Made clashed with Msika over Kondozi


The battle for Kondozi Farm is reported to have pitted Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made and the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority against a partnership of black and white Zimbabweans reportedly aligned with Vice President Joseph Msika and a host of local chiefs.

Representatives of the International Organisation for Migration said that at least 500 of the farm’s 5 000 workers had left the farm and were living in camps by the roadside.

Many had reported being beaten with rubber truncheons by security forces who had seized the property for ARDA which was now operating the farm.


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Reference ID






2004-04-21 15:34

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Harare

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000682










E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2009







Classified By: Political Officer Win Dayton under Section 1.5 b/d


1. (U) SUMMARY: Credible sources report that ruling party

supporters who have seized farms in Manicaland are beating

farm workers suspected of loyalty to the opposition.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) is preparing

to care for farm workers who are being displaced by the

seizures and associated violence. In the province’s capital

of Mutare, a mob of ZANU-PF supporters on April 21 locked out

the duly elected MDC mayor and the MDC-dominated City Council

and have refused to permit their return.


Farm Workers Beaten, Displaced



2. (C) MDC MP Roy Bennett advised emboffs on April 21 that

his recently seized farm, Charleswood Estate (reftel),

continued to be sealed by personnel from the army and police

support unit. After the removal of management principals

from the farm on Good Friday, occupying forces had

effectively prevented workers from leaving the farm. Bennett

confirmed that workers had been given the option of departing

or staying on to work for the farm’s new operator, Zimbabwe

Defense Industries (ZDI), but asserted that workers wanting

to leave had no means to do so — they lacked transportation

or arrangements for alternative room and board. He asserted

that nearly all the workers and their families, most of whom

had been associated with his family for more than a

generation, would choose to leave given a meaningful

opportunity to do so. Bennett said he was willing to arrange

for their transportation and housing pending his legal battle

over Charleswood, but that occupying forces prevented him

from entering the farm or communicating with anybody on the



3. (C) Bennett said he was due to have heard on April 22 an

urgent court application seeking his possession of or access

to the farm. He noted that he already had numerous court

orders establishing his right to possess the farm (a

registered export processing zone), and had effectively used

connections with local police and chiefs to stay on the farm

in the past. He would draw on such influence with another

favorable court order but was not confident it would prevail

over the apparent mandate of his farm’s latest occupiers. He

noted that contacts within the military confided to him that

orders for the military role in the farm’s seizure had come

from the President.


4. (SBU) Bennett reported that, according to a farm worker

who had managed to depart the farm by April 20, ZANU-PF

supporters directing the farm’s occupation were forcing farm

workers to attend ZANU-PF rallies, at which they were made to

chant pro-ruling party slogans and to vilify the MDC. Those

suspected of being key MDC sympathizers and some just

randomly selected were singled out for beatings, in which

they were slathered with mud and beaten with sticks.

(Comment: This practice would be consistent with well

documented, periodically applied ruling party tactics

predating independence. End comment.) Among those beaten

was an octogenarian pensioner.


5. (SBU) IOM representatives reported that police officials

visited the Anglican Church facility where most of

Charleswood’s evicted management and their families were

being housed and accused church personnel of engaging in

anti-government activities. This prompted movement of

Charleswood’s management “refugees” to other safe houses

under IOM’s care. According to an MDC provincial

representative, police beat some of them who were waiting for

a bus to take them to another location.


6. (SBU) IOM representatives corroborated Bennett’s

allegations and said they were working with him to arrange

shelter and food for any that could leave the farm. They

said they had received unconfirmed reports of additional farm

seizures under similar circumstances involving security

forces and beaten/displaced workers. Most significant among

these was the highly publicized Kondozi farm seizure, which

pitted Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made and the the

Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) against a

partnership of black and white Zimbabweans reportedly aligned

with Vice President Joseph Msika and a host of local chiefs.

IOM representatives confirmed press reports that at least 500

of the farm’s reported 5,000 workers had left the farm and

were living in camps by the roadside. IOM was initiating

action to assure provision of food and shelter. Many had

reported being beaten with rubber truncheons by security

forces who had seized the property for ARDA, which was now

operating the farm.


7. (SBU) An IOM representative indicated that at least half

of Zimbabwe’s remaining commercial farms were in Manicaland,

and at least half of them had been designated for seizure.

He was unsure how many of these already had been invaded but

suggested many had been at least partially invaded — often

with police and army support — and were operating at less

than full capacity.


Opposition Mayor Evicted



8. (U) According to an MDC press release, a mob of more than

2,000 ZANU-PF supporters at 8 a.m. on April 21 sealed off the

office of MDC Mayor Kagurabadza Mutare’s civic center. The

release alleged that most supporters had been ferried in from

outside Mutare, and some from outside Manicaland. Police

failed to respond to the mayor’s numerous calls for

assistance. An MDC provincial party spokesman reported that

the mayor was finally permitted to depart the building that

night after addressing the crowd and surrendering the keys to

his office.


9. (SBU) Kagurabadza told poloff from his home on April 22

that his office was being occupied by demonstrators and

neither he nor any of the city council were permitted entry.

He recounted that the mob’s initial demand had been merely

that he meet with them. After he resisted initially over

security concerns, he met during the evening of April 21.

They demanded that he agree to suspend recently imposed rate

hikes. He noted that the hikes had been approved by Minister

for Local Government Chombo but he agreed to suspend them

provisionally until a meeting of stakeholders could be

convened on the matter April 26. Upon that concession, the

demonstrators demanded the resignation of the mayor and the

city council. Kagurabadza refused, promising to leave when

the people lawfully voted in another mayor. The

demonstrators said they would only leave if instructed to do

so by Minister Chombo.


10. (SBU) The mayor said that demonstration leaders appeared

to include former ZANU-PF city councilor George Gambe and a

local self-proclaimed “chief” Murawa. MDC provincial

spokesman added that ZANU-PF Central Committee member and

defeated mayoral candidate Shadreck Beta and ZANU-PF

Provincial Youth Chairman Enoch Boruzingaze also were

involved, although Kagurabadza could not confirm this. The

mayor confirmed that he and the council generally enjoyed a

good working relationship with key ZANU-PF city management

officials officials appointed by the city’s last ZANU-PF

municipal administration.


11. (SBU) Kagurabadza advised that he was attempting to

resolve the conflict through negotiation, for now eschewing

the party’s historically favored legal maneuvers that he

considered uniformly expensive and unsuccessful. He had

contacted Manicaland Governor Nyambuya, who had urged that he

work things out through the police. He had an appointment on

April 23 with the Chief of Police for Manicaland, who had

promised to “try to convince” the demonstrators to leave.

His attempts to reach Chombo so far had proven unsuccessful.





12. (U) An MDC stronghold in the last parliamentary

election, Manicaland has long been a source of critics of

ruling party policy outside and inside the party, including

Morgan Tsvangirai, Simba Makoni, and Edgar Tekere. The

ruling party had made a well-publicized priority of retaking

the province, which is the MDC’s only bastion of

predominantly rural non-Ndebele constituencies the ruling

party considers its bread and butter. Mutare’s mayoral

contest last year was marked by violence — the Kagurabadza’s

car was demolished and MDC activists were beaten and knifed

— in spite of a “campaign code of conduct” sponsored by the

churches and publicly subscribed to by both party’s



13. (C) Recent developments in Manicaland bear testament to

the comprehensiveness and relentlessness of the ruling

party’s urban-rural assault strategy. While most prominent

in Manicaland, strong-arm tactics continue to be evident

throughout the country in forms too numerous and imaginative

to recount here. The MDC’s continuing inability to protect

its activists from systematic beatings, its mayors from

dismissal, its MPs from arrest (recent arrest of MP Masaiti

to be reported septel) are a significant factor in the

public’s sharp drift from politics. Indeed, the party’s

fundamental challenge remains as it has from its inception:

how does a democratic party committed to non-violence contest

a liberation party impervious to international criticism and

unafraid to employ all tools at its disposal — violence,

domination of the media, monopoly on all means of coercion —

to remain in power?




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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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