Germany concerned over return to lawlessness

The letter sent by the German embassy in Harare, which is dated November 26 but was only received by journalists on Tuesday, follows an attempt by some Zimbabweans to take over a German-owned farm near the border with Botswana.

Members of President Robert Mugabe’s nationalist Zanu-PF party have seized thousands of white-owned farms, often without compensation, over the past nine years.

‘Once again, the German Embassy notes with great concern that property rights of German nationals and their investments in Zimbabwe are put under threat, which is a clear violation of international law,’ the letter said.

‘Despite repeated confirmations of high ranking representatives of the Zimbabwean Government about the latter’s intention to honour the BIPPA (Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement) in full, the development on the ground so far shows few commitment to these clear announcements,’ the letter said.

Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengwegwi confirmed he had received the letter.

‘We are going to look at the concerns of the letter and communicate with the Germans,’ he said.

The letter is the second official protest by Germany to Zimbabwe.

Last month, Berlin protested to Harare over the beating meted to a 51-year-old German Catholic priest by soldiers in Zimbabwe.