US embassy cable - 00HARARE5515

COMMERCIAL FARMER SEVERELY INJURED WITH MACHETE.

Identifier: 00HARARE5515
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE5515 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-09-28 15:20:00
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.

281520Z Sep 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7576

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7229
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 005515 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
USDOC FOR DHENKE-ROGERS 
LONDON FOR CGURNEY 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD - DWELLER, AFR/SA - CPALMA, 
NNEWMAN, AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID - RMCCALL 
 
USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL 09/28/2010 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  05515  01 OF 02  281517Z 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, EAGR, PREL, EAID, ZI 
SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMER SEVERELY INJURED WITH 
MACHETE. 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY DCM EARL IRVING FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND 
(D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: A WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMER WAS ATTACKED 
WITH A MACHETE BY A WAR VETERAN ON SEPTEMBER 26 AFTER 
THE VETERAN TRIED TO STOP HIM FROM PLANTING TOBACCO. 
THE FARMER SUFFERED A DEEP GASH ACROSS HIS FACE AND 
NOSE, AND WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL, WHERE HE IS 
RECOVERING FOLLOWING SURGERY.  THIS INCIDENT IS 
INDICATIVE OF RISING TENSIONS ON COMMERCIAL FARMS, WHERE 
CONFRONTATIONS BETWEEN OCCUPYING WAR VETERANS AND FARM 
WORKERS HAVE BEEN TAKING PLACE.  POLICE REACTION HAS 
BEEN LESS THAN PROFESSIONAL IN MANY CASES, ALTHOUGH THE 
FORCE NOW HAS ORDERS TO PREVENT FURTHER OCCUPATIONS. 
THE COMING RAINY SEASON WILL BRING A NEW DIMENSION TO 
FARM TENSION -- BETWEEN WAR VETERANS AND THE GOVERNMENT, 
WHICH TO DATE HAS FAILED TO DELIVER ON ITS PROMISE OF 
LAND TO THIS ROUGH CONSTITUENCY.  END SUMMARY. 
 
---------- 
THE ATTACK 
---------- 
 
2. (C) ACCORDING TO RICHARD AMYOT OF THE COMMERCIAL 
FARMERS UNION (CFU), A WHITE COMMERCIAL FARMER WAS 
BRUTALLY ATTACKED BY A WAR VETERAN WITH A MACHETE ON 
SEPTEMBER 26.  THE ATTACK OCCURRED IN KAROI, A FARMING 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  05515  01 OF 02  281517Z 
DISTRICT 200 KM NORTH OF HARARE, A REGION TORN BY LAND- 
RELATED VIOLENCE SINCE EARLY THIS YEAR.  AMYOT TOLD 
ECONOFF THAT THE FARMER, MARSHALL ROPER, HAD BEGUN TO 
PLANT TOBACCO ON HIS FARM, WHICH HAD BEEN OCCUPIED BY 
SO-CALLED WAR VETERANS FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.  TWELVE 
SQUATTERS APPROACHED ROPER AND TOLD HIM HE COULD NOT 
PLANT.  A HEATED DISCUSSION ENSUED, AND A WAR VETERAN 
WITH A MACHETE SWUNG AND STRUCK ROPER IN THE FACE, 
CAUSING A DEEP GASH ACROSS HIS CHEEKS AND NOSE.  ROPER 
FIRED A PISTOL INTO THE AIR IN SELF-DEFENSE AFTER 
COLLAPSING ON THE GROUND.  THE WAR VETERANS THEN FLED. 
AMYOT BELIEVES ROPER WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED IF HE HAD 
NOT BEEN ARMED.  THE POLICE HAVE ARRESTED FOUR PEOPLE 
INVOLVED IN THE INCIDENT, BUT THEY ARE REPORTEDLY STILL 
LOOKING FOR ROPER'S ATTACKER.  A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE 
SEVERELY WOUNDED ROPER APPEARED ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE 
SEPTEMBER 27 EDITION OF THE INDEPENDENT "DAILY NEWS", 
SPARKING WIDESPREAD DISGUST AND INDIGNATION IN HARARE. 
MINISTER OF JUSTICE JONATHAN MOYO AND ZANU-PF SPOKESMAN 
NATHAN SHAMUYARIRA BOTH EXPRESSED REGRET AT THE INCIDENT 
AND PROMISED A FULL INVESTIGATION. 
 
------------------------ 
NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT 
------------------------ 
 
3. (C) AMYOT STATED THAT THE ATTACK ON ROPER WAS NOT AN 
ISOLATED INCIDENT.  ROPER AND MANY OTHER FARMERS IN 
OTHER REGIONS HAVE RECEIVED NUMEROUS THREATS OVER THE 
LAST WEEKS.  THE PREVIOUS WEEK, A GROUP OF COMMERCIAL 
FARMERS, FED UP WITH THE FARM INVASIONS, LACK OF POLICE 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  05515  01 OF 02  281517Z 
INTERVENTION, AND A NEED TO BEGIN PLANTING, BLOCKED A 
ROAD IN THE CHIVHU FARM DISTRICT IN CENTRAL ZIMBABWE 
WITH A BARRIER TO KEEP WAR VETERANS AND OTHER FARM 
INVADERS FROM INTERRUPTING THEIR PLANTING OPERATIONS. 
THIS LED TO A CONFRONTATION BETWEEN THE FARMERS AND 
THEIR WORKERS ON ONE SIDE, AND, ON THE OTHER, WAR 
VETERANS, INCLUDING, ACCORDING TO AMYOT, PLAINCLOTHES 
POLICEMEN AND/OR AGENTS FROM THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE 
ORGANIZATION (CIO).  THE WAR VETERANS SHOT AT THE 
FARMERS WITH MILITARY-STYLE ASSAULT WEAPONS AND THE 
FARMERS FIRED BACK, BUT NO ONE WAS HURT.  POLICE 
ARRESTED FOUR OF THE FARMERS AND SEVERAL FARM WORKERS 
AND TOOK THEM TO THE LOCAL STATION.  A GROUP OF 
COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND THEIR FARM WORKERS, NUMBERING IN 
THE THOUSANDS, CONVERGED ON THE STATION TO SUCCESSFULLY 
DEMAND THE RELEASE OF THEIR COLLEAGUES AND TO PROTEST 
THE GENERAL BREAKDOWN OF LAW AND ORDER IN THE AREA. 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
CONFUSION REIGNS REGARDING THE ROLE OF THE ZRP 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
4. (C) AMYOT SAID THAT POLICE REACTIONS TO INCIDENTS ON 
THE FARMS HAVE VARIED FROM REGION TO REGION.  SENIOR 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7577 
 
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      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 
                  ------------------8AFEB7  281518Z /38 
P 281520Z SEP 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7230 
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 005515 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
USDOC FOR DHENKE-ROGERS 
LONDON FOR CGURNEY 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD - DWELLER, AFR/SA - CPALMA, 
NNEWMAN, AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID - RMCCALL 
 
USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL 09/28/2010 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  05515  02 OF 02  281517Z 
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, EAGR, PREL, EAID, ZI 
SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMER SEVERELY INJURED WITH 
MACHETE. 
 
POLICE OFFICIALS, ACCORDING TO AMYOT, HAVE INFORMED THE 
CFU THAT THEY WILL ACTIVELY PREVENT FURTHER OCCUPATIONS 
AND DISRUPTIONS TO NORMAL FARMING OPERATIONS.  POLICE 
COMMANDERS IN SOME AREAS ARE ABIDING BY THIS ORDER 
WHILE, IN OTHER REGIONS, THEY DO NOTHING TO STOP ILLEGAL 
ACTIVITIES BY SQUATTERS OR, IN SOME CASES, EVEN ACTIVELY 
PARTICIPATE IN THEM. 
 
5. (C) COMMENT: VIOLENT CONFRONTATIONS BETWEEN FARMERS 
AND WAR VETERANS MAY ESCALATE IN THE COMING WEEKS, AS 
FARMERS TRY TO MOVE FORWARD WITH PLANTING BEFORE THE 
ONSET OF RAINS IN NOVEMBER, AND WAR VETERANS TRY TO 
BLOCK THEM.  INFORMATION MINISTER MOYO AND ZANU-PF HAD 
LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO CONDEMN THE ATTACK ON ROPER.  THEY 
REITERATED THAT NO NEW FARM OCCUPATIONS OR INTERFERENCE 
WITH FARMING ACTIVITIES WOULD BE PERMITTED, HOWEVER, 
THEY ALSO CONTINUED TO SUPPORT THE LEGITIMACY OF THE 
OCCUPATIONS AS ON-GOING POLITICAL "DEMONSTRATIONS".  THE 
GOZ HAS BEEN MAKING THESE PLEDGES FOR SOME TIME, BUT NEW 
OCCUPATIONS AND ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES CONTINUE, RAISING 
QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE GOZ IS LOSING CONTROL OVER 
THE WAR VETERANS.  THIS RELATIONSHIP BEARS CLOSE 
MONITORING AS WELL, AS THE RAINS DRAW NEARER, AND THE 
GOVERNMENT FINDS ITSELF WITH INCREASINGLY LESS ROOM TO 
MANEUVER.  END COMMENT. 
 
MCDONALD 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  05515  02 OF 02  281517Z 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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