Thursday, May 12, 2005

Land seizures go to arbitration

Farmers who lost their property and infrastruture to Zimbabwe's controversial fast track land reform program are taking their case to international arbitration. This from (warning: graphic images) The Zimbabwean. Wilf Mbanga, The Zimbabwean's editor, writes that the farmers are taking the action because Zimbabwe signed the Bilateral Investment Treaty which mandated going to arbitration to solve disputes with some of the countries like the Netherlands.

I however think the seasoned writer let's his emotions get the better of him when he extrapolates the Zimbabwe crisis to equal a failure of NEPAD when he writes:

"The action is also likely to damage NEPAD severely. The expropriation of over US$4 billion in assets in Zimbabwe, without any action being taken by the international community - and without any condemnation from other African governments – is not going to encourage investment in Africa."

As South Africa's foreign minister said today in the UAE;

" Why should Africa suffer collective punishment, even if there were problems in Zimbabwe. Does all of the EU suffer because of problems in Northern Ireland? Zimbabwe is correcting an historic injustice. We may not agree with the methods but we agree with the correction of an injustice."

In other news, it emerged today that the Zim government cannot find a roof to put over their heads while they work. This has to be another first: a cabinet that's too big for the available cabinet offices! The irony of it is that Mugabe has dubbed this his "development cabinet." I'm sure his ministers will feel the obligation to "develop" the country in a very real way.

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