Muchena, Chombo united on the land issue


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Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo told a United Nations Development Programme representative that the land reform programme was irreversible and that it was “unhealthy” to continue debating the issue.

He was backed by Minister of State in Vice-President Joseph Msika’s Office Olivia Muchena who said there were already detailed plans on what to do with every farm identified for acquisition in her Mashonaland East constituency.

Chombo said the government had decided to go it alone after being let down by donors but it was still amenable to donors assisting.

He said that the Commercial Farmers Union masqueraded as a pressure group that did not represent more than 20 percent of its membership, and was blocking progress using the courts and “breathing terror” into its members who wanted to cooperate with the government.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE7263, LAND TASK FORCE TRIES TO PUT BEST FACE ON

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

00HARARE7263

2000-12-28 10:20

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO6888

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 07263 01 OF 02 281020Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

USNW-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-00

FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   HHS-01   H-01     SSA-01   TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00

OES-01   OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00

ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/012W

——————B05B7D 281021Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7894

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 007263

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID R.MCCALL, AA/AFR V. DERRYCK AND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 07263 01 OF 02 281020Z

AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2010

TAGS: PGOV EAGR EAID PINR ZI

SUBJECT: LAND TASK FORCE TRIES TO PUT BEST FACE ON

FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE

 

REF: HARARE 7163 AND PREVIOUS

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (UNDP)

RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE VICTOR ANGELO HOSTED A MEETING

ON DECEMBER 21 FOR SELECTED HEADS OF MISSION WITH

MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE’S LAND TASK FORCE

THAT INCLUDED MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS

AND NATIONAL HOUSING IGNATIUS CHOMBO, MINISTER OF

FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SIMBA MAKONI, MINISTER

OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE AND RESETTLEMENT JOSEPH MADE, AND

MINISTER OF STATE IN VICE PRESIDENT MSIKA’S OFFICE

OLIVIA MUCHENA. THE PURPOSE OF THE MEETING WAS TO

ACQUAINT KEY DONORS WITH THE EVOLVING VIEWS OF AND STEPS

TAKEN BY THE TASK FORCE WITH RESPECT TO THE CURRENT LAND

REFORM AND RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE. THE METING WAS

CONVENED SHORTLY AFTER UNDP ADMINISTRATOR MARK MALLOCH

BROWN’S LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUGABE (REFTEL) WAS

DELIVERED, BUT THE MINISTERS BEGGED OFF DISCUSSING IT,

AS THEY HAD NOT YET SEEN IT.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 07263 01 OF 02 281020Z

 

2. (C) CHOMBO DOMINATED THE MEETING AND COVERED A LOT

OF WELL-TROD GROUND, SAYING LAND REFORM IN ZIMBABWE WAS

IRREVERSIBLE AND THAT IT WAS “UNHEALTHY” TO CONTINUE TO

DEBATE THE ISSUE. HE WAVED AWAY THE RESULTS OF THE 1998

LAND DONORS’ CONFERENCE THAT PRODUCED NO FUNDS, A FACT

THAT FORCED THE GOVERNMENT TO “GO IT ALONE” IN ORDER TO

ACQUIRE LAND AND RESETTLE PEOPLE ON IT AS QUICKLY AS

POSSIBLE. HE ALSO SAID THAT ONCE THE GOALS OF THE FAST-

TRACK RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE WERE ACCOMPLISHED, THE

“FINANCE MINISTER CAN COME UP WITH POLICIES TO PICK UP

THE ECONOMY.” HOWEVER, HE CONCEDED THAT “WE ARE

AMENABLE TO DONORS ASSISTING US AFTER ACQUISITION.” HE

STATED THAT THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION MASQUERADES AS

A PRESSURE GROUP THAT DOES NOT REPRESENT MORE THAN 20

PERCENT OF ITS MEMBERSHIP, AND WAS BLOCKING PROGRESS

USING THE COURTS AND “BREATHING TERROR” INTO ITS MEMBERS

WHO WOULD WANT TO COOPERATE WITH THE GOVERNMENT. CHOMBO

STIFF-ARMED ANY CALLS BY THE FOREIGN HEADS OF MISSION

FOR A RETURN TO THE RULE OF LAW, SAYING THE WORDS STRUCK

FEAR INTO PEOPLE’S HEARTS IN ZIMBABWE AS, IN HEARING

THEM, THEY WERE REMINDED OF THE DAILY, DRACONIAN EDICTS

ISSUED BY RHODESIAN FRONT LAW AND ORDER MINISTER LARDNER

BECK.

 

3. (C) THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL

HOUSING MINISTER COUNTERED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS

FOLLOWING ITS OWN LAW AND RULES ON LAND REFORM. IT HAD

DELISTED 190 FARMS, SOME OF WHICH FALL UNDER ITS

CRITERIA OF LAND THAT WILL NOT BE ACQUIRED, FOR EXAMPLE

CONSERVANCIES, CHURCH PROPERTY, EXPORT ZONES, LAND THAT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 07263 01 OF 02 281020Z

MET FOREIGN INVESTMENT CRITERIA, AND SOME NOT. THE

GOVERNMENT, HE CONTINUED, WOULD MOVE “DEMONSTRATORS” OFF

LAND THAT WAS NOT TARGETED FOR ACQUISITION. THE

GOVERNMENT ALSO HAD INTRODUCED THE CONCEPT OF

“ACQUISITION BY CONSENT,” WHEREBY A COMMERCIAL FARMER

WOULD GIVE UP A PORTION OF LAND NORMALLY NOT USED IN

FARMING FOR RESETTLEMENT AND WOULD BE ALLOWED TO KEEP

THE CORE AREA FOR HIS BUSINESS.

 

4. (C) AFTER CHOMBO CONCEDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT COULD

HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB OF COMMUNICATING ITS POLICIES AND

ACTIONS, LANDS, AGRICULTURE AND RESETTLEMENT MINISTER

MADE EXPLAINED THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD ACQUIRED THE

INITIAL 804 FARMS LISTED IN JUNE AND THAT THE PROCESS BY

WHICH IT HAD DONE SO MET WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE

LAW. ACQUISITION ORDERS FOR THE BALANCE OF 2,000 FARMS

WOULD BE ISSUED IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2001 AND THE

COMPENSATION COMMITTEE HAD ALREADY MET TO ASSESS THE

COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. HE ALSO LAUNCHED A LONG,

SINUOUS, EXPLANATION OF HOW THE LAND REFORM PROCESS WAS

NOT MEANT TO DISRUPT THE STABILITY OF COMMERCIAL

AGRICULTURE, THE BACKBONE OF ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY, AND

CONCLUDED, “IN THE POLITICAL ARENA, WE MUST ACCEPT THAT

YOU HAVE YOUR CONSTITUENCY AND WE HAVE OURS.”

UNDERSCORING THE OSTENSIBLE ORDERLINESS OF THE

GOVERNMENT’S LAND REFORM PROCESS, MINISTER OF STATE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7200

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 07263 02 OF 02 281020Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   HHS-01   H-01     SSA-01   TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OES-01

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /012W

——————B05B84 281021Z /38

R 281020Z DEC 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7895

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 007263

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID R.MCCALL, AA/AFR V. DERRYCK AND

AFR/SA C. PALMA

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 07263 02 OF 02 281020Z

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2010

TAGS: PGOV EAGR EAID PINR ZI

SUBJECT: LAND TASK FORCE TRIES TO PUT BEST FACE ON

FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE

 

MUCHENA CHIMED IN THAT DETAILED PLANS EXISTED AS TO WHAT

WOULD BE DONE WITH EVERY FARM IDENTIFIED FOR ACQUISITION

IN HER MASHONALAND EAST CONSTITUENCY.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: THE MEETING MARKED THE FIRST

OPPORTUNITY FOR KEY DONORS TO MEET FACE-TO-FACE AND

EXCHANGE VIEWS WITH GOVERNMENT CABINET MEMBERS. THE

PECKING ORDER WAS CLEAR: CHOMBO, FOLLOWED (DISTANTLY) BY

MUCHENA, MAKONI AND MADE. THE MINISTERS SEEMED TO HAVE

AN ANSWER FOR EVERY ARGUMENT THE WESTERN AMBASSADORS

MIGHT ADVANCE; CLEARLY THESE HAD BEEN DEBATED WITHIN THE

COUNCILS OF STATE AND PARTY HERE. TWO THINGS STRUCK US

AS EYEBROW RAISING. THE FIRST WAS CHOMBO’S RELEGATION

OF THE ECONOMY TO SOMETHING TO BE THOUGHT ABOUT AFTER

THE REAL BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT WAS ACCOMPLISHED. THE

SECOND WAS THE ARROGANCE OF THIS GOVERNMENT THAT THINKS

IT HAS THE MONOPOLY ON TRUTH AND JUSTICE AND INVITES THE

DONOR COMMUNITY TO FUND ITS SOCIAL ENGINEERING

EXPERIMENT UNCRITICALLY. THE MINISTERS ONLY ENTERTAINED

MEETING WITH THE DONORS BECAUSE THERE’S A CREEPING

REALIZATION WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT THAT WITHOUT

RESOURCES, THE FAST-TRACK RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE WILL

FAIL. ON THE BASIS OF THE ATTITUDES AND NEGOTIATING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 07263 02 OF 02 281020Z

SKILLS THEY DISPLAYED, DONORS WERE NOT READY TO SIGN ON.

THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT SHIFT THE BLAME ONTO SOMEONE ELSE

FOR ITS POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC FAILURES, A FACT THAT

SHOULD NOT BE LOST SIGHT OF. IF THE GOVERNMENT

CONTINUES ALONG THIS PATH WITHOUT MAKING ANY ADJUSTMENTS

TO ITS METHODS, ITS REAL LEGACY MAY WELL BE A

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS ENGINEERED IN HARARE AND PLACED AT

THE DOORS OF THE DONORS FOR CLEAN-UP AND RESOLUTION.

END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

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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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