Tembani looks to SADC for justice

HARARE - Luke Tembani (74), one of independent Zimbabwes first black commercial farmers, now sells packets of sugar to feed his family.

He lost his farm in November 2000 when it was unilaterally auctioned by the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (ABZ), to cover a loan. All his hopes of justice are bound up in the SADC Tribunal which gave judgement in his favour, together with other farmers corruptly dispossessed under the Mugabe regimes vicious land grab, but whose authority the government refuses to recognise.

Despite Tembanis proposal to sell off a viable section of the farm to cover the debt, his entire property was sold to a third party at a fraction of the value estimated by an independent valuator. He took his case to the High Court of Zimbabwe, which eventually ruled in his favour, but the ABZ appealed to the Supreme Court whose members apart from one judge were recipients of redistributed farms, and in November 2007 the execution of the sale was upheld.

With no recourse to justice in Zimbabwe, Tembani took his case to the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek, Namibia, where it was heard on 5 June 2009. He won the case and the Zimbabwe government was told to take all the necessary measures not to evict him from the property and to stop interfering with his use and occupation of the farm.

Despite this, he and his family were evicted from the farmhouse where theyd been living and struggling to survive. They were not allowed to remove any of their farm equipment, are now virtually destitute and want justice. Only two buyers were present and the farm was sold to Takawira Zembe, a businessman who only paid 10 percent at the auction and who is believed to have as many as 18 farming enterprises in the country gained in this way, said Tembani.

At the beginning of April 2011, Tembani joined commercial farmer Mike Campbell in signing papers to take the SADC Heads of State to the Tribunal for initiating its suspension. In calling for the review, the SADC Heads of State denied Tembani access to the Tribunal to claim damages against the Zimbabwe government for refusing to comply with his SADC judgment.

Campbell died a few days after signing from injuries sustained during his abduction and brutal beating after the contentious Presidential run-off election in June 2008, but Tembani remains resolute. The Tribunal must continue to function in all respects as established by the SADC Treaty, he said.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *