Union wants SADC court protection

sadcHARARE Zimbabwes farm workers union will this month ask the SADC Tribunal to order Harare to stop ......

rights abuses against farm labourers who the union says have borne the brunt of a violent drive by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to seize the few remaining white-owned farms.

Impeccable sources told ZimOnline that the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) that the union took the decision to approach the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal after repeated attempts to persuade the Harare coalition government to protect farm workers failed.

A position (to approach the SADC Tribunal) has been taken, and what is remaining is for our lawyers to finalise the legal aspects of the application, said a union official, who spoke on condition she was not named.

GAPWUZ information officer Tapiwa Zivira declined to take questions on the matter saying: I have no authority at the moment to confirm any such developments yet.

Both Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa both hardliner allies of Mugabe who have backed farm invasions before — were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

But Chinamasa has previously said Zimbabwe is not bound by Tribunal judgments because it no longer recognises the regional court, a position shot down last week by High Court Bharat Patel.

Patel, who was hearing an application by a group of white farmers to have last years ruling by the Namibia-based Tribunal outlawing Mugabes controversial land reforms registered and enforced in Zimbabwe, said Harare was bound by the judgments of the regional court.

But the judge declined registering the Tribunal order saying its enforcement would be against public policy in Zimbabwe. The white farmers have said they will appeal against Patels ruling at the Supreme Court.

Tribunal judgments must be registered with the High Court to be enforced in Zimbabwe.

GAPWUZ says farm workers have suffered the worst from Mugabes chaotic and bloody land reforms which saw more than 90 percent of Zimbabwes white farmers driven off the land and their properties parceled out to blacks.

A report released by the union last November chronicled cases of gross rights violations including torture and murder committed against farm labourers by mobs of war veterans and supporters of Mugabes Zanu (PF) party.

The report said a new wave farm disturbances that began almost immediately after formation the formation last February of a unity government by Mugabe and former opposition leader now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had by last November rendered over 4 000 farm workers jobless and homeless.

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