Farmers urge US to push Mbeki to put pressure on Mugabe


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Commercial farmers told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald that the only effective tool that could turn President Robert Mugabe around was the threat of a total cut off of fuel and electricity by South Africa.

The farmers therefore urged the ambassador to ask his government to put pressure on South African President Thabo Mbeki to force Mugabe to stop the farm invasions which were disrupting farming activities.

Mike Auret, a Movement for Democratic Change legislator, who accompanied the farmers, said Zimbabwe was “on its backside” and it was only able to stagger along because of South Africa’s provision of fuel and electricity.

McDonald said the United States was in regular contact with the South African government and had urged Mbeki to weigh in with Mugabe.

But he warned: “Mbeki has been helpful, but he has to be careful. If he pushes too hard, Mugabe is capable of withdrawing into a shell and going it alone.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE4818, COMMERCIAL FARMERS: A PLEA FOR INTERNATIONAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE4818

2000-08-30 10:23

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.

 

301023Z Aug 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9953

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04818 01 OF 03 301023Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 DODE-00

DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00

PM-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /002W

——————7F9C01 301023Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6967

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 004818

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/05

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMERS: A PLEA FOR INTERNATIONAL

PRESSURE ON MUGABE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04818 01 OF 03 301023Z

 

REF: A) HARARE 4695 B) HARARE 4662

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND

(D).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) THREE COMMERCIAL FARMERS, ACCOMPANIED BY THEIR

LEGAL COUNSEL AND AN MDC MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, TOLD

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD ON AUGUST 28 THAT PHYSICAL

INTIMIDATION OF FARMERS HAD MOSTLY STOPPED. NOW, THE

GOVERNMENT WAS ENCOURAGING SQUATTERS TO BUILD HOUSES ON

OCCUPIED LAND. THEY EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THE SITUATION

ON MANY FARMS IN THE MASVINGO AREA WAS DETERIORATING, AND

THAT WIDESPREAD POACHING BY WAR VETERANS WAS OCCURRING IN

GAME RESERVES. THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION PLANNED TO

REFILE ITS CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE OF THE LAND

ACQUISITION ACT, REVERSING ITS EARLIER WITHDRAWAL OF THE

CASE, BECAUSE THE GOZ WAS NOT NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH.

THE GROUP URGED THE UNITED STATES TO ENCOURAGE PRESIDENT

MBEKI TO WEIGH IN FORCEFULLY WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE, AND

SUGGESTED THAT SOUTH AFRICA’S THREATENING A TOTAL CUTOFF

OF FUEL AND ELECTRICITY COULD CONVINCE THE ZIMBABWEAN

PRESIDENT TO CHANGE COURSE. THIS GROUP OF FARMERS HAS

CONCLUDED THAT FURTHER DIALOGUE WITH THE GOVERNMENT WILL

LEAD NOWHERE AND IS CONVINCED THAT ONLY INTERNATIONAL

PRESSURE ON MUGABE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE BELIEVE IT

MIGHT BE TIME TO CONSIDER ENCOURAGING MBEKI AGAIN TO

WEIGH IN WITH THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT, A COURSE OF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04818 01 OF 03 301023Z

ACTION ON WHICH WE WOULD WELCOME EMBASSY PRETORIA’S AND

DEPARTMENT’S THINKING. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) BOB HENSON, WHO OWNS A TOBACCO FARM NEAR DOMA,

SEVERAL HUNDRED KILOMETERS NORTHEAST OF HARARE, CALLED ON

AMBASSADOR MCDONALD ON AUGUST 28 TO BRIEF HIM ON CURRENT

LAND-RELATED DEVELOPMENTS. HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY MIKE

AURET, A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FROM THE OPPOSITION

MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), ATTORNEY JEREMY

CALLOW, AND TWO COMMERCIAL FARMERS, JOHN TOPPING AND

PETER FORSYTHE. THE AMBASSADOR WAS JOINED BY POLOFF.

 

CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS

————————

 

3. (C) JOHN TOPPING, WHO OWNS A FARM 75 KM NORTH OF THE

CAPITAL NEAR BINDURA, REPORTED THAT MOST OF THE PHYSICAL

AGGRESSION AGAINST FARMERS IN HIS AREA HAD STOPPED. THE

GOVERNMENT’S PRIMARY OBJECTIVE NOW APPEARED TO BE TO MOVE

PEOPLE ONTO LAND AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO BUILD HOUSES.

SQUATTERS IN SOME AREAS WERE ARRIVING WITH CORRUGATED

IRON AND OTHERS WITH PRE-FAB HOUSING, TRANSPORTED THERE

BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLES. HE CLAIMED THAT SOME OF THE SO-

CALLED WAR VETERANS WERE NOT INTERESTED IN LAND AND WOULD

DRIFT AWAY IF NOT CLOSELY SUPERVISED BY THOSE WHO HAD

BROUGHT THEM. FARMERS ARE NOW GENERALLY REFUSING ALL

REQUESTS FROM WAR VETERANS FOR FOOD, MONEY, OR ANY OTHER

KINDS OF ASSISTANCE. IN FACT, MANY HAVE DETERMINED NOT

TO SPEAK TO THE WAR VETERANS.

 

4. (C) FORSYTHE, WHOSE FARM IS LOCATED SOME 40 KM EAST

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 04818 01 OF 03 301023Z

OF HARARE NEAR ARCTURUS, SAID THE WAR VETERANS IN HIS

AREA HAD ATTEMPTED TO FORCE A WORK STOPPAGE THE PREVIOUS

WEEK. (NOTE: THE ARCTURUS AREA HAS BEEN A HOTBED OF

PROBLEMS SINCE THE FARM INVASIONS BEGAN. END NOTE.)

FARM WORKERS, HOWEVER, HAD REFUSED TO BE INTIMIDATED, AND

PLANTING WAS CURRENTLY PROCEEDING. HE SAID THE SITUATION

WAS DETERIORATING IN MASVINGO PROVINCE, IN SOUTH-CENTRAL

ZIMBABWE, WHERE WAR VETERANS WERE DOING SERIOUS DAMAGE ON

MANY FARMS. MP AURET ADDED THAT A GREAT DEAL OF

DESTRUCTION IS OCCURRING IN GAME RESERVES, WHERE

POACHING, AIDED BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLES, IS OUT OF

CONTROL. STONE RIDGE FARM, ONE OF THOSE FROM WHICH

SQUATTERS WERE RECENTLY EVICTED, HAS BEEN REOCCUPIED AND

THE OWNER HAS RECEIVED DEATH THREATS.

 

5. (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE

APPARENT EXPULSION OF CHENJERAI HUNZVI AS CHAIRMAN OF THE

WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION. AURET SAID THE ACTION HAD BEEN

PRECIPITATED BY WAR VETERANS ANGERED BY HUNZVI’S

DICTATORIAL LEADERSHIP AND HIS ALLEGED MISAPPROPRIATION

OF FUNDS AT ZEXCOM, A COMPANY OWNED AND OPERATED BY WAR

VETERANS. AURET SAID THE ISSUE WAS FAR FROM OVER,

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9954

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04818 02 OF 03 301023Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 DODE-00

DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00

PM-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /002W

——————7F9C19 301023Z /38

P 301023Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6968

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 004818

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/05

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMERS: A PLEA FOR INTERNATIONAL

PRESSURE ON MUGABE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04818 02 OF 03 301023Z

 

HOWEVER, AS HUNZVI WAS CHALLENGING THE ACTION AND

PRESIDENT MUGABE COULD REINSTATE HUNZVI ANY TIME HE

CHOSE.

 

CFU’S LEGAL CHALLENGE

———————

 

6. (C) THE AMBASSADOR RECALLED THAT THE COMMERCIAL

FARMERS UNION (CFU) HAD RECENTLY WITHDRAWN ITS LEGAL

CHALLENGE OF AMENDMENTS MADE TO THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT.

HAD THE WITHDRAWAL CAUSED A SPLIT WITHIN THE CFU? NO,

BOB HENSON REPLIED, MEMBERS OF THE CFU HAD RESOLVED THEIR

DIFFERENCES OVER THIS ISSUE AND REMAINED UNITED. JEREMY

CALLOW SAID THE CFU PLANNED IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO TO

RESUBMIT ITS CASE CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF

THE AMENDMENTS TO THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT, THE LEGAL

BASIS FOR THE GOVERNMENT’S FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT

EFFORT. THE CASE HAD BEEN WITHDRAWN SEVERAL WEEKS

EARLIER, CALLOW SAID, IN AN EFFORT TO PRESERVE A CHANNEL

OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE GOZ. (NOTE: CALLOW IS A

PROMINENT LOCAL LAWYER WHO REPRESENTED THE THREE

AMERICANS DETAINED HERE LAST YEAR ON WEAPONS CHARGES.

END NOTE.)

 

7. (C) ACCORDING TO CALLOW, IT IS NOW CLEAR THAT THE GOZ

IS NOT COMMUNICATING WITH THE CFU IN GOOD FAITH. THE

GOVERNMENT PAYS LIP SERVICE TO THE IMPORTANCE OF

DIALOGUE, WHILE CONTINUING TO PERMIT LAND INVASIONS, AND

ANNOUNCING THAT IT WILL COMPENSATE SQUATTERS FOR PROPERTY

DAMAGED IN POLICE EVICTIONS THE WEEK OF AUGUST 21.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04818 02 OF 03 301023Z

 

8. (C) CALLOW HOPED THE COURTS WOULD ISSUE AN

INJUNCTION STOPPING THE CURRENT LAND ACQUISITION PROGRAM.

ASSUMING THE COURT RULED IN THE CFU’S FAVOR, THE

AMBASSADOR ASKED, DID CALLOW BELIEVE THE GOZ WOULD

COMPLY? PROBABLY NOT, CALLOW RESPONDED, BUT IT WAS

CRUCIAL FOR HIS CLIENTS TO MAKE THEIR RECORD AND FOR THE

FARMERS’ OWN CREDIBILITY WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

THAT THEY PURSUE EVERY POSSIBLE AVENUE OPEN TO THEM.

 

FUEL AND ELECTRICITY CRUCIAL LEVERS WITH MUGABE

——————————————— —

 

9. (C) AURET SAID ZIMBABWE WAS “ON ITS BACKSIDE” AND WAS

ABLE TO STAGGER ALONG PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S

PROVISION OF FUEL AND ELECTRICITY. TOPPING ADDED THAT

THE THREAT OF A TOTAL CUTOFF OF LIGHTS AND FUEL WAS

PERHAPS THE ONLY EFFECTIVE TOOL LEFT THAT MIGHT TURN

MUGABE AROUND. THE TURMOIL IN ZIMBABWE WAS AFFECTING THE

ENTIRE REGION, AND HE HOPED THE UNITED STATES COULD

ENCOURAGE SOUTH AFRICA TO BRING PRESSURE TO BEAR ON

MUGABE. HE AND THE OTHERS IN THE ROOM, TOPPING SAID,

WERE TRYING NOT ONLY TO SAVE THEIR OWN LAND, BUT TO DO

ALL THEY COULD TO PREVENT THEIR COUNTRY FROM “GOING DOWN

THE TUBES.”

 

10. (C) THE AMBASSADOR STRESSED THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO

PRESS THE GOZ AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS TO RESTORE THE RULE

OF LAW AND TO TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO PUT THE ECONOMY

BACK ON TRACK. OUR LEVERAGE IS LIMITED, HOWEVER, AS WE

PROVIDE NO DIRECT ASSISTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT. WE WOULD

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 04818 02 OF 03 301023Z

CONTINUE TO DO ALL WE COULD TO NUDGE MUGABE IN THE RIGHT

DIRECTION, BUT SOUTH AFRICA IS THE KEY PLAYER HERE. THE

UNITED STATES IS IN REGULAR CONTACT WITH PRESIDENT MBEKI

ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS IN ZIMBABWE AND HAS URGED HIM TO WEIGH

IN WITH MUGABE. MBEKI HAS BEEN HELPFUL, BUT HE HAS TO BE

CAREFUL. IF HE PUSHES TOO HARD, MUGABE IS CAPABLE OF

WITHDRAWING INTO A SHELL AND GOING IT ALONE.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) THERE WAS A TONE OF DESPERATION AMONG THE

MEMBERS OF THIS GROUP. THEY REFLECT WIDESPREAD CONCERN

ABOUT THE SEVERE DAMAGE THE GOVERNMENT’S HAPHAZARD

RESETTLEMENT EFFORT IS DOING TO FARMERS’ LIVELIHOODS, TO

AGRICULTURE, AND TO THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE. THEY HAVE

LOST CONFIDENCE THAT ENGAGING IN DIALOGUE WITH THE

GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE, AND HAVE CONCLUDED

THAT ONLY PRESSURE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAN

FORCE MUGABE TO CHANGE COURSE. THE GROUP’S SUGGESTION

THAT WE ENCOURAGE MBEKI AGAIN TO WEIGH IN WITH MUGABE

MERITS SERIOUS CONSIDERATION, AND WE WOULD WELCOME

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9955

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04818 03 OF 03 301023Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 DODE-00

DS-00   EUR-00   VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00

PM-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /002W

——————7F9C23 301023Z /38

P 301023Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6969

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 004818

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/05

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: COMMERCIAL FARMERS: A PLEA FOR INTERNATIONAL

PRESSURE ON MUGABE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04818 03 OF 03 301023Z

 

DEPARTMENT’S AND EMBASSY PRETORIA’S THINKING ON THIS

ISSUE.

 

12. (C) DESPITE THIS GROUP’S CONTENTION THAT THE

SITUATION ON COMMERCIAL FARMS IS GETTING WORSE, THE REAL

PICTURE IS ACTUALLY UNCLEAR. THERE HAVE BEEN FEW NEW

FARM INVASIONS DURING THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS, ACCORDING TO

THE CFU, BUT NEITHER HAVE THERE BEEN ANY FURTHER POLICE

EVICTIONS OF WAR VETERANS SUBSEQUENT TO THOSE REPORTED IN

REF B. IN AN ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENT, POLICE IN MOST

PROVINCES ARE NOW RESPONDING WHEN SQUATTERS ENGAGE IN

CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS INTERFERING WITH FARMING

OPERATIONS, ASSAULTING FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS, STEALING

PROPERTY, AND CUTTING DOWN TREES.

 

13. (C) THE QUESTION NOW, OF COURSE, IS HOW THE

GOVERNMENT PLANS TO PROCEED. AS INDICATED IN PREVIOUS

REPORTING, VICE-PRESIDENT MSIKA, HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER

JOHN NKOMO, AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS HAVE TOLD US

RECENTLY THAT THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO MOVE SQUATTERS OFF

NON-DESIGNATED FARMS TO THOSE IDENTIFIED FOR COMPULSORY

ACQUISITION. PRESIDENT MUGABE, HOWEVER, IS CLEARLY

UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THAT COURSE OF ACTION, AND WE HAVE NOT

YET SEEN ANY MOVEMENT IN THAT DIRECTION.   EFFORTS BY THE

GOZ TO ADDRESS THE LAND REFORM ISSUE IN A FAIR AND

TRANSPARENT WAY HAVE OCCURRED ONLY WHEN MUGABE IS OUT OF

THE COUNTRY AND HAVE BEEN REVERSED UPON HIS RETURN. THE

EVICTIONS, FOR INSTANCE, WERE CARRIED OUT LAST WEEK WHILE

MUGABE WAS IN MOZAMBIQUE, BUT STOPPED WHEN HE CAME BACK.

THE RESULTING GOZ POLICY ON LAND IS CYCLICAL AND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04818 03 OF 03 301023Z

HAPHAZARD, IN WHICH IT REGULARLY TAKES ONE STEP FORWARD,

THEN TWO STEPS BACK. WE NOTE THAT PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL

BE IN NEW YORK THIS WEEK FOR THE MILLENIUM SUMMIT. HIS

ABSENCE COULD PROVIDE AN OPENING, ALTHOUGH CERTAINLY A

TEMPORARY ONE, FOR SOME POSITIVE MOVEMENT ON LAND.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(24 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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