Commercial farmers go for broke


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The Commercial Farmers Union filed a 1000-page lawsuit against President Robert Mugabe and his government on 18 September 2000 in the forlorn hope that the lawsuit could at least allow them to obtain financing for the coming season.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks, the farmers’ representatives told United States embassy officials that they did not believe that the lawsuit would bring the land crisis to an end or even restore the rule of law immediately.

“Their immediate hope was 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,” the cable says.

“In the longer run, the CFU clearly hopes that a favourable 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.”

The CFU cited six respondents including President Mugabe. The others were: Minister of Lands Joseph Made, Minister of Home Affairs John Nkomo, Minister of Public Works Ignatius Chombo, Minister of Rural Resources Joice Mujuru and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE5337, COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION FILES BROAD LAWSUIT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5337

2000-09-21 13:21

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.

 

211321Z Sep 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1407

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05337 01 OF 02 211320Z

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 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /009W

——————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

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05337 02 OF 02 211320Z

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

 

>

(25 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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