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No Consistency in Minister’s Stance

THE Commercial Farmers Union wishes to reply on behalf of its affected members to the Herald report on  September 2 of a change in the Zimbabwe government’s position regarding the legality of the Sadc Tribunal.

We do not know if the minister involved,  Patrick Chinamasa, had duly consulted with the inclusive government and had authority to take the action or make the statements he has made.
Without authority naturally he will be personally responsible for any consequences.
The Tribunal record shows that this minister has previously accepted that the government of Zimbabwe is bound by the Tribunal’s rulings, at international level, and must respect them.
The argument he has now advanced for his revised view is based on implying unwritten extra rules into the Sadc Treaty.
He claims that under these unwritten rules the Tribunal Protocol adopted by the Summit in 2000, and the agreement amending the Sadc Treaty adopted by the Summit in 2001, and the amendment to the Tribunal Protocol adopted by the Summit in 2002 have all not yet come into force or effect.
If that is accepted, Zimbabwe unavoidably must also pull out of all new Sadc institutions created by its agreement in 2001, including its organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation and other bodies that it is still participating in.
Zimbabwe should also revert to being represented in the Council of Ministers by its Finance minister or of Economic Planning, and not by its Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In the absence of this, we respectfully suggest the minister’s new posture cannot be taken seriously.
We inform readers that all legal advice we have received, all documents filed with the Tribunal by the Attorney General’s Office until now, and the independent legal opinions we have seen, do not support the minister’s belated change of stance.
With respect the Minister seems to be clutching at straws.

Charles Taffs,
Vice President,
The Commercial Farmers Union.

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