Farmers see Makoni as conduit to Mugabe


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The Commercial Farmers Union, which was under siege from the farm invaders, had decided to work with the government and use Finance Minister Simba Makoni as a conduit to present their new plan to President Robert Mugabe.

Under the plan, arrived at at their congress, the farmers committed themselves to:

  • work with the government to see that land reform and resettlement is a success in Zimbabwe;
  • integrate the CFU fully into the economic and social fabric of the nation;
  • assist small-scale and communal farmers to become more productive and economically viable;
  • and develop financial mechanisms with banks, IFIs, and donor countries to fund land reform, resettlement, and commercial agriculture.

The farmers said they would vigorously pursue efforts to broaden their membership to include the members of the indigenous commercial farmers union and small-holder farmers engaged in commercial farming.

The CFU had been quietly cultivating contacts with the Finance Minister, Simba Makoni whom they viewed as a key government official who, because of his role in trying to stabilise the Zimbabwe economy, had sufficient influence with President Mugabe and his circle of advisors to help get both sides seriously talking again.

The CFU leadership believed that Makoni understood the important role that commercial agriculture played in the economy, and that it was one sector that could be quickly stimulated to generate economic growth, foreign exchange earnings, and employment, as well as feed the nation.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE1102, ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS AGREE AT CONGRESS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE1102

2001-03-23 05:31

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.

 

230531Z Mar 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5118

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01102 01 OF 03 230533Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   LAB-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 BBG-00   PMB-00

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

——————D60F66 230534Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8489

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001102

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/11

TAGS: EAGR PGOV PHUM EAID PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS AGREE AT CONGRESS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01102 01 OF 03 230533Z

ON A STRATEGY TO RE-ENGAGE WITH THE GOZ ON LAND

 

REFS: A. HARARE 898, B. HARARE 815, C. HARARE 743

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’ AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B/D).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) ON MARCH 22, ECONOFF MET WITH COLLIN CLOETE, VICE

PRESIDENT FOR COMMODITIES OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS

UNION (CFU), TO DISCUSS THE RESULTS OF THE CFU SPECIAL

CONGRESS HELD THE PREVIOUS DAY. THE ISSUE OF REPLACING

THE CURRENT CFU LEADERSHIP (REFS A, B AND C) WAS NOT

RAISED AT THE CONGRESS, BECAUSE THE MEMBERSHIP WAS

UNITED BEHIND THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP. NICK SWANEPOEL, A

FORMER CFU PRESIDENT WHO HAD ENGAGED IN SECRET,

UNSANCTIONED NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF

ZIMBABWE (GOZ) ON THE LAND ISSUE (REF B), WAS GIVEN THE

OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS THE CONGRESS, FOLLOWING WHICH IT

WAS DETERMINED THAT HE WILL PROCEED WITH HIS EFFORTS TO

NEGOTIATE WITH THE GOZ IN A MODIFIED FASHION WITH THE

BACKING OF THE CFU. THERE WAS A ONE AND A HALF HOUR

PRESENTATION OF A NEW PLAN BY THE CFU LEADERSHIP TO RE-

ENGAGE WITH THE GOZ ON THE ISSUES OF COMMERCIAL FARMING

AND LAND REFORM AND RESETTLEMENT, WITH SHORT-, MEDIUM-,

AND LONG-TERM COMPONENTS. THE CFU HAS HELD REPEATED

DISCUSSIONS WITH THE FINANCE MINISTER, SIMBA MAKONI, ON

THE LAND ISSUE, AND THE MEMBERSHIP VIEWS HIM AS THE ONE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01102 01 OF 03 230533Z

PERSON IN THE GOZ WHO MIGHT BE ABLE TO BRIDGE THE SHARP

DIVISION BETWEEN THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS AND THE GOZ.

THE CFU IS PACKAGING THE PLAN UNVEILED AT THE CONGRESS

FOR PRESENTATION TO THE GOZ, AND WILL MAKE IT CLEAR THAT

THE FARMERS WANT TO ESTABLISH A CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE ON

THE LAND ISSUE AND HAVE SET NO PRECONDITIONS FOR SUCH

TALKS. END SUMMARY.

 

——————–

A MORE PERFECT UNION

——————–

 

2. (C) CLOETE REVEALED THAT THE CFU HELD A FULL COUNCIL

MEETING THE NIGHT BEFORE THE CONGRESS THAT WAS ATTENDED

BY SWANEPOEL. SWANEPOEL AND THE COUNCIL MUTUALLY AGREED

THAT EVIDENCE OF SCHISMS WITHIN THE CFU AT THE CONGRESS

WOULD ONLY HURT COMMERCIAL FARMERS. IT WAS AGREED THAT

SWANEPOEL WOULD BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY AT THE CONGRESS

TO PRESENT AND EXPLAIN HIS UNSANCTIONED AND SECRETIVE

EFFORT TO NEGOTIATE AN END TO THE IMPASSE OVER LAND WITH

THE GOZ. IT WAS ALSO AGREED THAT HE WOULD NOT RAISE THE

ISSUE OF REPLACING THE CURRENT CFU LEADERSHIP. CLOETE

STATED THAT SWANEPOEL HAD NO CHOICE ON THE LATTER ISSUE

FOR TWO REASONS: THE ASSOCIATION OF JOHN BREDENKAMP (A

REPUTED ARMS DEALER WITH CLOSE TIES TO ZANU-PF) WITH HIS

SECRET TALKS HAD CAUSED MANY FARMERS TO QUESTION THE

 

SIPDIS

REAL MOTIVES BEHIND SWANEPOEL’S EFFORT, AND, THE RESULTS

OF THE CFU LEADERSHIP’S CANVASSING OF OVER 1000 FARMERS

IN THE WEEKS BEFORE THE CONGRESS, WHICH REVEALED NEAR

UNANIMOUS SUPPORT FOR THE INCUMBENT LEADERSHIP.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01102 01 OF 03 230533Z

3. (C) THE CONGRESS THE FOLLOWING DAY WENT VERY

SMOOTHLY. THE CFU PRESIDENT, TIM HENWOOD, OPENED WITH A

15 MINUTE SPEECH, FOLLOWED BY SWANEPOEL WITH A 20 MINUTE

EXPOSITION ON HIS TALKS, FOLLOWED BY A ONE-AND-A-HALF

HOUR PRESENTATION OF THE CFU PLAN TO RE-ENGAGE THE GOZ

ON THE LAND ISSUE, WHICH WAS GIVEN BY CFU VICE PRESIDENT

FOR REGIONS, WILLIAM HUGHES. AFTER THE PRESENTATION,

THERE WAS AN OPEN PERIOD OF Q & A’S WITH THE LEADERSHIP

OVER THE PLAN, WITH A FEW QUESTIONS DIRECTED TO

SWANEPOEL REGARDING HIS DEALINGS WITH THE GOZ. AT THE

END OF THE DAY-LONG CONGRESS THERE WAS A UNANIMOUS

CONSENSUS BY THE DELEGATES FOR THE LEADERSHIP TO MOVE

FORWARD WITH THE PROPOSED PLAN.

 

——–

THE PLAN

——–

 

4. (C) THE PLAN PRESENTED BY THE CFU LEADERSHIP IS A

MULTIFACETED APPROACH TO ENGAGING THE GOZ ON THE

QUESTIONS OF THE FUTURE OF COMMERCIAL FARMING, LAND

REFORM AND RESETTLEMENT. THE PLAN IS DIVIDED INTO

SHORT-, MEDIUM, AND LONG-TERM COMPONENTS DEALING WITH

ALL ASPECTS OF COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE AND LAND REFORM

AND RESETTLEMENT. IN A BROAD STROKE, THE KEY ELEMENTS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5119

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01102 02 OF 03 230534Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   LAB-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 BBG-00   PMB-00

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

——————D60F6B 230534Z /38

P 230531Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8490

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 001102

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/11

TAGS: EAGR PGOV PHUM EAID PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS AGREE AT CONGRESS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01102 02 OF 03 230534Z

ON A STRATEGY TO RE-ENGAGE WITH THE GOZ ON LAND

 

OF THE PLAN ARE COMMITMENTS BY THE CFU AND COMMERCIAL

FARMERS TO: WORK WITH THE GOZ TO SEE THAT LAND REFORM

AND RESETTLEMENT IS A SUCCESS IN ZIMBABWE; INTEGRATE THE

CFU FULLY INTO THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FABRIC OF THE

NATION; ASSIST SMALL-SCALE AND COMMUNAL FARMERS TO

BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE AND ECONOMICALLY VIABLE; AND

DEVELOP FINANCIAL MECHANISMS WITH BANKS, IFIS, AND DONOR

COUNTRIES TO FUND LAND REFORM, RESETTLEMENT, AND

COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE. AS PART OF THE EFFORT TO

INTEGRATE MORE FULLY INTO PRESENT-DAY ZIMBABWE, THE CFU

WILL VIGOROUSLY PURSUE EFFORTS TO BROADEN ITS MEMBERSHIP

TO INCLUDE THE MEMBERS OF THE INDIGENOUS COMMERCIAL

FARMERS UNION AND SMALL-HOLDER FARMERS ENGAGED IN

COMMERCIAL FARMING, AND TO DEVELOP A NEW CFU

CONSTITUTION AND SYMBOLS THAT WILL BE PROPOSED FOR

ADOPTION AT THE AUGUST CONGRESS. CLOETE STATED THAT THE

CFU IS NOW PREPARING THIS PLAN FOR FORMAL PRESENTATION

TO THE GOZ. THE PLAN DOES NOT INCLUDE SPECIFIC FIGURES

LISTED AS GOALS, BECAUSE ZANU-PF CONTACTS TOLD THE CFU

LEADERSHIP THAT IT WAS BETTER TO LEAVE THIS OPEN FOR

NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GOZ. CLOETE SAID THAT THERE WAS

NOT A SPECIFIC DATE FOR PRESENTING THE PLAN TO THE GOZ.

IT WILL BE PRESENTED AS SOON AS THE UNION HAS IT

PROPERLY PACKAGED FOR PRESENTATION.

 

——————–

A ROLE FOR SWANEPOEL

——————–

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01102 02 OF 03 230534Z

5. (C) THE CONGRESS ALSO AGREED THAT THERE WAS SOME

MERIT IN THE SECRET EFFORT THAT SWANEPOEL HAD BEGUN, AND

AUTHORIZED HIM TO SPEAK FOR THE UNION AND ITS MEMBERSHIP

IN HIS ROLE AS THE CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC

CONSULTATIVE FORUM (NECF) TASK FORCE ON LAND. ACCORDING

TO CLOETE, WHILE THIS IS A POSITION SWANEPOEL HAS FILLED

FOR THE LAST YEAR, HE HAD ILLEGALLY USURPED IT FROM A

CFU-BACKED DELEGATE. WHILE THE NECF TASK FORCE HAS BEEN

LARGELY INACTIVE SINCE THE FARM INVASIONS BEGAN LAST

YEAR, THE CFU LEADERSHIP IS HOPING THAT IT MAY BECOME

THE FORUM FOR REENGAGING THE GOZ WITH THE NEW PLAN.

 

—————————

MAKONI SEEN AS A KEY PLAYER

—————————

 

6. (C) ACCORDING TO CLOETE, THE CFU HAS BEEN QUIETLY

CULTIVATING CONTACTS WITH THE FINANCE MINISTER, SIMBA

MAKONI. THEY VIEW HIM AS A KEY GOZ OFFICIAL WHO,

BECAUSE OF HIS ROLE IN TRYING TO STABILIZE THE ZIMBABWE

ECONOMY, MAY HAVE SUFFICIENT INFLUENCE WITH PRESIDENT

MUGABE AND HIS CIRCLE OF ADVISORS TO HELP GET BOTH SIDES

SERIOUSLY TALKING AGAIN. THE CFU LEADERSHIP BELIEVES

THAT MAKONI UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT

COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE PLAYS IN THE ECONOMY, AND THAT IT

IS ONE SECTOR THAT CAN BE QUICKLY STIMULATED TO GENERATE

ECONOMIC GROWTH, FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS, AND

EMPLOYMENT, AS WELL AS FEED THE NATION. FOR THIS REASON

THE CFU PLAN TO USE MAKONI AS A CONDUIT TO PRESENT THEIR

NEW PLAN TO MUGABE.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01102 02 OF 03 230534Z

———————

WILL THE GOZ RESPOND?

———————

 

7. (C) CLOETE SAID THAT ONCE THE CFU PLAN IS PRESENTED

TO THE GOZ, THE BALL IS IN THE LATTER’S COURT. HOWEVER,

TO ENCOURAGE A POSITIVE RESPONSE THE CONGRESS AGREED

THAT THE CFU MUST MAKE CLEAR TO PRESIDENT MUGABE THAT IT

WANTS TO BE A HELPFUL PARTNER IN RESOLVING THE IMPASSE

OVER LAND, THAT IT IS SETTING NO PRECONDITIONS TO TALK,

AND THAT THE UNION WILL PURSUE NO ADDITIONAL LEGAL

ACTIONS AGAINST THE GOZ. THE CFU IS GOING TO USE ALL

AVENUES TO GET THEIR MESSAGE ACROSS TO MUGABE AND THE

GOZ, INCLUDING INVOLVING THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA.

THE CFU WILL TRY TO DO THIS OUT OF THE PUBLIC EYE,

HOPING THAT THEY CAN CONVINCE MUGABE THAT HE CAN ENGAGE

WITH THE UNION AND COMMERCIAL FARMERS IN A WIN-WIN

SITUATION THAT WILL ALLOW HIM TO TAKE CREDIT FOR SOLVING

THE LAND ISSUE. CLOETE STATED THAT THE CFU RECOGNIZES

THAT THIS LAST POINT IS A CRITICAL ELEMENT OF THEIR

PLAN, BECAUSE IF MUGABE AND ZANU-PF CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY

USE THE LAND ISSUE TO TRY AND REGAIN POPULAR SUPPORT,

THE NEW PLAN WILL BE STILLBORN.

 

——-

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5120

 

PAGE 01      HARARE 01102 03 OF 03 230534Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00

COME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   LAB-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 BBG-00   PMB-00

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

——————D60F6F 230534Z /38

P 230531Z MAR 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8491

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 001102

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/11

TAGS: EAGR PGOV PHUM EAID PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE’S COMMERCIAL FARMERS AGREE AT CONGRESS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01102 03 OF 03 230534Z

ON A STRATEGY TO RE-ENGAGE WITH THE GOZ ON LAND

 

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) IN OUR OPINION, THE ACTION PLAN AGREED TO AT THE

SPECIAL CONGRESS IS A COMPREHENSIVE AND WELL-THOUGHT OUT

STRATEGY FOR ADDRESSING THE NEED FOR LAND REFORM AND

RESETTLEMENT IN ZIMBABWE, WHILE MAINTAINING THE

VIABILITY OF COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE. WHETHER THE CFU

LEADERSHIP WILL BE ABLE TO GET PRESIDENT MUGABE TO

SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE PLAN, AND THEN TO WORK WITH THE

FARMERS IN FINDING A WAY FORWARD WILL DEPEND ON THE

EXTENT TO WHICH MUGABE CAN CLAIM PERSONAL AND ZANU-PF

CREDIT FOR GIVING LAND TO THE BLACK MAJORITY AS A

RESULT. THE ROLE THAT MAKONI MAY PLAY IN PROMOTING THIS

PLAN TO MUGABE WILL BE CRITICAL. HE HAS A LIMITED

WINDOW IN WHICH TO DO SO BECAUSE WE FIGURE THAT AFTER

JUNE THE MAJORITY PARTY WILL BE FOCUSED ON THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TO THE EXCLUSION OF ALMOST ALL

OTHER ISSUES. THE SEVERE ECONOMIC CRISIS FACING

ZIMBABWE GIVES MAKONI SOME LEVERAGE IN THIS EFFORT, BUT

IT MAY NOT SUFFICE TO OVERCOME THOSE IN ZANU-PF,

INCLUDING MUGABE HIMSELF, WHO SEE THE CURRENT “FAST-

TRACK” LAND PROGRAM AS THE ONLY WAY TO INCREASE THE

PARTY’S, AND ITS CANDIDATE’S, POPULARITY PRIOR TO THE

UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01102 03 OF 03 230534Z

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(4 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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