SADC Tribunal Reserves Judgement On Zimbabwe

The farmers Louis Fick, William Michael Campbell, Richard Etheredge together with the Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe (CFU) and the
Southern African Commercial Farmers’ Alliance filed an application before the court to hold the government of Zimbabwe in contempt of the
SADC Tribunal Court and to obtain an order to urgently refer the continued disregard of a tribunal ruling passed in 2007 in favour of the farmers to SADC Summit for a determination.

“The court has reserved judgement in the matter because the Zimbabwean government officials did not turn up for the court session,” Ben
Freeth, a representative of the farmers told Radio VOP by phone from Namibia. “We view the fail to turn up as deliberate. We now wait for the
judgement before deciding on our next action.”

The government of Zimbabwe has however in the past indicated through the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa that it will not appear
before the tribunal again arguing that a treaty establishing the court was not properly ratified by all the regional countries.

A top lawyer at the AG’s office had told Radio VOP on Monday: “We are not being represented at the tribunal because our position remains the same – we are not bound by that court.”

In January the High Court in Harare refused to enforce a SADC Tribunal judgment. President Robert Mugabe later described the judgment as “nonsensical and of no consequence”. 

Justice Bharat Patel who heard the matter in the High Court said the order on farm seizures could not be implemented because it was against public policy and would cause anarchy in the country.