US embassy cable - 00HARARE5337

COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION FILES BROAD LAWSUIT CONFIDENTIAL

Identifier: 00HARARE5337
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE5337 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-09-21 13:21:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PHUM EAGR PREL EAID 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.

211321Z Sep 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1407

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                  ------------------8809B8  211320Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7161
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 005337 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
USDOC FOR DHENKE-ROGERS 
LONDON FOR CGURNEY 
PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS 
 
USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL 09/20/10 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, EAGR, PREL, EAID, ZI 
SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION FILES BROAD LAWSUIT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  05337  01 OF 02  211320Z 
AGAINST ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT. 
 
REFS: A) HARARE 4695 B) HARARE 4818 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) FILED 
A BROAD LAWSUIT AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) 
ON SEPTEMBER 18 WITH THE SUPREME COURT OVER THE 
BREAKDOWN IN LAW AND ORDER AND CHALLENGING THE 
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE GOZ'S FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT 
EFFORT.  THE LAWSUIT CITES PRESIDENT MUGABE AS A 
RESPONDENT, ALONG WITH FOUR MEMBERS OF THE CABINET AND 
THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE. THE CFU HAD PREVIOUSLY FILED 
A MORE LIMTIED LAWSUIT AGAINST THE GOZ, BUT HAD 
WITHDRAWN IT IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE DIALOGUE WITH THE GOZ 
(REF A).  CFU DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR REGIONS, JERRY GRANT, 
TOLD ECONOFF ON SEPTEMBER 19 THAT IT HAD BEEN A MISTAKE 
TO WITHDRAW THE PREVIOUS LAWSUIT AS MUGABE HAD TAKEN 
THIS AS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS.   THE CFU HOPED THAT THE NEW 
LAWSUIT WOULD LEAD TO A SUSPENSION OF POSSIBLE FARMER 
EVICTIONS DUE AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER AND ENCOURAGE 
BANKS TO PROVIDE FINANCING FOR THE PLANTING SEASON.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) ECONOFF MET ON SEPTEMBER 19 WITH CFU OFFICIALS 
COLIN CLOETE, VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMODITIES; RICHARD 
AMIOT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR COMMODITIES; AND JERRY GRANT, 
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR REGIONS; TO DISCUSS THE LAWSUIT 
FILED THE PREVIOUS DAY.  CLOETE SAID THE NEW LAWSUIT 
ENCOMPASSED MORE CHARGES THAN THE EARLIER ONE.  THE 
LAWSUIT WAS FILED WITH AN "URGENT INTERLOCUTORY CHAMBER 
APPLICATION", MEANING THAT THE SUPREME COURT SHOULD 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  05337  01 OF 02  211320Z 
AGREE TO HEAR THE CASE WITHIN A WEEK, POSSIBLY BY 
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22.  THIS IS IMPORTANT AS ONE OF THE 
GOALS OF THE LAWSUIT IS TO GET A COURT INJUNCTION 
AGAINST EVICTIONS OF FARMERS, SOME OF WHICH COULD OCCUR 
AS EARLY AS SEPTEMBER 27. 
 
3. (C) THE LAWSUIT, OVER 1000 PAGES LONG, CHALLENGES IN 
SEVEN POINTS THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PLANNED FARM 
SEIZURES AND THE INFRINGEMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF CFU 
FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS DURING THE FARM OCCUPATIONS. 
THE LAWSUIT NAMES SIX RESPONDENTS: PRESIDENT MUGABE; 
JOSEPH MADE, MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, AND RURAL 
RESETTLEMENT; JOHN NKOMO, MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS; 
IGNATIUS CHOMBO, MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL 
HOUSING; JOYCE MUJURU, MINISTER OF RURAL RESOURCES AND 
WATER DEVELOPMENT; AND AUGUSTINE CHIHURI, COMMISIONER OF 
POLICE. 
 
4. (C) JERRY GRANT SAID THE CFU HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO 
FILE THE LAWSUIT BECAUSE THE GOZ HAD REFUSED TO ENTER 
INTO A GENUINE DIALOGUE ON LAND AND FAILED TO PROTECT 
FARMERS BY MAINTAINING LAW AND ORDER.  THE DECISION TO 
FILE THE LAWSUIT WAS TAKEN AFTER THE CFU ANNUAL CONGRESS 
LAST WEEK, DURING WHICH INDIVIDUAL CFU MEMBERS MADE 
CLEAR THEIR ANGER AT THE FACT THAT THE FIRST LAWSUIT HAD 
BEEN WITHDRAWN.  ACCORDING TO GRANT, THE NEW LAWSUIT WAS 
FILED ON BEHALF OF THE CFU RATHER THAN INDIVIDUAL CFU 
FARMERS, IN THE HOPE THAT THIS WOULD BETTER PROTECT THEM 
AGAINST RETRIBUTION.  MEMBERS OF THE CFU EXECUTIVE BODY 
HAVE ALREADY BEEN TARGETED BY THE GOZ, WITH THEIR OWN 
FARMS BEING OCCUPIED AND IDENTIFIED BY THE GOZ FOR 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  05337  01 OF 02  211320Z 
COMPULSORY ACQUISITION. 
 
5. (C) GRANT EXPECTS THE ZIMBABWE SUPREME COURT TO 
RAPIDLY HEAR THE LAWSUIT AND TO RULE IN FAVOR OF THE 
CFU, BUT RESERVED JUDGEMENT ON WHETHER THE GOZ WOULD 
ABIDE BY THE RULING.  HE DID SURMISE THAT ONE PROBABLE 
COURSE OF ACTION WILL BE FOR MUGABE TO CRACK DOWN ON THE 
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SUPREME COURT AND THE JUDICIAL 
BRANCH AS A WHOLE. 
 
6. (C) COMMENT: THE CFU OFFICIALS MADE CLEAR THAT THEY 
DON'T BELIEVE THIS LAWSUIT WILL BRING AN END TO THE LAND 
CRISIS OR IMMEDIATELY RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW.  THEIR 
IMMEDIATE HOPE IS THAT THE SUPREME COURT WILL QUICKLY 
ISSUE AN INJUNCTION AGAINST FARM SEIZURES AND THE 
SUBSEQUENT EVICTIONS OF THE FARM OWNERS, THEREBY 
ALLOWING FARMERS TO OBTAIN FINANCING FOR THE CURRENT 
PLANTING SEASON.  IN THE LONGER RUN, THE CFU CLEARLY 
HOPES THAT A FAVORABLE SUPREME COURT RULING WILL 
ENCOURAGE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO BRING 
SIGNIFICANT PRESSURE TO BEAR ON PRESIDENT MUGABE TO END 
THE DESTRUCTIVE FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT EFFORT AND 
UNDERTAKE A FAIR, TRANSPARENT LAND REFORM PROCESS.  END 
COMMENT. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1409 
 
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ACTION AF-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  AID-00   AMAD-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00 
      DODE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   VC-00    FRB-00 
      H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    L-00     VCE-00   AC-01 
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
      ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00   USIE-00  PMB-00   DSCC-00 
      PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /009W 
                  ------------------8809BA  211320Z /38 
P 211321Z SEP 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7162 
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY 
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC 
USDOC WASHDC 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 005337 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
USDOC FOR DHENKE-ROGERS 
LONDON FOR CGURNEY 
PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS 
 
USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL 09/20/10 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, EAGR, PREL, EAID, ZI 
SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION FILES BROAD LAWSUIT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  05337  02 OF 02  211320Z 
AGAINST ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT. 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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