Farm invasions continue after election


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Farm invasions by war veterans which were widely believed to be an intimidation tactic by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to get people to vote for the party continued after the elections which the party narrowly won.

Reports said the veterans had occupied 25 more farms after the elections. They were occupying more than 1 000 farms and farmers reported that intimidation aimed at them and their workers had escalated.

The Commercial Farmers Union lamented in a statement: “The elections are over now and yet the extortion, destruction of property, theft and the threats continue largely unabated on farms.”

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai also said intimidation of party members and some legislators was on the rise. One legislator Justin Mutendadzamira had been arrested.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE3759, INTIMIDATION AGAINST FARMERS AND MDC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE3759

2000-07-11 15:38

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.

 

111538Z Jul 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7614

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03759 01 OF 03 111533Z

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ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

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

——————6CBC86 111534Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6567

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 003759

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR P/DAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN

AF/S FOR A. RENDER, D. BOOTH, AND T. FAULK

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA WJEFFERS AND A/AID RMCCALL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/10

TAGS: PGOV PINS PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: INTIMIDATION AGAINST FARMERS AND MDC

CONTINUES IN POST-ELECTION PERIOD

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03759 01 OF 03 111533Z

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ALTHOUGH WIDESPREAD FEARS OF A

SPIKE IN VIOLENCE TO APRIL-MAY LEVELS FOLLOWING THE

JUNE 24-25 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS HAVE SO FAR

PROVEN UNFOUNDED, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF DISTURBING

SIGNS THAT THE GOVERNMENT AND ZANU-PF ARE CONTINUING

THEIR PRE-ELECTION POLICY OF SPONSORING VIOLENCE AND

LAWLESSNESS. DESPITE HOPES THAT THE OCCUPATION OF

FARMS BY WAR VETS WAS A PRE-ELECTION PLOY, FARM

OCCUPATIONS HAVE CONTINUED AND ABOUT 25 ADDITIONAL

FARMS HAVE BEEN INVADED. FARMERS HAVE REPORTED

INCREASINGLY INTIMIDATING BEHAVIOR BY WAR VETS ON

THEIR FARMS, INCLUDING DEATH THREATS. IN ADDITION,

THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF INCIDENTS SINCE THE

ELECTION IN WHICH POLICE AND SOLDIERS HAVE BEATEN UP

PEOPLE PERCEIVED AS SUPPORTERS OF THE MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC).

 

2. (C) THE PROBABILITY OF LARGE-SCALE ELECTION-

RELATED RETALIATORY VIOLENCE IS RECEDING AS TIME

PASSES. HOWEVER, WE NOTE THAT POLITICAL VIOLENCE

HAS ALWAYS BEEN ORCHESTRATED FROM THE TOP AND THAT

THE PRESIDENT MAY ONCE AGAIN FIND A NEW SPATE OF

VIOLENCE — AGAINST THE MDC, FARMERS, OR OTHER

PERCEIVED OPPONENTS — TO BE IN HIS POLITICAL

INTEREST. END SUMMARY.

 

SITUATION ON FARMS REMAINS GRIM

——————————-

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03759 01 OF 03 111533Z

3. (C) BEFORE THE JUNE 24-25 PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS,

THE OCCUPATION OF FARMS BY WAR VETS WAS USED AS AN

ELECTION PLOY AIMED AT RALLYING THE PUBLIC BEHIND

THE IDEA OF LAND REDISTRIBUTION. IT WAS WIDELY

BELIEVED THAT THE VETS WERE LIKELY TO LEAVE THE

FARMS AFTER THE ELECTIONS, BUT THIS HAS NOT BEEN THE

CASE. THE VETS HAVE REMAINED ON OVER 1000 OCCUPIED

FARMS AND HAVE ESCALATED THE LEVEL OF VERBAL

INTIMIDATION AIMED AT FARMERS AND WORKERS, INCLUDING

THREATENED RETRIBUTION AGAINST MDC SUPPORTERS. IN

ADDITION, THERE HAVE BEEN ABOUT 25 NEW FARM

INVASIONS SINCE THE ELECTIONS. IN A JULY 5

STATEMENT, THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS’ UNION (CFU) NOTED

THAT “THE ELECTIONS ARE OVER NOW AND YET THE

EXTORTION, DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY, THEFT AND THE

THREATS CONTINUE LARGELY UNABATED ON FARMS.”

 

4. (C) A SPOKESMAN FOR THE CFU TOLD US THAT,

FOLLOWING THE JULY 2 DEADLINE FOR FARMERS TO APPEAL

THE COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF 804 FARMS, WAR VETS

DEMANDED THAT THE FARMERS LEAVE THEIR LAND

IMMEDIATELY. IN CONTRAST TO THE PRE-ELECTION

PERIOD, DURING WHICH MANY FARMERS WERE ALLOWED TO

CONTINUE RUNNING THEIR FARMS AS LONG AS THEY

ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE WAR VETS WERE IN CHARGE,

FARMERS ARE NOW IN MANY CASES BEING FORCED OFF THE

FARMS ALTOGETHER. TONY REELER (PROTECT), DIRECTOR

OF THE AMANI TRUST, AN NGO THAT ASSISTS VICTIMS OF

TORTURE AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, TOLD US

THAT THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS DEATH THREATS AGAINST

FARMERS SINCE THE ELECTION. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03759 01 OF 03 111533Z

THE CFU REPORTS THAT THE LEVEL OF PHYSICAL VIOLENCE

BY WAR VETERANS ON THE FARMS HAS DECREASED SINCE THE

ELECTION. THERE HAVE BEEN NO POST-ELECTION REPORTS

OF KILLINGS ON FARMS.

 

INTIMIDATION OF MDC MEMBERS

—————————

 

5. (C) A NUMBER OF EMBASSY CONTACTS, INCLUDING MDC

LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, HAVE REPORTED TO US THAT

MEMBERS OF THE POLICE AND MILITARY HAVE DESCENDED ON

NIGHTCLUBS IN HIGH-DENSITY HARARE SUBURBS ON RECENT

WEEKENDS AND ASSAULTED PATRONS THEY BELIEVED TO BE

MDC SUPPORTERS. THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF SIMILAR

INCIDENTS IN THE MIDLANDS PROVINCE CITY OF KWEKWE,

WHERE MINISTER OF JUSTICE EMMERSON MNANGAGWA LOST TO

THE MDC IN A HIGH-PROFILE RACE. TONY REELER HAS

TOLD US THAT HIS ORGANIZATION IS RECEIVING A

“CONTINUING STREAM” OF VICTIMS WHO ARE PROVIDING

TESTIMONY OF CONTINUING VIOLENCE AND REPRISALS. HIS

UNDERSTANDING IS THAT SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN IMPLICATED

IN THE VIOLENCE TO A GREATER EXTENT THAN THE POLICE.

 

CONTINUED IMPUNITY

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7616

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03759 02 OF 03 111534Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FBIE-00 VC-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   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

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

——————6CBC96 111534Z /38

P 111538Z JUL 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6568

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 003759

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR P/DAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN

AF/S FOR A. RENDER, D. BOOTH, AND T. FAULK

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA WJEFFERS AND A/AID RMCCALL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/10

TAGS: PGOV PINS PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: INTIMIDATION AGAINST FARMERS AND MDC

CONTINUES IN POST-ELECTION PERIOD

 

——————

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03759 02 OF 03 111534Z

 

6. (C) A NUMBER OF EMBASSY CONTACTS HAVE

EMPHASIZED TO US THAT THEY ARE SERIOUSLY CONCERNED

NOT ONLY ABOUT CONTINUING VIOLENCE BUT ABOUT

IMPUNITY FOR PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE. THERE HAVE BEEN

NO ARRESTS IN ANY OF THE MORE THAN 30 CASES OF

POLITICALLY MOTIVATED MURDER SINCE FEBRUARY. POLICE

HAVE FAILED TO LODGE CHARGES AGAINST PERSONS

WITNESSES HAVE IDENTIFIED AS THE PERPETRATORS OF

ACTS OF VIOLENCE, AND IN MANY CASES HAVE REFUSED

EVEN TO TAKE AFFIDAVITS FROM WITNESSES. REELER

POINTED OUT THAT, EVEN IN THE SMALL MINORITY OF

CASES WHERE CHARGES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT, THE SEVERITY

OF THE OFFENSE HAS BEEN UNDERSTATED — FOR EXAMPLE,

PEOPLE GUILTY OF MURDER HAVE BEEN CHARGED ONLY WITH

PUBLIC VIOLENCE. REELER TOLD US THAT IN A NUMBER OF

CASES, SUCH AS THE MURDER OF FARMER DAVID STEPEHENS,

THE POLICE HAVE REFUSED TO MAKE ARRESTS EVEN THOUGH

THEY ADMIT THAT THEY KNOW WHO THE CULPRITS ARE.

 

7. (C) MDC PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI COMPLAINED

TO THE AMBASSADOR IN A JULY 10 MEETING (SEPTEL) THAT

THE GOVERNMENT HAS FALSELY IMPLICATED HIGH-LEVEL MDC

MEMBERS IN INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE. HE NOTED THAT

NEWLY ELECTED MDC MP JUSTIN MUTENDADZAMERA HAD BEEN

ARRESTED ON JULY 6 FOR ALLEGEDLY SEVERELY ASSAULTING

A MAN WEARING A “VOTE YES” (FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL

REFERENDUM) T-SHIRT.   IN FACT, TSVANGIRAI SAID, THE

INCIDENT HAD BEEN A “SCUFFLE” BETWEEN GRASSROOTS-

LEVEL ZANU-PF AND MDC MEMBERS IN WHICH

MUTENDADZAMERA WAS NOT INVOLVED.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03759 02 OF 03 111534Z

 

8. (C) THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION AND HUMAN RIGHTS

ORGANIZATIONS CONTINUE TO CALL, AS THEY HAVE SINCE

THE VIOLENCE BEGAN AFTER THE DEFEAT OF THE

CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM IN FEBRUARY, FOR A

COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION INTO PRE-ELECTION

VIOLENCE. TSVANGIRAI TOLD THE AMBASSADOR ON JULY 10

THAT THE MDC WILL CALL FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A

COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE VIOLENCE AS ONE OF

ITS FIRST ACTS AS THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION.

 

LEVEL OF ORCHESTRATION

———————-

 

9. (C) OUR CONTACTS HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO

SPECULATE ABOUT THE LEVEL OF ORCHESTRATION OF POST-

ELECTION VIOLENCE. THE HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM, A GROUP

OF TEN LOCAL LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS NGOS, CONTINUES

TO ASSESS THE SITUATION AND PLANS TO ISSUE A BRIEF

REPORT ON POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN RECENT WEEKS.

PHIL MATSHEZA (PROTECT), EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE

HUMAN RIGHTS RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION TRUST OF

SOUTHERN AFRICA, TOLD DCM ON JULY 6 THAT HE DOES NOT

HAVE A SENSE THAT THE POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IS

BEING DIRECTED FROM SENIOR LEVELS OF THE GOVERNMENT

AT THIS STAGE. ABSENT A DECISION BY PRESIDENT

MUGABE TO LAUNCH ANOTHER SPATE OF ORCHESTRATED

AGGRESSION, HE CONTINUED, IT IS LIKELY THAT THE

CURRENT VIOLENCE WILL BURN ITSELF OUT IN A FEW

WEEKS.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03759 02 OF 03 111534Z

10. (C) OTHERS, HOWEVER, HAVE POINTED OUT THAT

POLITICAL VIOLENCE HERE IS GENERALLY ORCHESTRATED AT

THE HIGHEST LEVEL, AND THE INVOLVEMENT OF UNIFORMED

SERVICE MEMBERS IN THE VIOLENCE POINTS TO HIGH-LEVEL

COMPLICITY. THERE IS ALSO WIDESPREAD CONCERN THAT

THE CURRENT RELATIVE QUIET, COMPARED TO THE APRIL-

MAY PERIOD, MAY MERELY BE A LULL BEFORE MORE

POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED RETRIBUTION FROM BOTH SIDES

BEGINS. MANY OF OUR CONTACTS HAVE REMINDED US THAT

THERE WAS A PERIOD OF RELATIVE PEACE BETWEEN

FEBRUARY 13, WHEN PRESIDENT MUGABE’S CONSTITUTIONAL

REFERENDUM WAS DEFEATED, AND APRIL 1, WHEN THE WAR

VETS ATTACKED A PEACEFUL NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL

ASSEMBLY MARCH IN HARARE AND THE VIOLENCE ASSOCIATED

WITH THE LAND INVASIONS BEGAN IN EARNEST.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) THERE HAS BEEN WIDESPREAD RELIEF THAT

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE HAS NOT REACHED APRIL-MAY

LEVELS. IT IS LIKELY THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN

MORE RETALIATORY VIOLENCE IF ZANU-PF HAD LOST OR IF

THE MDC HAD LOST BY A LARGER MARGIN. HOWEVER, GIVEN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7617

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03759 03 OF 03 111534Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00 NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FBIE-00 VC-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   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

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

——————6CBCA1 111534Z /38

P 111538Z JUL 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6569

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 003759

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR P/DAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN

AF/S FOR A. RENDER, D. BOOTH, AND T. FAULK

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA WJEFFERS AND A/AID RMCCALL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/10

TAGS: PGOV PINS PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: INTIMIDATION AGAINST FARMERS AND MDC

CONTINUES IN POST-ELECTION PERIOD

 

NEW FARM OCCUPATIONS, CONTINUED THREATS OF VIOLENCE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03759 03 OF 03 111534Z

AGAINST FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS, AND REPRISALS

AGAINST MDC MEMBERS BY UNIFORMED SERVICEMEN,

VIOLENCE REMAINS A SERIOUS CONCERN. WE BELIEVE THAT

THE CURRENT VIOLENCE, LIKE THE PRE-ELECTION

VIOLENCE, IS BEING ORCHESTRATED FROM THE TOP. THE

INVOLVEMENT OF UNIFORMED SERVICE MEMBERS IN VIOLENCE

IS A SIGN THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DEVELOPING NEW

TACTICS OF INTIMIDATION IN THE POST-ELECTION PERIOD.

THE OVERALL LEVEL OF VIOLENCE IN COMING MONTHS IS

LIKELY TO DEPEND, AS IT HAS IN THE PAST, ON WHETHER

PRESIDENT MUGABE BELIEVES THAT VIOLENCE IS IN ZANU-

PF’S POLITICAL INTEREST. THE PRESIDENT AND ZANU-PF

ARE REELING FROM THE PARTY’S ELECTION DEFEAT AND MAY

NOT HAVE DECIDED WHAT NEXT STEPS TO TAKE. EMBASSY

WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP A CLOSE WATCH ON THE

SITUATION. END COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(36 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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