The UK must stop coercing Zimbabwe to compensate imperial/colonial descendants (land).
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Petition Against the United Kingdom’s Manipulation of The Zimbabwean Government to Compensate The Descendants And Beneficiaries Of Rhodesian Imperialism.
We the people of Zimbabwe say:
We want our right to decolonize and self-determine because political decisions of our government are being influenced by Britain, America and the EU through sanctions and economic threats of isolationist policies.
We object to the compensation of British settler farmers for land they occupied violently and illegally through colonialism.
We object to the “rule of law” whose precedence is based on unjust European colonial laws that were imposed by colonialism, disregarding Zimbabwean traditions, laws, customs and natural laws that superseded the coming of Europeans by thousands of years. We believe this definition is tantamount to the modern perpetuation of the Doctrine of Discovery, which was an unjust, racist, discriminatory religious edict.
The UK government has no right to negotiate Zimbabwean land or white settler compensation with a Zimbabwean President who has not been elected by the people.
We object to the negotiation of compensation of settlers outside the decolonization spirit of our constitution, without a national referendum.
Colonial property rights can never gain legitimate title without circumventing the UN Charter, ICCPR and ICESCR treaties
No developments made under occupation or colonization without the consent of the occupied can be seen as legitimate developments for which the colonized must be forced to compensate the colonizer. This amounts to colonial tax.
The use of duress upon our leaders cannot be used as a bonafide means to bind nations into treaties that prejudice citizens and go against international law.
Zimbabwe incurred debts with international multi-lateral institutions because of:
Inheriting Rhodesian colonial debt
Being forced to pay British settlers for return of occupied land in foreign currency for 17yrs
Not receiving restitution, reparations and damages for British colonialism.
Delivering basic services that the British government neglected to give her subjects in line with both the articles of the League of Nations (Chapter XI) and United Nations (Articles 76) on colonial powers administering non-self determining peoples.
Unilateral sanctions imposed by Britain and her allies to persecute Zimbabweans for embarking on land restitution after Britain failed to deliver on her Lancaster obligations.
If Zimbabwe has failed to pay the current government debt of $7bil in 19yrs, it is highly unlikely that the country can afford to incur another huge and illegitimate debt on behalf of Britain.
As a country we can no longer continue to carry the burden of British imperialism and in pursuit of justice, it is our intention to appeal to Britain’s sense of justness that she must now pay Zimbabweans restitution and reparations for colonialism, continued neo-colonialism and persecution.
With the departure of Robert Mugabe from the Zimbabwean presidency, the British government has expressed an interest in reestablishing relations with its former colony Zimbabwe. As part of this process, the British government is considering the possibility of removing sanctions and embargoes that she malevolently imposed on Zimbabwe (in conspiracy with her imperial partners EU and America) to persecute Zimbabwe for taking back land stolen and occupied by British white settlers during colonialism.
As part of the proposed conditions for the lifting of sanctions, the British government has enjoined Zimbabwe to pay compensation to white settler farmers who were displaced from land they occupied by the Land Restitution Program.
Over the years, we have also seen these sanctions used as coercion to get Zimbabwe’s parliament to put settler farmer compensation clauses into the new constitution. The consequence of such compensation being Zimbabweans continue to carry the cost of British colonization, with the perpetrator of the crime having paid no damages or restitution for the benefits of 92yrs of colonialism and it’s negative impact on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans have continued to carry the burden of Britain’s colonial legacy, with Britain incurring no costs for the benefits she unjustly gained at the expense of Zimbabweans. This is a reality that goes against the purpose and intent of the UN Charter, its decolonization resolutions, the pursuit of equality, justice and remedy for the injustices of colonial oppression to enable the economic development of previously colonized peoples.
It’s on the backdrop of this injustice, that we as concerned citizens of Zimbabwe raise this petition seeking clarity on a number of issues:
How is it that, the poverty stricken citizens of Zimbabwe, dispossessed and exploited by colonization for 92yrs, find ourselves owing the colonizer compensation for taking back our land in restitution?
How are people, who were dispossessed of our land by force, enslaved on the same land, impoverished by exploitation? Expected to pay for so-called improvements, which were in effect vandalism of our land, as they were made on stolen land without the consent of the dispossessed owners of the land.
How Zimbabweans can be liable to pay compensation for illegal occupation when the British government never paid a penny of reparations or damages for the unjust enrichment she acquired from the exploitation of our labor, resources and dispossession of our land? Were the French, Dutch, Polish or Austrians ever required to compensate Germans for German invasion and occupation?
With whom are the British government negotiating the issue of compensating settler farmers, considering that the current interim president of Zimbabwe does not have the democratic mandate of the people, having never been elected into power?
Why should the Zimbabwean people carry the burden of compensating British descendants and settlers? When the UK government reneged on its Lancaster House obligations to finance the acquisition of this British settler farmer land as restitution for colonialism?
The major issue here is the manipulation and use of undue influence by the British government to maintain neo-colonial control of colonial property, while abdicating colonial responsibility.
The British government has given Zimbabweans a forced choice paradigm, where we are compelled to either compensate white farmers if we choose to take restitution of our land or continue facing sanctions. It’s evident from these choices that undue influence and duress are being applied to extract an inequitable, unjust outcome that goes against the spirit of decolonization in Zimbabwe. In fact, objectively, it’s beginning to look a lot like sanctions on Zimbabwe, where maliciously orchestrated to cripple the Zimbabwean economy and pressure her to acquiesce to Britain’s neo-colonial terms on the land issue.
Nevertheless, if the principles of international law and equity were to be upheld, the UK should be the one to compensate Zimbabweans for the heinous crimes against humanity committed upon Zimbabweans over almost a century of British colonialism.
As legal precedence, less than a century ago the world went to war with Germany and her allies for illegal occupation of other nations. After the war the United Nations Treaty was signed in October 1945 and the UN Charter established human rights, equality and justice as the central pillars of international law, with decolonization as a deductive resolution. On the back of this Charter came the Paris Treaty and Potsdam Agreements in which both Germany and her allies Italy and Japan were made to pay reparations for their illegal occupations and suffering caused, to enable affected nations to reconcile and rebuild.
This meant that precedence was established that nations were equal, colonial domination was a violation of human rights, and in line with the aim for global economic development, the principles of territorial restitution and reparations to rebuild sovereignty were firmly established. This meant that future nations coming out of oppression and occupation like Zimbabwe could expect:
Remedy for all the negative implications of occupation.
Restitution for unjust enrichment of any occupier/colonization
Compensation for loss of freedom, property and life
Damages for damages to the environment
Annulment of any future treaties not in line with the UN Charter and related decolonization treaties.
Remedy for deliberate destruction of culture, practices and traditions.
Restoration of land taken through colonialism, without compensation.
THE LEGAL ISSUES.
Rule of law.
For centuries, the UK has domestically espoused upon upholding the rule of law, international conventions, contractual and equitable principles of human rights, unjust enrichment and restitution. Yet she has failed to live according to the same yardsticks when it comes to her colonies.
According to the underlying contractual principles of unjust enrichment, no person should be allowed to profit at another's expense without making restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained.
UK legislation as well as International law, imposes an obligation upon the person who has been unjustly enriched to make restitution and if need be pay damages. This means that a claimant will have a prima facie action where:
The defendant has been enriched.
This enrichment has been at the claimant's expense.
This enrichment at the claimant's expense is unjust.
There is no applicable defense.
Today the UK seeks to force Zimbabwe to adhere to an agreement (The Lancaster House Agreement 1979) without compensating Zimbabweans for unjust enrichment under illegal occupation and colonialism, which is inconsistent with the abovementioned equitable principles.
The British government requires Zimbabwe to pay for land it occupied illegally through the use of violence. This is a disregard for the rule of law, suggesting that property rights only vested in white settlers who acquired claim to land by force. This is despite the fact that white settlers never followed due process to secure proper rights from natives.
This goes against the principles of human rights and equality of races and nations, as the British government continues to ignore native humanity, culture and rights that existed before colonization in favor of an illegal settler minority in line with the discriminatory Doctrine of Discovery.
The Lancaster House Agreement Violates International Law.
The Lancaster House Conference was incompatible with the 1960 United Nations Decolonisation Declarations 5 and 6, which culminated in the ICCPR and ICSCER treaties to which the UK is a signatory. These declarations required the transfer of ALL powers to the natives of colonies, WITHOUT ANY CONDITIONS OR RESTRICTIONS, in accordance with their FREELY EXPRESSED WILL AND DESIRE, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.
Declaration 6 clearly stated that, any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
The CONDITION and RESTRICTION imposed by the British and Rhodesian settlers was the requirement for white farmers to be compensated before they could grant Zimbabwe independence. This condition is a blatant violation of International law and the precedent set by the United Nations. This also is a partial disruption of the national unity and territorial integrity of Zimbabwe (declaration 6).
The Britain government sat unilaterally as arbitrator of the Lancaster House Agreement, despite the fact that as the perpetrator of the crime of colonialism she was not impartial to deliver justice, decolonization, restitution or equity to the victims.
This is contrary with the intent of impartial dispute resolution envisaged in the UN Charter dispute resolutions, through which the British government should have recused herself from a dispute in which she was involved.
By not recusing herself the British government used duress to push the Zimbabwean liberation fighters who were exiled outside their country. To accept terms more amicable to an imperial position than to the established precedence of restitution and full and unconditional independence and return of Zimbabwean land.
Contrary to the spirit of other international occupation settlements, the British government did not negotiate restitution and reparations for Zimbabweans because of her vested interest. Instead Britain coerced the compensation of white settlers instead, for land they never had title for.
Britain renaged on her obligations of the Lancaster House Agreement.
Nevertheless, despite the Lancaster House terms being a coercive gentlemen’s agreement that violated international law. Britain herself breached her own terms by not contributing her share of investment to compensate her settler farmers.
In contract law, where a condition has been breached, an innocent party has the right to redress or to repudiate the contract in addition to seeking restitution. Zimbabwe was placed in such a position by Britain’s breach of its contractual obligations.
This breach was also contrary to the UN Charter, as Britain did not adhered to the preamble of the Charter, which seeks to ensure that nations [small or big] adhere to obligations emanating from international agreements and international law.
The British government continues to breach more of its own legal principles by subtly using duress to push Zimbabwe to uphold a cancelled agreement that Britain breached.
We also see Britain seeking to negotiate a continuation of the breached agreement with an unelected president who on occasion they [the British Government] insinuate has no democratic legitimacy. Additionally, the British government has also referred to him as an alleged human rights criminal who participated in Gukurahundi, even though no formal legal process has made such a determination.
In contrast the British government itself exhibits a conspicuous silence on its own human rights violations and massacres of tens of thousands of Zimbabweans who were seeking freedom from colonial occupation for over 90yrs. During these pogroms, an illegitimate force that did not have a legal democratic mandate from the people of Zimbabwe, forcibly occupied Zimbabwean land. This was deliberately done for the benefit and advancement of Britain’s economic interests. To this day, some of Zimbabwe’s property is still owned by the crown and trusts of royal colonial chartered organizations.
On the backdrop of this imperial history, the British government and her fellow former colonial allies imposed arbitrary sanctions (which are not supported by the UN) on Zimbabwe and her citizens. Sanctions that are frequently used as leverage to strong-arm Zimbabwe into accepting further Imperial terms.
The British have advanced an argument that farms and properties taken from settler farmers had developments funded by international financial institutions, which Zimbabweans must compensate. However, as highlighted before, in the observance of property rights, the land in question never belonged to settler farmers at any point of their tenure. It was therefore illegal for them to mortgage, solicit funding or put up structures on land for which they had no legitimate title, without consultation with the rightful (native) owners of the land. This is before pointing out that these farmers in turn, never paid compensation to the natives they displaced and took livestock from?
Challenging the SADC Tribunal Ruling
As part of their quest to maintain their colonial rights, white settler farmers in Zimbabwe have gone to the SADC Tribunal for arbitration. There, the tribunal ruled in their favor, in line with the SADC Protocols, which ignore the injustices of colonialism and the right of the previously colonized to restitution. By so doing the SADC Tribunal went against the UN Charter, it’s resolution for equity, justice and decolonization, by instituting laws that did not correct or rectify issues of colonization in Zimbabwe and the region.
SADC was formed in 1992 in conjunction with The Treaty of SADC. This treaty coincided fortuitously with South Africa’s CODESSA negotiations, just before it’s independence. It’s ironic how the SADC Protocols align well with the Lancaster Agreement and CODESSA, in protecting British, American and EU property rights in Southern Africa, without regard to redressing colonial dispossession of people of the region.
Suffice to say, as with the Lancaster Agreement and CODESSA, both the Americans and British directly and indirectly have been instrumental in influencing the SADC Protocols and subsequent constitutions of nations in the region. This is evidenced by the manner in which these conventions in the region seem to codify a continuation of colonial property ownership more than they decolonize the region. Nevertheless, the SADC Tribunal decision cannot overrule the binding requirements of the past and the decolonization goal set by a higher international authority of the United Nations.
A SADC protocol ruling that goes against the UN Charter for Human Rights and its obligations remains voidable. Natural justice, common law and equitable principles of restitution cannot be undone or reversed. Future treaties can only overrule or repeal past ones in so far as they are compatible with the requirements of natural justice, the terms are fair, just and reasonable, being compatible with remedies and restitution as well as respecting human rights.
Notable International Precedence.
In the last century the world went to war against Germany and her allies twice to fight illegal occupation and colonization of sovereign nations. As already noted, Germany was required to compensate other nations for territory annexation, causing the war, destruction of property, loss of life, forced labour and perpetrating other forms of persecution for periods not exceeding 6 years. Albeit, Zimbabwe, which was subjected to the same conditions under British colonial rule for 92 years (1888-1980) was never awarded any reparations, compensation or its full land rights.
During British colonialism, native Zimbabweans were equally subjected to forced labour, genocide, dispossession, deprivation of basic human rights, discrimination and racism. Families were displaced and sent to live on barren land reserves, while 3.3% of the white population owned over 75% of the fertile arable land.
Resources of the nation were exploited to develop Britain, her white settlers and farmers at the expense of delivering basic services to the native Zimbabweans who were subjected to forced labour on mines and land. National budgets were misappropriated to subsidize white farmers, excluding black farmer participation, while funding the security system that oppressed and murdered black Zimbabweans who sought to campaign for their human rights to freedom.
Few of Rhodesia’s resources were used to deliver basic services like education, schools, hospitals, homes or electricity to the majority of Zimbabweans. Instead the British government sucked the wealth out of the nation, while the illegitimate settler minority government incurred huge debts (that would bind the excluded majority in future) to support a white competitive advantage and to attenuate the capacity of the black majority. As a result, when Zimbabwe eventually got independence the country was heavily indebted by debts incurred by an illegitimate government for the benefit of a few settlers. In 1980, not much social and economic development had been given to the people whose nation was being exploited, as was the mandate to colonial powers administering non-self-governing territories.
Under the Rhodesian colonial government, our nation had an atrocious black literacy rate of less than 30% at independence, which the Zimbabwean government under Robert Mugabe eventually raised to 89%. In almost a century of occupation [92yrs], by 1980 the British colonial government built less than 200 secondary schools, 60% of which were for white settlers and only 4 prepared black Zimbabweans for university education. Although Zimbabwe had 4000 university graduates by the time she got independence, less than 20% were black, mixed race or Chinese.
The British colonial government only provided water and sanitation to less than 9% of the population. Similar neglect was found in healthcare, higher education and economic development. The British colonial government left an underdeveloped colony, a hollowed out treasury with cosmetic infrastructure that only supported less than 15% of the population of Zimbabwe.
The aftermath of colonialism.
The colonial legacy left behind by Britain was a huge drain on Zimbabwe’s human capital, culture, spirit, finances and resources. This consequently placed a huge burden on the new Zimbabwe, as it had to lift five million destitute people out of 92yrs of neglect, exploitation and government dereliction in an imposed alien culture and system.
The British government having inflicted such damage and harm on Zimbabwe, did not compensate Zimbabwe for its crimes against humanity or pay for any damage caused. Instead, in the paternal spirit of colonialism, the UK offered the weary liberation leaders (in their diminished capacity) prejudicial terms, which included discretionary donor funds and loans as a means of recovery and a compromise to paying reparations. The beneficiaries of colonialism and enslavement of Zimbabweans [Britain] got away with the benefits of pillage, leaving the victims to foot the bill for her citizen’s social welfare.
Correcting Colonial Injustices & Restructuring.
After the years of colonial pillage, dispossession, impoverishment, little reinvestment into black Zimbabweans, a huge war debt and depleted government coffers. The Zimbabwean government had to spend huge sums of money she didn’t have to rebuild Zimbabwe. To achieve this end, the Zimbabwean government invested heavily in providing the neglected majority with schools, housing, clinics, hospitals, infrastructure, education, teachers, nurses, water, sanitation and electricity. This was carried out whilst paying white farmers in scarce foreign currency for the return of the land they illegally occupied. As a result, Zimbabwe accrued huge debt with western multi-lateral lending institutions as insidiously designed by the British government and her allies.
Meanwhile, in 1988 the British government started applying pressure for Zimbabwe to pay more foreign currency compensation to white settlers for land. With a spiraling Zimbabwe debt vs its needs, the IMF tightened its debt repayment terms on Zimbabwe. This slowed down the building of schools, public facilities and land acquisition, leading to the IMF proposing a structural adjustment program for Zimbabwe to get more debt. Britain had duped the liberation fighters into accepting debt instead of reparations in the spirit of reconciliation and good foreign relations. This is the same undue influence that is being used now to compel Zimbabwe to accept a huge obligation to pay settler farmers.
The culmination of this injustice was eight years of the Zimbabwean government and UK negotiating British contributions for the Zimbabwean land reform. The negotiations eventually broke down with the coming into power of the Blair government in 1997, suspending contributions to the Zimbabwe Land Restitution Program.
In response Mugabe cautioned the British government that he would appropriate land without compensation if Britain did not honor her obligations to compensate her descendants for the land acquisition. A land donor conference was then held in Harare in 1998 to try and remedy the impasse. At this conference western donors attempted to change the terms of their pledge to the Zimbabwe Land Restitution Program in an attempt to leave Zimbabwe with more obligations. However, Zimbabwe rejected new terms and insisted that the UK and her western allies fulfill their obligations to pay for white land.
In early 1999 we saw spontaneous land grabs by impatient Zimbabweans and war veterans who had grown tired of waiting. Concurrently, the IMF and a number of multi-lateral financial institutions suspended Zimbabwe from participation in their organizations in September 1999. This became the backdrop of US ZIDERA 2001 sanctions.
In 2002 the Zimbabwean government amended the Land Acquisition Act through a parliamentary majority. The British and EU sanctions aligned with the US sanctions against the citizens of Zimbabwe were soon to follow. The sanctions were unilateral, not backed by UN resolutions and they are in contradiction of the rules of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) agreement. The sanctions by the US, UK and EU are generally affecting ordinary Zimbabweans and they resemble punitive measures upon the ordinary Zimbabwean for fighting for the restitution of their land. This is persecution similar to the many persecutions suffered by Zimbabweans while fighting colonization.
Contrary to the UN Charter and subsequent declarations, colonization in Zimbabwe and many other third world nations has not ended. It has simply morphed into neo-colonialism, where the instruments of subjugation are no longer territorial control through boots and guns but multi-lateral institutions, economic sanctions, embargoes, debt, corruption of leaders and political coercion.
The UK has conspired with her fellow western imperial allies to inhibit Zimbabwe and other colonies in the region from fully decolonizing by using undue influence to create new conventions like The SADC Protocols, CODESSA and the drafting of regional constitutions. This was designed to circumvent the intentions of the UN Charter and subsequent treaties to decolonize the world and bring about restitution and global economic progress.
The UK and her imperial allies used coercion to evade paying Zimbabweans reparations during the Lancaster House negotiations. This resulted in Zimbabwe accruing huge debts to remedy and deliver basic services neglected by the British government as a colon controlling a non-self-governing territory for 92yrs. Britain made it difficult for Zimbabwe to achieve land reform and restitution, to the extend that economic sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe for taking back her occupied land when Britain breach the Lancaster Agreement. It would seem all this is being done by previous colonial powers in an attempt to gain legitimate control for colonial property at the expense of the natives. They are essentially seeking to make an illegality, legal over time by international convention.
In a world of people seeking to uphold the values of Human Rights, dignity, equality, rights to sovereignty, self-determination and economic development. The hypocrisy and contempt with which Britain and her imperial allies deal with their previous colonies is nothing short of hegemonic and should be challenged on record by ALL freemen seeking justice.
In the name of self-determination and freedom enshrined in the UN Charter we refuse to continue paying for the return of our land that was stolen from us. We say no to neo-colonialism.
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