via Former farmers take Mugabe to US court October 31, 2013 by Everson Mushava NewsDay
FORMER Zimbabwe white commercial farmers have taken President Robert Mugabe’s government to United States courts where they are demanding compensation and challenging the compulsory acquisition of their farms under the land reform programme.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made told delegates attending the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Conversations in Harare yesterday that Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora was attending the court case in the US.
“Those with questions for Mombeshora can ask. I am also representing the Minister of Lands, who is in America to attend a court case in which the government has been challenged by some commercial farmers,” Made said.
He said taking the government to court by the Commercial Farmers’ Union defied the spirit of dialogue between the two parties.
President Mugabe’s administration has been fighting court battles with some commercial farmers who lost their farms at the height of the land reform programme in 2002.
Mugabe’s move to take the land from the white commercial farmers without compensation created a serious stand-off between the country and the Western powers, particularly Zimbabwe’s former colonial master Britain, whose citizens controlled the country’s prime land.
The ensuing face-off resulted in Mugabe and his Zanu PF party members being placed on travel and trade restrictions.
Several efforts by the displaced farmers to challenge Mugabe in the country’s courts yielded no results, until the farmers approached the Sadc Tribunal in Namibia before the regional court halted operations amid pressure from Mugabe’s regime. Made said there was need for government to support infrastructural development on new farms, and support the whole value chain by lowering the costs of production.
Speaking at the same event, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government was looking for public-private partnerships with business to attract foreign investment in every sector of the economy, including infrastructural development and agriculture.