US embassy cable - 00HARARE4627

NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM

Identifier: 00HARARE4627
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE4627 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-08-21 12:17:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL ECON EFIN EAGR PINR PHUM 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.

211217Z Aug 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0149

PAGE 01        HARARE  04627  01 OF 03  211754Z 
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                  ------------------7C262F  211754Z /02    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6881
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 004627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK 
USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON 
STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04627  01 OF 03  211754Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05 
TAGS: PREL, ECON, EFIN, EAGR, PINR, PHUM, ZI, Land Reform 
SUBJECT: NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING 
GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM 
 
REF:  HARARE 3910 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), (D) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) IN A MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR ON AUGUST 16, 
NEW HOME AFFARIS MINISTER -- AND ZANU-PF CHAIRMAN -- JOHN 
NKOMO PROVIDED A CONFUSING AND SOMETIMES CONTRADICTORY 
ACCOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S NEXT STEPS ON LAND REFORM. 
HIS COMMENTS CONFIRMED THE CLEAR ABSENCE OF ANY 
SYSTEMATIC RESETTLEMENT PLAN.  IT IS OBVIOUS THAT OLD 
GUARD MEMBERS LIKE NKOMO ARE CONTINUING TO FIGHT THE 
GUERRILLA STRUGGLE AGAINST WHITES THROUGH LAND REFORM. 
ACCORDING TO NKOMO, ALL 3,000 FARMS IDENTIFIED FOR 
SEIZURE WOULD BE GAZETTED BY AUGUST 18 (ALTHOUGH WE WERE 
INFORMED SUBSEQUENTLY BY THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION 
THAT THIS DID NOT OCCUR), BUT THERE MIGHT BE A NEED FOR 
ADDITIONAL LAND IN THE FUTURE.  OWNERS OF FARMS WILL HAVE 
30 DAYS TO APPEAL AND, IF SUCCESSFUL, WILL BE TAKEN OFF 
THE LIST.  NKOMO AGREES THAT PRODUCTIVE FARMS SHOULD BE 
REMOVED.  OTHER FARMS WOULD THEN HAVE TO BE IDENTIFIED. 
 
2.  (C) NKOMO DENIED THE EXISTENCE OF SIGNIFICANT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04627  01 OF 03  211754Z 
LAWLESSNESS ON COMMERCIAL FARMS, AND REITERATED THAT THE 
WAR VETERANS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO REMAIN WHERE THEY ARE 
PROVIDED THEY DO NOT ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. 
ALTHOUGH HE ACKOWLEDGED THAT FARM OCCUPATIONS WERE 
CAUSING ECONOMIC DAMAGE, NKOMO INSISTED THAT SOME 
DISRUPTIONS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CORRECT THE INJUSTICE OF 
CURRENT LAND OWNERSHIP.  NKOMO CALLED THE NEW PARLIAMENT 
"AMATEURS" AND DENIED THE EXISTENCE OF FACTIONS WITHIN 
CABINET.  THE EMBASSY HAD A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH 
NKOMO WHEN HE WAS MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND 
HOUSING, AND WE INTEND TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE DIALOGUE 
WITH HIM IN HIS NEW PORTFOLIO.  WE DO NOT EXPECT ANY 
DEPARTURES FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S DISASTROUS POLICIES, 
INCLUDING ON LAND, AND LIKELY WILL SEE MORE OF THE SAME 
IN RURAL AREAS.    END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------- 
CONSTRUCTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIP 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) THE AMBASSADOR, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFFS, CALLED 
AUGUST 16 ON NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER, AND ZANU-PF 
CHAIRMAN, JOHN NKOMO.  THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE HAD ENJOYED 
WORKING WITH NKOMO IN HIS PREVIOUS POSITION AS LOCAL 
GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING MINISTER, AND HE LOOKED FORWARD TO 
CONTINUING A PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AT HOME 
AFFAIRS. 
 
---------------------------- 
CONFUSING NEXT STEPS ON LAND 
---------------------------- 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04627  01 OF 03  211754Z 
 
4. (C) THE AMBASSADOR EXPRESSED SERIOUS CONCERN THAT THE 
VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION ON COMMERCIAL FARMS HAD 
CONTINUED IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE JUNE ELECTIONS, AND 
ASKED WHAT THE GOVERNMENT INTENDED TO DO ABOUT IT. NKOMO 
BEGAN BY CLAIMING THAT THE 3,000 FARM FIGURE WAS 
CONSISTENT WITH THE AMOUNT OF LAND TO BE TRANSFERRED AS 
AGREED AT THE SEPTEMBER 1998 DONORS CONFERENCE.  804 
FARMS, HE SAID, HAD ALREADY BEEN IDENTIFIED FOR 
RESETTLEMENT, AND THE REMAINING APPROXIMATELY 2200 WOULD 
BE GAZETTED ON AUGUST 18.  (NOTE: WE WERE SUBSEQUENTLY 
INFORMED BY THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION ON AUGUST 21 
THAT NO FARMS WERE GAZETTED ON AUGUST 18.  229 FARMS WERE 
IDENTIFIED FOR SEIZURE IN THE GOVERNMENT-INFLUENCED 
NEWSPAPER "THE HERALD," BUT HAVE NOT YET BEEN LISTED IN 
THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT GAZETTE.  END NOTE.)  NKOMO 
CLAIMED THAT ALL OWNERS HAVE 30 DAYS TO APPEAL; 
PRODUCTIVE FARMS SHOULD BE TAKEN OFF THE LIST.  ASKED 
WHETHER NEW FARMS WOULD THEN HAVE TO BE IDENTIFIED, NKOMO 
SAID YES, BUT A NEW PROCESS WOULD BE REQUIRED.  HE ADDED 
CRYPTICALLY THAT THE GOVERNMENT LIKELY WOULD ALLOW SOME 
FARMERS TO STAY ON THEIR FARMS FOR SEVERAL YEARS, BUT 
WOULD TELL THEM THAT THEIR LAND WOULD BE ACQUIRED AT SOME 
POINT IN THE FUTURE.  THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT SUCH AN 
ILLEGAL, UNCLEAR AND INCONSISTENT APPROACH CREATED 
SIGNIFICANT ANXIETY AMONG FARMERS AND WREAKED HAVOC ON 
THE ECONOMY. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8623 
 
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        /013W 
                  ------------------7BF9DC  211220Z /38 
P 211217Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6882 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 004627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK 
USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON 
STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04627  02 OF 03  211219Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05 
TAGS: PREL, ECON, EFIN, EAGR, PINR, PHUM, ZI 
SUBJECT: NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING 
GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM 
 
5.  (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED ABOUT THE PROPOSAL OF THE 
COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) TO SELL FARMS IN PHASES 
OVER SEVERAL YEARS.  NKOMO REPLIED THAT HE WAS IN DAILY 
CONTACT WITH THE CFU, WHICH HAD OFFERED TO RELINQUISH 200 
FARMS NOW, AND OTHER FARMS IN BETWEEN PLANTING SEASONS. 
HE PROVIDED NO ADDITIONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE CFU PROPOSAL, 
WHICH HE SAID HAD BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE MINISTERIAL GROUP 
OVERSEEING THE FAST-TRACK RESETTLEMENT EFFORT. 
 
------------------------- 
VIOLENCE?  WHAT VIOLENCE? 
------------------------- 
 
6.  (C) NOTING THAT THE EMBASSY IS RECEIVING MANY REPORTS 
OF CONTINUING FARM VIOLENCE, THE AMBASSADOR ASKED WHEN 
PRESIDENT MUGABE PLANNED TO ORDER THE WAR VETERANS OFF 
THE FARMS.  THE PRESIDENT WOULD NOT, NKOMO REPLIED.  HE 
HIMSELF WAS DEALING WITH THE VETERANS.  IN FACT, HE HAD 
MET WITH THEM IN HIS OFFICE ON AUGUST 13.  SO LONG AS 
THEY ARE NOT ENGAGING IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, THEY WILL BE 
PERMITTED TO REMAIN ON THE FARMS.  HE DISAGREED THAT 
THERE WAS WIDESPREAD LAWLESSNESS, INSISTING THAT 
"MALICIOUS PEOPLE" WERE THE SOURCE OF SUCH REPORTS.  HE 
ACKNOWLEDGED ONLY THE EXISTENCE OF "CRIMINAL ELEMENTS" 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04627  02 OF 03  211219Z 
WHO HAD TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION, BUT INSISTED 
THEY WOULD BE ARRESTED WHEN IDENTIFIED.  THE WAR VETERANS 
HAD BEEN TOLD TO BE PREPARED TO MOVE TO LAND IDENTIFIED 
FOR THEM AS SOON AS THEY RECEIVED THE WORD, BUT NKOMO 
COULD NOT SAY WHEN THAT WOULD HAPPEN.  NKOMO THOUGHT THE 
QUESTION OF LAWLESSNESS AND CRIMINAL ACTIVITY HAD BEEN 
ADDRESSED ADEQUATELY.  THE GOVERNMENT WAS CERTAINLY 
TRYING ITS BEST. 
 
7.  THE AMBASSADOR STRONGLY DISAGREED THAT THE PROBLEM 
HAD BEEN RESOLVED.  HE SAID THAT THE VIOLENCE AND 
INTIMIDATION WERE WRONG AND MUST BE STOPPED BY THE GOZ. 
HE HAD TRAVELLED PERSONALLY TO AREAS AFFECTED BY LAND- 
RELATED VIOLENCE, AND REPORTS OF VIOLENCE FROM RELIABLE 
SOURCES WERE CONTINUING.  THE AMBASSADOR AND OTHERS HAVE 
THAT PERCEPTION, NKOMO SAID, BECAUSE THEY HEAR FROM 
PEOPLE LIKE CFU OFFICIAL DAVID HASLUCK, WHOSE NEGATIVE 
RHETORIC MADE THE SITUATION WORSE.  TURNING EMOTIONAL, 
NKOMO SAID ANGRILY THAT HE HAD FOUGHT IN THE INDEPENDENCE 
WAR AND SUSTAINED INJURIES IN ORDER TO GET THE VOTE, AND 
HAD LOST EVERYTHING IN THE PROCESS.  THE FARMERS WERE THE 
ONES HE HAD FOUGHT AGAINST AND WHO HAD LOCKED HIM UP 
DURING THE COLONIAL DAYS.  HIS FATHER HAD BEEN FORCED OFF 
HIS LAND BY WHITES EARLY LAST CENTURY. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
DISRUPTIONS NECESSARY TO CORRECT INJUSTICE 
------------------------------------------ 
 
8.  (C) WAS NKOMO CONCERNED ABOUT THE ECONOMIC DAMAGE 
CAUSED BY THE LAWLESSNESS?  YES, HE REPLIED, BUT IT WAS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04627  02 OF 03  211219Z 
ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO CORRECT A GLARING 
INJUSTICE.  WHEN A WHITE FARMER HAS 20,000 HECTARES OF 
LAND ACROSS A FENCE FROM BLACK ZIMBABWEANS HUDDLED IN 
CONGESTED POVERTY, "THE SITUATION MUST BE PUT RIGHT," 
NKOMO SAID.  IT IS ONLY HUMANE TO ADDRESS THIS 
DISCREPANCY, AND SOME DISRUPTIONS MAY BE UNAVOIDABLE 
ALONG THE WAY.  THE MINISTER WAS INCREDULOUS AT THE NERVE 
OF IAN SMITH, WHO HE SAID CALLS HIM EVERY DAY ABOUT THE 
STATUS OF HIS FARM.  HE CRITICIZED WHITE FARMERS FOR 
BEING TOO HARDLINE AND REFUSING TO ACCEPT ANY OF THE 
GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS.  EVINCING SIGNIFICANT DISLIKE FOR 
CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF THE WHITE COMMUNITY, NKOMO INSISTED 
THAT ONE COULD NOT "TEACH OLD DOGS NEW TRICKS."  THE 
AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS HAD DRAGGED 
THEIR FEET OVER THE YEARS, BUT THE GOVERNMENT ALSO HAD 
ITS HARDLINERS.  NKOMO REPLIED THAT PERHAPS IT IS AN 
ADVANTAGE TO HAVE THEM, AS THEY REMIND THE GOVERNMENT OF 
THE NATURE OF THE "OTHER SIDE."  HE URGED THE UNITED 
STATES TO LET ZIMBABWE RESOLVE THIS ISSUE ON ITS OWN. 
 
---------------------- 
BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP 
---------------------- 
 
9.  (C) FRIENDSHIP, THE AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT, IS A TWO- 
WAY STREET.  AS FRIENDS OF ZIMBABWE, THE UNITED STATES 
WANTED TO EXPRESS ITS CONCERNS, AND WE EXPECTED ZIMBABWE 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8624 
 
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        /013W 
                  ------------------7BF9E9  211220Z /38 
P 211217Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6883 
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 004627 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK 
USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON 
STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04627  03 OF 03  211220Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05 
TAGS: PREL, ECON, EFIN, EAGR, PINR, PHUM, ZI 
SUBJECT: NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING 
GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM 
 
TO DO THE SAME.  THE AMBASSADOR WAS CONCERNED, THOUGH, BY 
RECENT ANTI-AMERICAN RHETORIC FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, 
PROMPTED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS' CONSIDERATION OF THE 
ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT (ZDA).  THE ZDA IS EVIDENCE OF 
CONGRESSIONAL CONCERN ABOUT THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE, 
AND THE EMBASSY SHARES THAT CONCERN.  THE AMBASSADOR 
EXPRESSED HIS HOPE THAT OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS COULD DISCUSS 
OUR DIFFERENCES CONSTRUCTIVELY.  NKOMO TERMED THE ZDA 
"UNFORTUNATE," BUT AGREED WITH THE AMBASSADOR'S POINT. 
 
---------------------- 
PARLIAMENT AND CABINET 
---------------------- 
 
10.  (C) NKOMO DESCRIBED PARLIAMENT AS A "BUNCH OF 
AMATEURS."  THAT WAS THE CASE ON BOTH SIDES, BUT HE ADDED 
THAT HE AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS HAD ALL BEGUN THEIR 
POLITICAL CAREERS AT THE SAME STAGE.  HE CRITICIZED THE 
NEW MPS FOR FOCUSING THEIR EFFORTS ON PERSONAL ATTACKS 
RATHER THAN ISSUES.  NKOMO DENIED THAT THE CABINET HAD 
SPLIT INTO FACTIONS, CLAIMING THAT CABINET MEMBERS WERE 
UNITED IN THEIR DESIRE TO GET ZIMBABWE BACK ON THE RIGHT 
TRACK. 
 
------- 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04627  03 OF 03  211220Z 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11.  (C) THE EMBASSY HAD A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH 
NKOMO WHEN HE WAS MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND WE 
INTEND TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE DIALOGUE WITH HIM.  AS A 
SENIOR MINISTER AND PARTY CHAIRMAN, HE WILL CONTINUE TO 
BE AN IMPORTANT INTERLOCUTOR FOR THE MISSION.  WE SHOULD 
NOT EXPECT ANY DEPARTURES FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S RECENT 
MISGUIDED POLICIES, HOWEVER.  NKOMO IS A ZANU-PF STALWART 
WHO TOES THE PARTY LINE ON LAND REFORM AND OTHER KEY 
ISSUES.  HIS CONFUSING, SOMETIMES CONTRADICTORY COMMENTS 
ON LAND CONFIRMED THE CLEAR ABSENCE OF ANY SYSTEMATIC 
RESETTLEMENT PLAN.  JUDGING FROM NKOMO'S COMMENTS, THE 
GOVERNMENT HAS NO INTENTION OF MOVING THE WAR VETERANS 
OFF THE FARMS IN THE NEAR TERM NOR OF SERIOUSLY 
ADDRESSING THE HAVOC THEY ARE WREAKING IN RURAL AREAS AND 
IN UNDERMINING THE ECONOMY.  NKOMO'S ATTITUDE ON LAND 
REFORM IS SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCED BY LINGERING 
RESENTMENT AGAINST THE WHITE FARMERS AS WELL AS, WE 
BELIEVE, THE CALCULATION THAT THIS IS A WINNING POLITICAL 
ISSUE FOR ZANU-PF. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 

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