Khupe fails to help farmer


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Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe was not able to help a white farmer who was being forced off his land despite appeals by the United States embassy on behalf of the farmer.

Manie and Lucie Grove were forced off their Inogo Ranch and no one, including the police was willing to help them.

The Groves were part of a group of 78 farmers which took the government to the Southern African Development Community Tribunal which ruled against the government’s land reform programme arguing that this was de facto discrimination of white farmers.

Their local Member of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa also refused to help asking the Groves: “Who do you think you are, taking the government to court?”

Ed: Zimbabwe pulled out of the SADC Tribunal, after the ruling, challenging its legitimacy. In 2010 the SADC summit ordered a review of the functions and terms of reference of the tribunal literary suspending its operations.


Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE857, WAR ENDS WITH WAR: ANOTHER FARMER LOSES THE LONG STRUGGLE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE857

2009-10-28 14:05

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2419

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0857/01 3011405

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 281405Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5070

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2393

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3122

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3234

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1661

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2495

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2864

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3282

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5730

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2414

RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000857

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L. DOBBINS AND E. LOKEN

STATE PASS TO DOL FOR S. HALEY

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PHUM ELAB PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: WAR ENDS WITH WAR: ANOTHER FARMER LOSES THE LONG STRUGGLE

TO KEEP HIS FARM

 

——-

SUMMARY

 

——

 

1. (SBU) As part of a trip to research the impact of recent farm

invasions, poloffs visited farms and farmers in central Zimbabwe on

October 21 and 22 (septel). On October 21, we met with Manie and

Lucy Grove who, after battling to keep their property since 2002,

were homeless just five days after we met them as the result of a

ZANU-PF-led invasion. Their farm is one of 78 included in the

so-called “Campbell Case” in which the Southern African Development

Community (SADC) Tribunal ruled in November 2008 that the seizure of

the plaintiffs’ farms violated the SADC treaty. This latest

incursion, and the dozen farmworkers it left homeless and

unemployed, is just the latest page in a long and growing history of

farm invasions that continue to render Zimbabwe incapable of feeding

itself. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————-

Grove Farm Slowly Taken Over

—————————-

 

2. (SBU) On October 21, as part of a trip through central Zimbabwe

to investigate recent farm invasions, we met with embattled farmers

Mike Jansen and Hermanus “Manie” Grove and their family members.

The Grove farm, Inogo Ranch, is protected under the SADC tribunal

ruling and several Zimbabwean court orders. (NOTE: The SADC

Tribunal ruled that the seizure of the Campbell’s farm and that of

77 other farms violated the SADC treaty in that Amendment 17 to the

Zimbabwean constitution precluded access to the courts and the

seizures themselves were racist. END NOTE.) Grove explained the

history of his farm, which is typical of many of the farms currently

under threat.

 

3. (SBU) The Groves, who were born in Zimbabwe, purchased the 1700

hectare farm in 1990 when there was little on the land. At the

farm’s peak, it employed 25 full-time and 30 seasonal employees to

work the cattle, dairy, maize, wheat, and barley fields. In 2002

the Groves agreed to a deal with Midlands Provincial Governor Cephas

Msipa and the provincial land committee to cede 1,200 hectares to 53

families, including 100 hectares of irrigated land, and five

percent of their 2002 crop to new farmers. In 2005, the Groves

applied for reallocation of the remaining 500 hectares, according to

new legislation. Around the same time, a Mr. Marwisa arrived at the

farm asserting that he had an offer letter from the government

entitling him to the land. In December 2005, a delegation of

provincial and local officials visited the farm and told Grove he

had a right to stay on the land, as he had already ceded land to new

farmers.

 

4. (SBU) Several months later, in 2006, local lawyer, ZANU-PF

stalwart, and reported Emmerson Mnangagwa confidant, Martin Makonese

visited the farm and asserted that he, too, had an offer letter for

Qvisited the farm and asserted that he, too, had an offer letter for

the property, including the home. Throughout 2006 and 2007, the

Groves and their ever-dwindling staff suffered beatings, arson of

the barley crop, and continued disdain for court orders, largely at

the instigation of Makonese and his two “farm managers” who forcibly

took up residence on the farm. For example, in November 2007, the

Groves, their adult son and their staff were beaten by Makonese and

Marwisa’s hired gang of about 35 people. Grove needed 13 stitches

for a cut on his head. Earlier this year, one of the farm workers

suffered a broken arm after Makonese’s men beat him.

 

HARARE 00000857 002 OF 003

 

 

 

——————-

Threats Escalate:

“War Ends With War”

——————-

 

5. (SBU) Since February 2009, the legal battle and intimidation

against the Groves have escalated. On February 18, Manie Grove was

summoned to appear in court the next day to face charges of

illegally occupying state land. Although the case was deferred to

give his lawyer time to prepare for trial, Grove was arrested on

Friday February 20 and held in jail over the weekend without charge.

During that time, Makonese told his family that if they paid

US$25,000 to the magistrate, the case would be resolved. The Groves

refused and subsequently successfully moved the case to the Supreme

Court, where it is still pending.

 

 

6. (SBU) Several weeks later, in March, the Groves’ lawyer, Malina

Matshiya, was arrested and held for five hours for her continued

involvement in defending the Groves. In May, several tons of

soybeans, maize and sorghum were stolen from the fields. The police

continue to refuse to investigate theft, violence, and harassment on

the farm. When we met on October 21, the Groves told us that they

were ready to plant this year’s crops “yesterday,” including barley

which was already contracted to a local beer producer. However, the

continued disruptions and threats prevented them from planting

anything for the coming season. Grove showed us a picture of one of

the buildings Makonese’s men had taken over that was adorned with a

ZANU-PF flag and threatening graffiti: “war ends with war.”

 

——–

Reprisal

——–

 

13. (SBU) The day after we met the Groves in Kwekwe, a group of

20-40 ZANU-PF supporters invaded their farm at 5:00 a.m. The

invaders arrived in a truck owned by Makonese and broke the lock to

the yard that contains the Groves’ home and workshop. Lucie Grove

told us that she saw one of her workers sprinting “for his life”

from his compound to the forest as he was chased by three of the

men. His fate remains unknown. Manie Grove and his son took turns

attempting to reason with the group while Lucie Grove sat in the

kitchen with a firearm, ready to defend herself if the group was

able to enter the house. According to the Groves, the men received

fresh supplies of beer throughout the day delivered by Makonese’s

truck, which, when not occupied, was parked in the Groves’ yard.

The men reportedly continued to get louder and more belligerent

throughout the day.

 

14. (SBU) The Groves’ lawyer repeatedly sought help from the Kwekwe

police, who refused to act, claiming they did not have a vehicle.

(NOTE: We spent roughly one hour in Kwekwe on October 22 and saw

two police vehicles circulating in town. END NOTE.) In a meeting

with Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe the morning of October

Qwith Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe the morning of October

22, the Charge raised the issue of the invasion of the Groves’ farm.

Polecon chief did likewise in a phone call to Deputy Prime Minister

Arthur Mutambara later in the morning. Nevertheless at 6:00 p.m. on

October 22, a lone police officer arrived to tell the Groves that

there was nothing he could do.

 

15. (SBU) On the morning of October 23, a leading ZANU-PF figure

from Kwekwe known as Makumbe (possibly the local head of the war

 

HARARE 00000857 003 OF 003

 

 

veterans) arrived at the farm and told the Groves that they had to

leave before sun-down or they would be forced off. Before driving

away he told Manie Grove that he was bringing the men “more beer and

marijuana.”

 

—————————–

Al-Jazeera Confronts Makonese

—————————–

 

16. (U) That afternoon, a television crew from Al-Jazeera, led by

Zimbabwean correspondent Haru Mutasa, went to Makonese’s office in

Kwekwe to ask him about the ongoing invasion. At Mutasa’s behest,

Makonese accompanied her to the farm where he reiterated his claim

that he had a right to the land, despite the SADC Tribunal’s ruling.

He tried to portray the ZANU-PF supporters in the yard as peaceful,

but the crowd of drunken men and their ZANU-PF flags indicated

otherwise.

 

———————————

Grove Confronts Defiant Mnangagwa

———————————

 

17. (SBU) On the morning of Saturday October 24, Manie and Lucie

Grove drove to the home of their Member of Parliament, Defense

Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, to confront him about the ongoing land

invasion. Makonese, Makumbe, and other farm invaders in the

Midlands and Masvingo areas, in particular, have been affiliated

with the powerful minister. According to the Groves’ adult

daughter, Mnangagwa told the Groves that he would not intervene or

stop the eviction because the Groves had taken their court case to

SADC (a reference to their participation in the Campbell case). He

asked the Groves, “Who do you think you are, taking the government

to court?”

 

18. (SBU) Shortly after the Groves returned to the farm, the men

forced their way into the house and began throwing the Groves’

personal belongings into the yard. Throughout Saturday evening,

Sunday, and Monday, the Groves were allowed to remove most personal

belongings, their dogs and heirlooms from the home where they have

lived for 30 years. They are negotiating to remove the tools from

their shed and remaining furniture from the house.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

19. (SBU) The events of October 22-24 marked the bitter end of the

Groves’ seven-year fight to keep their farm. Although the legal

battle still technically continues in court, ZANU-PF ultimately won

the more important battle of physical force on the farm. It appears

increasingly clear that ZANU-PF, largely led by Mnangagwa and his

cronies, is hell-bent on eliminating white farmers, regardless of

the SADC Tribunal ruling and international pressure. The Groves,

like many other white farmers, tried every avenue available to them

in order to protect their property and workers: Zimbabwean courts,

regional courts, diplomatic pressure, the international press, and,

Qregional courts, diplomatic pressure, the international press, and,

finally, direct confrontation of Mnangagwa himself. These sad

events, while not new, are a reminder of just how far Zimbabwe has

to go to bring things right again, and of the important role SADC

could play in helping restore rule of law by pressuring ZANU-PF to

respect both Zimbabwean and SADC courts. END COMMENT.

 

PETTERSON

 

(1 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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