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Sadc to discuss tribunal court revival

Sadc to discuss tribunal court revival

Tendai Mugabe Harare Bureau
Sadc will discuss the resuscitation of its tribunal court at the forthcoming 35th Heads of State and Government Summit to be convened in a week’s time in Botswana, the regional body’s chairman President Robert Mugabe has said.

Unlike its disbanded, donor-driven and controversial predecessor, President Mugabe said the reconstituted Tribunal would be reviewed to ensure that its objectives are agreeable to all member states.

The previous tribunal was disbanded in 2011 after courting controversy when it attempted to nullify the land reform programme and handed down judgements conflicting Zimbabwe’s constitutional position on land reform.

Some 79 white former commercial farmers led by the late Mike Campbell, took their cases to the tribunal, which was based in Windhoek, Namibia, in a bid to reverse the agrarian reforms after the State acquired the farms they held for redistribution to the landless majority.

It is expected that the new Tribunal’s jurisdiction will be confined only to advisory interpretation of the Sadc Treaty and any other protocols that may be negotiated among member States.

Officiating at the graduation of 29 senior officers who completed the National Defence Course Number 3 at the National Defence College in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said the tribunal was on the next Sadc Summit’s agenda.

He said this after receiving an impressive and well researched dissertation done by Colonel Milton Vudzijena titled: “A critical analysis of institutional performance and regional interests – The case study of Sadc Tribunal (1992-2010).

“The issue of the tribunal is on our (Sadc) agenda in a week’s time,” he said.

“The previous tribunal was controversial and we did ask for a review so that objectives of the revised tribunal will be those agreed by all members.

“I’ll be delighted to read the dissertation at the tribunal.”

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe was lacking in research, adding that he was optimistic that the imminent transformation of the NDC into a university would trigger more research in various fields.

In his dissertation, Col Vudzijena focused on key issues that can improve the Sadc Treaty by spelling out the limits and jurisdiction of the Sadc Tribunal Court in order to eliminate possibilities of unintentional misinterpretation or deliberate manipulation of governing institutions.

He also touched on the need to ensure the tribunal’s self sustenance to avoid security risks associated with donor funding.

President Mugabe applauded the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for adopting a culture of self-reliance which had resulted in the birth of the NDC.

He paid tribute to the invaluable support availed to the NDC by Zimbabwe’s long standing friends such as China and Pakistan to develop the country’s security organs.

President Mugabe said yesterday’s graduation was probably NDC’s last before it transformed into a fully- fledged university.

“Plans to transform the National Defence College into a National Defence University are at an advanced stage.I’m aware that the board which superintended over the transformation process will soon be concluding this task. This graduation might be the last one before the college attains university status,” he said.

The college is an affiliate of the University of Zimbabwe and some of its students are reading for a Master of Science Degree in International Studies.

Participants for the NDC Course 03/2014 were drawn from the Zimbabwe National Army, Air Force of Zimbabwe, Central Intelligence Organisation, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, Office of the President and Cabinet and Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs.

Two regional students from Namibia and Tanzania also attended the course.

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