from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – SOME white commercial farmers forced off their properties during violent seizure of farms in Zimbabwe have bemoaned a government decree that the United States dollar is now equal to the worthless new Zimbabwean currency.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Luke Malaba, seen by the aggrieved farmers as loyal to the ruling party, has upheld the government’s decree that the US dollar debt is now at par with the so-called bond dollar note.
This judgment gives anyone who owes money prior to February 2019, the authority to effectively pay 5 US cents for every dollar they owe.
Thus, government’s debt to farmers driven off properties has now discounted by 95 percent.
“This, unequivocally, is theft by conversion,” the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal Rights Watch stated.
The organisation advocates for the compensation of farmers driven off properties during the chaotic land reform exercise in Zimbabwe.
The SADC Tribunal in 2008 held that the Zimbabwe government violated the organisation’s treaty by denying access to the courts and engaging in racial discrimination against white farmers whose lands had been confiscated since 2000.
Ben Freeth, spokesperson for SADC Tribunal Rights Watch, said following the decree, farmers and who had prior payment agreements which government has failed to settle, will now receive those payments at a 95 percent discounted amount.
“The amount that they receive will diminish even further as the controversial Zimbabwean dollar continues to lose value,” he explained.
Freeth expressed worry about the continuing failure of the Zimbabwean government to resolve the land issue.
“To date, less than one percent of the compensation bill has been settled,” Freeth said.
– CAJ News