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Thursday, January 12, 2012

International Law, Zimbabwean law and the compensation debate.

By Ben Freeth For some years there has been a debate amongst valuators, lawyers, farmers, governments and others as to what farmers should claim compensation for after having had their homes, their businesses, their land with all its developments, their equipment, their crops, their livestock, their wildlife and all they ever worked for, trashed, stolen, destroyed or killed without compensation or restitution.

More than a decade has slipped by since the land invasions began and through that time Zimbabwean law has become more draconian and unjust in terms of the obliteration of property rights and basic human freedoms - and still, even Zimbabwean law is not being applied in any way in terms of compensating those that have been brought into states of destitution through the lawlessness that has been allowed to prevail.

The monster of the controlled anarchy of land invasions continues on in

2012 - and the last white owned farms continue to be grabbed. The farm workers are left in poverty and the country, every year, has to be saved from starving by Britain and America with millions of dollars of their tax payers money going to food aid.

It is clear to any sane thinking person that Zimbabwean law and its application is rotten to the core. Why else would a new constitution be required? Why else would international courts and international jurists be so scathing of it in international legal forums - and international Judgments from international courts strike Zimbabwean law down? Why else would the people of our land be hungry and the demise of our economy through the use of flawed Zimbabwean laws have broken so many records?

It is disturbing therefore to have various valuators insisting that in Zimbabwe we must go by Zimbabwean law.

The crux of the debate for all Zimbabweans who want a better future for the next generation should be "do we choose to be under man and Zimbabwean law; or do we choose to be under God and what is right in International law?"

If we choose to remain under Zimbabwean law we choose to accept that we are under dictatorial tyranny and we choose to live our resultant meager fearful

lives accordingly. When a paltry plate of compensation is offered we must

accept it and allow that title to be swallowed up in the sands of time by the state for purposes of controlling the people, knowing that under state ownership it will never be very productive again - and Zimbabwe will limp on with its beggar hands out to the rest of the world to feed its people. We can only dream then of what was, and what was not to be.

If we choose to accept that Zimbabwean law is wrong then it is incumbent on us to choose to throw fear aside and stand for God and what is right in international law. We choose then to do everything we can to understand and use what is right in international conventions, international treaties, international financial institutions, international companies and international organizations and governments to put pressure on what is wrong in the Zimbabwean system that is doing so much to destroy so many lives.

If we all dare to stand unashamedly for God and what is right in international law, we will find that over time, what is right in international law will prevail. Property rights will be respected. The next generation will be able to rebuild our farms, schools, hospitals, businesses, electricity sources, roads, and other infrastructure. With that Zimbabwe will take its place internationally as a nation of hope - employing its people productively and exporting its surplus food to the countries around that have chosen the other road - the one that we are on now - which is called tyranny.

It is the time that the valuators gave their clients a choice: "do you wish to be like Esau and sell your birthright - everything you have ever worked for-for a bowl of stew? Or do you want everything possible to be done to ensure that international law prevails?"

Ben Freeth

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