US embassy cable - 00HARARE2894

ZANU-PF LEGAL SECRETARY ON LAND INVASIONS AND ELECTION VIOLENCE

Identifier: 00HARARE2894
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE2894 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-05-31 17:15:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI PREL
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.

311715Z May 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3482

PAGE 01        HARARE  02894  01 OF 02  311712Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  COME-00  
      DINT-00  DODE-00  DOTE-00  ANHR-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    
      FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    
      L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  
      PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00   
      TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     
      NFAT-00  SAS-00     /009W
                  ------------------5D772C  311712Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6174
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002894 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI, PREL 
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF LEGAL SECRETARY ON LAND INVASIONS AND 
ELECTION VIOLENCE 
 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02894  01 OF 02  311712Z 
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WITAKER 
 
CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS 
1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
REFTEL: HARARE 2820 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: ZANU-PF'S LEGAL SECRETARY, EDDISON 
ZVOGBO TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD MAY 31 THAT THE "WAR 
VETERANS" WHO ARE OCCUPYING COMMERCIAL FARMS WILL BE 
REMOVED SHORTLY AFTER THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION AT THE 
END OF JUNE.  IN RESPONSE TO THE AMBASSADOR'S EXPRESSION 
OF SERIOUS CONCERN, ZVOGBO DISMISSED THE LEVEL OF 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS LESS THAN WHAT 
HAS OCCURRED IN OTHER COUNTRIES, NOTABLY SOUTH AFRICA, 
DURING RECENT ELECTIONS.  THE MINISTER IS CONFIDENT THAT 
THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) WILL GET ONLY A 
HANDFUL OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SEATS AND ASSERTED THAT THE 
OPPOSITION PARTY WAS LOSING SUPPORT EVEN IN ITS URBAN 
BASE.  THE MINISTER REITERATED THAT INTERNATIONAL 
ELECTION OBSERVERS ARE WELCOME AND THAT THE RULING PARTY 
WOULD ENSURE A PEACEFUL PROCESS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, ACCOMPANIED BY DCM IRVING 
AND POLOFF, CALLED ON MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO AND 
ZANU-PF LEGAL SECRETARY EDDISON ZVOGBO ON MAY 31 FOR AN 
UPDATE ON THE RULING PARTY'S VIEWS ON THE LAND 
OCCUPATIONS AND ELECTION CHANCES, AND TO EXPRESS THE 
USG'S SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION OCCURRING IN THE COUNTRY. 
ZVOGBO, A HARVARD-TRAINED LAWYER, WAS IN A COMBATIVE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02894  01 OF 02  311712Z 
MOOD AS HE EXPOUNDED ON THE PROBLEMS HE EXPERIENCED IN 
CONVINCING THE COMMERCIAL FARM OCCUPIERS TO PREPARE TO 
VACATE THOSE PROPERTIES.  ZVOGBO SAID THAT PRESIDENT 
MUGABE HAD DIRECTED HIM AND MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, 
DUMISO DABENGWA, TO TALK TO THE OCCUPIERS ON FARMS IN 
MASVINGO PROVINCE WHERE THERE HAD BEEN PROBLEMS AMONG 
THE "WAR VETS" AND THE WHITE FARMERS, AND THEIR BLACK 
FARM WORKERS.  THE PRESIDENT HAD INSTRUCTED THE 
MINISTERS TO INFORM THE OCCUPIERS THAT THEY MUST VACATE 
THE FARMS BEGINNING ON MAY 29 NOW THAT THE GOVERNMENT 
HAD ENACTED LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW FOR AN 
EXPEDITED RESETTLEMENT PLAN (REFTEL). 
 
3.  (C) ZVOGBO SAID THE TWO MINISTERS, ACCOMPANIED BY 
WAR VETS LEADER, CHENJERAI "HITLER" HUNZVI, WERE 
UNSUCCESSFUL IN GETTING THE OCCUPIERS TO LISTEN TO THEIR 
MESSAGE TO VACATE THE PROPERTIES.  THE MINISTER SAID HE 
"DETESTED" HUNZVI, THAT THE MAN WAS "CLEARLY CERTIFIABLY 
UNSTABLE," AND THAT HE HAD DISRUPTED THE MINISTERS' 
SPEECHES AND FRUSTRATED THEIR MISSION BY INSTRUCTING THE 
OCCUPIERS TO REMAIN ON THE LAND UNTIL THE PRESIDENT TOLD 
THEM TO LEAVE.  HUNZVI WILL, HOWEVER, BE DISPOSED OF BY 
THE GOVERNMENT AS SOON AS THE JUNE 24-25 PARLIAMENTARY 
ELECTION IS COMPLETED, THE MINISTER STATED AND WILL NOT 
BE THE ZANU-PF CANDIDATE FOR THE CHIKOMBA CONSTITUENCY. 
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) 
WITH WHOM THE AMBASSADOR MET ON MAY 30 ALSO OPINED THAT 
HUNZVI WOULD LIKELY BE ARRESTED FOR ANY ONE OF THE 
SEVERAL LEGAL CHARGES PENDING AGAINST HIM AS SOON AS HE 
FINISHED SERVING THE RULING PARTY'S REELECTION PURPOSES. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  02894  01 OF 02  311712Z 
4.  (C) DESPITE THESE DIFFICULTIES, ZVOGBO SAID THE WAR 
VETS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS COULD BE REMOVED IN ABOUT FIVE 
HOURS, AS SOON AS PRESIDENT MUGABE GAVE THE GO AHEAD TO 
DO SO.  THIS COULD BE DONE WITHOUT ANY MILITARY 
INVOLVEMENT, MERELY EFFECTIVE POLICE ACTION, HE ADDED. 
THE MINISTER ASSERTED THAT THE LAND ISSUE NEEDS TO BE 
FINALLY RESOLVED AND THAT THE WAR VETS HAD ONLY FORCED 
THE GOVERNMENT TO ACCELERATE ITS EFFORTS TO ACQUIRE 
COMMERCIAL FARMS AND BEGIN TO RESETTLE PEOPLE.  ONLY THE 
GOVERNMENT, HOWEVER, IS EMPOWERED TO RESETTLE PEOPLE, HE 
EMPHASIZED.  THE MINISTER THEN STATED THAT THE PROBLEM 
IS LESS COMPLEX THAN IMAGINED, AS THE GOVERNMENT DOES 
NOT EVEN NEED ALL THE LAND IT HAS DESIGNATED FOR 
RESETTLEMENT (841 FARMS) TO MEET THE DEMAND THAT EXISTS. 
SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT MBEKI IS FACING A SIMILAR LAND 
DISTRIBUTION CRISIS AND SHOULD TAKE A LESSON FROM 
ZIMBABWE AND NOT WAIT TOO LONG TO ADDRESS IT, ZVOGBO 
STATED.  THE MINISTER ALSO COMMENDED MBEKI FOR 
REPORTEDLY WORKING TO HELP IDENTIFY POSSIBLE FINANCING 
FOR ZIMBABWE'S LAND REFORM PROGRAM. 
 
5.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD THEN PROBED THE GOVERNMENT'S 
ABILITY TO EFFECT AN ORDERLY LAND REFORM PROGRAM AFTER 
HAVING ENCOURAGED, AND IN MANY CASES, FACILITATED THE 
ILLEGAL LAND OCCUPATIONS OF THESE COMMERCIAL FARMS. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3484 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  02894  02 OF 02  311712Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  COME-00 
      DINT-00  DODE-00  DOTE-00  ANHR-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00 
      FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00 
      L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 
      PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00 
      TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00 
      NFAT-00  SAS-00     /009W 
                  ------------------5D7738  311713Z /38 
P 311715Z MAY 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6175 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 002894 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI 
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF LEGAL SECRETARY ON LAND INVASIONS AND 
ELECTION VIOLENCE 
 
ADDITIONALLY, THE AMBASSADOR EMPHASIZED THAT THE SERIOUS 
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS OCCURRING ON THESE OCCUPIED 
PROPERTIES, INCLUDING MURDER, BEATINGS AND RAPES, WAS IN 
LARGE PART BECAUSE OF THE PERCEPTION THAT THE GOVERNMENT 
CONDONED SUCH ACTION THROUGH ITS FAILURE TO ENFORCE THE 
LAW.  THE GOVERNMENT'S ABDICATION OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  02894  02 OF 02  311712Z 
TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS WAS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE USG, THE 
AMBASSADOR EMPHASIZED. 
 
ELECTION OUTLOOK 
---------------- 
 
6. (C) THE MDC IS NO SERIOUS THREAT TO ZANU-PF, BUT 
MERELY "BOYS" PLAYING POLITICS IN A MAN'S WORLD, 
ACCORDING TO ZVOGBO.  THE MINISTER ESTIMATED THAT THE 
MDC WOULD GET NO MORE THAN TEN OF THE 120 CONTESTED 
PARLIAMENTARY SEATS.  THE MDC WAS MOST LIKELY TO TAKE 
SEATS IN BULAWAYO AND HARARE, ALTHOUGH ZVOGBO ASSERTED 
THAT THE OPPOSITION PARTY WAS LOSING SUPPORT IN THE 
LATTER AREA.  ZVOGBO DOWNPLAYED THE WIDESPREAD POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE THAT IS OCCURRING AND ARGUED THAT ZIMBABWE'S 
PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE WAS MUCH LESS THAN WHAT TOOK PLACE 
IN SOUTH AFRICA AND OTHER PLACES. 
 
7.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD STRESSED THAT THERE WERE 
CLEARLY GOZ AND ZANU-PF ORGANIZED AND SYSTEMATIC HUMAN 
RIGHTS VIOLATIONS TAKING PLACE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, 
TARGETING FARM WORKERS AND TEACHERS, AS ALLEGED 
SUPPORTERS OF THE MDC.  THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEACE 
CORPS PROGRAM, WHICH PRIMARILY ASSISTED RURAL ZIMBABWEAN 
SCHOOLS, WAS RECENTLY REDUCED BY TWO-THIRDS ITS 
VOLUNTEER STAFF BECAUSE OF THE INSECURITY CREATED BY 
THIS GOVERNMENT-CONDONED VIOLENCE, THE AMBASSADOR 
INFORMED.  THE MINISTER JUSTIFIED THIS VIOLENCE BY 
NOTING THAT IN SOME COMMUNITIES PARENTS HAD COMPLAINED 
THAT TEACHERS WERE OPENLY SUPPORTING MDC AND TEACHING 
OPPOSITION SLOGANS IN THE CLASSROOMS.  THE AMBASSADOR 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  02894  02 OF 02  311712Z 
RESPONDED THAT THE RURAL SCHOOLS AND ZIMBABWEAN CHILDREN 
ARE MOST ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THE THREATS AGAINST 
TEACHERS AND OTHER CIVIL SERVANTS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND 
THE GOVERNMENT HAD TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS 
SITUATION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.  THE MINISTER WHILE 
DEPLORING VIOLENCE THEN REITERATED HIS POSITION THAT 
EVERYONE ELSE IN THE REGION HAS HAD WORSE ELECTIONS. 
ZVOGBO CONCEDED, HOWEVER, THAT WHILE ZIMBABWE WOULD HAVE 
A "FREE" ELECTION, IT WOULD NOT BE A "FAIR" ONE, WHICH 
HE ATTRIBUTED TO THE RULING PARTY'S NUMERICAL AND 
INCUMBENCY ADVANTAGES. 
 
8.  (C) THE MINISTER FEIGNED OFFENSE THAT WE WOULD 
QUESTION THE TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY OF ZIMBABWE'S 
ELECTORAL PROCESS.  HE NOTED THAT THE PRESIDENT HAD TOLD 
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT THAT INTERNATIONAL ELECTION OBSERVERS 
 
SIPDIS 
WERE WELCOME AND THAT HIS GOVERNMENT STOOD BY THAT 
POSITION AS IT HAD NOTHING TO HIDE FROM THE WORLD. 
(NOTE:  CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE TOLD EMBOFFS 
THAT THEY ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRIVACY OF THE 
BALLOT BASED ON PREVIOUS HISTORY OF NUMBERING BALLOTS 
AND CORRELATING THEM WITH INDIVIDUAL VOTER NAMES.  END 
NOTE).  NEVERTHELESS, ZVOGBO REPEATED THAT INTERNATIONAL 
OBSERVERS WERE WELCOME AND STRESSED THAT ZANU-PF HAD 
EMBARKED UPON A CAMPAIGN TO ENSURE A PEACEFUL ELECTION. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
9.  (C) ZVOGBO IS A FEISTY, INTELLIGENT, AND FRANK 
SPEAKING INTERLOCUTOR WHO MAY NOT ALWAYS BELIEVE HIS OWN 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  02894  02 OF 02  311712Z 
RHETORIC, BUT IS WILLING TO TELL US BLUNTLY WHAT SENIOR 
GOZ OFFICIALS MAY BE THINKING ABOUT US POLICY AND 
POSITIONS.  IN THIS REGARD, THE LAND ISSUE IS AN AREA 
THAT THE RULING PARTY APPEARS TO BELIEVE IT NOW HAS THE 
UPPER HAND ON AND THAT IT CAN CONTROL.  CONSEQUENTLY, 
THE GOVERNMENT IS UNRECEPTIVE TO ANY ARGUMENT THAT ITS 
APPROACH IS WRONG.  THE CFU IS APPARENTLY STRIKING THE 
BEST DEAL IT CAN AND, PERHAPS ALONG WITH PRESIDENT 
MBEKI, HAS JOINED THE CHORUS OF THOSE SEEKING FUNDS TO 
HELP ZIMBABWE FIND A PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM. 
ADDITIONALLY, ZVOGBO IS REPEATING THE PARTY LINE BY 
DOWNPLAYING THE PROBLEM OF VIOLENCE. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 

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