Commercial farmers thought SADC could change Mugabe’s path


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Commercial farmers, who had been under so much pressure that they were at the point of throwing in the towel, believed firmly that South African President Thabo Mbeki, Botswana President Festus Mogae and Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano held the key to changing President Robert Mugabe’s path, as their counterparts had done years before when their concerted action forced Ian Smith from power.

The farmers told a United States embassy official that after 18 months of harassment and extreme financial and psychological pressure, they were at the point of throwing in the towel, either collectively or individually.

A group of farmers from the Virginia area, East of Harare, had witnessed so much violence, intimidation and murder that it had cut an independent deal with farm invaders giving up 30 to 40 percent of their land just to be left alone.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 01HARARE2554, ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS BEING BACKED TO THE

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

01HARARE2554

2001-08-29 14:36

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

291436Z Aug 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3803

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02554 01 OF 02 291833Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   CIAE-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00

EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     VC-00   FRB-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   DRL-02

G-00     SAS-00     /008W

——————18704E 291833Z /45

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9586

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USDOC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002554

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/S, AF/EPS

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, C WILKINSON

USDOC FOR 4510 ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/06

TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD PHUM PGOV

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS BEING BACKED TO THE

WALL

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY ECON/COMM OFFICER MARK PROKOP, REASON 1.5 (B),

(D)

 

¶1. (C) ON AUGUST 28 THREE COMMERCIAL FARMERS REPRESENTING

THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) PAID A CALL ON THE DCM AND

ECONOFF TO DESCRIBE THE SERIOUSNESS OF THEIR COLLECTIVE

PLIGHT AND TO ADVISE US THAT IN THEIR VIEW TIME WAS RUNNING

OUT TO HALT MUGABE’S ACTIONS THAT ARE DESTROYING ZIMBABWE’S

ECONOMIC FOUNDATION. THEY ALSO REQUESTED THE USG VIEW OF THE

SITUATION, AND ADVISED US THAT THEY WERE MAKING SIMILAR CALLS

AT OTHER PRINCIPAL MISSIONS INCLUDING THE UK, GERMANY, THE

EU, THE BELGIANS AND SOME OF THE NORDIC COUNTRIES. THE

VISITORS WERE WILLIAM HUGHES, CFU VICE PRESIDENT FOR REGIONS;

MACK CRAWFORD, CFU REPRESENTATIVE FOR MATABELELAND; AND DAVE

DUBARE, A MATABELELAND FARMER AND CFU MEMBER. THEY BELIEVE

FIRMLY THAT PRESIDENTS MBEKI, MOGAE AND CHISSANO HOLD THE KEY

TO CHANGING MUGABE’S PATH, AS THEIR COUNTERPARTS DID YEARS

AGO WHEN THEIR CONCERTED ACTION FORCED IAN SMITH FROM POWER.

 

¶2. (C) THE CORE MESSAGE THEY DELIVERED WAS A SIMPLE ONE:

AFTER 18 MONTHS OF HARASSMENT AND EXTREME FINANCIAL AND

PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURE, THE COUNTRY’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS ARE

CLOSE TO THE POINT OF THROWING IN THE TOWEL, EITHER

COLLECTIVELY OR INDIVIDUALLY. THE PRESSURE HAS RISEN

CONSIDERABLY IN RECENT WEEKS, AS EVENTS IN CHINHOYI, HWEDZA,

DHOMA AND MATABELELAND INDICATE. THE FARMERS DESCRIBED A

NUMBER OF DIFFERENT TACTICS BEING USED IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS

BY THE GOZ TO DRIVE THEM OUT OF BUSINESS OR OFF THEIR FARMS.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02554 01 OF 02 291833Z

FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE WESTERN DISTRICTS AND IN THE AREA BETWEEN

HARARE AND MUTARE, WIDESPREAD BURNING OF WINTER CATTLE

GRAZING PASTURES HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT TO DESTROY THE

VIABILITY OF BEEF OPERATIONS (THE FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

OUTBREAK HAS SHUT DOWN ALL CATTLE TRANSPORT – SO RELIEF BY

HERD RELOCATION IS RULED OUT). AT THE SAME TIME FIRES HAVE

BEEN SET IN ADJOINING COMMUNAL AREAS TO DRIVE PEASANTS ONTO

THE RANCHERS’ PROPERTIES, WHERE THEY CONSIDER THE STOCK TO BE

THERE FOR THE TAKING. ANOTHER TACTIC WAS MAKING SURE THAT AN

INVADER’S SETTLEMENT IS ON EACH AND EVERY COMMERCIAL FARM,

AND THAT AT LEAST ONE AUTOMATIC WEAPON IS AT EACH SETTLEMENT

TO BE SHOWN TO FARM WORKERS TO REMIND THEM OF THEIR FATE

SHOULD THEY INTERFERE WITH THE INVADERS OR VOTE WRONGLY IN

ANY UPCOMING ELECTIONS. THE FARMERS POINTED OUT THAT THE

GOVERNMENT’S ARRAY OF EVOLVING TACTICS WAS CLEARLY DESIGNED

AND EXECUTED TO SKATE BELOW THE RADAR SCREEN OF INTERNATIONAL

ATTENTION BROUGHT ON BY VIOLENCE, AND ALL AGREED THAT THE GOZ

HAD BEEN FAIRLY SUCCESSFUL OF LATE IN THIS REGARD.

 

¶3. (C) THE FARMERS TOLD US THAT OUT OF FEAR, EXASPERATION

AND SIMPLE FATIGUE, A COMMUNITY OF FARMERS IN THE VIRGINIA

AREA (ABOUT 100 K EAST OF HARARE AND AN AREA THAT SAW MUCH

VIOLENCE, INTIMIDATION AND A NUMBER OF MURDERS IN THE RUNUP

TO PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS LAST YEAR) HAD CUT AN INDEPENDENT

DEAL WITH THE INVADERS, GIVING UP 30 TO 40 PERCENT OF THEIR

LAND JUST TO BE LEFT ALONE AND IN PEACE. THIS WAS THE FIRST

WE HAD HEARD OF SUCH A DEVELOPMENT, AND THE FARMERS

REPRESENTING THE UNION CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT SUCH ACTIONS

UNDERMINED NATIONAL COLLECTIVE EFFORTS AND PLAYED INTO THE

WISHES OF THE RULING PARTY. AS ONE OF THEM QUIPPED ON THEIR

WAY OUT, “UNITED WE NEGOTIATE, DIVIDED WE BEG.”

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02554 01 OF 02 291833Z

 

¶4. (C) THE FARMERS ALSO POINTED OUT THAT THE RAPIDLY

DETERIORATING AND HYPERINFLATIONARY ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT,

SPURRED BY THE RAPIDLY DECLINING ZIMDOLLAR, MAY ALSO PUT ANY

OF THOSE FARMERS WHO REMAIN OUT OF BUSINESS. “WELL OVER HALF

OF OUR INPUTS ARE IMPORTED, AND WE JUST CANNOT PAY 700, 1000

OR 1500 ZIMDOLLARS (THE LATTER A YEAR END RATE PREDICTION) TO

THE U.S. DOLLAR AND STAY IN BUSINESS.” THEY CLOSED WITH THE

POINT THAT THEY AND THEIR COLLEAGUES ARE BEING PUSHED TO THE

BRINK, AND WITH A PLEA THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, WHEN

THE POLITICAL ISSUES ARE FINALLY DECIDED, BE PREPARED TO AID

AGRICULTURE’S RESUSCITATION VIA A SIZABLE HARD CURRENCY

FACILITY PRICED AT REASONABLE RATES TO GET THE INDUSTRY BACK

ON ITS FEET.

 

¶5. (C) COMMENT: WE DIFFER WITH NONE OF THE ANALYSIS OR

CONCLUSIONS REACHED BY THE FARMERS. THEIR RECOGNITION OF THE

GUILE AND TACTICS ARRAYED AGAINST THEM IS NOT FLAWED, AND

THEIR COMMERCIALLY-BASED ECONOMIC SUGGESTIONS ARE REASONABLE

ONES. WE SKETCHED OUT USG CONCERNS AND INTERESTS, AND SOME

OF THE POSSIBLE PATHS FORWARD. OUR CONTACTS WITH THIS GROUP

WILL CONTINUE, AS BOTH SIDES FOUND IT WORTHWHILE, EVEN IN THE

CONTEXT OF A VERY BLEAK OUTLOOK.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3805

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02554 02 OF 02 291834Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   CIAE-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00

EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     VC-00   FRB-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 PMB-00   DRL-02

G-00     SAS-00     /008W

——————187056 291834Z /45

P 291436Z AUG 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9587

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USDOC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 002554

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/S, AF/EPS

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, C WILKINSON

USDOC FOR 4510 ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/06

TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD PHUM PGOV

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02554 02 OF 02 291834Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS BEING BACKED TO THE

WALL

 

ROTH

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(2 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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