Mutasa said white farmers were “dirt” which needed to be cleansed


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Minister of State Security and Lands, Didymus Mutasa, described white commercial farmers as “dirt” that needed to be cleansed. Addressing a land audit meeting in Masvingo, Mutasa reportedly said the remaining white farmers had to be clear out under a new land resettlement operation called “faster track”.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government had directed the Registrar of Deeds to nullify all title deeds for the 4 000 farms that had been nationalised by the Constitutional Amendment Act.

He said there was going to be a mopping up exercise with those farms that had escaped the net being accounted for and gazetted for acquisition.

Farms protected under bilateral trade agreements would also be acquired but full compensation would be paid.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 05HARARE1346, ISOLATED LAND SEIZURES BUT MIXED SIGNALS ON

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE1346

2005-09-29 06:01

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001346

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

STATE PASS USAID FOR M. COPSON

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

TREASURY FOR J. RALYEA AND B. CUSHMAN

USDOC FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2015

TAGS: EAGR ECON EFIN PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ISOLATED LAND SEIZURES BUT MIXED SIGNALS ON

“FASTER TRACK” LAND REFORM

 

REF: HARARE 01156

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHRISTOPHER DELL UNDER SECTION 1.4 B/D

 

1. (C) Summary: Incendiary comments about “Faster Track”

land reform by GOZ Ministers may have spurred some recent

isolated, but violent farm seizures, but it is unclear

whether they signal a new series of farm invasions.

Nevertheless, pressure on commercial farmers to give up their

farms is incessant. The Security and Justice Ministers,

rabble rousing remarks about clearing out white farmers and

conducting a mopping up exercise, plus passage of the

constitutional amendment depriving displaced farmers of all

legal recourse, could be perceived by greedy ZANU-PF

stalwarts as a green light for a land grab. End Summary.

 

———————————–

GOZ Rabble Rousing on Farm Takovers

———————————–

 

2. (U) Addressing a land audit meeting in Masvingo province

earlier in September, Minister for State Security Land, Land

Reform and Resettlement Didymus Mutasa reportedly said the

remaining white commercial farmers must be “cleared out”

under a new land re-settlement operation he dubbed “Faster

Track.” According to press reports, Mutasa described white

commercial farmers as “dirt” which needed to be cleansed. On

September 23, announcing that the GOZ had directed the

Registrar of Deeds to immediately nullify all title deeds for

the 4000 farms nationalized by the Constitutional Amendment

Act (reftel), Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary

Affairs Patrick Chinamasa told the press “there will be a

mopping up exercise with those farms who escaped the net

being accounted for and gazetted for acquisition.” Chinamasa

added that farms protected under bilateral trade agreements

would be acquired, but full compensation would be paid.

 

3. (SBU) During the week of September 18, several farm

invasions occurred in Manicaland province. In Chipinge, the

area with the highest number of remaining white-owned

commercial farms in Zimbabwe, a senior CIO official,

accompanied by local police, led an invading gang that

attacked and drove off one farm manager, leaving him with a

dozen stitches to the head, according to Commercial Farmers

Union (CFU) President Doug Taylor-Freeme. Meeting with

Embassy econoffs on September 27, Taylor-Freeme commented

that the invaded farms had had a history of confrontation

with government officials. Informed of the attacks, Mutasa

backtracked on his threat and professed ignorance about the

farm seizures, according to the press.

 

4. (SBU) Taylor-Freeme said a further 10 commercial farmers

in Manicaland had recently received letters signed by the

local district administrator ordering them to stop farming

immediately. He also related that on the previous weekend,

Mutasa, Chinamasa and Agriculture Minister Made had met in

Rusape, Manicaland with a group of commercial farmers. The

Ministers told them they would have to reduce their number of

farms from 40 down to 15. No further details are available

at this time. According to Taylor-Freeme, there are still

well over 500 white commercial farmers operating in Zimbabwe,

down from 4500 in 2000. They have all received section 7

notices of imminent physical takeover of their farms. Some

have made “arrangements” at the local level to continue

operations; others had, until passage of the constitutional

amendment, pursued legal redress.

 

——-

Comment

——-

5. (C) It is unclear at this point whether the latest round

of farm seizures reflects new GOZ policy and the start of a

new concerted wave of GOZ-sanctioned takeovers, or if this is

a series of isolated events. Local politicians and ZANU-PF

cadres at the provincial level appear to be interpreting the

the Security and Justice Ministers’ incendiary remarks

according to their own personal ends and ambitions.

Furthermore, the constitutional amendment depriving displaced

farmers of all legal recourse no doubt presents a “green

light” to ambitious and greedy Party stalwarts eager to

obtain free land at the expense of the remaining white

commercial farms. What is clear is that the Ministers’

appearance before the Rusape farmers, and their call to shut

down more commercial farms signal no let up to the pressure

on white farmers to pack their bags.

 

6. (C) Whether these incidents are isolated, violent land

grabs, or generally reflect a renewed GOZ focus on driving

out the remaining white commercial farmers, they will only

further feed the international perception of Zimbabwe as a

basket case and inappropriate destination for investment.

The GOZ,s ability to shoot itself in the foot, when it is

already limping, seems endless. As the country approaches

yet another food shortage, the decision to attack the few

remaining productive farms is mind boggling. End Comment.

DELL

(10 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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