They NEVER mention how the Baas got the land in the first place.
Court Dismisses Farmers Constitutional Appeal
SW Radio Africa (London)
23 January 2008
Posted to the web 23 January 2008
By Tererai Karimakwenda
The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe on Tuesday dismissed a constitutional appeal by white farmer Mike Campbell, who was seeking to block the government from evicting him from his Mount Carmell Farm in the Chegutu District.
The decision was handed down by the full bench of the Supreme Court almost a year after they first heard the case. It means Campbell now faces eviction. But the government last month promised to abide by an interim order granted by the SADC Tribunal in Namibia, which said they should not take any steps to evict Campbell, or interfere with his operations, until the Tribunal hears the full case later this year.
Campbell was challenging Constitutional Amendment Number 17, which nationalized all farmland in the country. The amendment also forbids Zimbabwean courts from hearing land related cases, effectively taking away the right of any farmer to challenge the acquisition of their property.
The decision basically means the Supreme Court upheld Amendment 17 as Constitutional. It read in part: "By a fundamental law, the legislature has unquestionably said that such an acquisition shall not be challenged in any court of law. There cannot be any clearer language by which the jurisdiction of the courts is excluded."
The case was heard in the court in March 2007 and there had been no decision until now. The Zimbabwean authorities use this delay tactic to frustrate farmers, hoping they will give up. But Campbell had appealed to the SADC Tribunal in Namibia for justice. It remains to be seen whether the Zimbabwe government will comply with the interim order not to evict him.
John Worsley Worswick of Justice for Agriculture (JAG), which represents evicted farmers, was at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. He said the ruling now puts the case firmly in the hands of SADC tribunal. He said the regional court's ruling should be enforceable in Zimbabwe and it should override the Supreme Court ruling.
Asked whether he believes the Zimbabwe government will comply with the interim order barring eviction, Worswick said: "Having signed the SADC protocol they should respect that in terms of it being subjudice in the SADC Tribunal. And protection with regard to the relief ruling out of the Tribunal, should be respected until that court has heard and ruled." Given the Zimbabwe government's history regarding respect for laws, it is unlikely they will comply with the SADC court's order and wait for the full hearing.
Worswick said meanwhile pressure on white farmers to vacate their properties continues to intensify. He believes part of the government's strategy is to remove all white farmers before the elections scheduled for March. Although he gave no details, Worswick said farmer Mike Campbell had come under pressure from a "political chef."