A PROMINENT white Zimbabwean farmer whose fight to reclaim land seized by President Robert Mugabe’s government was dramatised in a film shown on UK television has died.
Mike Campbell, 79, died in Harare on Wednesday, his family said.
Campbell, violently driven from his Chegutu farm by Mugabe’s shock troops in June 2008, was one of the stars of a Channel 4 documentary, ‘Mugabe and The White African’, which followed his legal battle to regain control of his farm.
Campbell, along with his son-in-law Ben Freeth, took the Zimbabwe government to court at the SADC Tribunal which delivered a landmark judgement by ordering his Mt Carmel farm, and 77 others, to be returned to former white land owners.
But the victory was only on paper as the Zimbabwe government refused to be bound by the SADC Tribunal’s ruling.
Ministers said Zimbabwe would only submit to the tribunal’s rulings when its constitution had been ratified by at least two-thirds of SADC countries -- in line with requirements of the rules and procedures governing the regional trade bloc.
Zimbabwe’s objections forced SADC to suspend the tribunal in August last year. A panel of justice ministers from the region was given six months to “review its role functions and terms of reference”.
Deon Theron, president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union said: “What Mike and his family have achieved for Zimbabwe and the whole of Southern Africa in setting an international precedent in property rights and the rights of white Africans in international law will only be realised by most people in years to come when we have a government that will respect the rule of law and the rights of people.”
Campbell is survived by his wife, Angela, their son Bruce, two daughters, Cathy and Laura, and five grandchildren.