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Zimbabwe lawyers prepare to challenge constitutional changes

[JURIST] Lawyers in Zimbabwe prepared Friday to challenge government-proposed changes to the constitution [text] that will block white farmers from challenging land grabs in court and prohibit people deemed anti-government from traveling abroad. The Zimbabwean government last month published proposed constitutional reforms [JURIST report] that would allow the state to assume ownership of farms immediately following the properties being listed for expropriation, making it impossible for white farmers to appeal the action. The proposals first surfaced when President Robert Mugabe [Wikipedia profile], leader of the ruling Zanu PF party [official website], announced plans to amend the constitution and hold votes on a constitutional amendment to liquidate all private land ownership and convert all productive farmland to government control [JURIST report]. More than 100 lawyers have signed a petition to judges and lawmakers expressing their dissatisfaction with the proposals and they plan to march next week to Parliament and the Supreme Court to hand in the petition as a group. The Mail & Guardian has more. The Standard has local coverage of the controversy.

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