Sadc Tribunal pull-out null and Void –– Tsvangirai

CABINET will meet to deliberate on Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa’s decision to write to the Sadc Tribunal alleging that Zimbabwe had pulled out of the regional judicial body, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said this week.


Tsvangirai told the Zimbabwe Independent that there was no cabinet resolution or decision to withdraw from the Sadc Tribunal.
Last week, Chinamasa wrote to the court indicating that the government has decided to pull out of it.
In the letter Chinamasa declared the court “unlawful”.
However, Tsvangirai speaking for the first time on the issue, said Chinamasa’s letter was null and void since the minister was not given the green light by cabinet to write to the Sadc Tribunal.
Tsvangirai said in the absence of a cabinet resolution authorising Chinamasa to write to the regional body, cabinet would meet and seek an explanation from Chinamasa.
“The truth of the matter is that this issue was not discussed in cabinet and Chinamasa had no authority to write to the Sadc Tribunal and in this government, there is no ministerial policy alone, all policy is government policy and has to be agreed to by cabinet, so cabinet will meet to decide on what action to take against Chinamasa,” Tsvangirai said.
He said as far as government was concerned, Zimbabwe was still a member of all Sadc organs unless and until cabinet and the all-inclusive government decided otherwise.
“We have not seceded from Sadc and all its organs and no discussions and decisions have been taken for Zimbabwe to leave any Sadc organs. We are still a full member of all Sadc organs,” Tsvangirai said.    
In his letter to the Sadc Tribunal, Chinamasa said government would not be bound by any decisions already made, or any future rulings by the regional court.
Chinamasa’s letter followed a judgment passed by the regional court last November in support of Zimbabwe’s beleaguered commercial farmers who had approached the court to seek redress after they were displaced from their farms.
“As we are unaware of any other basis upon which the Tribunal can exercise jurisdiction over Zimbabwe, we hereby advise that, henceforth, we will not appear before the Tribunal and neither will we respond to any action or suit instituted or be pending against the Republic of Zimbabwe before the Tribunal,” Chinamasa wrote.
More than 70 farmers took government to the Sadc Tribunal and in a landmark ruling the regional court backed the farmers, a move that incensed the government.
The Sadc tribunal ruled that Zimbabwe’s land reform programme was illegal, racist and discriminatory.
The tribunal ordered the Zimbabwe government to protect the farmer’s right to their land.

 

Loughty Dube