US embassy cable - 00HARARE1914

PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON LAND ACQUISITION

Identifier: 00HARARE1914
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE1914 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-04-07 11:20:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID EAGR ZI Land Reform
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

071120Z Apr 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1015

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5694
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
NSC WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001914 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
USDOC FOR ERIC HENDERSON 
 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S - RENDER, GURNEY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  01914  01 OF 03  071114Z 
 
DEPT PASS TO USAID AFR/SA - BILL JEFFERS, NNEWMAN 
AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID RMMCCALL 
 
DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, EAID, EAGR, ZI, Land Reform 
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON 
LAND ACQUISITION 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, FOR 
REASONS 1.5 B AND D 
 
REF:  A) HARARE 1777, B) HARARE 1731, C) HARARE 1841 
 
1.  (SBU) SUMMARY: ON APRIL 6, ZIMBABWE'S PARLIAMENT 
PASSED A CONTROVERSIAL BILL, AMENDING THE NATIONAL 
CONSTITUTION FOR THE 16TH TIME, TO ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT 
TO ACQUIRE LAND FOR RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES WITHOUT 
COMPENSATION (REFTEL A).  THE VOTE FOLLOWED SOME ARM- 
TWISTING BY PRESIDENT MUGABE, WHO ADDRESSED THE ZANU-PF 
PARLIAMENTARIANS EARLIER ON THE DAY OF THE VOTE AND 
DIRECTED THEM TO SUPPORT THE PARTY POSITION ON LAND. 
THE BILL HAD BEEN FAST-TRACKED BY THE EXECUTIVE IN THE 
EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, CONVENED 
SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS FROM APRIL 4 
TO 6.  DESPITE THE LEGISLATION, ENABLING THE GOVERNMENT 
TO EFFECT ITS "POLITICAL SOLUTION" TO THE COMMERCIAL 
FARM INVASIONS, THE WAR VETERAN LEADERSHIP HAS VOWED TO 
REMAIN PUT AND GIVE UP NO LAND.  END SUMMARY. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  01914  01 OF 03  071114Z 
 
2.  (C) OF THE 150 MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT (MPS)(ALL BUT 
THREE ARE ZANU-PF MEMBERS), 100 MPS VOTED IN FAVOR OF 
THE LAND ACQUISITION BILL ON APRIL 6, WITH ONE 
ABSTENTION FROM OUTSPOKEN ZIMBABWE UNION OF DEMOCRATS 
(ZUD) PARTY PRESIDENT, MARGARET DONGO.  THE REMAINING 
MPS WERE NOT PRESENT FOR THE VOTE, ALTHOUGH NOT BECAUSE 
OF ANY ORGANIZED BOYCOTT OR ABSTENTION.  DONGO TOLD 
EMBOFFS ON APRIL 7 THAT SHE HAD BEEN LOBBYING HARD TO 
BLOCK THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL AND BELIEVED THAT SHE HAD 
GARNERED THE SUPPORT OF 20 OTHER MPS.  THE STRATEGY WAS 
FOR THE CHIEF WHIP, MOSES MVENGE, TO CHALLENGE THE BILL 
AND HAVE DONGO AND OTHERS JOIN IN, ACCORDING TO THE ZUD 
PRESIDENT.  THE STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE BILL WAS 
CONFIRMED BY OTHER MPS IN RECENT CONVERSATIONS WITH 
POLOFF AND AF DAS SCHNEIDMAN DURING HIS MARCH 22 TO 24 
VISIT TO ZIMBABWE (REFTELS A AND B).  THE DEAL FELL 
APART WHEN PRESIDENT MUGABE WHIPPED THE MPS INTO LINE 
DURING A MEETING HE HELD WITH THEM ON THE MORNING OF 
APRIL 7, ONE OF THE VERY FEW TIMES HE HAS MET WITH THEM 
AS A GROUP OUTSIDE OF HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. 
 
3.  (C) MIKE MATAURE, FORMERLY CHAIRMAN OF THE 
PARLIAMENTARY REFORM COMMITTEE, TOLD US ON APRIL 7 THAT 
THE MPS HAD REQUESTED A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT TO 
DISCUSS THEIR GRIEVANCES CONCERNING IRREGULARITIES IN 
THE ONGOING ZANU-PF PARTY PRIMARIES.  MANY OF THE MPS 
HAVE BEEN REJECTED IN THOSE PRIMARIES AND WILL NOT 
RUNNING FOR REELECTION, INCLUDING SEVERAL MINISTERS, 
DEPUTY MINISTERS AND PARTY STALWARTS.  OTHER MPS, 
SENSING THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE RULING PARTY'S BLESSINGS, 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  01914  01 OF 03  071114Z 
OR THAT RIGGING WOULD LED TO THEIR DEFEAT, CHOSE NOT TO 
RUN ON A ZANU-PF TICKET.  THIS GROUP SAYS IT WILL RUN AS 
INDEPENDENTS.  NEVERTHELESS, ALL 100 WHO VOTED FOR THE 
LAND ACQUISITION BILL ATTENDED THE MEETING WITH THE 
PRESIDENT, WHICH WAS HELD AT ZANU-PF PARTY HEADQUARTERS. 
MUGABE REPORTEDLY LAID DOWN THE LAW -- VOTE WITH THE 
PARTY ON THIS ISSUE, AS LAND IS A MATTER OF "NATIONAL 
SOVEREIGNTY," AND WE WILL LOOK INTO YOUR GRIEVANCES 
LATER. 
 
4.  (U) THE LAND ACQUISITION BILL WAS INTRODUCED BY THE 
MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, 
EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, ON APRIL 4 AND APPROVED BY A TWO- 
THIRD MAJORITY, AS REQUIRED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL 
AMENDMENTS, AFTER THE THIRD READING OF THE BILL TWO DAYS 
LATER.  DONGO DISPUTES THAT THERE WAS A QUORUM, AS SHE 
MAINTAINS THAT THE BILL REQUIRED 101 VOTES.  MINISTER OF 
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, NATHAN SHAMUYARIRA, AND MINISTER 
WITHOUT PORTFOLIO IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND 
ZANU-PF'S CHIEF LAW OFFICER, EDDISON ZVOGBO, SPOKE IN 
FAVOR OF THE BILL.  BOTH MEN ARGUED THAT THE LEGISLATION 
WAS NOT RACIAL, ONLY DESIGNED TO ADDRESS THE LONG- 
STANDING IMBALANCE OF LAND DISTRIBUTION IN ZIMBABWE, 
OVER WHICH THE COUNTRY'S WAR OF LIBERATION WAS FOUGHT. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTO0198 
 
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                  ------------------48F8D9  071115Z /38 
P 071120Z APR 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5695 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
NSC WASHDC 
USDOC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 001914 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
USDOC FOR ERIC HENDERSON 
 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  01914  02 OF 03  071115Z 
DEPT FOR AF/S - RENDER, GURNEY 
 
DEPT PASS TO USAID AFR/SA - BILL JEFFERS, NNEWMAN 
AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID RMMCCALL 
 
DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, PHUM, EAID, EAGR, ZI 
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON 
LAND ACQUISITION 
 
NOW THAT THE MEMBERS HAVE COMPLETED THEIR LEGISLATIVE 
BUSINESS, THEY ADJOURNED AND PARLIAMENT'S LIFE LEGALLY 
EXPIRES ON APRIL 12.  THE NEW PARLIAMENT WILL NOT COME 
INTO EXISTENCE UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION SCHEDULED FOR 
SOME TIME IN MAY, ALTHOUGH MOST EXPERTS BELIEVE THE VOTE 
CANNOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL LATE IN JUNE OR JULY BECAUSE OF 
LOGISTICAL DELAYS.  CONSEQUENTLY, NO OTHER LEGISLATIVE 
BUSINESS WILL BE DEALT WITH IN PARLIAMENT.  IN THE 
INTERIM, MUGABE HAS AUTHORITY TO EFFECT "EMERGENCY 
LEGISLATION" UNDER THE "PRESIDENTIAL POWERS ACT," SHOULD 
HE DEEM ANY NECESSARY, ACCORDING TO THE PARLIAMENTARY 
SPEAKER. 
 
5.  (U) AMENDMENT 16 MUST NOW BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE 
PRESIDENT, WHICH IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN SOON.  THIS BILL 
CONTAINS IDENTICAL LAND ACQUISITION LANGUAGE AS THAT IN 
CLAUSE 57 OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION, WHICH WAS REJECTED 
IN FEBRUARY.  SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, INCLUDING 
VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH MSIKA, HAVE DESCRIBED THIS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  01914  02 OF 03  071115Z 
LEGISLATION AS THEIR "POLITICAL SOLUTION" TO THE 
OCCUPATION OF PRIMARILY WHITE-OWNED COMMERCIAL FARMS BY 
WAR VETERANS (REFTEL B).  URBAN ZIMBABWEANS REMAIN 
HIGHLY CRITICAL OF THE GOVERNMENT'S MANIPULATION OF THE 
LAND ISSUE.  THEY SEE IT AS A POLITICAL PLOY TO GAIN 
SUPPORT IN ADVANCE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.  RURAL 
PEOPLE HAVE ALSO INDICATED IN A RECENT POLL BY THE HELEN 
SUZMAN FOUNDATION THAT LAND REDISTRIBUTION IS NOT THEIR 
PRIORITY ISSUE.  NEVERTHELESS, LAND IS STILL A VERY 
EMOTIONAL AND CONTENTIOUS ISSUE FOR BLACK AND WHITE 
ZIMBABWEANS WHO GENERALLY SUPPORT THE NEED FOR A 
TRANSPARENT AND ORDERLY LAND REFORM PROGRAM.  IN THIS 
REGARD, CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE CONDEMNED THE 
GOVERNMENT'S ATTEMPT TO EXPLOIT THE LAND QUESTION DURING 
THIS CAMPAIGN SEASON AND CALLED FOR A MEANINGFUL LAND 
REFORM PROGRAM, BUT HAVE NOT YET STRONGLY ATTACKED THIS 
NEW BILL.  SIMILARLY, THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION, 
WHOSE 4,500 MEMBERS ARE PRIMARILY WHITE, HAS NOT YET 
RESPONDED PUBLICLY TO THE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 16. 
 
6.  (U) THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR 
VETERANS ASSOCIATION (NLWVA), AGRIPPA GAVA, TOLD EMBOFFS 
ON APRIL 6 THAT THE VETERANS WHO ARE OCCUPYING OVER 700 
COMMERCIAL FARMS ARE "NEVER GOING TO MOVE OFF THESE 
FARMS."  GAVA DISMISSED THE GOVERNMENT'S "POLITICAL 
SOLUTION" AND INSISTED THAT THEY WILL NOT VACATE THE 
LAND.  IN THE MEANTIME, THE POLICE HAVE DONE NOTHING TO 
EFFECT A MARCH 17 COURT ORDER TO REMOVE THE ILLEGAL 
OCCUPIERS, AND HAVE INSTEAD FILED A MOTION ASKING THE 
COURT TO MODIFY THE EVICTION ORDER WHICH THE POLICE SAY 
THEY CANNOT ENFORCE WITHOUT PROVOKING VIOLENCE. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  01914  02 OF 03  071115Z 
 
7.  (U) THE BILL ALSO PROVIDED FOR THE CREATION OF AN 
ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION, WHICH ONLY CAN MAKE 
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT ON MEASURES TO ENHANCE 
INTEGRITY.  THE COMMISSION, HOWEVER, WHICH WILL BE 
APPOINTED BY AND REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT, IS THEREFORE 
NOT CONSIDERED INDEPENDENT AND WILL HAVE ONLY LIMITED 
AUTHORITY TO PROSECUTE ANY ACTS OF CORRUPTION (REFTEL 
C). 
 
8.  (C) COMMENT: THE GOVERNMENT HAS MAINTAINED THAT ITS 
INTENT WITH CLAUSE 57 OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND NOW 
WITH THE ADOPTED AMENDMENT 16 IS TO ALLOW IT TO ACQUIRE 
COMMERCIAL FARM LAND FOR RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES, AS 
NEEDED, AND SUBJECT TO THE CRITERIA SET OUT IN THE 
LEGISLATION.  THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSES ON ACTUAL 
IMPLEMENTATION THEN BECOMES MUCH MORE VAGUE, WITH SOME 
DEGREE OF VACILLATION ON THE INTENT TO ACTUALLY TAKE ANY 
FARMS WITHOUT PAYING COMPENSATION.  NEVERTHELESS, 
AMENDMENT 16 ESTABLISHES THE LEGAL BASIS TO DO SO.  THE 
GOVERNMENT IS NOW FACED WITH HOW TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS 
OF THE WAR VETERANS AND THEIR UNEMPLOYED YOUTH 
SUPPORTERS WHO MAY REFUSE TO LEAVE.  WHILE WE BELIEVE A 
PORTION OF THE OCCUPIED FARMS WILL NOW BE VACATED, AS 
THE SQUATTERS WERE ONLY ABLE TO REMAIN WITH GOVERNMENT 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1020 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  01914  03 OF 03  071115Z 
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                  ------------------48F8E0  071116Z /38 
P 071120Z APR 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5696 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
NSC WASHDC 
USDOC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 001914 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
USDOC FOR ERIC HENDERSON 
 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S - RENDER, GURNEY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  01914  03 OF 03  071115Z 
 
DEPT PASS TO USAID AFR/SA - BILL JEFFERS, NNEWMAN 
AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID RMMCCALL 
 
DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, PHUM, EAID, EAGR, ZI 
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON 
LAND ACQUISITION 
 
SUPPORT, THERE ARE LIKELY TO BE LOCATIONS WHERE THE WAR 
VETS MIGHT RESIST EVICTION.  THE SITUATION ON THE 
COMMERCIAL FARMS REMAIN VOLATILE, WITH MORE REPORTS OF 
ATTACKS AGAINST FARM WORKERS AND OWNERS BY THE 
OCCUPIERS.  BUT ON BALANCE, THE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 16 
IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTED AND IT MAY NOW BEGIN TO 
DISLODGE THE OCCUPIERS AND REENGAGE WITH THE 
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON LAND REFORM FROM WHAT IT 
PERCEIVES AS A POSITION OF STRENGTH.  END COMMENT. 
 
IRVING 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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