Zimbabwe's highest court ruled yesterday that the Government's "fast track" land acquisition law was unconstitutional and for a second time this year declared the seizures of white-owned farms illegal.

In the most sweeping ruling against President Robert Mugabe's land seizure programme, the court said the Government had persistently broken the law in farming districts since ruling party militants were allowed in February to occupy hundreds of white-owned farms.

Mugabe has ignored repeated court rulings against his effort to seize 3000 white farms and carve them up for landless blacks.

He has also publicly supported often-violent occupations of the farms by ruling party supporters.