle that is widely, consistently and uniformly practiced (such as diplomatic immunity), which gives rise to legitimate expectations in the future.3 This law is binding on all States, whether or not a particular State believes or consents to the rule. In other words, it is not necessary for the consent of a State for it to be bound by a rule of international law. The main rule of international law considered in this paper is that just compensation for compulsory acquisitions must be based on good faith, due process, and the genuine value of the land acquired by the State.

While many rules of international law are customary, others have come into force through declarations and resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Foremost amongst these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including:

  • The right to own property and not to be arbitrarily deprived of it, as enshrined in section 16 of Zimbabwe’s constitution
  • The right to the protection of the law and to be heard in an independent and impartial court of law, which forms part of section 18 of our Constitution, and
  • The right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of race or colour, enshrined as section 23 of the Constitution.

These rights also form part of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which Zimbabwe has acceded and is therefore bound.

Zimbabwe has also entered into treaties that are governed by international law, such as the SADC Treaty and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Treaties with various States, including The Netherlands and Germany. As such, Zimbabwe is bound by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Two articles of the Convention are particularly pertinent. The first is that every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith. The second is that a party to a treaty may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.

Zimbabwe is also bound by the United Nations resolution on State Responsibility for International Wrongful Acts.4 If Zimbabwe is responsible for wrongful acts, then the Pinheiro Principles on restitution for displaced persons apply.5 The first principle holds that displaced persons who have been arbitrarily or unlawfully derived of their housing, land or property have the right to have them restored, and are entitled to full and effective compensation.

Principles of Compulsory Acquisition and Compensation

The FAO sets out the main principles for the compulsory acquisition of land and compensation.6

Good faith: A government has a primary responsibility to properly plan an acquisition programme in good faithsoand those affected do not suffer any injustice.The acquisition, for example, must be reasonably necessary and the government should invite owners to participate and submit their own claims for compensation. In particular, the law must guarantee their right to receive reasonable notice of acquisition and be given a reasonable time to leave their property. In the case of acquiring farms, owners should be allowed sufficient time to harvest their crops, or receive full compensation for them.

Valuation: A fundamental requirement of compensation is the principle of equivalence. It holds that owners must be neither worse nor better off after the acquisition of their land. It involves a fair and equitable valuation process to determine just compensation based on the genuine value of their land. This is normally the market value of the land and improvements. Owners are also entitled to compensation for disturbances to their livelihoods, such as removal expenses and other losses. Possession can only take place after owners have received full payment – or a substantial percentage – of the agreed compensation. Owners are entitled to claim interest on any unpaid compensation from the date of possession.

Appeal: Owners have the fundamental right of notice, the right to be heard, and the right to appeal in an impartial, competent and independent court of law. Appeals may be made:

  • Against the purpose of the programme and the reasonable necessity of acquiring the land
  • Against the procedures (such as improper notice or processing of claims) as well as delays in payment
  • Against the compensation offered by challenging the principles, methods, process or date of evaluation.

The acquisition programme should be regarded as abandoned if the process is not completed by the acquiring agency within a specified period.

2.Zimbabwe’s Land Acquisition Laws

Zimbabwe’s 1980 ‘Lancaster House’ Constitution provided for land acquisition based on the willing buyer – willing seller principle; that is, the market value of the land. When this constitutional provision expired after 10 years, Section 16(1) of the Constitution, which protected citizens from the deprivation of their property, conformed to international law. It required compulsory acquisition to be reasonably necessary; for the government to give reasonable notice of its intention to acquire property; and to pay adequate compensation promptly. The government had to apply to the High Court for an order confirming the acquisition if it was contested. If the acquisition was not confirmed, the owner could apply to the High Court for the prompt return of the property. Any owner could apply to the High Court to determine any question relating to compensation and, if necessary, appeal to the Supreme Court.

Constitutional Amendments

The first change came with Constitutional Amendment 11 in 1990 which allowed government to compulsory acquire land by paying ‘fair’ compensation within a ‘reasonable time’, rather than promptly.7 But, contrary to the principle of natural justice and the rule of law, it denied landowners the right to a fair hearing in a court of law. It ousted the jurisdiction of the courts to hear owners’ appeal against the government’s determination of what was considered to be ‘fair compensation’ and a ‘reasonable time’. These changes presaged the introduction of the Land Acquisition Act [Chapter 20:10] in 1992. Fair compensation would no longer be based on the land’s market value, but administratively determined using a Schedule of 19 valuation principles. According to the FAO, this method of inspecting each parcel of land to determine its value leads to unjust compensation.8 Not only do unskilled valuators take an inordinately long time to reach easily contestable compensation offers, but governments seldom have sufficient budgets to fund this costly valuation method. As Zimbabwe’s new law and its methods inevitably exposed the government to a deluge of litigation by commercial farmers, the government simply amended the Constitution again. In 1993, Constitutional Amendment 13 denied landowners the opportunity to apply to the High Court for the determination of any question relating to compensation or to appeal to the Supreme Court.9

After 2000, constitutional and statutory amendments saw the Land Acquisition Act develop along two quite divergent processes: one for the compulsory acquisition of agricultural land acquired for resettlement, and another for land acquired for other purposes. While laws to acquire land for other purposes continued to meet most international standards, virtually all legal constraints and procedures to acquire land for resettlement were stripped away. This division is most starkly evident in the new draft constitution where Property Rights (Section 71) governing other land are manifestly different from Rights to Agricultural Land (Section 72).

Following the first wave of farm invasions, Constitutional Amendment No. 16 was passed in April 2000. It purported to confer on Britain the obligation to pay compensation for land acquired for resettlement.10Zimbabwe claimed that it had the responsibility for paying compensation for improvements on the land only. The President, using his emergency powers, immediately gave legislative force to the amendment.11

Land Acquisition Amendment Acts

At the same time, the President made wide-ranging changes to the Land Acquisition Act, sweeping aside farmers’ rights governing the acquisition of land for resettlement and for compensation. The Act ousted the Court’s ability to determine whether the acquisition was ‘reasonably necessary’. Acquisition was deemed to be reasonably necessary purely by its identification as land for resettlement and its publication in theGazette. The compensation fixed by a Compensation Committee was?by definition?deemed to be ‘fair’. Any appeal challenging this definition of fairness was expunged from the law books. Nor would there be any right to compensation for disturbances that resulted in losses suffered by the owner. The right to the payment of compensation within a ‘reasonable time’ was defined – contrary to the meaning of the phrase – as a quarter payable on acquisition; another quarter payable within 2 years; and the remaining half payable within 5 years. All or part of the compensation was payable in cash or in Government bonds and securities.

With every attempt by farmers to have a fair hearing in a court of law, came new laws to dispossess them of the protection of the law and their properties. In May 2001, the Rural Land Occupiers (Protection from Eviction) Act prevented owners from evicting those who had invaded their farms illegally or to hold them accountable for the damage they had caused. This was followed by further amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, which allowed the government to re-issue lapsed notices of acquisition and for owners to pay court costs if their appeals failed.12 Later in the year, the President again used his emergency powers to amend the Land Acquisition Act.13 No written notice or compensation was required to take possession of the farm. Immediately an acquisition notice was issued, the government could “exercise any right of ownership, including the right to survey, demarcate and allocate the land.” Farmers were given 3 months notice to leave their farms.

A second amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, in September 2002, made the owner bear the brunt of government’s failure to follow due process. If an acquisition order was contested by the owner because the government had failed to give proper notice or had not applied for a confirmation order from the Administrative Court, the owner was to be given just seven days to leave his or her farm after the government had re-issued an acquisition order.14

The legal onslaught against farmers resumed in 2004. The first was the passage of the Acquisition of Farm Equipment and Materials Act to compulsorily and immediately acquire their movable assets. The second was yet another sweeping amendment to the Land Acquisition Act.15 It not only allowed the government to acquire any amount of land it wanted – including plantations, conservancies, agro-industrial properties and export processing zones – but it could acquire an owner’s last remaining farm.

Nationalisation of commercial farmland

In 2005 the government’s coup de grâce finally came. It dispensed with a plethora of complicated and convoluted amendments to amendments to the Land Acquisition Act. It simply nationalised commercial farms. Its blunt instrument was Constitutional Amendment No. 17, inserted as Section 16B to the Constitution. Any land previously published in the Gazette immediately vested in the State with full title. Section 16B(3) abrogated the constitutional right to the protection of the law and the constitutional right to a fair hearing by an independent and impartial court (s.18(1) and s.18(9)). It specifically forbad owners to challenge the acquisition in a court of law by ousting the jurisdiction of the courts to entertain any such challenge.

The following year the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act gave effect to Constitutional Amendment No.17. The government needed only to publish the names of owners and their property in theGazette to acquire their farms. No planning, no reasonable necessity, no notice, no claims, no valuation, no appeal, and no compensation need be agreed upon, fixed or paid for ownership to vest immediately in the State with full rights and possession. For the government to transfer one citizen’s lifetime of toil and investment to another, it need only sign an ‘offer letter’. These laws have now been written into Article 72 of Zimbabwe’s draft Constitution.

3.The Process of Land Acquisition and Compensation


The turning point in Zimbabwe’s history came with the rejection of the government’s draft constitution in a referendum held in February 2000. Fearing defeat in the June 2000 elections, the government organised thousands of party-sponsored settlers, spearheaded by war veterans, to invade commercial farms. It was a campaign marked by chaos and violence – colloquially known as jambanja – in which the army and state intelligence services played a decisive role.16 The invasions marked the beginning of the Third Chimurenga: the State’s war against its own citizens. Contrary to claims that the land invasions were part of a spontaneous social protest movement by land-hungry peasants,17 they were a systematically planned and executed military operation: code-named Operation Tsuro. It had three main objectives. The first was ‘command and control’ over farms, coordinated by the police, the CIO, war veterans, and government publicity officials who provided direction to the farm invasions. The second was to identify ‘operational zones’. Loyal zones were to be rewarded, while opposition zones were to be punished. The third objective was the mobilisation by war veterans of the ‘ground troops’ of peasants who wanted land.18

Alongside the seizures of farms, the campaign and its attendant violence was justified in ideological terms by the state media. In a reworked narrative on nationalism, veterans were cast as the heroic liberators, regaining lost lands from white usurpers, who were portrayed as unreconstructed racists.19 The political strategic objective was clear:

“Violence during this phase of the reform had a dual role. It was deployed to seize land from 4,500 white farmers and to destroy the political base of MDC amongst farm-workers whose households had a population of about two million.”20

This entire process of land acquisition was a far cry from the requirements of good faith, proper planning and due process. Court appeals inevitably followed.

Court Appeals

Immediately Operation Tsuro was launched, the Commercial Farmers Union appealed to the courts. In March 2000, the High Court gave occupiers just a day to leave the farms. Nothing illustrates the government’s lack of good faith more than its agreement to carry out the court order and remove illegal settlers while, at the same time, it was planning further invasions. Of course, nothing happened. When the farmers again appealed to the courts the following month, the Commissioner of Police, who was complicit in the invasions, lamely claimed that he had insufficient manpower to carry out the court order. The High Court confirmed its earlier ruling, declaring the occupations illegal, and ordered their removal from the farms. But land seizures continued relentlessly. By July 2000 over 1,600 farms had been occupied.21 In yet another application by the Commercial Farmers Union, the Supreme Court declared – again with the consent of Government – that the farm invasions had contravened the fundamental right to protection against the deprivation of property in terms of section 16(1) of the Constitution.22 It therefore ordered various Ministers, Provincial Governors, and the Commission of Police in particular, to remove illegal settlers and prevent any further invasions.

The omens were not good. Before the Commercial Farmers Union brought its constitutional application before the Supreme Court in December 2000, the President, speaking at his party’s congress, declared that, “The courts can do what they want. They are not courts for our people and we shall not even be defending ourselves in these courts.” He told his audience, “We must continue to strike fear into the heart of the white man, our real enemy.” When the Supreme Court considered the farmers’ application it did not mince its words. “Common law crimes have been, and are being, committed with impunity. Laws made by parliament have been flouted by the government.” It went on to say:

“The settling of people on farms has been entirely haphazard and unlawful. A network of organisations, operating with complete disregard for the law, has been allowed to take over from government. War veterans, villagers and unemployed townspeople, have simply moved onto farms. They have been supported, encouraged, transported and financed, by party officials, public servants, the CIO and the army. The rule of law has been overthrown in the commercial farming areas and farmers and farm workers on occupied farms have been denied the protection of the law”.23

The Supreme Court ruled that there was no “programme of land reform” as the term had been used in Section 16A of the Constitution. It therefore ordered Ministers, the Commissioner of Police, and the President to comply immediately with the consent order of the High Court of March 2000 and with the Supreme Court consent order of November 2000 to remove all unlawful invaders from commercial farms and prevent further invasions.

The Land Reform Programme

Unwilling to abide by its own laws and courts, the government decided to reconstitute the Supreme Court. Once it had purged the bench of most independently minded judges, including the Chief Justice, and appointed more compliant judges, the President could rely on a bench that was more amenable to his executive decisions. The Supreme Court’s first major decision was to condone and confirm the Rural Occupiers (Prevention from Eviction) Act, which legalised the deprivation of fundamental rights as enshrined in 17(1) and 18(1) of the Constitution. In December 2001 it ruled that the ‘land reform programme’ was constitutional and in accordance with the rule of law, and it exonerated the Commissioner of Police of any contempt of court charges. This view was not shared by the United Nation Development Programme. Its report noted that the government’s use of post hoc legislation and other changes were “openly at variance with the doctrine of natural justice.”24

Yet, while the government rushed headlong to seize virtually all white commercial farms, it paid not the slightest heed to meet its obligations under its own laws. It brushed aside the legal requirement for the Administrative Court to confirm acquisitions. “We have resolved to go ahead and allocate people land on all gazetted properties, even before court confirmation,” the Minister of Agriculture breezily declared.25 The government made no effort to value farms ‘as soon as possible’ or pay compensation ‘without delay’ as required by the Land Acquisition Act. Instead the Minister insisted that, “We will be suspending compensation for the white farmers for us to be able to support the new farmer projects and other programmes.”26

Having removed the requirement of ‘reasonable necessity’ from its law books, the government voraciously acquired the last remaining white farms, even while vast tracks of farming land lay idle. By 2003, as estimated 2.8 million hectares of land had been “acquired for resettlement, but has not yet been taken up by those allocated plots.”27 While the government took over the remaining fragments of white commercial farms,28 politicians, senior military officers and other elite party loyalists grabbed multiple full-scale farms.29 According to one investigation, the President and his wife own 14 farms, while the Vice-President and her late husband owned 25 farms covering 105,000 hectares.30 The Speaker of the Senate reportedly took over 6 farms, while 16 Supreme and High Court judges, including the Chief Justice, were all beneficiaries of seized farms. By contrast, 800 dispossessed white commercial farmers who had officially applied for leases or offer letters to remain on their own farms never even received the courtesy of a reply.31

4.The Litmus Test of International Law

Despite dire warnings directed against those commercial farmers who dared pursue their claims through the courts, Mike Campbell and others mounted a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court against Constitutional Amendment No. 17. They argued that the Amendment – which revoked their fundamental rights to protection of their property (s.16), to protection of the law and access to the courts (s.18), and protection from discrimination based on race (s.23) – were unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court

In January 2008, the Supreme Court sat and heard their application.32 At the outset the Court accepted the Minister’s obtuse claim that Constitutional Amendment 17 was necessary because the owners’ lawful objections were considered ‘obstructive litigation’ aimed at reversing the land reform programme. It then turned to consider the three main constitutional challenges. The Court first considered whether Amendment 17 had unlawfully infringed the farmers’ rights to fair compensation payable within a reasonable time in terms of Section 16(1) of the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s argument is difficult to comprehend. It reasoned that land acquisition conferred on owners’ such an absolute, legally binding right to fair compensation, it made the acquisition of their land irreversible – even if the government failed to meet its legal obligation to pay compensation within the ‘reasonable time’ of five years! Clearly, the Court’s reasoning directly contradicted the principle that a programme of land acquisition should be abandoned if the process is not completed within a reasonable period. Yet it went on to argue, in deference to the Executive, that failure to pay compensation was a judicial question which could not be allowed to defeat thepolitical intention of the legislature to acquire land for resettlement.

The Supreme Court then considered whether Parliament, in passing Amendment 17, had the power to revoke fundamental rights under Section 18, which afforded citizens the protection of the law and the right to a fair hearing in a court of law. The Supreme held that since the Constitution empowers the Legislature to enact any law, it could ouster the jurisdiction of the court and revoke any fundamental rights – so long as the proper Parliamentary procedures were followed. It therefore dismissed the farmers’ claim that Amendment 17 had unconstitutionally infringed their fundamental rights. As to whether the Amendment had discriminated against the farmers on the basis of their race, the Court dismissed this claim out of hand. It held that since the Amendment made no reference to race or colour, there was no question that the Amendment violated Section 23 of the Constitution. It conveniently ignored that fact that Section 23 also outlaws the treatment of a person in a discriminatory manner. In any event, it came as no surprise that the Court dismissed the farmers’ claims in their entirety.

The SADC Tribunal

The very fact that the Supreme Court upheld the provisions of Constitutional Amendment 17 to exclude Campbell and others from appealing to a court of law provided the SADC Tribunal with the rationale to arbitrate in the dispute.33 It is important to note that the Tribunal was established by the SADC Treaty – binding Zimbabwe to international law on treaties. Furthermore, the Tribunal was mandated to develop its own jurisprudence based on applicable treaties and the general principles of international law. Its decisions were final and binding on member states, including Zimbabwe.

Campbell and others asked the Tribunal to declare that the Zimbabwe Government was, by enacting and implementing Constitutional Amendment 17, in breach of its SADC Treaty obligations. The farmers made the same claims at the Tribunal as they had to the Supreme Court. First they claimed that Amendment 17 breached Article 4(c) of the Treaty, which obliges member states to uphold rule of law, which includes the right to a fair hearing and access to the courts. Second, they claimed that the Amendment breached Article 6(2) of the Treaty, which obliges member states not to discriminate against any person on the grounds of race or ethnic origin. And, third, the farmers claimed that the Amendment denied them just compensation for their lands.

The Tribunal reached precisely the opposite conclusions to the Supreme Court on all counts. First, it declared that the Zimbabwe government was in breach of its Treaty obligations under Articles 4(c) because Amendment 17 denied Campbell and his co-applicants access to the courts in Zimbabwe. The Tribunal held that legislation that deprives the courts of their powers to protect the rights of citizen is inimical to the principle of the rule of law. “It is a function of the judiciary to determine the lawfulness of the act ... and to afford protection to the rights of the citizen.” 34 Second, it found that Amendment 17 was in breach of article 6(2) because the farmers had been discriminated against on the grounds of race. The Tribunal noted, like the Supreme Court, that Amendment 17 made no mention of race or colour. It nevertheless found that the aim of the Amendment was clearly discriminatory because it specifically targeted white farmers, regardless of any other factor other than the colour of their skin. And, third, the Tribunal dismissed the claim that Britain was obliged to pay compensation for expropriated land. This responsibility lay squarely with the Zimbabwe government:

“It is difficult for us to understand the rationale behind excluding compensation for such land, given the clear legal position in international law. It is the right of the Applicants [the farmers] under international law to be paid, and the correlative duty of the Respondent [Zimbabwe] to pay, fair compensation.”

The Tribunal then went on to invoke the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties:

“Moreover, the Respondent [Zimbabwe] cannot rely on its national law, its Constitution, to avoid an international law obligation to pay compensation. The Respondent cannot rely on Amendment 17 to avoid payment of compensation to the Applicants [the farmers] for their expropriated farms. This is regardless of how the farms were acquired in the first place, provided that the Applicants have a clear legal title to them.”

The simple reason that Zimbabwe cannot rely on Constitutional Amendment 17 to avoid its legal obligations under the SADC Treaty is because, “Any other situation would permit international law to be evaded by the simple method of domestic legislation.”35

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) heard the case of 11 Dutch farmers whose farms were seized but protected by a bilateral investment treaty between Zimbabwe and The Netherlands.36 The main purpose of the case was to settle the compensation payable by Zimbabwe to the Dutch farmers. As a signatory to the ICSID Convention, Zimbabwe accepted the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and that international law would prevail over domestic law.

Article 6(c) of the Treaty states that measures taken by Zimbabwe to acquire the properties must be “accompanied by provision for just compensation. Such compensation shall represent the genuine value of the investments.” The Tribunal noted that:

“the genuine value of the properties does not correspond to the value of the arable land plus the estimated value of the various buildings and equipments which are necessary for the operation of the farms. Genuine value must be determined on the basis of the market value of the whole farm at the time of expropriation. Thus the figures advanced by Zimbabwe are not computed properly according to law and arrive at computations of value that are obviously too low.” [para.130]

The Tribunal also rejected Zimbabwe’s notion – derived from its Schedule of principles under the Land Acquisition Act – that valuation must take account of the date and the profit of the initial investment. Nor did it accept that the market value for compensation should be discounted in cases of large scale nationalisations. The Tribunal observed that, under general international law as well as under the Treaty, investors have a right to compensation that corresponds to the value of their investment, independently of the origin and past success of their investment, as well as of the number and aim of the expropriations. It therefore proceeded to evaluate the damages suffered in each case on the basis of the market value on the date of dispossession. These damages also included disturbances as the Tribunal rejected Zimbabwe’s claim that these were ‘not justified’.

In the end, the Tribunal’s figure for just compensation was over six times higher than the ‘fair’ compensation calculated by the Zimbabwe government. Whereas Zimbabwe’s estimate of compensation payable was €1,343,000, the Tribunal ordered Zimbabwe to pay the Dutch farmers €8,220,000 compensation within 3 months, plus compound interest payable at the rate of 10 percent per annum.

5.The Familiar Responses

Dismissal of the SADC Tribunal

The Zimbabwe government had sent its own senior judge to sit on the SADC Tribunal; it had responded to the application presented by the farmers to the Tribunal; it sent its counsel, represented by the Attorney General’s Office, to challenge the farmers’ claim made before the Tribunal; and its counsel specifically recognised the jurisdiction of the Tribunal when the case was being heard. Crucially, the High Court in Zimbabwe subsequently found that:

“The Protocol of the Tribunal constituted an integral part of the Treaty and became binding on all Member States without the need for its further ratification by them. It also follows that the Republic of Zimbabwe thereupon became subject to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal and that the jurisdictional competence of the Tribunal in the Campbell case, which was heard and determined in 2008, cannot now be disputed.”37

But when the Tribunal ruled in favour of the farmers, the President’s contempt for the court, for its ruling, and for international law was swift and forthright. “Some farmers went to the SADC”, he said, “but that’s nonsense, absolute nonsense, no-one will follow that. Our land issues are not subject to the SADC Tribunal.” And, as if to vindicate the Tribunal’s ruling on discrimination based on race and colour, the President added that, “The few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms as they have no place there.”38 The President then set his mind to dismantling and emasculating the Tribunal.

The first step was to question the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and powers at the SADC Summit of regional leaders. When it met it August 2010, the Tribunal was suspended pending a review and report on its role and functions.39 Although the report’s recommendations to strengthen the Tribunal were unanimously endorsed by SADC Ministers of Justice and their Attorney-Generals, the Summit decided to scrap the Tribunal and to dismiss its judges. The final communiqué issued after the Summit of August 2012 stated that the SADC leaders had “Resolved that a new Protocol on the Tribunal should be negotiated and its mandate confined to the interpretation of the SADC Treaty and Protocols relating to disputes between Member States.”40 Henceforth, it would extinguish the right of redress for SADC citizens suffering human rights injustices at the hands of their own governments.

Hatina mari

It was warily characteristic of the Zimbabwe government to have reneged on its treaty obligations to pay the Dutch claimants. But, unable to bully the ICSID – as it had the SADC Tribunal – Zimbabwe acknowledged its debt. Oddly, but not surprisingly, the admission came from a report by ZANU(PF)’s Central Committee which was presented at its party conference in December 2012. Yet, the Dutch claims pale into insignificance when compared with proceedings instituted in 2010 by a German family and others with the ICSID.41 The von Pezolds are claiming US$600 million in compensation for Zimbabwe’s invasion and damage caused on their Makandi Tea and Coffee Estate, Border Timbers and Forrester Estate.42

The party’s conference report also revealed the extent to which the Zimbabwe government had flouted its treaty obligations with other governments. Out of 153 farms covered by bilateral treaties, 116 had been expropriated. One of the most recent and high-profile breaches was the invasion of the 340,000 hectare Save Valley wildlife conservancy covered by a bilateral treaty with Germany. The EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe called this land-grab a “major

blow to the credibility of the country and its image worldwide.”43 Above all, it is the government’s continual seizures of land without the slightest intention of meeting its obligations to pay compensation that demonstrates its mala fides and contempt for both international law and its own laws.

What’s yours is mine

After more than a decade of acquiring mostly white commercial farms, only 215 farmers have been fully compensated out of a total of 6,214 farms that were gazetted.44 Of these, nearly 5,000 farms are still to be valued.45 Various party officials and supporters helped themselves to farm equipment and materials with abandon, but the government has not presented any figures to show how much it acquired, from whom, or how much it owes. It probably neither knows nor cares. Even as large swathes of agricultural land lie idle, and having failed to pay compensation to thousands who have lost their farms, the government relentlessly continues to seize one farm after another. White-owned farms continue to be targeted, but so too are black-owned farms and settlers in prime areas. Having removed all legal constraints, one person’s land and property can be transferred to another at the stroke of a pen. In July it was reported that military officers had been issued with offer letters to take over part of Glenara Estates owned by CFI Holdings Ltd.46 Also in Mazowe, the Provincial Governor (appointed by the President) recommended that 1,600 hectares of land belonging to Interfresh Holdings Ltd be allocated to the First Lady to extend her ‘orphanage’. The matter of compensation simply did not arise.


The Zimbabwe Government has demonstrably failed to abide by its treaties under international law. It failed to observe any of the internationally acceptable principles of compulsory acquisition and compensation in its legislation and in its process of acquisition. Above all, it has failed to exhibit good faith, which is a sine qua non under the international law of treaties and a fundamental pre-requisite for compulsory acquisition. Zimbabwe has relentlessly derogated constitutional rights, abandoned natural justice and the rule of law, and deliberately used punitive laws as weapons to dispossess its own citizens – identified only by their race and colour – without compensation. This has all been done, as one editorial put it, “without batting an eyelid”.47

Zimbabwe’s compulsory acquisition and compensation laws, methods and processes are self-evidently unjust. So the question really becomes whether the entire process of acquisition has been so wholly compromised that it must be seen for what it is: the wrongful seizure of citizens’ property. This was certainly the view of the SADC Tribunal. Constitutional Amendment No. 17 wrongfully excluded citizens from a fair hearing in a court of law, wrongfully targeted citizens on the basis of their race, and wrongfully denied farmers their just compensation. The spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s party was equally unequivocal: “Our position in MDC has not changed. The invasion of farms during the land reform programme was done through illegal means and there is no way we will embrace lawlessness.”48 The challenge to such lawlessness and injustice is likely to come before an international court sooner or later. Although the ICSID Tribunal was not required to rule on the matter, the Dutch farmers asked it to find the Zimbabwe government responsible for an international wrongful act.49

Litigation under international law can only escalate. The von Pezolt’s claim will be heard in Singapore next month. The German government has already signalled its displeasure regarding the Save Valley Conversancy acquisitions, and the conservancy’s Vice Chairman could well follow the von Pezolt’s example. In September 2012, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the North Gauteng High Court's registration and enforcement of the SADC Tribunal rulings in the Campbell case, and the attachment of Zimbabwe’s government-owned property in Cape Town. In one of the most audacious cases in African legal history, two dispossessed farmers, Ben Freeth and Luke Tembani, have approached the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights seeking an order for the SADC Tribunal to continue functioning and protect the human rights of SADC citizens in accordance with Article 16 of the SADC Treaty.50 They accuse the SADC Summit – the 14 Heads of State, including the Zimbabwe President – of acting in bad faith and ultra vires when it irregularly and arbitrarily suspended the SADC Tribunal.

Are these dire implications of Zimbabwe’s radical and misconceived programme of land acquisition slowing sinking into its collective conscience? The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement announced that, “in view of the ongoing litigation in the ISCID, Government has taken the decision not to settle persons on farms covered by BIPPA for now.”51 The decision immediately prompted the Governor (who had allocated Interfresh properties to the President’s wife) to order the eviction of settlers from Tavydale farm which is covered by a bilateral treaty with Belgium. Even more recently, the High Court ruled against an MP who had tried to muscle out his neighbour. The Court required the Minister to “create a land allocation regime that is clear, transparent and accountable, and susceptible to judicial scrutiny."52

On the compensation side of the equation, the Zimbabwe Government has found itself trapped in a cul-de-sac of its own making. It cannot afford to keep paying for new farmers’ inputs – but new farmers can only negotiate loans for inputs if they have secure title to the property. However, they can only secure title once compensation has been paid. But, compensation can only be paid once valuations for compensation have been completed and agreed. But, because the government does not have the funds, qualified staff, or sufficient time, it cannot carry out the valuations. Even if the government could achieve this Herculean feat, it would still fall far short of just compensation under international law. The only veritable conclusion is that the government simply cannot pay compensation – at least in the short term.

What is to be done?

7.Finding our way back home

At the outset it must be recognised that Zimbabwe has lost its way. Its government created a beguiling narrative to justify the deliberate and systematic seizure of citizens’ property without paying compensation. In the process it destroyed the livelihoods of thousands upon thousands of black farm workers. Its dehumanising rhetoric extinguished the last vestiges of sympathy for its victims: black or white. Its sense of values has now become so disoriented and it behaves with such impunity that it has become a law unto itself: unable to distinguish good faith from bad. It has broken its covenant with the people and the international community, and betrayed their trust.

Zimbabweans have been urged to be pragmatic and realistic, recognising that it is ‘not a perfect world’, that ‘politics is the art of the possible’, or that ‘we have no other option’. I have argued that we should be guided by international law, human rights, and best international practice. Unless we adhere firmly to universal ethical principles, there is the ever present danger of first being drawn into negotiations, then into compromises, then into collusion with those who act in bad faith; and, finally, into accepting the unacceptable. This is certainly true of Article 72 of the draft constitution. Even as I stand accused of idealism – for which I bear no shame – I believe the journey home begins along the narrow, rocky path towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It may be slow and arduous, but by following this road less travelled we will find our way back home.

And where is home? It is to be at home with the international community of nations, holding proudly to our shared ideals of democracy and human rights under international law. It is to be at home with one another, exercising our full human, economic and political rights without fear or favour, and going about our lives and livelihoods in freedom and peace. It is to be at home with ourselves and our consciences in the knowledge that in our heart of hearts we done what is right. Above all, we are at home when the state respects, protects, and serves its citizens in good faith. The first steps on the way back home must be taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate its good faith by:

  • Abiding by the rulings of the SADC Tribunal and the ICSID Tribunal in keeping with its international treaty obligations and international law.
  • Abrogate Article 72 of the draft constitution, whose provisions are so abhorrent and discriminatory they “should never be in any modern democratic constitution.”53
  • Place a moratorium on any further acquisitions of agricultural land for resettlement purposes and the issuance of offer letters.

The government should then invite those organisation representing dispossessed farmers and other stakeholders to enter into negotiations in good faith. The purpose of negotiations would be to establish a new policy and regulatory framework based on the tenets of compulsory acquisition and just compensation and in accordance with international law. Only then can we reflect honestly about our tragic past and take just and honourable measures to bring the land question to closure: peacefully, fairly, and in good faith.


1 The Tribunal and its Protocol established in terms of Article 9 as read with Article 16 of the Treaty of the Southern African Development (SADC) Community.

2 The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is a World Bank resolution forum in Washington governed by a Convention applying international law and signed by Zimbabwe in June 19, 1994.

3 International Law Association (2000) Formation of Customary (General) International Law, London Conference (p.24)

4Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts as adopted by the International Law Commission and by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 56/83 of 12 December 2001.

5 The United Nations Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons (2005).

6 FAO (2009) Compulsory Acquisition of Land and Compensation, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Land Tenure Studies: 10 < >

7 Constitutional Amendment No. 11, Section 6 of Act 30 of 1990 which substituted Section 16(2)

8 FAO (2009) ibid. Box 7 (p.25)

9 Constitutional Amendment 13, section 3 of Act 9 of 1993, inserted section 16(1)(f) of the Constitution

10 Constitutional Amendment 16 was incorporated as section 16A of the Constitution

11 Presidential Power (Temporary Measures) (Land Acquisition) Regulations (SI 148A of 2000, 23 May 2000) added Part VA to the Land Acquisition Act; subsequently ratified by Parliament (Act No. 15 of 2000).

12 Land Acquisition Amendment Act 14 of 2001 (12 June) amended section 5(4) and added subsection 5(9) of the principal Act.

13 Presidential Power (Temporary Measures) (Land Acquisition) (No.2) Regulations (SI 338, 9 November 2001) to amend Section 8 and substitute Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act; subsequently ratified as Land Acquisition Amendment Act No.6 of 2002

14 Section 9(2) of the Land Acquisition Amendment (No.2) Act of 2002

15 The Land Acquisition Amendment Act (No. 1 of 2004)

16 Marongwe, N. (2003) Farm occupation and occupiers in the new politics of land in Zimbabwe. In A. Hammer, B. Raftopoulos and S. Jensen. Zimbabwe’s Unfinished Business. Weaver Press: Harare

17 See, for example, Scoones (2011) Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities. Jacana

18 Sachikonye, L. (2011) When the State turns on its Citizens: Institutionalized Violence and Political Culture. Jacana. (p.35)

19 Jocelyn Alexander (2006) The Unsettled Land. James Curry: Oxford (p.185)

20 Sachikonye, ibid. (p.33-4)

21 ICG (2004) Blood and Soil. International Crisis Group: Brussels

22 Commercial Farmers Union vs Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement and Others, Case No. SC 314/20

23 Supreme Court ruling quoted by Zimbabwe’s former Chief Justice Anthony R. Gubbay (2009) The Progressive Erosion of the Rule of Law in Independent Zimbabwe. Third International Rule of Law Lecture, Bar of England and Wales: London (p.15)

24 UNDP (2002) Zimbabwe: Land Reform and Resettlement: Assessment and Suggested Framework for the Future. Interim Mission Report: New York. (p.40)

25 Statement by Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement reported in The Herald, 19 April 2001.

26 Statement by Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement reported in The Daily News, 25 May 2002.

27 Presidential Land Review Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Charles Utete, Table 5 (p.42)

28 Before the enactment of the Land Acquisition Amendment Act of 2004, white farmers were allowed to keep that portion of their farm that fell within the maximum farm sizes permitted by the Rural Land (Farm Sizes) (Amendment) Regulations, 2000 (No.1) [Statutory Instrument 288 of 2000] made in terms of Section 15 of the Rural Land Act [20:18].

29 Appendix to the report on a land audit in 2003 by Flora Buka, the Minister of State for the Land Reform Programme, but suppressed by the Zimbabwe Government. See also <>

30 ZimOnline, “Zimbabwe’s new land barons“, 30 November 2010 <>

31Zimbabwe Independent, 29 October 2009: Reporting on Commercial Farmers Union statement.

32 Mike Campbell (Pvt.) Ltd and other vs Minister of National Security and Other (Supreme Court Judgment No. SC 49/07, 22 January 2008)

33 Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd. and Others vs The Republic of Zimbabwe, SADC (T) Case No. 2/2007

34 Tribunal quoting from De Smith (2007) Judicial Review (para. 4-015)

35 Malcolm Shaw, International Law(pp.104-105), quoted by the SADC Tribunal.

36 Bernardus Henricus Funnekotter and Others vs Republic of Zimbabwe, ICSID Case No. Arb/05/6, 22 April 2009

37 Gramara (Pvt.) Ltd and Other vs Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Others. HC33/09. 26 January 2010.

38SW Radio Africa, 2 March 2009.

39 Lorand Bartels (2011) Recommendations Aimed at Improving the Legal Framework in which the Tribunal Operates, Cambridge University / World Trade Institute.

40SW Radio Africa, “SADC leaders clamp down on human rights court”, 20 August 2012

41ZimOnline, “ICSID appoints tribunal to hear land case”, 20 December 2010 <>

42 International Centre for Settlement of Disputes: Case Number ARB/10/15

43New Zimbabwe, “EU threatens to withdraw UN meeting funding”, 30 August 2012

44 Minister of Finance, Budget Statement: 2013 (para. 358)

45 Rukuni M. (2012) The significance of land compensation for rehabilitation of Zimbabwe’s land sector. Sokwanele

46SW Radio Africa, “Army and lands officials invade poultry giant Glenara Estates”, 30 July 2011 <>

47The Independent, “Land grabs: The new ‘hard work’,” 18 January 2013, <>

48The Zimbabwean, “Mutinhiri on collision course with MDC-T over land invasions”, 14 November 2012

49 In terms of Article 8 on State Responsibility for International Wrongful Acts, the farmers claimed that the government must be held accountable for its own wrongful acts and for those of ZANU(PF), war veterans and occupiers of the farms.

50 The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples Rights was signed by Zimbabwe in June 1998.

51SW Radio Africa, “Government criticised for ‘empty’ pledge to stop farm seizures”, 3 January 2013

52The Zimbabwe Mail, “Court blasts Zanu PF land allocations” covering High Court case heard on 22 January 2013

53 David Coltart replies to Ben Freeth, Sokwanele, 31 July 2012, <>

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