|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Amendments published in the government gazette on Friday will make it easier for the government to seize land by cutting the time for farmers to vacate farms and increasing fines for defying eviction orders.
The ruling Zanu-PF party has a majority in parliament and the Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, has said normal parliamentary procedures will be suspended to enable debate, according to the French news agency AFP.
On the same day, the high court sentenced a white farmer to 15 years in prison after he was found guilty of the murder of a black man settled on his farm under the land distribution programme.
Fivefold increase in fines
The new measures to be debated include a major reduction in the amount of time given to farmers to leave their land if they are issued with new eviction orders.
This will cut the period from 90 to seven days and will apply only to those who have had earlier eviction orders overturned by the courts.
There will also be increases in fines for farmers who defy government eviction orders and stay on their farms.
The fines will go up from 20,000 Zimbabwean dollars ($363) to 100,000 ($1,815).
The High Court judge said Farmer Phillip Bezuidenhout, 52, was spared the death penalty "by a whisker" because he found extenuating circumstances.
The former should "consider himself a very lucky man indeed", said the judge. The judge in the case decided that the defendant had deliberately killed a black man who had gone to his farm to inspect land given to him under the redistribution programme.
The convicted man had pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide, saying that the man had been killed in a traffic accident.