Skip to comments.Zimbabwe court rules seizing of white-owned land legal
Posted on 12/05/2001 12:08:25 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's top court has declared the government's plan to seize white-owned farms legal, overturning its own previous ruling that the seizures were unconstitutional.
In a judgment released Tuesday, four of the five Supreme Court justices appointed to hear the new seizure case said they were satisfied the government's "fast track" land nationalization program was lawful and "sufficiently complied" with the constitution.
Last year's Supreme Court ruling declared the government's methods of land seizures illegal and in breach of constitutional ownership rights and government land laws.
Some of the judges who made that ruling have been replaced in recent months.
Four of the five judges hearing the new case, including Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, were appointed recently by President Robert Mugabe. Those four voted to uphold the government's land seizure program.
The Supreme Court traditionally had only five judges until Mugabe expanded the bench to eight in July, adding three judges considered loyal to the ruling party. The chief justice usually appoints small panels of judges to hear each case.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has described the court's expansion as a political ploy designed to turn the court into a government puppet.
Armed ruling party militants have occupied more than 1,700 white-owned farms since March 2000, demanding they be redistributed to landless blacks. The government has listed some 4,500 properties -- about 95 percent of farm land owned by whites -- for nationalization without compensation and last month warned about 800 farmers they had three months to vacate their land and homes.
Monday's court ruling rejected white farmers' assertions that the land seizures were taking place amid violence and a breakdown of law and order in farming districts.
It said the government had met the previous court's order to prove it had restored law and order and a sustainable land reform program in those districts.
Though it was not disputed that clashes took place on farms, "by definition, the concept of rule of law foresees a situation in which behavior prescribed as criminal will occur. The presence of the rule of law does not mean a totally crime free environment," the court said.
Adrian de Bourbon, the lawyer for the Commercial Farmers Union, had asked Chidyausiku and two other new appointees to recuse themselves from the hearing, alleging they had shown open allegiance to the ruling party and its land seizures.
None of the judges stepped down.
Monday's ruling described de Bourbon's request as "unbridled arrogance and insolence."
"This is the first and last time such contempt of this court will go unpunished," it said.
A spokesman for the union said farmers were surprised and disappointed by the decision.
"The ruling does not seem to be based on the strict application of the law or the rules of natural justice, but on a political argument," the spokesman said.
"We are obviously surprised and shocked by this because this is the highest court. But we hope the government will still find the wisdom to be reasonable," he said.
Judges have been under mounting pressure from the government and ruling party militants. Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced out after the government warned him and other judges they would not be protected from ruling party militants, who stormed the Supreme Court last December.
There might be legal precedent! Of course, Landsnatching . . . land, land, Land, see Snatch. Ah, Hailie vs. United Sates. Hailie: 7, United States: nothing. You see, it can be done!
They'll be plenty vocal when everyone is starving.
Another thing Mumar Kadafy has been sending in troops to "help" him with the election.
I believe Mugabe is giving him property for his troubles.
If I find the LINK about that I'll put it on the thread.
A CRACK unit of Libyan intelligence officers is in the country to beef up President Robert Mugabe's security and intelligence system as the nation lurches towards the 2002 presidential election, now only five months away, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
Intelligence sources told the Independent this week that over 20 Libyan nationals were booked at a local hotel and could be seen driving around in government vehicles. They are understood to be re-training intelligence personnel and President Mugabe's close security unit.
(November 5, 2001) Terror Militias set up for election
(November 7, 2001) Gadaafi to supply Mugabe with death squads?
Wanna Bet? It is not the US Negros who will be starving as a result of the African snafu's. Their "Afrika" is mostly a false fetish.
Social Development and World Peace(U.S. Catholic Conference)
But slavery is alive and well in Africa, run by Africans, condoned by Africans, so as to profit Africans.
So their President (executive branch) has legislative powers? Or is their Constitution simply a joke? (Unlike ours, which is merely treated that way by our representatives)