SADC Set To Discuss Zimbabwe Land Reform

Harare,- Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform programme is set to take centre stage in the upcoming Southern African Development Community (SADC) special summit on Zimbabwe to be held on Friday, a SADC official has revealed.\r\n

The summit to take place in Namibia will discuss Zimbabwe’s land reform programme and a report prepared by the sub-region’s Justice Ministers and Attorney Generals when they met in Swakopmund, Namibia last month.

“A report on the operations of the court and the issues around the land reform in Zimbabwe that were handled by the court will be discussed,” Charles Mkandawire, the SADC Tribunal Registrar told Radio VOP from Windhoek.

Mkandawire added that, “the report will be tabled by the Namibian Minister of Justice who is the chair of the committee which came up with the report.”

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the state media on Monday that the committee of Ministers and AGs had acknowledged that the regional court was improperly constituted and its decisions were null and void.

The report is yet to be presented before SADC leaders who will have a final say on the future of the regional court.

The Windhoek-based court which has issued various judgments in favour of displaced white commercial farmers was put under review last year after complaints from the Zimbabwean government that it was not properly constituted and its operations were usurping powers of national constitutions.

The tribunal has not been entertaining any cases from the region during the time that the committee of Ministers and Attorney Generals has been reviewing its operations. The Tribunal has been a thorn in the flesh of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party after it ruled in November 2008 that the controversial land reform programme was discriminatory, racist and illegal under the SADC Treaty.

The regional court ordered the Zimbabwe government not to seize land from the 79 farmers who had appealed to the Namibia-based court and said Harare must compensate those it had already evicted from their farms.