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Judgements are not to be evaded
June 29, 2013, 11:31 am

 

Dear Family and Friends,

It has become almost impossible to keep up with the so called ‘election roadmap’ in Zimbabwe as every day the tangled web gets ever more complicated. Every day the deadlines, dates and rules change as complications pile on top of each other. At the time of writing we still don’t have an election date. We don’t know if the second round of voter registration will be extended after the barrage of criticisms about unacceptable delays which in some cases have even led to riot police having to be called. We don’t understand how parliament can close before it has aligned the Public Order and Security Act or the Electoral Act in accordance with prior agreements. We are now a country without a parliament and without an election date. Everyone’s concerned about how long we’ll be in this state of limbo and who’s running the country while we are?

At the time of writing we still don’t know what’s going to happen to the multiple thousands of Zimbabweans who took up citizenship of other countries after they’d been disenfranchised and classed as ‘aliens’ in the last decade. The new constitutional court has just ruled that anyone born in Zimbabwe is automatically a citizen and can also hold citizenship of another country. The Court ruled that dual citizens are entitled to have the ‘alien’ status on their ID’s changed to citizen status and can be re-admitted to the voters roll. But how can this be effected, we ask, when the ruling  has come just days before voter registration closes. There’s not enough time now for dual citizens, many of whom may be working outside of the country,  to get into the mayhem of registration office queues to change their ID’s and get back on the voters roll.

Meanwhile a little light came on across the border regarding Zimbabwe’s land seizures. The SADC Tribunal Watch said recent developments had taken place in the legal campaign “to ensure that Zimbabwe is unable to escape its international-law obligations” in relation to land seizures. The South African Constitutional Court dismissed an appeal by the Zimbabwe government against an earlier ruling authorizing the  attachment of Zimbabwe government property in  execution of awards by the SADC Tribunal.  The Chief Justice said :  “Lawful judgments are not to be evaded with impunity by any State or person in the global village.”

To hear the phrases: “international-law obligations,” and “judgements are not to be evaded,” brings tears to our eyes and restores faith and hope. For thirteen years there’s been no relief for the thousands of people who had their farms seized without compensation in Zanu PF’s land reform programme. Contrary to the usual parroted excuses for what went on,  most of us who had our farms seized weren’t colonialists who came and grabbed land in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, we bought our farms legally on the open market in Zimbabwe after Independence, paying taxes and levies to the same government who later evicted us to gain political mileage.

And so with at least one glimmer of sanity, we turn back to our own messy little tangled web looking for an end, or a beginning. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy



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