US embassy cable - 00HARARE3078

POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS, BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS

Identifier: 00HARARE3078
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE3078 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-06-07 16:12:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM EAGR PINR ZI
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.



                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7570

PAGE 01        HARARE  03078  01 OF 04  071608Z 
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        /011W
                  ------------------602F4F  071608Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6235
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY ROME 
NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 003078 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI 
SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING 
PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS, 
BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS 
 
DEPT FOR A/F PDAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN, AF/S RENDER 
AND GURNEY 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03078  01 OF 04  071608Z 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WITAKER 
 
ROME PASS VATICAN 
CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, REASONS 
1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
REFTEL: A) HARARE 2961, B) HARARE 2560 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: SEVERAL WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND 
BUSINESSPEOPLE TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD JUNE 5 OF THE 
CONTINUING POLITICAL VIOLENCE ON THEIR OCCUPIED 
PROPERTIES AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS, DURING PRIVATE 
MEETINGS WITH THEM IN MASHONALAND WEST PROVINCE.  A 
BLACK MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) OFFICIAL ALSO 
INFORMED THE AMBASSADOR ABOUT THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL 
VIOLENCE IN THIS AREA, WHICH HE SAID WAS ORCHESTRATED BY 
SENIOR OFFICIALS OF ZANU-PF AND CARRIED OUT BY HIRED 
THUGS ON BEHALF OF THE RULING PARTY.  THE BASIC MESSAGE 
WAS THAT THE FARM OCCUPATIONS HAVE NOTING TO DO WITH 
LAND REFORM, BUT MERELY PROVIDED A PRETEXT UNDER WHICH 
TO MOVE "WAR VETERANS" ON TO COMMERCIAL AND COMMUNAL 
LANDS IN ORDER TO TERRORIZE PEOPLE INTO SUPPORTING ZANU- 
PF DURING THE RUN-UP TO THE JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. 
THE CONSENSUS WAS THAT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO PURSUE 
SERIOUS LAND REFORM DISCUSSIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03078  01 OF 04  071608Z 
UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION.  NEVERTHELESS, THESE CONTACTS 
MAINTAIN THAT THE MDC CONTINUES TO HAVE BROAD SUPPORT IN 
THESE COMMUNITIES AND WILL WIN A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF 
SEATS.  THE GOVERNMENT, HOWEVER, IS MOVING TO 
DISENFRANCHISE PRIMARILY WHITE VOTERS BY OMITTING THEIR 
NAMES FROM THE VOTERS' ROLLS AND MISINFORMING THEM ABOUT 
THEIR RIGHT TO CORRECT SUCH OMISSIONS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) ON JUNE 5 AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, ACCOMPANIED BY 
POLOFF AND THE RSO ASSISTANT, TRAVELED TO SOME OF 
ZIMBABWE'S MOST PRODUCTIVE COMMERCIAL FARMLAND, IN THE 
MASHONALAND WEST PROVINCE IN THE TOWNS OF BANKET, 
CHINOYI AND DOMA.  MANY OF THESE FARMS ARE ON THE LIST 
OF 804 PROPERTIES PROPOSED FOR IMMINENT GOVERNMENT 
ACQUISITION (REFTEL A).  THIS PROVINCE HAS ALSO SEEN 
SOME OF THE MOST EXTREME POLITICAL VIOLENCE, INCLUDING 
THE DEATH OF TWO MDC ORGANIZERS IN KARIBA TOWN, AND 
BRUTALIZATION OF FARM WORKERS IN RAFFINGORA AND OTHER 
AREAS (REFTEL B).  AMBASSADOR MCDONALD MADE UNANNOUNCED 
CALLS ON SEVERAL BUSINESS PEOPLE WHO WERE EAGER AND 
PLEASED TO TALK ABOUT THE ONGOING POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN 
THE AREA.  IN BANKET WE STOPPED AT ITICON IRRIGATION 
CONSULTANTS, WHICH SUPPLIES IRRIGATION EQUIPMENT TO MOST 
OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS IN THE AREA.  THE MANAGERS 
WITH WHOM WE SPOKE SAID THERE HAD BEEN WIDESPREAD 
POLITICAL INTIMIDATION IN THE AREA, PARTICULARLY THE 
COMMUNITY OF RAFFINGORA.  SIMILARLY, WE HEARD OF MORE 
POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN OUR CONVERSATIONS WITH THE OWNER 
OF THE BANKET FARMERS' CENTER, A PROSPEROUS LOOKING FARM 
EQUIPMENT SUPPLY COMPANY, WHO IS AN ADMITTED MDC 
ORGANIZER AND FINANCIAL BACKER IN THAT COMMUNITY.  YET 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03078  01 OF 04  071608Z 
MORE ATTACKS AND INCIDENTS OF HUMILIATION OF FARM OWNERS 
AND WORKERS WERE DESCRIBED TO US DURING A CALL ON 
OFFICIALS AT THE ELECTRO-ELECT COMPANY IN CHINHOYI, 
WHICH PROVIDES ELECTRICAL FIXTURES AND REPAIRS 
AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT FOR THE AREA'S COMMERCIAL FARMS. 
 
3.  (C) ACCORDING TO THESE BUSINESSPEOPLE AND COMMERCIAL 
FARMERS: 
 
-- COMMERCIAL AND COMMUNAL FARM WORKERS ARE FORCED TO 
ATTEND ALL NIGHT ZANU-PF POLITICAL RALLIES AND BEATEN 
FOR ANY SIGNS OF RESISTANCE OR OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORT. 
WHILE THOSE BEATINGS OCCURRED ON ALL OCCUPIED 
PROPERTIES, THE CURRENT STRATEGY IS FOCUSED ON THE MORE 
ISOLATED WORKERS IN THE COMMUNAL AREAS, TEACHERS AND 
NURSES; 
 
-- MANY FARM WORKER WOMEN HAVE BEEN RAPED ON THE FARMS, 
AS WELL AS AT LEAST ONE MDC SUPPORTER WHO WAS TAKEN TO A 
NOW NOTORIOUS HOTEL IN KARIBA, THE ZAMBEZI VALLEY HOTEL, 
WHERE SHE WAS GANG RAPED BY ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS.  THE 
FEMALE MAYOR OF KARIBA AND HER HUSBAND, WHO WERE FORCED 
TO ALLOW THEIR PREMISES TO BE USED BY ZANU-PF THUGS, 
REPORTEDLY OWN THIS HOTEL.  THESE RAPE VICTIMS HAVE BEEN 
GENERALLY AFRAID TO REPORT THEIR ORDEAL. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7571 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  03078  02 OF 04  071608Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
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      INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    DCP-01 
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
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      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00 
        /011W 
                  ------------------602F5A  071608Z /38 
P 071612Z JUN 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6236 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 04 HARARE 003078 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI 
SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING 
PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS, 
BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS 
 
-- FARM OWNERS AND MANAGERS ARE HUMILIATED BY FORCING 
THEM TO COVER THEMSELVES IN WATER AND DIRT AND ROLL 
AROUND ON THE GROUND, MEN WERE MADE TO WEAR DRESSES, 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03078  02 OF 04  071608Z 
FARMERS AND THEIR WIVES FORCED TO DANCE TO REVOLUTIONARY 
SONGS, DENOUNCE THE MDC AND PLEDGE LOYALTY TO ZANU-PF, 
AND FARMERS WERE FORCED TO FEED THE OCCUPYING VETS AND 
TO FERRY THEIR WORKERS TO ZANU-PF RALLIES; 
 
-- WHITE FARMERS AND BUSINESSPEOPLE WHO ARE BELIEVED TO 
BE SUPPORTERS OF THE MDC HAVE HAD THEIR BUSINESSES 
ATTACKED BY STONE-THROWING CROWDS, HAVE BEEN THREATENED 
WITH PHYSICAL HARM IF THEY FAILED TO STOP SUPPORTING THE 
OPPOSITION, HAD THEIR PHONES ARE TAPPED, AND CENTRAL 
INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION (CIO) MEMBERS FOLLOW THEM. 
WHILE SOME OF THESE BUSINESS PEOPLE WILL TEMPORARILY 
LEAVE ZIMBABWE OR CLOSE UP DURING THE VOTING AND POST- 
ELECTION PERIOD, MOST HAVE NO PLACE TO GO PERMANENTLY 
AND WILL REMAIN; 
 
-- NON-ZIMBABWEAN FARM LABORERS HAVE BEEN THREATENED 
WITH DEPORTATION BACK TO THEIR COUNTRIES OR DEATH IF 
THEY VOTE AGAINST ZANU-PF IN THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. 
 
THREATS AGAINST MDC 
------------------- 
 
4.  (C) THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE HAS BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY 
ORGANIZED BY KEY ZANU-PF OFFICIALS, INCLUDING THE 
GOVERNOR FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL, BORDER GEZI, WHO HAS 
BEEN IN COMPETITION WITH THE MASHONALAND WEST GOVERNOR, 
PETER CHANESTA, AND THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND 
TECHNOLOGY, IGNATIUS CHOMBO, FOR TURF AND POLITICAL 
FAVOR WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE, ACCORDING TO THESE 
MASHONALAND BUSINESSPEOPLE.  CONSEQUENTLY, GEZI HAS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03078  02 OF 04  071608Z 
PERSONALLY SPEARHEADED VIOLENCE ON THE BORDER OF THE TWO 
PROVINCES, WHICH HAS SPILLED OVER TO RAFFINGORA AND 
CENTENARY, SITES OF THE MOST BRUTAL POLITICAL VIOLENCE 
IN THE AREA.  THE OTHER RULING PARTY POLITICIANS, WHILE 
NOT AS VIOLENT AS GEZI, HAVE ENCOURAGED THEIR SUPPORTERS 
TO FORCEFULLY ASSURE THE PARTY'S VICTORY IN THE 
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.  THE MANAGER OF THE BANKET 
FARMERS' CENTER GAVE US A COPY OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY A 
LOCAL CATHOLIC PARISH PRIEST TO THE ZANU-PF CANDIDATE 
FOR BANKET, PLEADING WITH HIM TO STOP ADVOCATING 
VIOLENCE, SPECIFICALLY THE CANDIDATE'S CALL FOR DEATH TO 
MDC SUPPORTERS.  THE BUSINESSPEOPLE URGED OUR STRONG 
SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORS 
TO ENSURE THAT THE VOTE WAS NOT STOLEN. 
 
5.  THE BANKET MANAGER TOLD US THAT DESPITE THE VIOLENCE 
AND INTIMIDATION, HE AND OTHER WHITE BUSINESSMEN 
CONTINUED TO SUPPORT THE MDC.  HE SAID HE HELPED MDC 
CANDIDATES GET ON THE BALLOT FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE 
AND SOLICITED FUNDS FOR THE OPPOSITION PARTY.  THE MDC 
OFFICIAL WHO WAS TO APPROVE THE CANDIDACY OF MDC 
REPRESENTATIVES AT THE NOMINATING CENTER ON JUNE 3 WAS 
RUN OFF THE ROAD THAT MORNING, BUT SURVIVED AND ARRIVED 
IN TIME TO ENSURE THE REGISTRATION OF THE OPPOSITION 
PARTY CANDIDATES, HE INFORMED.  BASED ON AN ANALYSIS OF 
EACH CONSTITUENCY IN THE AREA, THE MDC ORGANIZER 
ESTIMATED THAT THE MDC WOULD TAKE BETWEEN 75 TO 80 
PERCENT OF THE KEY AREAS IN MASHONALALAND WEST, WITH THE 
EXCEPTION OF ZVIMBA SOUTH, MUGABE'S HOME AREA.  MDC 
CANDIDATES IN THE AREA CANNOT CAMPAIGN, HOWEVER, BECAUSE 
OF THE THREATS AGAINST THEM AND THEIR SUPPORTERS BY WAR 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03078  02 OF 04  071608Z 
VETERANS, ACCORDING TO THIS BUSINESSMAN. 
 
REGISTRATION AND CAMPAIGN CONCERNS 
---------------------------------- 
 
6.  (C) ALL THE BUSINESS PEOPLE EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT 
WHETHER THEY WOULD BE INCLUDED ON THE VOTERS' ROLLS. 
THEY NOTED THAT NO REGISTRATION RECEIPTS HAD BEEN 
ISSUED, AS WAS THE NORM IN PREVIOUS ELECTIONS.  THERE IS 
HOWEVER, NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT TO ISSUE SUCH RECEIPTS SO 
COURT CHALLENGES TO THE OMISSION OF THEIR NAMES WOULD BE 
DIFFICULT.  ADDITIONALLY, IT WAS WIDELY BELIEVED THAT 
THE GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO REMOVE EUROPEAN SOUNDING NAMES 
FROM THE ROLLS, AND HAS STATED THAT IT WILL UNILATERALLY 
STRIKE THE NAMES OF ANYONE BELIEVED TO STILL HOLD A 
BRITISH PASSPORT.  SOME OF THE WHITE BUSINESS PEOPLE 
SAID THEIR NAMES WERE NOT ON THE ROLLS WHEN THEY 
INSPECTED IT RECENTLY, DESPITE HAVING SIGNED UP ALONG 
WITH ALL THEIR BLACK EMPLOYEES AT THEIR WORK PLACE. 
THESE WHITES SAID THE INSPECTION OFFICIALS SAID THEY 
COULD NOT VOTE IN THE UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
AND THAT ANY CORRECTION WOULD ONLY APPLY TO FUTURE 
ELECTIONS.  THIS INFORMATION CONTRADICTS THE REGISTRAR 
GENERAL'S PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE VOTERS' ROLLS, 
WHICH ARE OPEN FOR INSPECTION FORM JUNE 1 TO 13 ACROSS 
THE COUNTY, WILL BE AMENDED DURING THE ELEVEN DAYS 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7574 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  03078  03 OF 04  071608Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
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      INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    DCP-01 
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
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        /011W 
                  ------------------602F6D  071609Z /38 
P 071612Z JUN 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6237 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 04 HARARE 003078 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI 
SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING 
PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS, 
BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS 
 
BEFORE VOTING TO CORRECT OMISSIONS.  THERE HAS ALSO BEEN 
ONLY A LIMITED CAMPAIGN ON THE NEED FOR ALL VOTERS TO 
INSPECT THE ROLLS, CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS HARD TO TELL AT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03078  03 OF 04  071608Z 
THIS POINT HOW WIDESPREAD VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT MAY 
BE OR WHETHER PEOPLE ARE BEING ALLOWED TO CORRECT 
ERRORS.  EVEN SOME MDC CANDIDATES WERE ORIGINALLY 
OMITTED FROM THE ROLLS AND WERE SUBSEQUENTLY ALLOWED TO 
HAVE THEIR NAMES ADDED.  THIS MAY NOT, HOWEVER, BE THE 
CASE FOR THE AVERAGE VOTER. 
 
7.  (C) AN MDC EXECUTIVE MEMBER WHO IS EMPLOYED AT ONE 
OF THE COMPANIES WE VISITED TOLD US THAT HIS PARTY IS 
UNABLE TO CAMPAIGN IN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, SPECIFICALLY 
MASHONALAND WEST AND CENTRAL, BECAUSE OF THE ATTACKS ON 
THEIR CANDIDATES AND VOTERS.  THE MDC CAN NO LONGER GO 
INTO CERTAIN RURAL AREAS TO ADDRESS THE WIDESPREAD VOTER 
INTIMIDATION OR TO CORRECT MISINFORMATION BEING SPREAD 
ABOUT ITS PARTY, HE ADDED.  THE MDC OFFICIAL THEN 
RECITED A HORRIFIC STORY OF AN MDC ORGANIZER IN KARIBA 
BEING DRAGGED FROM HIS WORKPLACE AND BEATEN TO DEATH BY 
ZANU-PF SUPPORTERS, DRIVEN AROUND TOWN, AND THEN HIS 
CORPSE HAVING BEEN DUMPED AT HIS HOME.  SIMILARLY, THE 
MDC OFFICIAL AND OTHERS IN THE AREA ECHOED STORIES OF 
TORTURE OF OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AT THE ZAMBEZI VALLEY 
HOTEL IN KARIBA, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A LOCAL WARLORD, 
"REX JESUS."  REX JESUS AND 14 OTHERS WERE ARRESTED FOR 
THE MURDER OF THE KARIBA MDC OFFICIAL, BUT FEW EXPECT 
HIM TO BE PROSECUTED.  THE MDC REPRESENTATIVE SAID EVEN 
SENIOR POLICE OFFICIALS IN KARIBA WERE INVOLVED IN 
COVERING UP THE ATTACKS ON OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS IN THE 
AREA.  MDC SUPPORTERS WERE EVEN FREQUENTLY BEATEN IN ONE 
POLICE STATION IN KARIBA BY ZANU-PF OFFICIALS, UNTIL 
COMPLAINTS WERE MADE TO POLICE HEADQUARTERS AND THE 
COMMISSIONER, IDENTIFIED BY THE SURNAME "MBUNDU" WAS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03078  03 OF 04  071608Z 
TRANSFERRED.  THE MDC OFFICIAL SAID THE VICTIMIZATION 
CAMPAIGN HAD SHIFTED FROM GROUPS, I.E., WHITE FARMERS, 
TO INDIVIDUALS FARM WORKERS OR OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS. 
 
SECRECY OF BALLOT QUESTIONED 
---------------------------- 
 
8.  (C) AN ADDITIONAL AREA OF GREAT CONCERN WAS THE 
CONFIDENTIALLY OF THE BALLOT.  SEVERAL OF THE WHITE 
 
SIPDIS 
BUSINESSMEN EXPRESSED FEARS THAT THE BALLOT PAPERS WOULD 
BE NUMBERED TO CORRESPOND WITH THE NAMES OF THE VOTERS, 
THUS PINPOINTING THEM FOR RETRIBUTION AFTER THE 
ELECTION.  OTHERS NOTED THAT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND 
RULING PARTY SUPPORTERS WERE TELLING ILLITERATE RURAL 
VOTERS THAT THEIR VOTE WOULD BE MONITORED AND THAT 
ENTIRE COMMUNITIES WOULD BE PUNISHED IF ANY OF ITS 
MEMBERS VOTED FOR THE OPPOSITION.  WHILE SOME CIVIL 
SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS ARE PLANNING A MODEST CIVIC 
EDUCATION EXERCISE TO UNDERSCORE THE SECRECY OF THE 
BALLOT, THEY DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 
PARTICULARLY THE STATE-OWNED RADIO, AND WILL HAVE ONLY A 
LIMITED REACH IN THE RURAL AREAS.  THE LEGAL RESOURCES 
FOUNDATION (LRF) IS ONE SUCH GROUP THAT HAS PREPARED A 
MILLION COPIES OF A CARTOON FLYER TO PROMOTE THE SECRET 
BALLOT.  THIS IDEA WAS PROPOSED TO LRF BY CAMBODIAN 
HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER, DR. KEK GALABRU, ONE OF THE EXPERTS 
WHO VISITED ZIMBABWE LAST MONTH UNDER THE EMBASSY'S 
"EMINENT PERSONS PROGRAM." 
 
FARM INVASIONS NOT ABOUT LAND REFORM 
------------------------------------ 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03078  03 OF 04  071608Z 
 
9.  (C) IN DOMA, THE AMBASSADOR HAD A LUNCHEON WITH 
SEVEN TOBACCO AND OTHER COMMERCIAL FARMERS WHO 
REPRESENTED PROPERTY OWNERS FROM A SUBSTANTIAL AREA 
NORTH OF HARARE, COVERING TWO PROVINCES, AND FROM 
OCCUPIED FARMS IN THOSE AREAS.  THE LUNCHEON HOST'S FARM 
WAS NOT OCCUPIED, HOWEVER, A FACT THAT HIS FAMILY 
ATTRIBUTED TO LUCK AND PERHAPS A REPUTATION FOR GOOD 
EMPLOYEE RELATIONS, BUT ADMITTED THAT HE DID NOT KNOW 
HOW THEY ESCAPED THE SQUATTERS.  THE UNEQUIVOCAL 
CONSENSUS OF EVERYONE WITH WHOM WE SPOKE WAS THAT THE 
FARM INVASIONS WERE NOT ABOUT LAND REFORM AT ALL, BUT A 
MERE PRETEXT FOR MOVING WAR VETERANS AND ZANU-PF 
SUPPORTERS INTO THE RURAL AREAS TO INTIMIDATE PEOPLE 
INTO SUPPORTING THE RULING PARTY DURING THE 
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.  LAND REFORM DISCUSSIONS CANNOT 
BEGIN IN EARNEST UNTIL AFTER THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS MORE LIKELY TO ABANDON ITS 
STRATEGY OF OCCUPATIONS TO GET OUT THE VOTE, THESE 
CONTACTS OPINED.  THEY SAID THEY HAD ALREADY OFFERED 
SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF FARMS TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR LAND 
REFORM THROUGH THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU), BUT 
THE GOVERNMENT HAD NO DESIRE TO SETTLE THE LAND QUESTION 
DURING THIS POLITICAL SEASON.  THEY ANTICIPATED THAT 
THESE DISCUSSIONS WOULD MOVE FORWARD AFTER THE ELECTION. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7577 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  03078  04 OF 04  071609Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  SMEC-00 
      COME-00  DINT-00  DODE-00  DOTE-00  ANHR-00  SRPP-00  DS-00 
      EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00 
      INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    DCP-01 
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
      ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00   SP-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00 
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00 
        /011W 
                  ------------------602F7F  071609Z /38 
P 071612Z JUN 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6238 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 04 HARARE 003078 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/07/00 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, EAGR, PINR, ZI 
SUBJECT: POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE: SHOCKING 
PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS FROM COMMERCIAL FARMERS, 
BUSINESSPEOPLE, AND MDC ACTIVISTS 
 
10.  (C) ONE TOBACCO FARMER RECOUNTED HOW HE HAD BEEN 
INVADED AND EVICTED OFF HIS FARM ON THREE SEPARATE 
OCCASIONS BY WAR VETS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ANOTHER 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  03078  04 OF 04  071609Z 
WARLORD, "JESUS TWO."  DURING THESE SESSIONS, HE WAS 
BEATEN AND DEMEANED.  COMMERCIAL FARMERS NATIONALLY HAVE 
ESTABLISHED A RADIO NET ON WHICH THEY PROVIDE EMERGENCY 
INFORMATION ON OCCUPATIONS AND A NIGHTLY SITUATION 
REPORT.  THE BANKET FARMERS SAID THEIR NET ALONE HAS 200 
CALL SIGNS.  DURING SEVERAL OCCUPATIONS IN THE AREA, THE 
BESIEGED FARMER WOULD RADIO FOR HELP AND OTHER FARMERS 
CALLED FOR POLICE HELP AND THEN DROVE TO THE LOCATION TO 
MONITOR THE SITUATION AS IT DEVELOPED.  THE ASSISTING 
FARMERS SAID THEY ALWAYS CAME UNARMED AND GENERALLY 
REFRAINED FROM DIRECT INVOLVEMENT, AS THE 100 TO 200 WAR 
VETS WHO COME OUTNUMBER THEM.  ONE OF THE INVADED 
FARMERS TOLD US MOST OF THE OCCUPIERS WERE COMMUNAL FARM 
WORKERS WHO WERE FORCED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE INVASIONS 
OUT OF FEAR OF REPRISAL AGAINST THEM.  HE HELD NO ILL 
WILL AGAINST THEM, HE SAID.  THE OCCUPIERS MAKE THEIR 
DEMANDS KNOWN, NEGOTIATE THEIR PRESENCE ON THE LAND 
(I.E., WHAT RATIONS THE FARMER WILL PROVIDE) AND THEN 
RETREAT TO A SECTION OF THE FARM.  THE SUBSEQUENT 
VIOLENCE THAT OCCURS IS ORGANIZED BY A HAND-FULL OF 
"EXCITABLE YOUTH" OR ASPIRING WARLORDS, BUT NOT GENUINE 
WAR VETS.  THE WAR VETS ARE FACTION-RIDDEN, WITH STRONG 
ETHNIC AND ZANU/ZAPU TENSIONS ACCOUNTING FOR THE LACK OF 
ANY CONSISTENT STRATEGY OR STABILITY ON THE OCCUPIED 
FARMS, THE FARMERS ADDED. 
 
THE ECONOMIC FUTURE 
------------------- 
 
11.  (C) THE FARMERS AND BUSINESS PEOPLE DESCRIBED THE 
FINANCIAL LOSSES THEY WERE SUFFERING AS A RESULT OF THE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03078  04 OF 04  071609Z 
FARM INVASIONS AND GOVERNMENT PLANS TO ACQUIRE 804 
PRODUCTIVE FARMS.  THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS URGED THE U.S. 
TO CONSIDER AN ECONOMIC "RECOVERY PLAN" FOR FARMERS 
AFTER THE ELECTION, INCLUDING INTEREST-FREE, OFFSHORE 
LOANS.  AMBASSADOR MCDONALD EXPLAINED THAT SUCH AN 
ARRANGEMENT WOULD NOT HAPPEN, BUT STRESSED THAT WITHIN 
OUR FINANCIAL MEANS THE USG WANTED TO CONTINUE TO 
SUPPORT LAND REFORM. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
12.  (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD USED THIS TRIP TO REITERATE 
OUR STRONG CONDEMNATION OF THE POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND TO 
INFORM THESE ZIMBABWEANS OF OUR SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC AND 
INTERNATIONAL MONITORING EFFORTS.  ALTHOUGH WE HAVE 
KNOWN FOR SOME TIME THAT THESE GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN 
RIGHTS WERE OCCURRING AND HAVE REPORTED THEM, IT IS 
SHOCKING TO HEAR IT FROM THESE PERSONAL TESTIMONIALS. 
IT IS HEARTENING TO KNOW THAT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN 
VICTIMIZED ARE STILL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ZIMBABWE'S FUTURE 
AND INTEND TO STAY.  THE VISIT WAS VERY WELL RECEIVED 
SHORING UP THOSE WE MET AND IS LIKELY TO HAVE THE DUAL 
EFFECT OF APPRISING THE GENERAL ELECTORATE, AS WELL AS 
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY 
IS AWARE OF THE STATE-ORCHESTRATED VIOLENCE IN THE 
COUNTRYSIDE.  THE GENERAL SENSE WE GOT WAS THAT DESPITE 
THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE THE OPPOSITION REMAINS POISED 
TO TAKE A SIZEABLE NUMBER OF SEATS.  TO DATE, WE HAVE 
CONSERVATIVELY ESTIMATED AROUND 30 SEATS.  THAT NUMBER 
MAY NEED TO BE REVISED UPWARDS, WITH INDICATIONS THAT 
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PAGE 04        HARARE  03078  04 OF 04  071609Z 
MDC COULD GET AS MANY AS 45 TO 55 SEATS. 
 
13.  (C) THERE REMAINS A GREAT CONCERN THAT THE RULING 
PARTY WILL RIG THE VOTE COUNT TO PREVENT ANY MDC 
MAJORITY FROM SITTING IN THE PARLIAMENT.  IF THAT 
HAPPENS, THE BIGGEST THREAT TO PEACE IN THE COUNTRY WILL 
BE THE POST-ELECTION PERIOD WHEN THE GOVERNMENT AND 
OPPOSITION ARE LIKELY TO DISPUTE THE RESULTS.  NO ONE 
CAN SAY WITH CERTAINTY WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THAT POINT, 
BUT THE MILITARY HAS TWICE DISTANCED ITSELF FROM ANY 
PERCEPTION THAT IT HAS AN INTEREST IN THE OUTCOME OF THE 
ELECTION.  END COMMENT. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
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