Politburo member Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed dismay at why the land reform programme was so chaotic in Mashonaland and Matabeleland North since the policy was clear- one man one farm.
He said he could not understand why people violated that policy to acquire more than one farm or why some farmers were being left landless.
He said the only explanation could be that the land was so rich that people were just scrambling for it.
He said there was no chaos in his province, the Midlands, where only 13 of the 324 commercial farmers had left.
Viewing cable 02HARARE2127, CORRUPTION IN LAND ACQUISITION
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 02 HARARE 002127
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/20/2012
SUBJECT: CORRUPTION IN LAND ACQUISITION
Classified By: Political Officer Kimberly Jemison for Reasons 1.5(c) an
¶1. (U) SUMMARY: The Zimbabwe executive office issued a
directive, circulated as a diplomatic note on 13 September,
putatively intended to rein in over-zealous government
officials in their acquisition of land. An independent press
report, supported by the diplomatic note, and comments by
Speaker of the Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, exposed the
lack of control the ZANU-PF leadership has exercised over the
distribution of land. END SUMMARY.
ZANU-PF LEADERSHIP LITTLE CONTROL OVER PROCESS
¶2. (U) In response to the actions of some of its party
members over land acquisitions, the ZANU-PF executive office
issued a directive to the Cabinet. The problems are with
some farmers losing their only farms and some ZANU-PF
officials obtaining more than one farm. The Embassy received
a copy of a diplomatic note issued by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs on September 13 from the Norwegian Embassy. The
diplomatic note subtly stated that Acting President Simon
Muzenda had issued a directive to government officials that
they must adhere to the one man-one farm policy. The
directive also stated that even Zimbabwean farmers of
European descent are entitled to one farm, and that
deviations from official policy must be discontinued.
¶3. (U) A Financial Gazette article on 19 September
highlighted the extent of the lack of control the ZANU-PF
leadership has had over the land process. According to the
article, ZANU-PF parliamentarians, cabinet members, and
Politburo members have been defying President Mugabe,s
directive of one man-one farm by capitalizing on white
farmers, need for up-front cash and by creating black-owned
agricultural companies as fronts for acquiring multiple
farms. Representatives from the agricultural firms approach
farmers whose property has been listed and offer to buy the
properties promptly as an alternative to waiting for
government compensation. The businessmen and ZANU-PF
politicians then facilitate the de-listing of these
properties because they are in the hands of blacks.
According to the article, more than 20 white-owned farms have
been acquired in this manner.
¶4. (U) Senior ZANU-PF Politburo member and Speaker of the
Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a September 19 meeting with
the Ambassador, expressed befuddlement over why the process
was so chaotic in Mashonaland and Matabeleland North. He
commented that the policy is so clear–one man-one farm–that
he cannot understand why people violate it and acquire more
than one farm, or why some farmers were being left landless.
The only rationale he offered for the situation was that the
land is so rich people are just scrambling for it.
LAND REDISTRIBUTION WINDING DOWN
¶5. (U) Also in the September 19 meeting, Mnangagwa said the
land acquisition exercise was winding down and at the end of
it all the government will have acquired between 10.6 and
10.8 million hectares of land. He insisted that most of the
current problems with farms were occurring in Mashonaland and
Matabeleland North and not in his province of Midlands or in
Manicaland. He also claimed that land acquisition was
complete in Midlands and Manicaland with most of the
infrastructure still intact. For example, in Midlands, 311
of the original 324 commercial farmers have remained and are
providing assistance to newly settled farmers so production
will not be reduced significantly. Mnangagwa said of the 13
who left, two were elderly couples whose children were living
abroad. He said the government assisted them in disposing of
their farms. Nine of the 13 farmers were not happy with the
reduced farm sizes (from 5000 ha to 2000 ha) and opted to
¶6. (C) COMMENT: The diplomatic note, Financial gazette
article, and Mnangagwa,s musings about the chaotic land
process suggest that the senior ZANU-PF leadership have had
little control over the land redistribution process or are
trying to convey this impression in order to avoid blame for
the disastrous consequences. The dip note is surprising in
that the GOZ has not generally reprimanded its party members
for their actions related to land policy. Its circulation on
the eve of the Commonwealth Troika meeting suggests a cynical
ploy to acknowledge that the commitments made at the
September 2001 Abuja meetings and in Mugabe’s recent speeches
have not been met, while showing what to do better. It could
be also part of a longer term plan to get international aid
by showing that they are pursuing members who abuse their
privileges with respect to land. Whatever the motives, the
GOZ has clearly encouraged chaos intended to drive commercial
farmers off the land and has made minimal or no effort to
control abuses at odds with their own commitments.