OUR KEY ACTIVITIES:
Projects & activities that contribute towards solutions for the Zimbabwean crisis
WAYS TO HELP
We organise fundraisers for our Zimbabwean work but we’re a small team and would greatly value help from our supporters and anyone willing to help. Here are a couple of ideas – please contact us with yours!
NEWS FROM ZIMBABWE
Easter greetings from the MCF
In the Mike Campbell Foundation’s Easter letter, Executive Director Ben Freeth reports on the remarkable success of the Foundation’s open-pollinated maize project in Zimbabwe, which has achieved a record yield this season. “This is very exciting in what has become such a desperately poor, hungry and struggling nation,” writes Ben. “Our free starter packs of open-pollinated seed will once again be distributed around the country to help as many as 15,000 families who have become the poorest of the poor to feed themselves in the coming year - and beyond. This is double what we have given out in previous years!”
THE SADC TRIBUNAL CAMPBELL CASE
Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd et al. v. Republic of Zimbabwe is a landmark test case decided by the SADC Tribunal. It held that the government violated the SADC treaty by denying court access and engaging in racial discrimination in the confiscation of land.
The SADC Tribunal was set up as a regional court to hear disputes between SADC member states and between individuals and states. The Tribunal was a court of last resort for those who had been denied access to justice in their own countries.
The Mike Campbell Foundation has initiated a court case which involves a group of dispossessed Zimbabwean farmers taking former South African President Zuma and the SA government to court for participating in the closure of the SADC Tribunal regional court.
COURT CASES JUSTICE & LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY
The MCF took the courageous decision to use the law to focus on justice and legal accountability and to establish a workable legal foundation for property rights in Zimbabwe in the future. This has included a number of ground-breaking court cases
CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE TRAINING
We provide practical conservation agriculture training to an average of 144 destitute farm workers and others in their communities each year, teaching them how to feed their families on just 1/16th of a hectare using our free open-pollinated seed.
CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE FIELD DAY
The objective of our latest, well-attended conservation agriculture field day was to showcase our conservation agriculture activities and achievements – despite the ongoing drought conditions - in Harare and the Chegutu district of Zimbabwe.
OPEN-POLLINATED SEED PROJECT
Our open-pollinated seed project provides free high quality seed that can be replanted each year to destitute farm workers and other needy people in Zimbabwe. In 2017, we distributed more than 4,500 seed packs followed by 8,000 in 2018.
SCHOOL FEES PROJECT
In 2018, we paid school fees for 262 children of destitute farm workers and pastors, as well as tertiary fees for two students. For the first two terms of 2019, we paid school fees for 256 children and two tertiary students.
FOOD CRISIS SOLUTION
Faced with yet another food crisis and economic collapse due to the demise of agriculture, the solution is simple – and this is what the MCF is working towards: Title deeds must be allocated for all agricultural land and title to the commercial farmland must be restored.
Impact of SA violence on Zimbabwe
Violent demonstrations in South Africa that have seen businesses attacked, looted and torched, will negatively affect trade with Zimbabwe and other regional partners. Zimbabwe’s industries will be impacted by the insurrection in its largest trading partner as trade channels get clogged and supply chains disrupted. The insurrection over the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court started KwaZulu-Natal and have spread rapidly, notably to the Gauteng economic hub. There are severe disruptions at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay.
Cathy Buckle on the destruction in SA
Cathy Buckle’s latest newsletter from Zimbabwe is written to the country’s friends and neighbours in South Africa: Oh South Africa, we are heartbroken for you. Your pain is our pain. We have watched events of this week [and the destruction] in absolute horror, overcome with helplessness. As if the orgy of stealing wasn’t enough, shops, warehouses and buildings were deliberately set on fire by the looters. For twenty years South Africa has been our home from home. The place we could go to for solace, comfort, healing, sanity, food, work and so much more. Now we know how you have felt watching us for the past two decades.
Mnangagwa extends lockdown by two weeks
President Mnangagwa extended the level 4 lockdown by two more weeks from 14 July 2021 and deferred the reopening of schools, as the country recorded an 80% prevalence of the vicious Delta COVID-19 variant. Mnangagwa said his administration was targeting one million people for vaccination against the virus during the extended two-week lockdown period. On 12 July, 2 681 people tested positive to the virus while 59 died. The number of active cases in the country stood at 21 258. Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the national COVID-19 vaccination programme was now open to everyone.
The rule of law must apply
On 7 July 2021, former South African president Jacob Zuma was taken into custody to begin serving a 15-month prison sentence imposed on him the previous week for contempt of the Constitutional Court. The sentence was imposed after the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, argued before the court that Zuma should be jailed for defying the same court’s order that he appear and testify before the commission. This sends a strong message that the rule of law must apply, and that no one is above the law, an important democratic principle.
Diaspora’s right to vote being refused again
In 2018, President Mnangagwa pledged to extend voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad – a move that, if implemented, would answer a decades-long plea by the country’s citizens in the Diaspora, who have consistently asked for the unconditional removal of restrictions to their right to vote. However, it has become apparent that the promise was mere political grandstanding as it was recently rescinded in a statement by Zanu-PF’s acting political commissar, Patrick Chinamasa. Last year the estimated 5 million people in the Zimbabwean Diaspora sent home a total of US$1-billion which accounted for 5% of GDP.
Current strategies won’t fix economy
While Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube claims he remains optimistic about the country’s economic future, there are two sides to every coin, writes Alec Hogg of the BizNews Power Hour. In comparison, highly respected economist John Robertson says that while there has been some improvement, recovery is still some distance away – mainly because the government is refusing to fix what they broke. When they took land off the market, the link between the farmers and the banks was broken – and that breakage is still there. Manufacturing relied on dependable supplies of agricultural raw materials.
Corruption and State Capture – Kuda Tagwirei
Reports analysing corruption and State Capture in Zimbabwe seem to be coming thick and fast. Maverick Citizen has obtained a new report published on Thursday that zooms in on the burgeoning offshore business empire of Kudakwashe Tagwirei, Zimbabwe’s richest businessperson and a close adviser to President Mnangagwa. In August 2020 Tagwirei was added to the US’s sanctions list. He also looms large in two earlier documents reported on by Maverick Citizen: the Cartel Power Dynamics report (published in February 2021), and the Africa Risk Consulting (ARC) Political Stakeholders report (published in March 2021).
The rule of law, Jacob Zuma and Mugabe
There are moments in rule of law, which determine whether rule of law or rule of politics prevails. The actions of political leaders, especially presidents, shape the culture of societies. On 29 June 2021, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that former president Jacob Zuma was in contempt of court, and he was sentenced to an effective 15 months’ imprisonment. If Zuma fails to comply, the damage will be irreparable. SA has a moment now, to elect whether to go the Zimbabwean route - which Mugabe did when he repeatedly flouted the rule of law - or maintain its own and respect judicial pronouncements.
The impact of Zim’s worthless currency
“I can’t cope with it anymore,” the old Zimbabwean lady said to author Cathy Buckle, “it’s this money, it’s not worth anything now and I don’t understand all these different rates.” If you go into the supermarket with one US dollar, writes Cathy, “you will get the government’s set rate for the week which is currently Z$85.26 and isn’t enough to buy a loaf of bread or a tin of baked beans and is only half the amount needed to buy a litre of milk.” Cathy asked what treat she could get the old lady and a few other pensioners whose monthly pensions are worth less than US$30. We haven't been able to afford milk for two years they said.
Miniscule first compensation payment
The Zimbabwe government made its first compensation payment as part of an agreement to settle a dispute with white commercial farmers who had their land seized violently two decades ago. The state-linked Kuvimba Mining House Ltd. transferred just $1 million to the farmers as the government asked for a delay in paying the full $3.5 billion compensation it had agreed to a year ago. While the payment is a fraction of that agreed to, resolving the dispute is key to the country pulling out of the economic stagnation that the land seizures, ordered by then President Robert Mugabe, triggered.
2018 Elections: International community let down
Public law specialist Alex Magaisa, award-winning journalist and filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono and Camilla Nielsson, director of President, discuss the making of the film and the Zimbabwean electoral system. Nielsen contends that ‘the international community let the Zimbabweans down big time on this one’. President details the rigged 2018 Zimbabwean elections from within the campaign of Nelson Chamisa, the president of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance (the opposition party). The film follows the buildup to the elections, the corruption and the disappointing aftermath of Zanu-PF’s stolen victory.
Land beneficiary records in a shambles
Zimbabwe’s ministry of Lands says beneficiaries of the land reform programme owe the government ZW$145.4 million for the infrastructure they inherited on allocated land, but the Auditor-General’s report for 2019 says there is no database of such farmers and farm improvements. The audit lays bare the government’s shambolic record-keeping in the Agriculture ministry. The country embarked on a fast-track land reform programme at the turn of the millennium which it claimed was to address colonial ownership imbalances and which came against the backdrop of mounting pressure from disgruntled war veterans.
Excelgate: Zim’s stolen 2018 election
It’s well known that the Zimbabwean presidential election of 2018 was stolen to consolidate the political gains of the military coup of 2017 that ended the rule of Robert Mugabe.. What is neither known nor understood, is how the election was stolen and the nature of the system that conducted the spectacular theft. Even more unknown is that the popular opposition presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa actually scored 66 percent of the vote while Emmerson Mnangagwa trailed far behind with 33 percent. Prof Jonathan Moyo’s book Excelgate: How Zimbabwe’s 2018 Presidential Election Was Stolen, reveals all.
New ARC report on corruption
A 50-page report written by private consultancy Africa Risk Consulting (ARC) promises to reignite questions about the capture of Zimbabwe’s economy by cartels and politicians that were raised in the report on Cartel Dynamics published by Maverick Citizen earlier this year. Titled Zimbabwe Political Economy Stakeholder Map, it was published in March 2021 but is confidential and not available online. Focusing on the main individuals involved, it warns that “Zimbabwe is rapidly moving toward a Russian-style oligarchical system [and that] it’s becoming a regional hub for laundering illicit wealth that is fuelling violent conflict.”
Govt takes successful farm from blacks
Sipho Malunga, the director of the Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA) and two associates who run a very successful farming operation on their legally purchased farm outside Bulawayo are now being targeted by the government because of Mr Malunga’s human rights activities. On 14 June he reported on Twitter that he had received a call from the Lands Office in Bulawayo stating “that the Zim Govt has acquired our privately owned farm & tomorrow they are coming to peg it & give it to people they have allocated it to. This isn’t about land reform & we will fight it in every way.”
Role of Rule of Law in Free Trade Area
The Agreement forming the African Free Trade Area came into force on 30 May 2019 and was launched on 1 January 2021. The main objective is to create a single market for goods and services and to facilitate the movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent. The efficacy of this body depends upon the respect that it is given by the member states. The main legal hurdle that the continent has to overcome is centered on the issue of the rule of law. A precedent has already been set by the Zimbabwean government, which refused to recognize the decisions of the SADC Tribunal.
Can man escape divine justice?
Can man escape divine justice? In February 2020, Zimbabwean Chief Justice Luke Malaba and his cohorts at the Supreme Court, ruled … that the RTGS dollar was equivalent to the US dollar. This resulted in many Zimbabweans losing their savings yet again. Furthermore, debts incurred in US dollars could now be repaid in RTGS dollars. The decree was a windfall for debtors whose debts were denominated in US dollars , but for creditors, it was a nightmare. However, Chief Justice Malaba, having reached the retirement age of 70, now faces retirement on a pension of US$30 per month instead of his anticipated US$ 3,000 per month!
Turkey interested in investing in the NRZ
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha has left the country for Turkey to engage investors that are keen to help revive the organisation. Other interested parties include Russia, China, Indonesia and Turkey. According to Dinha, “there’s interest from Russia through the provision of wagons and locomotives” and from Turkey.
Turkey, a giant in rail, has shown interest in developing the new rail line and links, in particular the Lion’s Den-Kafue-Zambia railway link and the Shamva-Mutoko link.
Assessment of mining in protected areas
This report adopts a conservationist’s perspective in exploring the impacts of mining on wildlife, biodiversity, and the environment. The primary objective is to provide factual evidence on the intersection of mining and conservation in Protected Areas and Critical Ecosystems (PACE). While both are major contributors to socio-economic development, mining in PACE raises critical questions on the negative impacts on biodiversity, tourism, and the fundamental human rights of communities including the right to water, health, clean and safe environment. This report covers Chimanimani, Hwange, Umfurudzi, and Mazowe.