White farmer who beat Mugabe in court over land seizures, dies

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Flag of Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean farmer who took Robert Mugabe to court over the seisure of land from white farmers, Mike Campbell, has died at the age of 78. It is claimed by his family that Mr. Campbell never fully recovered after being kidnapped and severely beaten by Zimbabwean militants.

The Southern Africa correspondent for the BBC, Karen Allen, said that Mr. Campbell became "one of the most well known names in the white farming community in Zimbabwe."

His struggle through the courts was captured in an award winning documentary, Mugabe and the White African, although his win in the regional courts was subsequently ignored by Mugabe, whose policy of land removal continued, along with the intimidation of residents and workers on white owned farms.

Campbell and some members of his family were kidnapped in mid 2008, and taken to a military camp where they were severely beaten, before being made to sign legal documents stating that they would drop the case against Mugabe. However, the case went ahead, and in November of the same year, the regional SADC tribunal ruled that the land seizures were against the law, and directed the Zimbabwean government to protect the rights of the landowners in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe refused however, and stated that he and Zanu-PF militants would continue to take land from white farmers, since the policy of land reform was a core policy and "could not be reversed."

Even today, out of an estimated 4,000 white owned farms, only 300 still remain and the evictions continue.

Mr. Campbell suffered health issues after being attacked, losing certain mental functions including calculation. After the seizure of his property, he went to Harare, and it is here that he died on Wednesday, homeless. His own home on the land he'd owned, burned to the ground in front of him by supporters of the Zanu-PF party.