US embassy cable - 00HARARE4979

ZIMBABWE'S COMMERCIAL FARMERS DECIDE TO GO BACK TO THE COURTS TO PREVENT SEIZURE OF 3,000 FARMS

Identifier: 00HARARE4979
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE4979 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-09-07 13:57:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: EAGR ECON PGOV 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.



                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4508

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7025
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 004979 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS 
STATE PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA RCOHEN 
STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CGURNEY 
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER BARBER, GRACE SONE AND HOFFMAN 
BARAK 
PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04979  071359Z 
PRETORIA FOR AG ATTACHE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/05 
TAGS: EAGR, ECON, PGOV, ZI, Land Reform 
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE'S COMMERCIAL FARMERS DECIDE TO GO 
BACK TO THE COURTS TO PREVENT SEIZURE OF 3,000 FARMS 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), (D) 
 
REFS: A) HARARE 4662, B) HARARE 4479, C) HARARE 4362 
 
1.  (U) AT THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS' UNION (CFU) ANNUAL 
CONGRESS THAT BEGAN SEPTEMBER 6, CFU PRESIDENT TIM 
HENWOOD ANNOUNCED IN HIS OPENING SPEECH THAT THE CFU 
WOULD REFILE A CLASS ACTION SUIT, WITHDRAWN A MONTH 
AGO (REF B), TO CHALLENGE THE LAW GOVERNING THE 
COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF LAND FOR RESETTLEMENT.  THE 
CFU STATED THAT IT WAS TAKING THE ACTION AS A RESULT 
OF THE BREAKDOWN IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT, 
THE HALTING OF POLICE ACTION TO EVICT SQUATTERS, AND 
BECAUSE ITS MEMBERSHIP UNANIMOUSLY AGREED TO 
VIGOROUSLY PURSUE THEIR LEGAL REMEDIES.  IN HIS SPEECH 
HENWOOD STATED, "WE HAVE AGAIN SEEN MINISTERS' 
INSTRUCTIONS COUNTERMANDED AND POLICE ACTION 
CURTAILED.  MEANWHILE MASSIVE LISTS HAVE BEEN 
PUBLISHED OF FARMS TO BE ACQUIRED, AND BANKS TELL US 
THERE WILL BE NO FINANCE FOR AFFECTED FARMERS.  ....IF 
THE PLAN IS CARRIED OUT IN ITS CURRENT FORM, MOST 
ZIMBABWEANS WOULD SEE THEIR LIVES SLUMP TO A DEPTH OF 
POVERTY NEVER BEFORE SEEN IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD." 
HENWOOD ALSO SAID THAT DUE TO THE HISTORY OF 
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PAGE 03        HARARE  04979  071359Z 
INTIMIDATION, VIOLENCE AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY ON THE 
FARMS, THE UNION FEARED THAT IF INDIVIDUAL FARMERS 
FILED SUITS, THAT THEY WOULD BE SINGLED OUT FOR 
PUNSIHMENT AND RETRIBUTION. 
 
2.  (U) THE NEW CFU SUIT (AS IN THE EARLIER, WITHDRAWN 
LEGAL ACTION, REF C), CITES PRESIDENT MUGABE, POLICE 
COMMISSIONER CHIHURI AND WAR VETS LEADER CHENJARAI 
"HITLER" HUNZVI AS RESPONDENTS.  THE CLASS ACTION 
CHALLENGES THE AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE 
LAND FROM AN INDIVIDUAL WITHOUT COMPENSATION.  IT 
QUESTIONS THE VALIDITY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS ACT 
THAT HAS BEEN USED TO AMEND THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT 
OF 1992, CITING THE LACK OF APPROPRIATE PARLIAMENTARY 
OVERSIGHT AND AUTHORITY.  THE CFU HOPES TO FILE THE 
SUIT BEFORE THE END OF THIS WEEK. 
 
3.  (C) COMMENT: WE WOULD WELCOME AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN 
THE CFU AND THE GOZ.  HOWEVER, THE CFU MEMBERSHIP IS 
CLEARLY FRUSTRATED AND ANGERED AT WHAT IT SEES AS A 
TOTAL LACK OF GOOD FAITH BY THE GOVERNMENT ESPECIALLY 
IN LIGHT OF ITS WITHDRAWAL OF ITS LEGAL CHALLENGE AT 
GOVERNMENT'S BEHEST A MONTH AGO.  IN SUM, NEGOTIATIONS 
HAVE GONE NOWHERE, AND SPECIFICALLY, IN THAT TIME THE 
GOZ HAS NOT ENGAGED IN ANY SERIOUS DIALOGUE OR 
NEGOTIATION WITH THE UNION, AND HAS CONSISTENTLY 
BROKEN ITS PROMISIES AND COMMITMENTS.  IN MEETINGS THE 
AMBASSADOR HAS HAD WITH A HOST OF MINISTERS, IT IS 
CLEAR TO US THAT CONFUSION REIGNS THROUGHOUT 
GOVERNMENT ON THE ISSUE, WITH ONLY THE PRESIDENT'S 
OFFICE PROVIDING SPORADIC, DICTATORIAL DIRECTION.  THE 
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PAGE 04        HARARE  04979  071359Z 
REST OF THE CABINET MOUTHS THE ZANU-PF PARTY LINE IN 
DIRECT DEFIANCE OF REALITY.  THE BOTTOM LINE IS THE 
GOZ HAS NO LAND REFORM "PROGRAM."  THE SEIZURE AND 
RESETTLEMENT EFFORT, CARRIED OUT IN NO SMALL PART BY 
VIOLENT AND ILLEGAL MEANS, IS A STAKE POISED OVER THE 
ECONOMIC HEART OF ZIMBABWE.  HOWEVER, NO ONE IN 
CABINET IS WILLING TO TELL MUGABE THAT HIS POLITICAL 
CALCULUS MAY WELL BE INCORRECT, AND THAT THE ONLY 
SEEDS HE IS SOWING ARE SEEDS OF DISASTER.  WITH VOICES 
FROM WITHIN SILENT OR IGNORED, WE FEAR THAT VOICES 
FROM WITHOUT WILL GET LESS RESPECT.  MUGABE, WITH HIS 
EYES ON THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, WILL GO IT 
ALONE AND CONTINUE TO USE THE LAND PROBLEM AS A 
BLATANT POLITICAL TOOL, EVEN AT THE COST OF A 
FUNCTIONING ECONOMY AND THE COLLAPSE OF NATIONAL 
INCOME.  END COMMENT. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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