SADC Ministers Discuss Zim Tribunal Violations

The meeting, attended by Foreign Affairs or Regional Integration ministers is held days ahead of the SADC summit heads of State and governments which opens Monday here.

The incoming chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of ministers Hage Geingob who is also Namibia’s Minister of Trade and Industry told Radio VOP that the issue was to be discussed at the meeting.

“It’s on the agenda but it’s already controversial. It’s on the agenda of the ministers meeting especially about the SADC Tribunal issues on property that has been seized,” said Geingob.

“When the ruling was made from here about the farmers, people were saying the Windhoek ruling as if Windhoek owns the SADC Tribunal. The court is your court that is based here. People say Namibians are
against Zimbabweans or President Mugabe but we signed the SADC treaty, Zimbabwe signed and if you sign there are obligations that coming with signing and we will say this to Zimbabwe but diplomatically off
course.”

The SADC Tribunal based in the Namibian capital was established in 2003 by a SADC treaty signed by regional governments. Its duty is to provide legal recourse to issues from aggrieved regional citizens who
will not have got satisfactory rulings in their own countries.

A group of white farmers took their case to the tribunal in 2007 to seek redress after they lost the farms under Mugabe’s controversial and often chaotic land reform programme of 2000.

The regional court delivered a landmark ruling in November 2008 in favour of the farms saying the land reforms in Zimbabwe were against the SADC treaty because they were discriminatory in nature.

The Zimbabwe government defied the ruling calling it a “day dream” and declared that it was no longer going to be bound by any ruling of the tribunal.

The case was referred by the court to the full summit of the heads of state and government but has so far not been part of the agenda.