What are we doing now ?
"If good men do nothing, evil will prevail"
The 4 Areas We Are Working On:
1. Accountability Programme: Accountability through the Courts outside Zimbabwe
The Mike Campbell Foundation stands in solidarity with farmers and farm workers who have been victims of theft, arson, political violence, rape, dispossession and murder. The perpetrators of the crimes have never been brought to justice and the same names of state actors crop up again and again. It is important that they are held accountable for their illegal activities and the atrocities they have committed. Constant monitoring is required.
The MCF is working with leading lawyers who are giving of their time to help restore justice and the rule of law. Mike Campbell, a Zimbabwean commercial farmer, took the Zimbabwe Government to court for stealing farms on a purely racial basis, with no redress in a Zimbabwean court of law and no compensation. Subsequently 77 other commercial farmers joined the case. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal, the highly respected regional court, ruled in their favour and they were told they could continue to live in their homes and farm their land. However, Mike’s farm was destroyed and the homesteads and worker homes were burnt down.
The Tribunal awarded costs for the case and a Zimbabwe government house in South Africa was subsequently attached for sale to cover the costs. The Zimbabwe government appealed in South Africa and lost the case. They then appealed to South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal and again lost the case. This is believed to be the first sale of a property belonging to a state that has committed gross human rights violations. The Zimbabwean government has now taken the case to the Constitutional Court in South Africa.
2. The film and Campaign to Save the SADC Tribunal
The SADC Tribunal was dissolved in May 2011. This Tribunal was the only human rights court in southern Africa to which a person or business could take their case when justice had been denied throughout their own domestic court system. The MCF joined the campaign to Save the SADC Tribunal in its entirety and made a short lobby film narrated by MCF Patron Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Prior to the crucial August SADC Summit, the MCF worked in partnership with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, the International Commission of Jurists and other legal entities to lobby the 15 Member States of SADC to reinstate the Tribunal. Regrettably the decision was taken at the Summit to reinstate the Tribunal only for inter-state disputes and without its human rights mandate – thus abandoning people who have suffered violations of human rights, notably in Zimbabwe, and eliminating recourse to justice. The MCF is working to help restore the SADC Tribunal in its entirety, including its vital human rights mandate.
The MCF is helping destitute farmers and farm workers in a variety of ways. For example, we assist farm workers by providing them with the skills to survive and send them on courses through Foundations for Farming, which focuses on conservation agriculture and requires minimal inputs. In addition, we provide the farm workers with seed. One bag will feed a family for a year, with seed for the next season’s crops. We also run a hand-embroidery linen project for farm workers’ wives, which helps restore dignity and self-esteem and helps them to feed and educate their children.
4. Raising Awareness
The MCF raises awareness through governments, the media, speaking tours, agricultural unions, business people, law societies in the southern African region and internationally. The new constitution in Zimbabwe legalises the theft of land, among other things, and the MCF is working hard to expose its serious flaws prior to the referendum. We believe that we need to speak out and ensure that the voice of the voiceless is heard. We may still have a long road ahead, but evil will NOT win. We have a great God – and in Him we put our trust.