US embassy cable - 00HARARE4362

WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE'S FUTURE ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION

Identifier: 00HARARE4362
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE4362 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-08-07 14:02:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV EAGR ECON 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.

071402Z Aug 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5317

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                  ------------------770219  071408Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6778
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 004362 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID - RMCCALL AND AFR/SA - TPARK AND 
CREINTSMA 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04362  01 OF 03  071408Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/10 
TAGS: PGOV, EAGR, ECON, ZI 
SUBJECT: WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE'S FUTURE 
ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION 
 
REF: HARARE 4317 
 
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR 
REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY: PRESIDENT MUGABE IS IN CRUSADE MODE, 
CAMPAIGNING FOR HIS PARTY'S CAPTURE OF THE PRESIDENCY IN 
2002.  HE HAS MADE CLEAR HIS LEGACY WILL BE THAT OF THE 
BLACK ZIMBABWEAN WHO FOUGHT AGAINST THE WORLD TO RETURN 
THE LAND TO HIS PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF THE DAMAGE DONE TO 
THE COUNTRY AND THE ECONOMY.  WE FULLY EXPECT HIS 
GOVERNMENT TO GAZETTE THE COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF 
3,000 FARMS, ALTHOUGH WE QUESTION WHETHER IT COULD 
FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE REST OF ITS PROMISES.  THE 
GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO ACQUIRE THAT MANY 
FARMS UNDER CURRENT RULES, AND THE INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT 
OF PEOPLE AND FOOD INSECURITY RESULTING FROM 
RESETTLEMENT IN THE TIME FRAME ENVISIONED WOULD SPELL 
DISASTER.  THE ENSUING ECOLOGICAL NIGHTMARE, AS THE 
DESTITUTE AND UNTRAINED "LAND-STARVED" PEASANTRY 
PRACTICE SUBSISTENCE FARMING ON NOW PRODUCTIVE LAND 
SLOWLY TURNING IT INTO A MOONSCAPE, WOULD COMPLETE THE 
PICTURE.  ECONOMICS DO NOT FORM PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S 
POLITICAL DISCOURSE, AND INDEED IT IS ONLY THROUGH A 
POLITICAL PRISM THAT ONE CAN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE 
PRESIDENT'S SEEMINGLY ERRATIC ACTIONS.  ON THE SAME DAY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04362  01 OF 03  071408Z 
HIS FINANCE MINISTER TOUTED THE INTRODUCTION OF MEASURES 
TO REVERSE THE SLIDE, MUGABE WAS INSULTING DONORS ON 
NATIONAL TELEVISION.  THE PRESIDENT ALSO PUBLICLY 
CONTRADICTS HIS SENIOR NDEBELE PARTY MEMBERS, A FACT 
THAT WILL STRETCH THE FABRIC OF THE ZANU-PF UNITY ACCORD 
TO THE LIMIT.  IN SPITE OF THE DAMAGE MUGABE HAS 
INFLICTED TO THE COUNTRY AND EVEN HIS OWN PARTY, THE 
OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE HAS BEEN SLOW 
OR UNABLE TO FORMULATE A CATCHY POSITION TO COUNTER THE 
PRESIDENT'S DOMINANCE ON THE LAND DEBATE.  MEANWHILE, 
THE JUGGERNAUT ROLLS ON.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) POLITICAL, NOT ECONOMIC, LOGIC PREVAILS ON THE 
LAND QUESTION IN ZIMBABWE, AND PRESIDENT MUGABE IS WELL 
DOWN THE PATH OF A CRUSADE.  HE HAS SERVED NOTICE THAT 
HIS BOTTOM LINE IS THAT HE IS DETERMINED TO SECURE HIS 
PLACE IN HISTORY AS THE BLACK ZIMBABWEAN WHO BROUGHT 
LAND BACK TO HIS PEOPLE AND FOUGHT IMPERIALISM.  HE SEES 
HIMSELF AS PROUD AND ALONE; THE FIDEL CASTRO OF SOUTHERN 
AFRICA. 
 
3.  (C) MUGABE THINKS THAT THE LAND REFORM PROCESS CAN 
BE DE-LINKED FROM THE ECONOMY.  WE BELIEVE HE IS GRAVELY 
WRONG IN THIS ASSESSMENT.  MOREOVER, HIS RHETORIC OF 
LATE CONFIRMS THAT LAND IS PART AND PARCEL OF HIS 
NEWFOUND NATIONALISM; THAT HE IS FIGHTING THE SECOND WAR 
OF LIBERATION.  WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT HE SOON WILL 
GAZETTE THE 3,000 FARMS HE HAS SAID HIS GOVERNMENT WILL 
FORCIBLY ACQUIRE.  (NOTE: THE ACCELERATED LAND 
RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM IS BEING CARRIED OUT BY THE NEWLY- 
FORMED "ZIMBABWE NATIONAL LAND ACQUISITION COMMITTEE," A 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04362  01 OF 03  071408Z 
ZANU-PF BODY WITH NO LEGAL AUTHORITY, CHAIRED BY VICE 
PRESIDENT MSIKA, AND BYPASSING CABINET AND PARLIAMENT. 
END NOTE.)  HOWEVER, FOLLOWING THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS 
UNION'S SUIT CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE 
USE OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS, WHICH INFURIATED PRESIDENT 
MUGABE, WE QUESTION WHETHER HE WILL STOP AT 3,000. 
INDEED, MUGABE COULD WELL ORDER SEIZURE OF ALL WHITE- 
OWNED COMMERCIAL FARMS OR AN INVASION OF CFU PRESIDENT 
TIM HENWOOD'S FARM, OR A RAID ON THE CFU'S HEADQUARTERS 
OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSING THE 
GOVERNMENT'S DICTATORIAL ACTIONS. 
 
4.  (C) AS WE REPORTED IN REFTEL, THE 3,000 FIGURE DATES 
TO 1997 WHEN A LIST OF COMMERCIAL FARMS WHOSE LAND 
SURFACE TOTALED FIVE MILLION HECTARES WAS DRAWN UP.  IT 
WAS ESTIMATED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NEED ROUGHLY USD 
THREE BILLION TO ACQUIRE THESE: 80 PERCENT OF THE COST 
WOULD BE FOR IMPROVEMENTS AND 20 PERCENT FOR THE LAND 
ITSELF.  EVEN IF THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT WERE TO 
STRONG-ARM THE JUDICIARY TO REDUCE THE MARKET VALUE OF 
THESE FARMS TO, SAY, USD ONE BILLION, IT STILL WOULD 
HAVE TO COME UP WITH USD 250 MILLION (WHICH IT DOES NOT 
HAVE) UP FRONT TO COMPENSATE THE CURRENT OWNERS UNDER 
PRESENT REGULATIONS. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5314 
 
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                  ------------------770207  071408Z /38 
O 071402Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6779 
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 004362 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID - RMCCALL AND AFR/SA - TPARK AND 
CREINTSMA 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04362  02 OF 03  071408Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/10 
TAGS: PGOV, EAGR, ECON, ZI 
SUBJECT: WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE'S FUTURE 
ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION 
 
5.  (C) THE FIVE MILLION HECTARE FIGURE WAS INTENDED FOR 
RESETTLEMENT OF 500,000 LANDLESS FAMILIES.  WE POINT OUT 
THAT IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THE DIRECT HIRE WORKFORCE OF 
ALL THE COMMERCIAL FARMS TOTALS NEARLY ONE MILLION 
(THOUGH MANY MORE, SPOUSES, CHILDREN AND OTHER 
DEPENDENTS, FOR EXAMPLE, ARE SUPPORTED BY THE COMMERCIAL 
FARM WORKERS).  THE 3,000 FARMS COMPRISING THE 5 MILLION 
HECTARES CONSTITUTES ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF THE COMMERCIAL 
FARM TOTAL.  IF THE FARMS ARE SEIZED ABOUT HALF A 
MILLION FARM WORKERS (50 PERCENT OF 1,000,000) WILL FIND 
THEMSELVES WITHOUT A JOB OR INCOME, AND BOOTED OUT OF 
THEIR QUARTERS.  AS CURRENTLY PLANNED, THE RESETTLED 
PORTION OF THE POPULACE WILL EQUAL THE NEWLY DISPLACED 
AND UNEMPLOYED PORTION, AND THE CURRENTLY PRODUCTIVE 
LAND WILL REVERT TO SUBSISTENCE FARMING WITH ALL THE 
ATTENDANT DISASTROUS ECOLOGICAL AND RESOURCE-DESTROYING 
CONSEQUENCES.  IN SIX TO TEN YEARS THE RESETTLED FARMS 
COULD LOOK LIKE THE COMMUNAL LANDS ALLOCATED IN THE 
1980'S BY GOVERNMENT - WITHOUT FARM INFRASTRUCTURE LIKE 
IRRIGATION AND NOW ARID, TREELESS, ERODED AND LACKING 
ROADS, ELECTRICITY, SCHOOLS AND SOCIAL SERVICES. 
 
6.  (C) DURING EARLIER RESETTLEMENT EFFORTS BY THE 
GOVERNMENT, IT TOOK 20 YEARS TO MOVE HALF THE CURRENT 
TARGET OF 500,000 WITH RESULTANT SERIOUS AGRICULTURAL 
EXTENSION AND VIABILITY PROBLEMS.  MOST OF THOSE WHO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04362  02 OF 03  071408Z 
WERE RESETTLED WERE NOT GIVEN TITLE AND ARE ON LAND THAT 
IS CURRENTLY IDLE DUE TO DEGRADATION.  IT IS IN THE 
REALM OF FANTASY TO IMAGINE THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN 
GOVERNMENT WILL MANAGE TO RESETTLE 500,000 PEOPLE IN 
ANYTHING BUT A STATE-ORCHESTRATED ROUT IN ONE MONTH. 
THE INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT OF AT LEAST ONE MILLION PEOPLE 
IN THAT TIMEFRAME WOULD SPELL A DISASTER, INCLUDING ANY 
HOPE OF MAINTAINING FOOD SECURITY, THAT WOULD ECLIPSE 
SUCH ILL-STARRED EXPERIMENTS AS SAMORA MACHEL'S "ALDEIAS 
COMUNAIS." 
 
7.  (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE, HOWEVER, DOES NOT ANALYZE OR 
EVEN VIEW THE ISSUE IN THESE TERMS.  HIS TECHNICIANS, 
OUT OF FEAR, TRY TO RATIONALIZE WHAT IS EVIDENTLY 
IRRATIONAL THINKING.  THESE INDIVIDUALS ALSO HARBOR THE 
ILLUSION THAT NO MATTER WHAT, THE DONORS WILL HAVE TO 
COME TO ZIMBABWE'S ASSISTANCE ON THE GOVERNMENT'S OWN 
TERMS.  HOWEVER, THE PRESIDENT HAS DECIDED THAT THIS 
CAUSE WILL HELP HIS PARTY WIN THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL 
ELECTIONS.  WHILE FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI WAS IN 
PARLIAMENT ON AUGUST 3 INTRODUCING A FRAMEWORK TO TRY TO 
RESCUE THE ECONOMY, PRESIDENT MUGABE WAS IN BINDURA 
ADDRESSING THE ZIMBABWEAN FARMERS UNION CONFERENCE, 
DEFIANTLY INSULTING THE DONORS IN SHONA.  SUCH 
CONTRADICTIONS MAKE SENSE UNDER POLITICAL LOGIC, AND 
CONSEQUENTLY SOME FORWARD THINKING DONORS ARE MAKING 
CONTINGENCY PLANS NOT FOR LAND REFORM FINANCE, BUT FOR A 
HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY. 
 
8.  (C) IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN HOW MUCH MORE OF THIS 
ZANU-PF CAN TAKE.  THE PRESIDENT PUBLICLY CONTRADICTS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04362  02 OF 03  071408Z 
KEY SENIOR GOVERNMENT FIGURES, SUCH AS HOME AFFAIRS 
MINISTER JOHN NKOMO.  HE PLACES VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH 
MSIKA IN CHARGE OF THE LAND REFORM PROGRAM, BUT TELLS 
WAR VETERANS LEADER CHENJERAI HITLER HUNZVI TO IGNORE 
THE VICE PRESIDENT.  THE RULING PARTY'S RELATIONSHIP 
WITH MATEBELELAND IS AT ITS MOST FRAGILE SINCE 
INDEPENDENCE, AND KEEPING JOSEPH MSIKA ON THE TEAM IS 
THE ONLY WAY TO PROP UP THE UNITY ACCORD THAT FUSED 
JOSHUA NKOMO'S ZAPU-PF WITH MUGABE'S ZANU. 
 
9.  (C) THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE TO 
DATE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO THWART THE PRESIDENT'S LAND 
CAMPAIGN THAT IS BACKED UP BY THE FULL MACHINERY OF THE 
PARTY AND THE GOVERNMENT.  INDEED, MUGABE HONED-IN ON 
THE OPPOSITION'S WEAKNESS: LACK OF CLARITY IN THE 
POPULAR PERCEPTION ON WHERE IT STANDS ON THE LAND. 
MOREOVER, THE MDC AND ITS TRADE UNION ALLIES HAVE BEEN 
EMBARRASSINGLY CAST AS BEDFELLOWS OF THE WHITE 
COMMERCIAL FARMERS.  ITS LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN UNABLE TO 
SHAKE THE IMAGE OF SELLOUTS TO THE WHITES, A PERCEPTION 
THAT MAY BE GAINING CURRENCY.  THE ONE-DAY STAYAWAY, 
WHICH ZCTU ENDORSED AND ABBREVIATED ON THE EVE OF ITS 
TAKING PLACE, WAS NOT A RESOUNDING SUCCESS.  ITS 
OWNERSHIP WAS UNCLEAR, THERE WAS LITTLE PUBLIC DEBATE 
AROUND IT, AND THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ENDS AND MEANS WAS 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5318 
 
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O 071402Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6780 
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 004362 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
 
LONDON FOR PFLAUMER 
 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
PASS USAID FOR A/AID - RMCCALL AND AFR/SA - TPARK AND 
CREINTSMA 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04362  03 OF 03  071408Z 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/10 
TAGS: PGOV, EAGR, ECON, ZI 
SUBJECT: WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE'S FUTURE 
ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION 
 
VAGUE.  INDEED, WE UNDERSTAND THAT ZCTU WAS DIVIDED ON 
THE STRIKE, NOT BECAUSE ANYONE IN IT IS PRO-MUGABE, BUT 
BECAUSE THEY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE LINK TO THE 
COMMERCIAL FARMERS. 
 
10.  (C) THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT, AMENDED BY 
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE, WILL BE TABLED IN PARLIAMENT FOR 
RATIFICATION.  ZANU-PF LIKELY WILL WIN, AS IT ONLY TAKES 
A SIMPLE MAJORITY TO DO SO.  IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHAT 
THE MDC'S POSITION WILL BE AT THAT TIME ON LAND.  AT 
THIS WRITING, THE ONLY WAY FOR IT TO TURN THE TABLES 
WOULD BE TO MOVE MASSIVELY TOWARD THE RURAL AREAS.  FOR 
THE MOMENT THE MDC APPEARS TO BE CONCENTRATING ON ITS 
URBAN BASE, COMMUNICATING THROUGH ITS PARTISAN 
NEWSPAPER, "THE DAILY NEWS".  ALTHOUGH RULE OF LAW IS 
THE MDC'S NUMBER ONE ISSUE, IT HAS ABDICATED THE 
POLITICAL STRATEGIC INITIATIVE IN THE RURAL AREAS TO 
ZANU-PF AND THE WAR VETERANS. 
 
11.  (C) CONFIRMING OUR PERCEPTION THAT ZANU IS IN 
CAMPAIGN MODE IS THE FACT THAT THE JULY 20 ZANU-PF 
CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEETING WAS ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL 
ELECTION, AND HOW TO GET THINGS RIGHT FOR IT.  THE BODY 
DISCUSSED THE ECONOMY AND LAND, BUT DID NOT CONDUCT A 
POSTMORTEM ON THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.  AT THIS 
POINT, WE THINK THAT MUGABE HAS NOT COMPLETELY MADE UP 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04362  03 OF 03  071408Z 
HIS MIND AS TO WHETHER HE WILL RUN IN 2002.  SOME HERE 
THINK THAT IF MUGABE VIEWS HIMSELF AS SUCCESSFUL ON THE 
LAND ISSUE, HE WILL BE SATISFIED AND NOT PRESENT HIMSELF 
AS A CANDIDATE, AND, LOOK INSTEAD FOR A WAY TO RETIRE 
WITH HONOR AND ACCLAMATION.  WE WORRY THAT THAT MAY BE 
WISHFUL THINKING. 
 
IRVING 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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