CFU president preferred a moderate ZANU-PF to an MDC government


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Commercial Farmers Union president Doug Taylor-Freeme told United States embassy officials that he preferred a moderate Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front government to a Movement for Democratic Change one.

He said he had given up on compensation for his members and also on the prospects of the MDC ever forming the government. He was therefore encouraging his members to work with ZANU-PF.

Taylor Freeme was trying to defend a move by the Midlands branch of the CFU to finance a reception for Vice-President Joice Mujuru to congratulate her for her appointment as Vice-President.

The Branch had requested its members to contribute Z$1 million for the bash.

The hard line Justice for Agriculture group which also represented white farmers opposed the gesture saying this was appeasement of the enemy.

The CFU argued that this was a strategy that would ultimately lead to benefits in the future.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 05HARARE165, WHITE FARMER GROUPS STILL AT ODDS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE165

2005-01-31 14:21

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000165

 

SIPDIS

 

INFO ALL EUROPEAN DIPLOMATIC POSTS

ALL DIPLOMATIC POSTS

NSC WASHDC

 

AF/S FOR BNEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE, D. TEITELBAUM

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW, STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE

COPSON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2009

TAGS: EAGR PGOV ZI ECON EINV

SUBJECT: WHITE FARMER GROUPS STILL AT ODDS

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reason 1.4 b/d

 

————

Summary

———–

1. (C) A recent appeal by a branch of the Commercial Farmers

Union (CFU) requesting financial assistance for a reception

for Vice President Joyce Mujuru has divided white farmers.

The CFU, which has defended the appeal, told us privately it

was part of an effort to rebuild ties with the GOZ. However,

the more hard line Justice for Agriculture (JAG) group has

reacted angrily to the appeal with numerous letters on its

web site denouncing the reception as a sell-out. End summary.

 

—————

CFU Appeal

—————

 

2. (C) As a goodwill gesture toward the ZANU-PF government,

the CFU,s Midlands chapter recently asked members to

contribute Z$ 1 million (US$ 161) for a Jan. 12 reception in

honor of recently-appointed VP Mujuru. The CFU,s letter to

members – reprinted on the JAG news service – urged them to

treat this collection as “a strategy that will ultimately

lead to benefits of sorts in the future.” Both CFU and JAG

officials told us that this marks the first time since the

GOZ began fast-track land reform in 2001 that a CFU chapter

has asked members to sponsor a ZANU-PF function.

 

3. (C) CFU President Doug Taylor Freeme said in December that

this approach would be in in line with his efforts to rebuild

relations with GOZ leaders whom he considers reasonable, such

as Vice President Joseph Msika, Lands Minister John Nkomo and

Reserve Bank President Gideon Gono. Taylor-Freeme – whose

remaining membership is still farming on a reduced scale –

also told us on Jan. 5 that he has largely given up both on

the compensation route and on the MDC,s prospects to take

power. The CFU President even confided that he now prefers a

“moderate” ZANU-PF to MDC government. As part of an

agreement between Lands Minister Nkomo and Taylor-Freeme, the

CFU President said several of his white members in Chinoyi

(Mashonaland West) have even applied for classification as A2

farmers (large-scale land reform beneficiaries) since

December.

 

—————–

JAG Reaction

—————–

 

4. (SBU) However, white farmers in the more hard line Justice

for Agriculture (JAG) have reacted angrily, condemning such

overtures as “appeasement of the enemy.” A delegation of JAG

members told us Jan 12 that most of their members would never

again sit at a negotiating table with the ZANU-PF nor return

to large-scale commercial farming in Zimbabwe. They said

their current strategy was solely to obtain compensation for

losses from either the international community or from an MDC

government. Excerpts from JAG,s electronic discussion group

reflect their rancor toward the GOZ and, increasingly, the

CFU:

 

– “We only needed one or two in our midst that chickened out

. . . By doing their deals (CFU members) bought time for

themselves, but at what expense? . . . (We must) not sup with

the devils.” – Former farmer TM Lambert

 

– “I am absolutely horrified at the compromise of integrity

by these few farmers remaining on their land. . . I am

disgusted to hear and read of farmers who are basically

working for the thugs who stole the land.” – Former farmer

Liz Stewart

 

– “The CFU have continued to attempt to appease the

Zimbabwean government for the last 59 months. . . The CFU

said dialogue was the only way forward. . . As a former

farmer and CFU member, I hang my head in disgust and shame.”

– Former farmer Cathy Buckley

 

———–

Comment

———–

 

5. (C) Animosity between CFU and JAG has increased to such

an extent that white farmers no longer present a united

front. Given that nearly all CFU members supported the MDC

in the 2002 presidential elections, a turn toward a ZANU-PF

faction from the 500 or so still-active white farmers signals

a noteworthy evolution. If the Nkomo faction within the

ruling party can stave off further farm seizures, it may have

a shot at beginning a process of reconciliation with

remaining white farmers – a necessary step, in our view,

toward recovery in the farming sector.

DELL

(16 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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