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Has Sadc Tribunal Rights Watch signed a treaty with Zimbabwe?

27 Sep 2020 at 07:35hrs | Views
I READ with great interest a re cent letter to the editor by Ben Freeth in which he raises issue with the government of Zimbabwe regarding the land compensation question and property rights of individuals in Zimbabwe.

Freeth represents an organisation known as Sadc Tribunal Rights watch, which must have been formed after Zimbabwe's land reform programme with the sole purpose of dabbling in a matter which is purely domestic to the laws of Zimbabwe.

The first question that comes to mind being: Is Zimbabwe a signatory to this organisation? If not, why does Freeth think that anyone should account to the so called tribunal regarding the justice/injustice of the land reform programme in Zimbabwe? The name of the organisation purports to be a body formed by Sadc member states to protect land/ property rights in the region.

Why should Zimbabwe seek to protect property rights under the watchful eye of a regional body because the government launched a land reform programme for the benefit of its citizens? One must dismiss Freeth as an intruder in matters domestic to this country and its people.

The idea that a body like Freeth's tribunal should be set up to oversee how a Sadc member state should protect its citizens' property rights is frivolous and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms as a brazenly hostile agent of those who seek to show Zimbabwe in bad light in this regard.

Freeth, while raising issue regarding land tenure in this country, avoids like the plague mentioning how the land tenure was established in this country because the land reform largely affected whites in this country for whose protection the tribunal was formed outside Zimbabwe. In his letter, Freeth deliberately concealed his place of domicile.

One can take all 4 500 white farmers and 37 companies that owned land in Zimbabwe and therefore are due to benefit from the compensation exercise, it will be shown that the beneficiaries owe their land tenure to the August 14, 1893 Victoria Secret Agreement. What has caused the unceasing debate on compensation is government's refusal to accept that the origin of all white owned land in this country was with the secret agreement.

I have stated before and I will state this again, that the signing of that agreement came with the payment of £10 000 and the right to peg 6 000 acres of land by each of those who signed the agreement to take the land. All this became effective before the British South Africa Company forces crossed the border into Lobengula's Kingdom and the estate of anyone who died in the hostilities that followed was protected.

While the Kingdom was used as a pawn in the invasion, the expropriation of the land was not limited to the Kingdom, but affected the whole of what was to become Zimbabwe.

Freeth chooses to focus his attention on white land tenure because to him nothing else matters, but white land rights. This is so because he is ignorant of the origin of white land tenure in Zimbabwe. He, therefore, chooses to fudge instead of giving clear guidelines on a historically difficult matter.

Unfortunately the government of Zimbabwe refuses to accept the fact that the land tenure in this country has a colonial history and foundation and one can not do justice to the subject by looking for a quick-fix which is the 2013 constitution. Because those in the moronic fringe of its supporters will not question its decisions, government has ignored all else and is riding rough shod against those who seek justice for the people of Zimbabwe and also those who stand to benefit from its decision.

Vital information regarding those who stand to benefit from government's quick fix approach is being withheld from the people because government failed to do its homework before taking the plunge to compensate. This is why government has failed to justify why those people who expropriated the land by force of arms must be compensated, even though the injustice of this act to the people of this country is glaring.

There are those African people who lost state allocated farms because they were labelled members of the opposition. Government has chosen to deal with the issue of white farmers and has therefore failed to formulate a broad-based policy on how to fix the injustice on those who were accused of being political opponents of government. In this category are those who were allocated state farms but the farms and property were destroyed because the holders were labelled as members of the opposition.

Against this category of affect ed African farmers, government has actually made provision to compensate third and fourth generations of white farmers who benefited from the secret agreement. It has not declared its willingness to consider the cases of those Africans who suffered through politically motivated reasons.

Because government chooses to pay its attention to issues pertaining to white farmers only, government shall fail to redress the injustice suffered by African farmers despite its declared intention to clean up the land mess which was precipitated by its predecessor.

Freeth makes (not in so many words) an interesting observation that despite the finality of government's decision to compensate, the matter remains murky and unclear. He is right.

You can not ignore the reality of the history of the land tenure in Zimbabwe and persuade observers that you have not merely swept under the rug the really history of the land tenure in this country, but also choose to cherrypick those issues which have immediate benefits to the government.

Jonathan Maphenduka contact +263 772 332 404

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