Nkomo tells US to leave Zimbabwe alone


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Former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front chairman, John Nkomo, who was Minister of Home Affairs at the time, told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald that the United States should let Zimbabwe resolve the land issue on its own.

This was after the ambassador had complained about the government’s intended acquisition of more than 3 000 farms accusing the ZANU-PF old guard like Nkomo of continuing to fight the guerrilla struggle against whites through land reform.

Nkomo said the acquisitions were acceptable because it was important to correct a glaring injustice.

“When a white farmer has 20 000 hectares of land across a fence from black Zimbabweans huddled in congested poverty, the situation must be put right,” Nkomo said.

He argued that it was only humane to address this discrepancy, and some disruptions were unavoidable along the way.

Nkomo criticised white farmers for being too hard-line and refusing to accept any of the government’s proposals.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE4627, NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE4627

2000-08-21 12:17

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.

 

211217Z Aug 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0149

 

PAGE 01        HARARE 04627 01 OF 03 211754Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00   FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00

USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00

SAS-00     /013W

——————7C262F 211754Z /02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6881

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 004627

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04627 01 OF 03 211754Z

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05

TAGS: PREL ECON EFIN EAGR PINR PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING

GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM

 

REF: HARARE 3910

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), (D)

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) IN A MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR ON AUGUST 16,

NEW HOME AFFARIS MINISTER — AND ZANU-PF CHAIRMAN — JOHN

NKOMO PROVIDED A CONFUSING AND SOMETIMES CONTRADICTORY

ACCOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT’S NEXT STEPS ON LAND REFORM.

HIS COMMENTS CONFIRMED THE CLEAR ABSENCE OF ANY

SYSTEMATIC RESETTLEMENT PLAN. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT OLD

GUARD MEMBERS LIKE NKOMO ARE CONTINUING TO FIGHT THE

GUERRILLA STRUGGLE AGAINST WHITES THROUGH LAND REFORM.

ACCORDING TO NKOMO, ALL 3,000 FARMS IDENTIFIED FOR

SEIZURE WOULD BE GAZETTED BY AUGUST 18 (ALTHOUGH WE WERE

INFORMED SUBSEQUENTLY BY THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION

THAT THIS DID NOT OCCUR), BUT THERE MIGHT BE A NEED FOR

ADDITIONAL LAND IN THE FUTURE. OWNERS OF FARMS WILL HAVE

30 DAYS TO APPEAL AND, IF SUCCESSFUL, WILL BE TAKEN OFF

THE LIST. NKOMO AGREES THAT PRODUCTIVE FARMS SHOULD BE

REMOVED. OTHER FARMS WOULD THEN HAVE TO BE IDENTIFIED.

 

2. (C) NKOMO DENIED THE EXISTENCE OF SIGNIFICANT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04627 01 OF 03 211754Z

LAWLESSNESS ON COMMERCIAL FARMS, AND REITERATED THAT THE

WAR VETERANS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO REMAIN WHERE THEY ARE

PROVIDED THEY DO NOT ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY.

ALTHOUGH HE ACKOWLEDGED THAT FARM OCCUPATIONS WERE

CAUSING ECONOMIC DAMAGE, NKOMO INSISTED THAT SOME

DISRUPTIONS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CORRECT THE INJUSTICE OF

CURRENT LAND OWNERSHIP. NKOMO CALLED THE NEW PARLIAMENT

“AMATEURS” AND DENIED THE EXISTENCE OF FACTIONS WITHIN

CABINET. THE EMBASSY HAD A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH

NKOMO WHEN HE WAS MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND

HOUSING, AND WE INTEND TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE DIALOGUE

WITH HIM IN HIS NEW PORTFOLIO. WE DO NOT EXPECT ANY

DEPARTURES FROM THE GOVERNMENT’S DISASTROUS POLICIES,

INCLUDING ON LAND, AND LIKELY WILL SEE MORE OF THE SAME

IN RURAL AREAS.   END SUMMARY.

 

———————————

CONSTRUCTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIP

———————————

 

3. (C) THE AMBASSADOR, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFFS, CALLED

AUGUST 16 ON NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER, AND ZANU-PF

CHAIRMAN, JOHN NKOMO. THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE HAD ENJOYED

WORKING WITH NKOMO IN HIS PREVIOUS POSITION AS LOCAL

GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING MINISTER, AND HE LOOKED FORWARD TO

CONTINUING A PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AT HOME

AFFAIRS.

 

—————————-

CONFUSING NEXT STEPS ON LAND

—————————-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 04627 01 OF 03 211754Z

 

4. (C) THE AMBASSADOR EXPRESSED SERIOUS CONCERN THAT THE

VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION ON COMMERCIAL FARMS HAD

CONTINUED IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE JUNE ELECTIONS, AND

ASKED WHAT THE GOVERNMENT INTENDED TO DO ABOUT IT. NKOMO

BEGAN BY CLAIMING THAT THE 3,000 FARM FIGURE WAS

CONSISTENT WITH THE AMOUNT OF LAND TO BE TRANSFERRED AS

AGREED AT THE SEPTEMBER 1998 DONORS CONFERENCE. 804

FARMS, HE SAID, HAD ALREADY BEEN IDENTIFIED FOR

RESETTLEMENT, AND THE REMAINING APPROXIMATELY 2200 WOULD

BE GAZETTED ON AUGUST 18. (NOTE: WE WERE SUBSEQUENTLY

INFORMED BY THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION ON AUGUST 21

THAT NO FARMS WERE GAZETTED ON AUGUST 18. 229 FARMS WERE

IDENTIFIED FOR SEIZURE IN THE GOVERNMENT-INFLUENCED

NEWSPAPER “THE HERALD,” BUT HAVE NOT YET BEEN LISTED IN

THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT GAZETTE. END NOTE.) NKOMO

CLAIMED THAT ALL OWNERS HAVE 30 DAYS TO APPEAL;

PRODUCTIVE FARMS SHOULD BE TAKEN OFF THE LIST. ASKED

WHETHER NEW FARMS WOULD THEN HAVE TO BE IDENTIFIED, NKOMO

SAID YES, BUT A NEW PROCESS WOULD BE REQUIRED. HE ADDED

CRYPTICALLY THAT THE GOVERNMENT LIKELY WOULD ALLOW SOME

FARMERS TO STAY ON THEIR FARMS FOR SEVERAL YEARS, BUT

WOULD TELL THEM THAT THEIR LAND WOULD BE ACQUIRED AT SOME

POINT IN THE FUTURE. THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT SUCH AN

ILLEGAL, UNCLEAR AND INCONSISTENT APPROACH CREATED

SIGNIFICANT ANXIETY AMONG FARMERS AND WREAKED HAVOC ON

THE ECONOMY.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8623

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04627 02 OF 03 211219Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/013W

——————7BF9DC 211220Z /38

P 211217Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6882

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 004627

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04627 02 OF 03 211219Z

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05

TAGS: PREL ECON EFIN EAGR PINR PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING

GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM

 

5. (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED ABOUT THE PROPOSAL OF THE

COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION (CFU) TO SELL FARMS IN PHASES

OVER SEVERAL YEARS. NKOMO REPLIED THAT HE WAS IN DAILY

CONTACT WITH THE CFU, WHICH HAD OFFERED TO RELINQUISH 200

FARMS NOW, AND OTHER FARMS IN BETWEEN PLANTING SEASONS.

HE PROVIDED NO ADDITIONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE CFU PROPOSAL,

WHICH HE SAID HAD BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE MINISTERIAL GROUP

OVERSEEING THE FAST-TRACK RESETTLEMENT EFFORT.

 

————————-

VIOLENCE? WHAT VIOLENCE?

————————-

 

6. (C) NOTING THAT THE EMBASSY IS RECEIVING MANY REPORTS

OF CONTINUING FARM VIOLENCE, THE AMBASSADOR ASKED WHEN

PRESIDENT MUGABE PLANNED TO ORDER THE WAR VETERANS OFF

THE FARMS. THE PRESIDENT WOULD NOT, NKOMO REPLIED. HE

HIMSELF WAS DEALING WITH THE VETERANS. IN FACT, HE HAD

MET WITH THEM IN HIS OFFICE ON AUGUST 13. SO LONG AS

THEY ARE NOT ENGAGING IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITY, THEY WILL BE

PERMITTED TO REMAIN ON THE FARMS. HE DISAGREED THAT

THERE WAS WIDESPREAD LAWLESSNESS, INSISTING THAT

“MALICIOUS PEOPLE” WERE THE SOURCE OF SUCH REPORTS. HE

ACKNOWLEDGED ONLY THE EXISTENCE OF “CRIMINAL ELEMENTS”

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04627 02 OF 03 211219Z

WHO HAD TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION, BUT INSISTED

THEY WOULD BE ARRESTED WHEN IDENTIFIED. THE WAR VETERANS

HAD BEEN TOLD TO BE PREPARED TO MOVE TO LAND IDENTIFIED

FOR THEM AS SOON AS THEY RECEIVED THE WORD, BUT NKOMO

COULD NOT SAY WHEN THAT WOULD HAPPEN. NKOMO THOUGHT THE

QUESTION OF LAWLESSNESS AND CRIMINAL ACTIVITY HAD BEEN

ADDRESSED ADEQUATELY. THE GOVERNMENT WAS CERTAINLY

TRYING ITS BEST.

 

7. THE AMBASSADOR STRONGLY DISAGREED THAT THE PROBLEM

HAD BEEN RESOLVED. HE SAID THAT THE VIOLENCE AND

INTIMIDATION WERE WRONG AND MUST BE STOPPED BY THE GOZ.

HE HAD TRAVELLED PERSONALLY TO AREAS AFFECTED BY LAND-

RELATED VIOLENCE, AND REPORTS OF VIOLENCE FROM RELIABLE

SOURCES WERE CONTINUING. THE AMBASSADOR AND OTHERS HAVE

THAT PERCEPTION, NKOMO SAID, BECAUSE THEY HEAR FROM

PEOPLE LIKE CFU OFFICIAL DAVID HASLUCK, WHOSE NEGATIVE

RHETORIC MADE THE SITUATION WORSE. TURNING EMOTIONAL,

NKOMO SAID ANGRILY THAT HE HAD FOUGHT IN THE INDEPENDENCE

WAR AND SUSTAINED INJURIES IN ORDER TO GET THE VOTE, AND

HAD LOST EVERYTHING IN THE PROCESS. THE FARMERS WERE THE

ONES HE HAD FOUGHT AGAINST AND WHO HAD LOCKED HIM UP

DURING THE COLONIAL DAYS. HIS FATHER HAD BEEN FORCED OFF

HIS LAND BY WHITES EARLY LAST CENTURY.

 

——————————————

DISRUPTIONS NECESSARY TO CORRECT INJUSTICE

——————————————

 

8. (C) WAS NKOMO CONCERNED ABOUT THE ECONOMIC DAMAGE

CAUSED BY THE LAWLESSNESS? YES, HE REPLIED, BUT IT WAS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 04627 02 OF 03 211219Z

ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO CORRECT A GLARING

INJUSTICE. WHEN A WHITE FARMER HAS 20,000 HECTARES OF

LAND ACROSS A FENCE FROM BLACK ZIMBABWEANS HUDDLED IN

CONGESTED POVERTY, “THE SITUATION MUST BE PUT RIGHT,”

NKOMO SAID. IT IS ONLY HUMANE TO ADDRESS THIS

DISCREPANCY, AND SOME DISRUPTIONS MAY BE UNAVOIDABLE

ALONG THE WAY. THE MINISTER WAS INCREDULOUS AT THE NERVE

OF IAN SMITH, WHO HE SAID CALLS HIM EVERY DAY ABOUT THE

STATUS OF HIS FARM. HE CRITICIZED WHITE FARMERS FOR

BEING TOO HARDLINE AND REFUSING TO ACCEPT ANY OF THE

GOVERNMENT’S PROPOSALS. EVINCING SIGNIFICANT DISLIKE FOR

CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF THE WHITE COMMUNITY, NKOMO INSISTED

THAT ONE COULD NOT “TEACH OLD DOGS NEW TRICKS.” THE

AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS HAD DRAGGED

THEIR FEET OVER THE YEARS, BUT THE GOVERNMENT ALSO HAD

ITS HARDLINERS. NKOMO REPLIED THAT PERHAPS IT IS AN

ADVANTAGE TO HAVE THEM, AS THEY REMIND THE GOVERNMENT OF

THE NATURE OF THE “OTHER SIDE.” HE URGED THE UNITED

STATES TO LET ZIMBABWE RESOLVE THIS ISSUE ON ITS OWN.

 

———————-

BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP

———————-

 

9. (C) FRIENDSHIP, THE AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT, IS A TWO-

WAY STREET. AS FRIENDS OF ZIMBABWE, THE UNITED STATES

WANTED TO EXPRESS ITS CONCERNS, AND WE EXPECTED ZIMBABWE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ8624

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04627 03 OF 03 211220Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00

FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00

ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   SSO-00   SS-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/013W

——————7BF9E9 211220Z /38

P 211217Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6883

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 004627

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE, AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02        HARARE 04627 03 OF 03 211220Z

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/17/05

TAGS: PREL ECON EFIN EAGR PINR PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: NEW HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER IS STILL FIGHTING

GUERRILLA STRUGGLE THROUGH LAND REFORM

 

TO DO THE SAME. THE AMBASSADOR WAS CONCERNED, THOUGH, BY

RECENT ANTI-AMERICAN RHETORIC FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,

PROMPTED BY THE U.S. CONGRESS’ CONSIDERATION OF THE

ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT (ZDA). THE ZDA IS EVIDENCE OF

CONGRESSIONAL CONCERN ABOUT THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE,

AND THE EMBASSY SHARES THAT CONCERN. THE AMBASSADOR

EXPRESSED HIS HOPE THAT OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS COULD DISCUSS

OUR DIFFERENCES CONSTRUCTIVELY. NKOMO TERMED THE ZDA

“UNFORTUNATE,” BUT AGREED WITH THE AMBASSADOR’S POINT.

 

———————-

PARLIAMENT AND CABINET

———————-

 

10. (C) NKOMO DESCRIBED PARLIAMENT AS A “BUNCH OF

AMATEURS.” THAT WAS THE CASE ON BOTH SIDES, BUT HE ADDED

THAT HE AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS HAD ALL BEGUN THEIR

POLITICAL CAREERS AT THE SAME STAGE. HE CRITICIZED THE

NEW MPS FOR FOCUSING THEIR EFFORTS ON PERSONAL ATTACKS

RATHER THAN ISSUES. NKOMO DENIED THAT THE CABINET HAD

SPLIT INTO FACTIONS, CLAIMING THAT CABINET MEMBERS WERE

UNITED IN THEIR DESIRE TO GET ZIMBABWE BACK ON THE RIGHT

TRACK.

 

——-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04627 03 OF 03 211220Z

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) THE EMBASSY HAD A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH

NKOMO WHEN HE WAS MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND WE

INTEND TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE DIALOGUE WITH HIM. AS A

SENIOR MINISTER AND PARTY CHAIRMAN, HE WILL CONTINUE TO

BE AN IMPORTANT INTERLOCUTOR FOR THE MISSION. WE SHOULD

NOT EXPECT ANY DEPARTURES FROM THE GOVERNMENT’S RECENT

MISGUIDED POLICIES, HOWEVER. NKOMO IS A ZANU-PF STALWART

WHO TOES THE PARTY LINE ON LAND REFORM AND OTHER KEY

ISSUES. HIS CONFUSING, SOMETIMES CONTRADICTORY COMMENTS

ON LAND CONFIRMED THE CLEAR ABSENCE OF ANY SYSTEMATIC

RESETTLEMENT PLAN. JUDGING FROM NKOMO’S COMMENTS, THE

GOVERNMENT HAS NO INTENTION OF MOVING THE WAR VETERANS

OFF THE FARMS IN THE NEAR TERM NOR OF SERIOUSLY

ADDRESSING THE HAVOC THEY ARE WREAKING IN RURAL AREAS AND

IN UNDERMINING THE ECONOMY. NKOMO’S ATTITUDE ON LAND

REFORM IS SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCED BY LINGERING

RESENTMENT AGAINST THE WHITE FARMERS AS WELL AS, WE

BELIEVE, THE CALCULATION THAT THIS IS A WINNING POLITICAL

ISSUE FOR ZANU-PF.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(12 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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