SADC Tribunal Refers Inclusive Government To The SADC Full Summit
Another picture of the burning farmhouse belonging to Ben Freeth at Mount Carmel Farm in Chegutu. Freeth and others, who continue to be harassed by invaders, have had their stories dismissed by Tsvangirai as "overblown". On Friday the SADC Tribunal ruled that the Zimbabwe government is in contempt of court for the continuing invasions of Mike Campbell farm and others in Chegutu. They referred the government to the full SADC Summit in the DRC and recommended that they take action against the Inclusive Harare regime
Harare, Zimbabwe, 06 September 2009
On Friday, the SADC Tribunal ruled that Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai's Inclusive Government was in contempt of the court's ruling regarding the fate of more than 70 farms being forcibly acquired by the government.
The tribunal referred the Zimbabwe government to the full SADC Summit to be held this coming week in the DRC and recommended that they take action against the Harare regime.
It remains to be seen whether anything will come from this at all.
But we must understand that this is not, in the legal sense, a ruling against Mugabe (although morally it is). Rather this is a ruling against both Mugabe and Tsvangirai as leaders of the government in Zimbabwe.
In fact, legally speaking, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the person in charge of policy formulation and implementation, will bear responsibility legally for this. And he has not helped matters with his statements on the whole fiasco.
So, although Tsvangirai is not officially part of the Zimbabwe delegation to the SADC Summit in the DRC next week, the appeal will reflect also on the way he is handling his prime ministerial responsibilities.
Previously, the white Zimbabwean farmers could count on the opposition forces to put their grievances before SADC Heads of State as part of the problems bedeviling the Southern African nation.
Now, however, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the Times of South Africa pointed out yesterday, has dismissed reports of the continued disruptions of farming activities and fresh invasions as "overblown", exaggerated.
In the fight he is currently engaged in with Mugabe in the Inclusive Government, the issue of continued land invasions is not cited as an outstanding issue, even though the Global Political Agreement that is the basis of this fight clearly called for an end to new invasions and directed the Inclusive Government's efforts towards boosting production.
The Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe will most likely also send a delegation to the SADC Summit but it will simply be reduced to an observer status, as I will report in the story following this one.
It is pointless to repeat the counter arguments at play between Tsvangirai and Mugabe here. They are well known.
It does appear, however, that the issue of land invasions is one on which Tsvangirai and Mugabe are now one.
Which is a tragedy, because as everyone (including the MDC when it was in opposition), has pointed out, Agriculture is at the heart of the revival of Zimbabwe's fortunes.
Almost three quarters of our industry (manufacturing etc) relies heavily on the performance of the agricultural sector. So, unless this is addressed, everything else is moot.
Yet here we are, Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai are now also pursuing the same policy as Mugabe, not only on land invasions, but (and this is more worrying) also in terms of strategies being employed to revive the sector.
The Inclusive Government last week announced a US$200 million freebie to farmers in the form of inputs and other goodies.
No account has been given of the assistance given before to these very people, who then failed to farm and forced Zimbabwe to go begging for food on the international stage like the international street kid of the Global Village that she is.
The only accounting done was so that a few MDC MPs could be arrested and their seats thrown open for by-elections.
Other than that, there is nothing at all to instill confidence that things will be different this time around.
It is still the same crowd that sold fuel, used tractors as public transport for paying villagers and sold fertiliser and seeds at knockdown prices (the did not pay for it in the first place, so there is no pain in doing this) etc.
There will be no recovery in agriculture next year and excuses are already being dreamt up.
With short memories, Zimbabwe will swallow the MDC line next year that the disruptions ensured no production (despite the US$200 million poured into the coffers of farmers).
ZANU PF will simply say that sanctions still remain in force against Zimbabwe and that this is the reason why there could be no production.
No one will think back to this moment. No one will question Mugabe on the vast sums dispensed. No one will challenge Tsvangirai on his statements now that these continued invasions are of no consequence and are "overblown."