via Constitutional Court evicts white farmer – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 10, 2014 by Charles Laiton
DOUBLE amputee white farmer William Stander’s hopes of retaining his land acquired by the government through the land reform programme went up in smoke at the Constitutional Court yesterday after the court threw away his application to stay put at the farm.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku told Stander’s lawyers that the court would not allow a person to approach it and ask it to break the law.
“We cannot allow a person to approach this court and ask it to break the law,” Justice Chidyausiku said after Stander’s lawyers failed to justify why their client was refusing to abide by the country’s laws.
Stander applied for referral of his case to the Concourt when he appeared in court on October 24 last year facing charges of contravening the Gazetted Lands Act over failure to vacate his home.
He was locked in a dispute with Mwenezi District Administrator (DA) Stanely Chamisa whom he cited in court papers as the first respondent, and his son Watson Chamisa as the second respondent.
The stand-off between the parties was over Lot 18 Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi which Stander was refusing to vacate arguing that evicting him from the farm and depriving him of his only home and source of livelihood as a disabled person infringed on his rights and contradicted Section 83 of the country’s Constitution.
Stander’s lawyers said: “The State is therefore not in a legal position to prosecute accused or seek his eviction before it complies with the law by ensuring that he enjoys his protection of the law by giving him compensation.
“In the circumstances, seeking to evict a person who has not been paid compensation to enable him to secure alternative accommodation renders him homeless, takes away his dignity and violates his right not to be treated in an inhuman and degrading way.”
However, State’s representative Fortunate Kachidza, submitted that Stander had not done anything to pursue his issue of compensation according to the laws of the country.
“His right to life and dignity is not being infringed. The owner of the farm approached the courts and respected the dignity of the applicant otherwise if he had not, he would have simply confronted him. If he wants compensation he should vacate the land and launch legal proceedings,” Kachidza said.
After listening to submissions by both parties the full Concourt bench led by Justice Chidyausiku said: “The application is dismissed as being without merit and reasons for judgement will be made available in due course, they will be no order as to costs.”
Stander’s loss has spelt doom for hundreds for other several former commercial farmers who were dislodged from their farms at the height of the land reform programme that started in 2000.