Speedier evictions without Made


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Though the responsibility of lands had been removed from Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and handed over to John Nkomo, evictions resumed at a faster pace under Nkomo who had been hailed as a moderate.

The government was no longer required to deliver eviction notices to farmers but simply to publicise the acquisitions.

The result was a more rapid, less bureaucratic eviction process with fewer legal obstacles.

According to the United States embassy though the government handed out only several dozen eviction notices between January and March, it had already issued about 200 through the new Ministry in April.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 04HARARE671, Land Reform Picks Up Steam Again

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE671

2004-04-21 12:49

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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

UNCLAS HARARE 000671

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/S

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

 

E. O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAGR SENV ECON PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: Land Reform Picks Up Steam Again

 

Ref: a) Harare 579 b) Harare 634 c) Harare 655

 

1. Summary: After several month lull, the GOZ has

reintensified its redistribution of white-owned farms.

Using an expedited process, it has issued notices to

about 200 farms this month. End summary.

 

2. The GOZ has recently made two significant changes in

the manner it expropriates farms. First, under the most

recent amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, it is no

longer required to deliver the various eviction notices

(there were usually a series of three) to farmers and may

simply publicize them. Second, a new Ministry of Lands,

Land Reform and Rural Resettlement headed by John Nkomo

now issues the notices. The Ministry of Agriculture

headed by Joseph Made no longer performs this function.

 

Speedier Evictions

——————

3. The result is a more rapid, less bureaucratic eviction

process with fewer legal obstacles. While GOZ handed out

only several dozen eviction notices January-March, it has

already issued about 200 through the new Ministry in

April. According to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU),

the GOZ is also eliminating one step (so-called section

5’s) in the process. The CFU also reports that the GOZ

is displacing an increasing number of A2s (resettled

commercial farmers) with other A2s. This may indicate

Nkomo’s Ministry is trying to remove A2s for not farming

or in favor of competing ZANU-PF interests, or – although

unsubstantiated – to reduce multiple farm beneficiaries.

 

4. The media have reported several high-profile farm

takeovers this month, including MP Roy Bennet’s

Charleswood Farm (ref b) and Kondozi Farm. We will

report septel on Charleswood’s seizure. Kondozi became a

personal battle between Agriculture Minister Made and

several courts, which had sided with the present owners.

Absentee white owners had brought in a black partner to

preempt eviction. The GOZ has also served notice to

several sugar agro-businesses (mostly belonging to Anglo-

American and other South African firms).

 

Comment

——-

5. The recent flurry of farm takeovers directed by

“moderate” John Nkomo’s Ministry suggests the GOZ is

still committed to gain control of most or all land,

notwithstanding its effect on the economy or

contradictions with earlier GOZ statements that land

redistribution has been completed. We are not sure how

many whites will remain farmers when the land reform dust

finally settles. At last count, the CFU calculated that

600 of 4,500 were still farming, but the organization is

trying to update those totals. Many remaining white

farmers have either struck deals with the GOZ at some

level or aligned with black partners. In his

Independence Day speech, President Mugabe indicated the

GOZ would now turn to agro-businesses and conservancies,

but he did not offer specifics. Beyond the abstract goal

of indigenizing these sectors, certain GOZ officials seem

to want to advance their own commercial interests in

these sectors while diminishing those of political

rivals. As noted in recent reports (refs a & c), we fear

the GOZ may turn back environmental gains by applying a

statist or unsustainable model to conservancies.

 

Sullivan

 

(4 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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