Mutasa says government will compensate foreign farmers in full


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Didymus Mutasa, who was Minister of State Security and Lands at the time, said the government was going to respect its international agreements and would compensate foreign farmers whose countries had bilateral investment protection agreements with Zimbabwe “in full and in the currency of their choice”.

Mutasa said the government had already paid out Z$400 billion (aboutUS$4 million) in compensation to date but it had few resources to compensate farmers.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 06HARARE766, GOZ LAND REFORM BRIEFING: THE MASK COMES OFF

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE766

2006-06-27 15:51

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1932

PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0766/01 1781551

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 271551Z JUN 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0257

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1251

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1096

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1257

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0516

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0881

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1309

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3680

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1080

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1719

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1466

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000766

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

TREASURY FOR J. RALYEA AND B. CUSHMAN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PREL EAGR ECON EINV ZI

SUBJECT: GOZ LAND REFORM BRIEFING: THE MASK COMES OFF

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) Minister for State Security, Lands, Land Reform and

Resettlement Didymus Mutasa told the diplomatic corps at a

June 21 briefing that the GOZ would honor its international

agreements and either provide compensation or return

foreign-owned farms that had been expropriated. However, he

offered no timetable and indicated that the GOZ had few

resources with which to pay compensation. At a subsequent

question and answer session, Foreign Minister Mumbengegwi

publicly insulted the Australian Ambassador. With the

exception of the Libyan dean, the diplomatic corps was

shocked and appalled by the vitriolic performance from Mutasa

and Mumbangegwi and the exposure of the real face of the

ZANU-PF regime has cooled the ardor for dialogue or

“bridge-building” of all but the most naive colleagues. In

World Cup parlance, it was a spectacular own-goal by the GOZ.

End Summary.

 

———————

Mutasa,s Presentation

———————

 

2. (SBU) Flanked by Minister of Agriculture Made, Minister

for Foreign Affairs Mumbengegwi and other senior officials,

Mutasa offered a familiar rehearsal of land reform’s history

that revolved around British and American reneging on

purported promises to compensate dispossessed white farmers.

Digressing beyond land reform, Mutasa castigated the West for

repeatedly “hurting the Zimbabwean people”: it condemned

Operation Murambatsvina (the GOZ’s massive slum demolition

campaign) but did nothing to help its victims; its targeted

sanctions were wrecking the economy and hurting ordinary

people. (N.B. The dissembling minister ignored substantial

international assistance to Murambatsvina victims, much of

which was obstructed by the GOZ.)

 

3. (SBU) Mutasa emphasized that the GOZ would respect its

international agreements. Specifically, foreigners whose

countries had bilateral investment protection agreements

(BIPAs) would be compensated “in full and in the currency of

their choice.” An interagency GOZ committee had assessed 181

of the 185 farms protected by bilateral agreements and would

make recommendations on which should be &acquired8 and

compensation paid for and which should be cleared of settlers

and returned to their owners.

 

4. (SBU) Mutasa claimed the GOZ had already paid Z$400B

(approx. US$4M at official exchange rate, US$1M at parallel

market rate) in compensation to date. However, he said the

GOZ had few resources with which to compensate farmers and

offered no timetable for future compensation. Mutasa added

that foreign owners protected by BIPAs would have ecourse to

the courts to contest GO action, unlike Zimbabwean owners

who had been denied court access under Amendment 17 to the

Constitution. (N.B. Mutasa mistakenly listed the United

States as one of the countries with which Zimbabwe had a

bilateral investment protection agreement.)

 

———————–

Q&A Session Degenerates

———————–

 

HARARE 00000766 002 OF 002

 

 

 

5. Following Mutasa,s presentation, there was a brief

question and answer period that turned hostile, marked

especially by an exchange between the Australian Ambassador,

who sought clarification of whether white Zimbabweans would

be accorded equal rights, and Foreign Minister Mumbengegwi.

Mumbengegwi,s response was a vitriolic attack on the

Ambassador and on Australia, which he called one of the most

racist countries in the world. All three ministers used the

closing session to castigate the EU for “following Tony

Blair’s lead”. Mutasa even unwittingly embarrassed the

Malaysian Ambassador, who inquired about bilateral investment

agreements; “don’t worry – you are our friend; we will give

you a special deal.” The Malaysian visibly cringed at this

public embrace from the regime.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

6. (C) This latest installment in the GOZ,s diplomatic

charm offensive was the equivalent of an own-goal and fell

decidedly flat. The presentation itself was derided by most

in the diplomatic corps as a waste of time that broke no new

ground. Mutasa got backs up right from his opening comment

that the meeting was only taking place because “you”, i.e.

the diplomatic corps, wanted it. Even the most ardent

believers in the utility of dialogue with the the GOZ began

to squirm uncomfortably and their disillusionment only grew

as the GOZ ministers used every question (most quite

inoffensive) to lash out. Reportedly, even the African

ambassadors, none of whom was singled out for personal abuse,

were offended by this “un-African” display of incivility. In

the aftermath, most of the diplomatic corps has concluded

(finally) that dialogue with the GOZ is not realistic. That

said, a few die-hards (France) tried to put a positive spin

on what Mutasa would have said if he finished reading his

18-page statement instead of ad-libbing, while the most

ardent “dialogistas” (Canada and Sweden) have concluded that

if dialogue fails, we must engage in more dialogue about

dialogue. The most positive aspect of this session was the

stark revelation of the GOZ’s true face and the fact that the

GOZ continues to be its own worst enemy in attempting tof

break out of its international isolation.

DELL

(13 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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