Ncube admitted that land reform was a fait accompli


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Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Welshman told United States embassy officials that the government’s land redistribution programme was a fait accompli from which any new government would have to work.

He was speaking the US embassy official before his departure for Washington to brief US government officials on the increasingly difficult operating environment faced by the MDC.

The embassy recommended that Ncube be received at a high level because he was the second leading figure in the MDC and spoke with authority for the party.

Ncube said the MDC’s system for land use and property rights would contain elements that would converge with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s objective to make existing land reform productive.

Ed: Ncube has repeatedly been named as one of the beneficiaries of the land reform programme.


Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE2225, MDC SECRETARY GENERAL ON CARROTS AND STICKS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2225

2003-11-10 10:09

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.

 

101009Z Nov 03

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002225

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. DELISI, M. RAYNOR

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER, TEITELBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/07/2013

TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC SECRETARY GENERAL ON CARROTS AND STICKS

 

REF: (A) HARARE 1977 (B) HARARE 1971 (C) HARARE 1185

 

(D) HARARE 1130

 

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

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube on

November 6 told poloff that he intended during his planned

visit to Washington next week to urge the USG to be more

vocal in its criticism of the GOZ. At the same time, he

concluded that the time had come for a more explicit

elaboration by the USG of future assistance, conditioned on

political progress, as a means to induce greater seriousness

by the ruling party. Ncube reported that the MDC’s economic

platform, dubbed RESTART, was being revised with particular

attention to land reform details that might offer common

policy ground with the ruling party. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Ncube said that his planned visit with MDC National

Coordinator Isaac Maphosa to Washington November 12 was at

the behest of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai. Their

principal objective was to brief USG officials on the

increasingly difficult operating environment faced by the

MDC, and to stimulate discussion of where collaborative

efforts should go in light of the ruling party’s non-movement

on talks. For his part, he thought it was time to review

what he termed the “quieter” approach adopted by the USG

since President Bush’s visit to South Africa in July. Ncube

reiterated that President Mbeki’s efforts had been wholly

unsuccessful in moving Mugabe and were unlikely to succeed

without ramped up international pressure. In particular, he

asserted that a more vocal effort by the USG would help

fortify the confidence of SADC players who were most likely

to influence the ruling party’s posture. Conversely, the

U.K. should keep as low profile as possible, as any public

British actions tended to play into Mugabe’s posturing with

SADC.

 

3. (C) Referencing departing Assistant Secretary

Kansteiner’s widely reported comments about the potential

utility of reviewing carrots and sticks vis-a-vis the GOZ,

Ncube expressed interest in exploring potential additional

sticks, although he had none to suggest beyond more forceful

diplomacy. As for carrots, he recognized the potential

utility of an articulation by the USG of what kinds of

assistance could be advanced upon the achievement of

political progress as a means to induce movement by the

ruling party toward talks. Areas for potential assistance

and appropriate indices of political progress would have to

be explored. The MDC was working on a policy paper that

would give greater definition the party’s views on carrots,

sticks, and foreign policy generally; Ncube said he hoped to

see a draft before he departed for the Washington but the

product was not due to be finalized until later this month,

at the earliest.

 

4. (C) Ncube reported that the party’s economic policy

paper, dubbed “RESTART”, had been sent back to the drawing

boards but was still scheduled for release in late December.

Party leaders had agreed that many sections required greater

specificity, especially the segment on land reform. In

particular, a tenure system needed to be defined that would

establish predictable, reliable, and marketable property

rights in such a way that would restore the agricultural

sector’s productivity. Echoing characterizations by

colleagues (ref B), Ncube said that there could be no return

to status quo ante and recognized that the government’s

redistrubution was a fait accompli from which any new

government would have to work. He predicted that RESTART’s

system for land use and property rights would contain

elements that would converge with the ruling party’s

objective to make existing land reform productive.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: As the second leading figure in the MDC,

Ncube speaks with authority for the party and we recommend

that he be received at a high level. It is the first time

since the indictment of Tsvangirai and Ncube on fabricated

treason charges prior to the March 2002 presidential

elections that a senior MDC official has been free to visit

the United States. The MDC has evidenced some insecurity

over our engagement with Mbeki on Zimbabwe and more

“balanced” public comments on the regime (e.g., qualified

recognition of progress in August municipal elections); the

visitors are hoping for a strong show of support from

Washington interlocutors with which to impress regional

players, domestic constituents, and the ruling party.

Ncube’s conclusion about conditioned carrots coincides with

repeated calls from the bishops (ref A). Some explicit

articulation of potential USG support, along the lines set

out in the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act and

contingent on progress on the polical front, might strengthen

the MDC’s hand here and stimulate constructive deliberation

within the ruling party. Drawing from the discussion of

options set out in refs C and D, we will explore potential

measures in that regard via septel.

SULLIVAN

 

(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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