Massive Claim against Zim Govt

THE Zimbabwean Government will have to fork out at least US$70 million - close to N$530 million - should a renewed claim by three applicants against President Robert Mugabe's government and its "unlawful land-reform programme" succeed in the SADC Tribunal.

Norman Tjombe filed the case on behalf of Christopher Mellish Jarret, Tengwe Estate and France Farm.

They applied to the Tribunal to order the Zimbabwean government to pay not only close to US$70 million but to also interest of 30 per cent on this amount, starting from September 14 2005 to the date of payment.

The applicants also asked for the Tribunal to order the Zimbabwean government to foot the bill for this legal application.

In the voluminous court documents, it is stated that Jarret, a Zimbabwean citizen, had been farming on Luchabi Ranch, a cattle and game farm situated in the Nyamandlovu district, “until it was illegally and compulsorily acquired by the respondent with effect from September 14 2005”.

Tengwe Estate was the owner of Fumeria Estate, a mixed farming enterprise situated in the Urungwe district, it is stated.

“Its title to the property similarly ceased on September 14 2005 as a consequence of the respondent’s unlawful land programme.”

It is further stated that a game ranch had been managed on Woodlands Estate A, owned by France Farm. The game ranch is situated near the Victoria Falls.

“It too suffered illegal dispossession of this property due to the respondent’s unlawful land programme.”

All three these applicants were part of the groundbreaking so-called William Michael Campbell case, of which the latest judgement against the Zimbabwean government was in June 2009.

“It is by now a matter of public notoriety that the respondent has persistently and contemptuously failed to give effect to the Tribunal’s award in the main Campbell case. Also the Tribunal’s subsequent orders are flagrantly repudiated by the respondent.”

The Zimbabwean government has until the end of May to file answering court papers with the Tribunal in Windhoek.

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