SADC ruling ignored again as farmers fight to keep their land

sadc_logoA ruling by the human rights court of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was hoped would put a stop to the current wave of farm attacks, is being openly ignored once again and farmers are still fighting to keep their land.
The SADC Tribunal last week ruled that the Zimbabwe government had refused to comply with the regional courts order

The Tribunal last year ruled that the farmers could remain on their land, which was targeted for resettlement under Robert Mugabes land reform scheme. The order was meant to offer legal protection against future land invasions and the government was also supposed to protect the farmers from future land attacks.

But Mugabe unsurprisingly, openly and publicly dismissed the November verdict and condoned the renewed offensive against the remaining commercial farmers. The physical attacks and fast track prosecution of farmers intensified in the weeks that followed the dictators speech earlier this year, and even Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai went as far as to downplay the severity of the ongoing land invasions. The farmers were forced to return to the SADC court last Friday to seek further action to enforce the courts original ruling, walking away victorious with a new ruling in their favour.

But the ruling is again being flouted and ignored, and Chegutus beleaguered farming community, which has been hardest hit by the land attacks, is still fighting against an onslaught of invasions. Mount Carmel farm owner, Ben Freeth, whose land has been overrun by invaders working for ZANU PF top official Nathan Shamuyarira, expressed his frustration and anger to SW Radio Africa on Friday. The farm has been almost completely taken over by hired thugs, who are openly stealing and looting the property. The farms entire mango crop worth tens of thousands of US dollars was either sold off or left to rot recently, and invaders are now reaping the maize growing on the land.
Our maize is being stolen by the lorry-load, and the police are still not reacting in any way, Freeth explained. The police just tell us that the theft is a civil matter and not a criminal matter, as an excuse to not act.

Freeth, his family and his workers, have been repeatedly harassed and violently intimidated by the thugs, who are now living in the home that until recently belonged to his parents-in-law. Mike and Angela Campbell left the farm in April because of the stress of the attacks, as Mike is still recovering from brutal injuries he received when he was abducted and beaten last year.

With numerous High Court orders in his favour, as well as two SADC Tribunal rulings meant to offer protection, Freeth said he is living in a surreal world of lawlessness because no one, not even the government, is respecting the rule of law.

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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