US embassy cable - 00HARARE4750

VP MSIKA: BLAMES OTHERS FOR VIOLENCE AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, BUT SOME ENCOURAGING WORDS ON LAND

Identifier: 00HARARE4750
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE4750 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-08-25 14:57:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PINR ECON EFIN PINR PHUM ZI EAGR
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.

251457Z Aug 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7269

PAGE 01        HARARE  04750  01 OF 03  251458Z 
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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6938
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 004750 
 
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  04750  01 OF 03  251458Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05 
TAGS: PREL, PINR, ECON, EFIN, PINR, PHUM, ZI, EAGR 
SUBJECT: VP MSIKA: BLAMES OTHERS FOR VIOLENCE AND 
ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, BUT SOME ENCOURAGING WORDS ON LAND 
 
REF:  A) HARARE 4695  B) STATE 144224 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD.  REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND 
(D). 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C)  AT THE DEPARTMENT'S INSTRUCTION, AMBASSADOR 
EXPRESSED STRONG U.S. CONCERNS ABOUT THE FARM OCCUPATIONS 
AND CONTINUING RURAL VIOLENCE TO VICE PRESIDENT MSIKA ON 
AUGUST 25.  MSIKA BLAMED COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND THE 
OPPOSITION MDC FOR INCITING MUCH OF THE PRE-ELECTION 
VIOLENCE AND INSISTED THAT, IN OCCUPYING FARMS, MOST WAR 
VETERANS HAD MERELY ENGAGED IN TRESPASSING, WHICH WAS NOT 
A SERIOUS CRIME.  THE CABINET HAD AGREED THAT NO NEW FARM 
OCCUPATIONS WOULD BE PERMITTED, AND THAT WAR VETERANS 
SHOULD BE MOVED TO FARMS IDENTIFIED FOR COMPULSORY 
ACQUISITION.  HE ACKNOWLEDGED, HOWEVER, THAT PRESIDENT 
MUGABE WAS NOT IN AGREEMENT THAT VETERANS SHOULD BE 
REMOVED FROM CURRENTLY-OCCUPIED FARMS ON AN EXPEDITED 
BASIS.   MSIKA SAID ZIMBABWE BORE ONLY SOME OF THE 
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND SAID THE 
GOVERNMENT'S MILLENIUM ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN OUGHT TO 
GET THE ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK.  IN THE MEANTIME, THE GOZ 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04750  01 OF 03  251458Z 
HAD DEVALUED THE CURRENCY AND WAS PLANNING TO REDUCE THE 
SIZE OF THE CIVIL SERVICE AND CUT GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES 
ACROSS THE BOARD TO IMPROVE ITS ECONOMIC CONDITION.   END 
SUMMARY. 
 
------------- 
U.S. CONCERNS 
------------- 
 
2. (C) AMBASSADOR, ACCOMPANIED BY USAID DIRECTOR AND 
POLOFF, CALLED ON VICE-PRESIDENT MSIKA AUGUST 25 TO 
DELIVER REF B DEMARCHE ON CONTINUING VIOLENCE AND THE 
GOVERNMENT'S LAND RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM, AS PRESIDENT 
MUGABE WAS UNAVAILABLE.  AFTER PROVIDING MSIKA WITH A 
NON-PAPER CONTAINING REFTEL TALKING POINTS, THE 
AMBASSADOR UNDERSCORED CONTINUING U.S. CONCERN OVER 
VIOLENCE AND FARM OCCUPATIONS, WHICH HAD DAMAGED 
ZIMBABWE'S STANDING IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.  HE 
DESCRIBED THE EVICTIONS OF WAR VETERANS FROM SEVERAL 
FARMS EARLIER IN THE WEEK (REF A) AS A POSITIVE 
DEVELOPMENT, BUT NOTED THAT VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION 
WERE CONTINUING IN MANY AREAS.  THE UNITED STATES 
RECOGNIZED THE NEED FOR LAND REFORM IN ZIMBABWE AND 
WANTED TO BE HELPFUL, BUT COULD NOT UNDER THESE 
CONDITIONS. 
 
--------------------- 
PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE 
--------------------- 
 
3.  (C) THE PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE, MSIKA CLAIMED, WAS NOT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04750  01 OF 03  251458Z 
MOSTLY OF THE GOVERNMENT'S MAKING.  HE LAID MUCH OF THE 
BLAME ON COMMERCIAL FARMERS, WHOM HE SAID HAD RENEGED ON 
THEIR COMMITMENTS AT THE SEPTEMBER 1998 DONORS CONFERENCE 
ON LAND REFORM, AND SUBSEQUENTLY FORMED MILITIAS TO BLOCK 
THE GOVERNMENT'S RESETTLEMENT EFFORT.  HE ALSO BLAMED THE 
OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), WHICH HE 
SAID WAS LAUNCHED NOT FROM ZIMBABWE BUT BY "OUTSIDE 
FORCES." 
 
4. (C) THE VICE PRESIDENT INSISTED THAT THE FARM 
OCCUPATIONS PRIOR TO THE ELECTIONS HAD BEEN MOTIVATED NOT 
BY POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS BUT BY GENUINE ANGER AGAINST 
FARMERS AND THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE SLOW PACE OF 
RESETTLEMENT. (NB. IN PRIOR CONVERSATIONS WITH THE 
AMBASSADOR, MSIKA ACKNOWLEDGED THAT POLITICS HAD PLAYED A 
ROLE IN THE OCCUPATIONS.  END NOTE)  THE DONORS' 
SUSPENSION OF ASSISTANCE IN LIGHT OF THE OCCUPATIONS, 
MSIKA CLAIMED, EMBOLDENED THE FARMERS TO "ENGINEER" 
VIOLENT CONFRONTATIONS WITH THE WAR VETERANS, EVEN THOUGH 
THE VETERANS HAD BEEN TOLD TO BE PEACEFUL AND NOT TO 
INTERFERE WITH FARMING OPERATIONS.  THE GOVERNMENT WOULD 
HAVE BEEN IRRESPONSIBLE IN ORDERING THE POLICE TO EVICT 
THE LARGE NUMBERS OF WAR VETERANS, AS THIS WOULD HAVE 
RESULTED IN WIDESPREAD BLOODSHED.  IN ANY CASE, MSIKA 
SAID, MOST OF THE WAR VETERANS WERE MERELY TRESPASSING, 
WHICH IN HIS VIEW WAS NOT A SERIOUS CRIME. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7271 
 
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                  ------------------7E161D  251459Z /38 
P 251457Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6939 
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 004750 
 
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  04750  02 OF 03  251458Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05 
TAGS: PREL, ECON, EFIN, EAGR, PINR, PHUM, ZI 
SUBJECT: VP MSIKA: BLAMES OTHERS FOR VIOLENCE AND 
ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, BUT SOME ENCOURAGING WORDS ON LAND 
 
5.  (C) MSIKA INSISTED THAT HE DOES NOT CONDONE 
LAWLESSNESS AND CRITICIZED THOSE WAR VETERANS WHO HAD 
INTERFERED WITH FARMING OPERATIONS OR BUILT STRUCTURES ON 
FARMS THEY HAD OCCUPIED.  MSIKA SAID HE HAD ARGUED IN 
CABINET THAT THE VETERANS MUST BE MOVED AS SOON AS 
POSSIBLE TO FARMS IDENTIFIED FOR ACQUISITION, AS THE 
LONGER THIS PROCESS DRAGS ON, THE MORE DIFFICULT IT WILL 
BE TO MOVE THEM.  HE ACKNOWLEDGED, HOWEVER, THAT 
PRESIDENT MUGABE DID NOT SHARE THE CABINET'S VIEW. 
 
6.  (C) THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE DISAGREED WITH MSIKA'S 
CLAIM THAT THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS HAD ENGINEERED THE 
VIOLENCE.  ON THE CONTRARY, THE EVIDENCE CONFIRMED THAT 
ZANU-PF BORE THE REPONSIBILITY FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF 
PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE.  MSIKA DISAGREED, SAYING THAT 
ZANU-PF ONLY HAD RESPONDED TO PROVOCATIONS.  TALK OF 
FARMER MILITIAS IS NONSENSE.  BOTH HE AND MSIKA KNEW, THE 
AMBASSADOR SAID, THAT MANY OF THE SO-CALLED WAR VETERANS 
WERE TOO YOUNG TO HAVE FOUGHT IN THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE, 
AND CLEARLY HAD BEEN SENT TO THE FARMS TO INTIMIDATE AND 
BEAT THE FARMERS AND THEIR WORKERS.  IF PRESIDENT MUGABE 
HAD MADE IT CLEAR FROM THE BEGINNING THAT VIOLENCE AND 
INTIMIDATION WERE UNACCEPTABLE AND POLICE HAD BEEN 
ALLOWED TO DO THEIR JOB, MOST OF THE LAWLESSNESS COULD 
HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04750  02 OF 03  251458Z 
 
--------------------- 
ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES 
--------------------- 
 
7.  (C) MSIKA CLAIMED THAT ZIMBABWE DID NOT BEAR FULL 
RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS ECONOMIC PROBLEMS.  THE GOZ 
PERHAPS WAS TO BLAME FOR SPENDING MORE THAN IT SHOULD 
HAVE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND ON ITS MILITARY INVOLVEMENT 
IN THE DROC, WHICH HE HOPED WOULD END SOON.  HOWEVER, HE 
CRITICIZED THE UNITED KINGDOM FOR ADVOCATING THE 
IMPOSITION OF EU SANCTIONS AGAINST ZIMBABWE, AND FORMER 
AF ASSISTANT SECRETARY CHESTER CROCKER FOR DOING THE SAME 
THING IN THE UNITED STATES.  THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT 
CROCKER WAS A PRIVATE CITIZEN REFLECTING HIS OWN VIEWS 
AND DID NOT SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. 
HE EMPHASIZED THAT THE USG WAS NOT SEEKING TO PUNISH THE 
GOZ, BUT IS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS HERE. 
MSIKA ASKED ABOUT THE ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT (ZDA), WHICH 
HE SAID WOULD PUSH ZIMBABWE IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.  THE 
AMBASSADOR RESPONDED THAT THE EMBASSY SHARES THE CONCERNS 
OF THE U.S. CONGRESS ABOUT FARM OCCUPATIONS AND THE 
ACCOMPANYING VIOLENCE. 
 
----------- 
WAY FORWARD 
----------- 
 
8.  (C) ASKED ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT'S NEXT STEPS, THE VICE 
PRESIDENT REPLIED THAT THE GOZ'S MILLENIUM ECONOMIC 
RECOVERY PLAN SHOULD GET THE ECONOMY BACK ON THE RIGHT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04750  02 OF 03  251458Z 
TRACK.  THE GOZ HAD DEVALUED THE CURRENCY (FROM 38 TO 
50:1) AND WAS PLANNING TO REDUCE DRASTICALLY THE SIZE OF 
THE CIVIL SERVICE (NB: MSIKA'S AIDE TOLD POLOFF IN AN 
ASIDE THAT SOME 20,000 CIVIL SERVICE JOBS COULD BE 
ELIMINATED. END NOTE).  IN ADDITION, THE GOVERNMENT 
PLANNED TO REDUCE EXPENDITURES, BUT LIKELY WOULD NOT MEET 
ITS INITIAL TARGET OF A 6 BILLION (ZIMBABWE DOLLAR) 
REDUCTION.  MSIKA NOTED THAT AN IMF TEAM HAD JUST ARRIVED 
IN HARARE, AND HE HOPED ITS DISCUSSIONS WITH THE 
GOVERNMENT WOULD BE CONSTRUCTIVE. 
 
9.  (C) ON LAND, THE GOZ'S ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE WAS TO 
ENSURE A DISTRIBUTION OF EIGHT MILLION HECTARES OF THE 
COUNTRY'S ARABLE LAND TO BLACK FARMERS, WITH WHITE FARMS 
RETAINING THE REMAINING FOUR MILLION.  INDIGENOUS FARMERS 
CURRENTLY CONTROL THREE MILLION HECTARES.  THE GOVERNMENT 
WOULD ABIDE BY ITS COMMITMENT TO ACQUIRE ONLY 
UNPRODUCTIVE FARMS OR THOSE OWNED BY ABSENTEE 
PROPRIETORS.  FARMS ENGAGED IN AGRO-INDUSTRY WOULD BE 
EXEMPTED FROM THE RESETTLEMENT EFFORT.  IN THE SHORT- 
TERM, NO NEW FARM OCCUPATIONS WOULD BE PERMITTED, WHILE 
WAR VETERANS CURRENTLY OCCUPYING COMMERCIAL FARMS WOULD 
BE REMOVED AND TAKEN TO LAND IDENTIFIED FOR COMPULSORY 
ACQUISITION.  HE IMPLIED THAT THE HEAVY-HANDED TACTICS 
EMPLOYED BY POLICE DURING THE EVICTIONS OF SOME WAR 
VETERANS HAD COMPLICATED THE GOVERNMENT'S TASK.  MSIKA 
SAID THOSE WHO WANT TO BE RESETTLED WOULD BE SCREENED 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7272 
 
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P 251457Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6940 
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 004750 
 
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  04750  03 OF 03  251459Z 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05 
TAGS: PREL, ECON, EFIN, EAGR, PINR, PHUM, ZI 
SUBJECT: VP MSIKA: BLAMES OTHERS FOR VIOLENCE AND 
ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, BUT SOME ENCOURAGING WORDS ON LAND 
 
CAREFULLY, AS SOME OF THEM ALREADY OWN FARMS. 
 
10.  (C) THE GOVERNMENT'S RESETTLEMENT EFFORT, MSIKA 
CONTINUED, WOULD BE "QUICKER AND SMOOTHER" WITH OUTSIDE 
ASSISTANCE, BUT WOULD BE "ROUGHER AND SLOWER" WITHOUT 
SUCH AID.  THE DONORS ARE WILLING TO BE INVOLVED, THE 
AMBASSADOR REPLIED, BUT EMPHASIZED THAT THE VIOLENCE MUST 
END, RULE OF LAW MUST BE RESTORED, AND COURT ORDERS 
RELATED TO THE ILLEGAL INVASIONS MUST BE ENFORCED. 
ADDITIONALLY, THE PROCESS MUST BE FAIR AND TRANSPARENT, 
AND FARMOWNERS MUST BE COMPENSATED FOR THEIR LAND. 
ZIMBABWE'S LAND POLICY IS NOT A "NORMAL" ONE, MSIKA SAID, 
RECALLING THAT THE LIBERATION WAR HAD BEEN FOUGHT 
PRIMARILY OVER THE CONCENTRATION OF LAND IN THE HANDS OF 
A FEW. 
 
11. (C) THE USAID DIRECTOR NOTED THAT DONORS HAVE 
DISCUSSED INFORMALLY HOW THEY MIGHT REENGAGE ON LAND 
REFORM, AND UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS.  AMONG THE HURDLES TO 
REENGAGEMENT WAS THE GOZ'S CUMBERSOME INSTITUTIONAL 
FRAMEWORK.   WOULD THE GOZ BE WILLING TO SET UP A NEW, 
MORE STREAMLINED STRUCTURE TO WORK WITH THE DONORS ON 
LAND REFORM?  THE VICE-PRESIDENT AGREED TO LOOK INTO THAT 
POSSIBILITY. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04750  03 OF 03  251459Z 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
12.  (C) MSIKA'S COMMENTS LAYING THE PREDOMINANT BLAME ON 
OTHERS FOR ZIMBABWE'S ECONOMIC MESS AND THE PRE-ELECTION 
VIOLENCE WERE MERELY THE LATEST IN A COMMON REFRAIN FROM 
THIS GOVERNMENT.  THESE ARE ALL FROM THE SAME SCRIPT.  ON 
LAND, WE WERE ENCOURAGED BY MSIKA'S REPORT OF CABINET 
AGREEMENT THAT NO NEW INVASIONS WILL BE PERMITTED AND 
THAT WAR VETERANS SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM CURRENTLY- 
OCCUPIED FARMS, EXCEPT FROM THOSE WHICH HAVE BEEN LISTED. 
PRESIDENT MUGABE IS CLEARLY UNCOMFORTABLE WITH REMOVING 
THE VETERANS, HOWEVER, AND HIS DISCOMFORT LIKELY WAS NOT 
ASSUAGED BY THE AGGRESSIVE TACTICS EMPLOYED BY POLICE 
EARLIER THIS WEEK IN EVICTING SOME VETERANS FROM FARMS ON 
HARARE'S OUTSKIRTS.  IN A SEPARATE CONVERSATION WITH THE 
AMBASSADOR, INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER 
NKOSANA MOYO SURMISED THAT LOCAL POLICE OFFICERS, IN 
CAHOOTS WITH THE WAR VETERANS, MIGHT HAVE USED SUCH 
TACTICS INTENTIONALLY IN ORDER TO COMPLICATE THE GOZ'S 
ABILITY TO PROCEED WITH ADDITIONAL EVICTIONS. 
MEANWHILE, ACCORDING TO THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION 
(CFU), THE EVICTIONS ARE CONTINUING.  THE CFU WAS TOLD BY 
THE DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER ON AUGUST 25 THAT THE 
POLICE WOULD CONTINUE TO REMOVE VETERANS FROM OCCUPIED 
FARMS UNLESS ORDERED OTHERWISE. 
 
13.  (C) MSIKA'S COMMENTS ON THE ECONOMIC WAY FORWARD 
FRANKLY DID NOT INSPIRE MUCH CONFIDENCE THAT THE 
GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO EXTRICATE ITSELF FROM THE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04750  03 OF 03  251459Z 
CURRENT MESS.  THE MILLENIUM ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN IS A 
LAUNDRY LIST OF LAUDABLE GOALS, BUT THE GOVERNMENT AT 
PRESENT DOES NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES -- OR POLITICAL WILL 
-- TO IMPLEMENT MOST OF ITS PROVISIONS.  THE GOVERNMENT 
HAS, FOR INSTANCE, PROMISED FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS TO 
SIGNIFICANTLY CUT THE PUBLIC SECTOR PAYROLL, BUT WE HAVE 
YET TO SEE ANY CONCRETE STEPS IN THAT DIRECTION. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
> 

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