Ben Freeth – Executive Director
Ben Freeth MBE, is from the Chegutu farming district of central Zimbabwe. He studied at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and worked on farms in New Zealand, Tasmania and Zimbabwe where he was appointed the first regional executive officer for the Commercial Farmers’ Union in 1996. Together with his late father-in-law, Mike Campbell, he rose to international prominence in 2007 when they took President Mugabe’s government to court in the Southern African Development Community’s regional court, the SADC Tribunal. This was due to the regime’s ongoing attempts to unlawfully seize Mike’s Mount Carmel farm; for violating the SADC Treaty by denying access to the courts; and for engaging in racial discrimination and violence against white commercial farmers and their farm workers. Mike and Ben’s lawsuit was chronicled in the award-winning 2009 documentary film Mugabe and the White African. Ben subsequently wrote a book, also titled Mugabe and the White African, published in 2011, and a second book, When Governments Stumble: Lessons from Zimbabwe’s Past and Hope in Zimbabwe’s Future, published in 2013.
Through the Mike Campbell Foundation, Ben’s main focus is on restoring justice, the rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe. Since 2011, Ben has been involved in a regional campaign to save the SADC Tribunal following concerted lobbying by President Mugabe to either have the court closed down or to deny individual citizens access to the court. Despite the high profile regional campaign, the SADC Heads of State closed down the Tribunal in August 2012 and dismissed its team of highly respected judges drawn from the SADC region.
A committed Christian, Ben assists dispossessed and destitute farmers and farm workers. He works closely with Foundations for Farming in Zimbabwe, a Christian organisation, to provide training in conservation agriculture and to teach impoverished farm workers and others how to feed their families.
For more about Ben Freeth read > 'A Man with a Mission'