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Fresh farm invasions slammed

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SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) civic groups have expressed concern over fresh farm invasions in Zimbabwe spearheaded by top government officials and Zanu PF activists.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
STAFF REPORTER

Deputy chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula is among the government officials that have grabbed white-owned farms after he recently moved into Centenary Farm in Figtree, owned by David Connolly.

Ndhlukula reportedly said Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyaisuku ruled that white farmers could not appear in court on land disputes and no one would stop his seizure of the farm in defiance of a court ruling.

The civic groups said the land grabs were worrying and the Sadc Tribunal should be revived to offer redress to citizens who were denied justice in their own countries.

“While we acknowledge the assumption of Zimbabwe for the Sadc chairmanship, we remain deeply concerned with continued land invasions and internal displacements in Zimbabwe by the elites for self-aggrandisement and resource plundering,” the civic groups said in a communiqué after their Sadc people’s conference held in Bulawayo last week.

They recommended “the resuscitation of the Sadc Tribunal with a clear legal framework that will ensure individual access for all Sadc citizens and compliance from all member states”.

The tribunal was suspended in 2010 after Zimbabwe protested its alleged biased rulings in favour of white farmers over land disputes.

Civic groups also said the Sadc principles governing the holding of general elections should be revised to cultivate democracy in the region.

Mugabe, in his acceptance speech as the incoming Sadc chair on Sunday, said the bloc and other friendly African institutions should own elections instead of inviting hostile countries.

“We recommend the review of Sadc principles and guidelines on the conduct of democratic elections to enhance democracy and compliance by member states,” the civic groups said.

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