News / Africa

White Zimbabwe Farmers say Politics Trumps Justice at SADC Summit

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua

Southern African leaders leaders have given themselves another six months to review a 2008 tribunal ruling on Zimbabwe land reform.  The decision not to act came at this week’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Windhoek, Namibia. A SADC tribunal had ruled that nearly 80 white Zimbabwe farmers had their land unfairly taken from them due to their race.

John Worsely-Worswick, chief executive officer of the Justice for Agriculture Trust (JAG) in Zimbabwe, says he considers the SADC tribunal a human rights court.

“We’re very, very concerned,” he says, “because as far as we’re concerned this is overdue already in terms of action being taken.”

President Robert Mugabe has ignored the ruling, saying it failed to take into account a 1979 agreement with Britain about land reform following independence. The tribunal has found the government to be in contempt three times.

“The farmers that went there (tribunal) for protection and the farm workers…have not been protected at all,” he says.

Business as usual?

Worsely-Worswick says the decision to have a six month review of the tribunal ruling comes as no surprise.

“This has been the case for a long time with the Mugabe regime,” he says, “And it’s a case of always politics versus the law.  In the country here it’s always been the politics that have ruled….  And now for the first time we’ve seen the same effect, political effect, in a regional court.”

He says even if SADC leaders agree to enforce the ruling, things cannot return to the way they were prior to the farm seizures.

“We are not against land reform at all.  One has got to understand though that what we witnessed in the last 10 years here in Zimbabwe is not land reform at all….  It’s destroyed agriculture in the country and even communal area agriculture.  So certainly carrying on with the status quo is not a way forward,” he says.

The JAG leader says a “new way forward” must be found and “a just solution for all.”

Agriculture was king

He describes Zimbabwe as an agriculture driven based economy.  “We don’t see a way forward driven by either mining or tourism.  Certainly that’s not going to create the stability that’s required in terms of employment in the country…food security and also the foreign currency security that’s required,” he says.

He’s calling for a “de-politicized level playing field.”

“Issues with regard to tenure of the land, the title to the land, and we have a historical injustice dating back a hundred years on that front....  These issues need to be dealt with in the national interest and in the interest of citizens of Zimbabwe without political effect,” he says.

Recently, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said despite agricultural improvements in the country, nearly 1.7 million Zimbabweans will still need food aid over the next year.

Worsely-Worswick says agriculture has suffered greatly in recent years.

“Most of production has dropped by 80 percent.  The only area that hasn’t dropped was really on cotton production and that’s because it lends itself to smallholder production.  And then for the first time we’ve seen a reversal slightly in the level of tobacco production,” he says.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid