US embassy says Mugabe sees himself as the Fidel Castro of Southern Africa


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The United States embassy in Harare said President Robert Mugabe saw himself as the Fidel Castro of Southern Africa and was on a crusade to secure his place in history as the black Zimbabwean who brought land back to his people and fought imperialism.

“He sees himself as proud and alone,” the embassy said. “Mugabe thinks that the land reform process can be de-linked from the economy. We believe he is gravely wrong in this assessment.”

The embassy said Mugabe was likely to defy anyone including his lieutenants to gazette the 3 000 farms that he said the government would acquire, especially in view of the Commercial Farmers Union’s challenge of his presidential powers.

“Mugabe could well order seizure of all white- owned commercial farms or an invasion of CFU president Tim Henwood’s farm, or a raid on the CFU’s headquarters or other business organizations opposing the government’s dictatorial actions,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE4362, WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE’S FUTURE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE4362

2000-08-07 14:02

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.

 

071402Z Aug 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5317

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04362 01 OF 03 071408Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   ITC-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01

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

IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /009W

——————770219 071408Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6778

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 004362

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID – RMCCALL AND AFR/SA – TPARK AND

CREINTSMA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04362 01 OF 03 071408Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/10

TAGS: PGOV EAGR ECON ZI

SUBJECT: WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE’S FUTURE

ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION

 

REF: HARARE 4317

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: PRESIDENT MUGABE IS IN CRUSADE MODE,

CAMPAIGNING FOR HIS PARTY’S CAPTURE OF THE PRESIDENCY IN

2002. HE HAS MADE CLEAR HIS LEGACY WILL BE THAT OF THE

BLACK ZIMBABWEAN WHO FOUGHT AGAINST THE WORLD TO RETURN

THE LAND TO HIS PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF THE DAMAGE DONE TO

THE COUNTRY AND THE ECONOMY. WE FULLY EXPECT HIS

GOVERNMENT TO GAZETTE THE COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF

3,000 FARMS, ALTHOUGH WE QUESTION WHETHER IT COULD

FOLLOW THROUGH ON THE REST OF ITS PROMISES. THE

GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO ACQUIRE THAT MANY

FARMS UNDER CURRENT RULES, AND THE INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT

OF PEOPLE AND FOOD INSECURITY RESULTING FROM

RESETTLEMENT IN THE TIME FRAME ENVISIONED WOULD SPELL

DISASTER. THE ENSUING ECOLOGICAL NIGHTMARE, AS THE

DESTITUTE AND UNTRAINED “LAND-STARVED” PEASANTRY

PRACTICE SUBSISTENCE FARMING ON NOW PRODUCTIVE LAND

SLOWLY TURNING IT INTO A MOONSCAPE, WOULD COMPLETE THE

PICTURE. ECONOMICS DO NOT FORM PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S

POLITICAL DISCOURSE, AND INDEED IT IS ONLY THROUGH A

POLITICAL PRISM THAT ONE CAN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THE

PRESIDENT’S SEEMINGLY ERRATIC ACTIONS. ON THE SAME DAY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04362 01 OF 03 071408Z

HIS FINANCE MINISTER TOUTED THE INTRODUCTION OF MEASURES

TO REVERSE THE SLIDE, MUGABE WAS INSULTING DONORS ON

NATIONAL TELEVISION. THE PRESIDENT ALSO PUBLICLY

CONTRADICTS HIS SENIOR NDEBELE PARTY MEMBERS, A FACT

THAT WILL STRETCH THE FABRIC OF THE ZANU-PF UNITY ACCORD

TO THE LIMIT. IN SPITE OF THE DAMAGE MUGABE HAS

INFLICTED TO THE COUNTRY AND EVEN HIS OWN PARTY, THE

OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE HAS BEEN SLOW

OR UNABLE TO FORMULATE A CATCHY POSITION TO COUNTER THE

PRESIDENT’S DOMINANCE ON THE LAND DEBATE. MEANWHILE,

THE JUGGERNAUT ROLLS ON. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) POLITICAL, NOT ECONOMIC, LOGIC PREVAILS ON THE

LAND QUESTION IN ZIMBABWE, AND PRESIDENT MUGABE IS WELL

DOWN THE PATH OF A CRUSADE. HE HAS SERVED NOTICE THAT

HIS BOTTOM LINE IS THAT HE IS DETERMINED TO SECURE HIS

PLACE IN HISTORY AS THE BLACK ZIMBABWEAN WHO BROUGHT

LAND BACK TO HIS PEOPLE AND FOUGHT IMPERIALISM. HE SEES

HIMSELF AS PROUD AND ALONE; THE FIDEL CASTRO OF SOUTHERN

AFRICA.

 

3. (C) MUGABE THINKS THAT THE LAND REFORM PROCESS CAN

BE DE-LINKED FROM THE ECONOMY. WE BELIEVE HE IS GRAVELY

WRONG IN THIS ASSESSMENT. MOREOVER, HIS RHETORIC OF

LATE CONFIRMS THAT LAND IS PART AND PARCEL OF HIS

NEWFOUND NATIONALISM; THAT HE IS FIGHTING THE SECOND WAR

OF LIBERATION. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT HE SOON WILL

GAZETTE THE 3,000 FARMS HE HAS SAID HIS GOVERNMENT WILL

FORCIBLY ACQUIRE. (NOTE: THE ACCELERATED LAND

RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM IS BEING CARRIED OUT BY THE NEWLY-

FORMED “ZIMBABWE NATIONAL LAND ACQUISITION COMMITTEE,” A

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 04362 01 OF 03 071408Z

ZANU-PF BODY WITH NO LEGAL AUTHORITY, CHAIRED BY VICE

PRESIDENT MSIKA, AND BYPASSING CABINET AND PARLIAMENT.

END NOTE.) HOWEVER, FOLLOWING THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS

UNION’S SUIT CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE

USE OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS, WHICH INFURIATED PRESIDENT

MUGABE, WE QUESTION WHETHER HE WILL STOP AT 3,000.

INDEED, MUGABE COULD WELL ORDER SEIZURE OF ALL WHITE-

OWNED COMMERCIAL FARMS OR AN INVASION OF CFU PRESIDENT

TIM HENWOOD’S FARM, OR A RAID ON THE CFU’S HEADQUARTERS

OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSING THE

GOVERNMENT’S DICTATORIAL ACTIONS.

 

4. (C) AS WE REPORTED IN REFTEL, THE 3,000 FIGURE DATES

TO 1997 WHEN A LIST OF COMMERCIAL FARMS WHOSE LAND

SURFACE TOTALED FIVE MILLION HECTARES WAS DRAWN UP. IT

WAS ESTIMATED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NEED ROUGHLY USD

THREE BILLION TO ACQUIRE THESE: 80 PERCENT OF THE COST

WOULD BE FOR IMPROVEMENTS AND 20 PERCENT FOR THE LAND

ITSELF. EVEN IF THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT WERE TO

STRONG-ARM THE JUDICIARY TO REDUCE THE MARKET VALUE OF

THESE FARMS TO, SAY, USD ONE BILLION, IT STILL WOULD

HAVE TO COME UP WITH USD 250 MILLION (WHICH IT DOES NOT

HAVE) UP FRONT TO COMPENSATE THE CURRENT OWNERS UNDER

PRESENT REGULATIONS.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5314

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04362 02 OF 03 071408Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

CTME-00 INL-00   DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01

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

P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00    NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————770207 071408Z /38

O 071402Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6779

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 004362

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID – RMCCALL AND AFR/SA – TPARK AND

CREINTSMA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04362 02 OF 03 071408Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/10

TAGS: PGOV EAGR ECON ZI

SUBJECT: WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE’S FUTURE

ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION

 

5. (C) THE FIVE MILLION HECTARE FIGURE WAS INTENDED FOR

RESETTLEMENT OF 500,000 LANDLESS FAMILIES. WE POINT OUT

THAT IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THE DIRECT HIRE WORKFORCE OF

ALL THE COMMERCIAL FARMS TOTALS NEARLY ONE MILLION

(THOUGH MANY MORE, SPOUSES, CHILDREN AND OTHER

DEPENDENTS, FOR EXAMPLE, ARE SUPPORTED BY THE COMMERCIAL

FARM WORKERS). THE 3,000 FARMS COMPRISING THE 5 MILLION

HECTARES CONSTITUTES ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF THE COMMERCIAL

FARM TOTAL. IF THE FARMS ARE SEIZED ABOUT HALF A

MILLION FARM WORKERS (50 PERCENT OF 1,000,000) WILL FIND

THEMSELVES WITHOUT A JOB OR INCOME, AND BOOTED OUT OF

THEIR QUARTERS. AS CURRENTLY PLANNED, THE RESETTLED

PORTION OF THE POPULACE WILL EQUAL THE NEWLY DISPLACED

AND UNEMPLOYED PORTION, AND THE CURRENTLY PRODUCTIVE

LAND WILL REVERT TO SUBSISTENCE FARMING WITH ALL THE

ATTENDANT DISASTROUS ECOLOGICAL AND RESOURCE-DESTROYING

CONSEQUENCES. IN SIX TO TEN YEARS THE RESETTLED FARMS

COULD LOOK LIKE THE COMMUNAL LANDS ALLOCATED IN THE

1980’S BY GOVERNMENT – WITHOUT FARM INFRASTRUCTURE LIKE

IRRIGATION AND NOW ARID, TREELESS, ERODED AND LACKING

ROADS, ELECTRICITY, SCHOOLS AND SOCIAL SERVICES.

 

6. (C) DURING EARLIER RESETTLEMENT EFFORTS BY THE

GOVERNMENT, IT TOOK 20 YEARS TO MOVE HALF THE CURRENT

TARGET OF 500,000 WITH RESULTANT SERIOUS AGRICULTURAL

EXTENSION AND VIABILITY PROBLEMS. MOST OF THOSE WHO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04362 02 OF 03 071408Z

WERE RESETTLED WERE NOT GIVEN TITLE AND ARE ON LAND THAT

IS CURRENTLY IDLE DUE TO DEGRADATION. IT IS IN THE

REALM OF FANTASY TO IMAGINE THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN

GOVERNMENT WILL MANAGE TO RESETTLE 500,000 PEOPLE IN

ANYTHING BUT A STATE-ORCHESTRATED ROUT IN ONE MONTH.

THE INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT OF AT LEAST ONE MILLION PEOPLE

IN THAT TIMEFRAME WOULD SPELL A DISASTER, INCLUDING ANY

HOPE OF MAINTAINING FOOD SECURITY, THAT WOULD ECLIPSE

SUCH ILL-STARRED EXPERIMENTS AS SAMORA MACHEL’S “ALDEIAS

COMUNAIS.”

 

7. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE, HOWEVER, DOES NOT ANALYZE OR

EVEN VIEW THE ISSUE IN THESE TERMS. HIS TECHNICIANS,

OUT OF FEAR, TRY TO RATIONALIZE WHAT IS EVIDENTLY

IRRATIONAL THINKING. THESE INDIVIDUALS ALSO HARBOR THE

ILLUSION THAT NO MATTER WHAT, THE DONORS WILL HAVE TO

COME TO ZIMBABWE’S ASSISTANCE ON THE GOVERNMENT’S OWN

TERMS. HOWEVER, THE PRESIDENT HAS DECIDED THAT THIS

CAUSE WILL HELP HIS PARTY WIN THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL

ELECTIONS. WHILE FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI WAS IN

PARLIAMENT ON AUGUST 3 INTRODUCING A FRAMEWORK TO TRY TO

RESCUE THE ECONOMY, PRESIDENT MUGABE WAS IN BINDURA

ADDRESSING THE ZIMBABWEAN FARMERS UNION CONFERENCE,

DEFIANTLY INSULTING THE DONORS IN SHONA. SUCH

CONTRADICTIONS MAKE SENSE UNDER POLITICAL LOGIC, AND

CONSEQUENTLY SOME FORWARD THINKING DONORS ARE MAKING

CONTINGENCY PLANS NOT FOR LAND REFORM FINANCE, BUT FOR A

HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY.

 

8. (C) IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN HOW MUCH MORE OF THIS

ZANU-PF CAN TAKE. THE PRESIDENT PUBLICLY CONTRADICTS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04      HARARE 04362 02 OF 03 071408Z

KEY SENIOR GOVERNMENT FIGURES, SUCH AS HOME AFFAIRS

MINISTER JOHN NKOMO. HE PLACES VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH

MSIKA IN CHARGE OF THE LAND REFORM PROGRAM, BUT TELLS

WAR VETERANS LEADER CHENJERAI HITLER HUNZVI TO IGNORE

THE VICE PRESIDENT. THE RULING PARTY’S RELATIONSHIP

WITH MATEBELELAND IS AT ITS MOST FRAGILE SINCE

INDEPENDENCE, AND KEEPING JOSEPH MSIKA ON THE TEAM IS

THE ONLY WAY TO PROP UP THE UNITY ACCORD THAT FUSED

JOSHUA NKOMO’S ZAPU-PF WITH MUGABE’S ZANU.

 

9. (C) THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE TO

DATE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO THWART THE PRESIDENT’S LAND

CAMPAIGN THAT IS BACKED UP BY THE FULL MACHINERY OF THE

PARTY AND THE GOVERNMENT. INDEED, MUGABE HONED-IN ON

THE OPPOSITION’S WEAKNESS: LACK OF CLARITY IN THE

POPULAR PERCEPTION ON WHERE IT STANDS ON THE LAND.

MOREOVER, THE MDC AND ITS TRADE UNION ALLIES HAVE BEEN

EMBARRASSINGLY CAST AS BEDFELLOWS OF THE WHITE

COMMERCIAL FARMERS. ITS LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN UNABLE TO

SHAKE THE IMAGE OF SELLOUTS TO THE WHITES, A PERCEPTION

THAT MAY BE GAINING CURRENCY. THE ONE-DAY STAYAWAY,

WHICH ZCTU ENDORSED AND ABBREVIATED ON THE EVE OF ITS

TAKING PLACE, WAS NOT A RESOUNDING SUCCESS. ITS

OWNERSHIP WAS UNCLEAR, THERE WAS LITTLE PUBLIC DEBATE

AROUND IT, AND THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ENDS AND MEANS WAS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5318

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04362 03 OF 03 071408Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   ITC-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01

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

IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /009W

——————770220 071408Z /38

O 071402Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6780

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 004362

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/AID – RMCCALL AND AFR/SA – TPARK AND

CREINTSMA

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02      HARARE 04362 03 OF 03 071408Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/10

TAGS: PGOV EAGR ECON ZI

SUBJECT: WITH MUGABE IN CRUSADE MODE, THE STATE’S FUTURE

ECONOMIC SURVIVAL DROPS OUT OF THE LAND EQUATION

 

VAGUE. INDEED, WE UNDERSTAND THAT ZCTU WAS DIVIDED ON

THE STRIKE, NOT BECAUSE ANYONE IN IT IS PRO-MUGABE, BUT

BECAUSE THEY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE LINK TO THE

COMMERCIAL FARMERS.

 

10. (C) THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT, AMENDED BY

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE, WILL BE TABLED IN PARLIAMENT FOR

RATIFICATION. ZANU-PF LIKELY WILL WIN, AS IT ONLY TAKES

A SIMPLE MAJORITY TO DO SO. IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHAT

THE MDC’S POSITION WILL BE AT THAT TIME ON LAND. AT

THIS WRITING, THE ONLY WAY FOR IT TO TURN THE TABLES

WOULD BE TO MOVE MASSIVELY TOWARD THE RURAL AREAS. FOR

THE MOMENT THE MDC APPEARS TO BE CONCENTRATING ON ITS

URBAN BASE, COMMUNICATING THROUGH ITS PARTISAN

NEWSPAPER, “THE DAILY NEWS”. ALTHOUGH RULE OF LAW IS

THE MDC’S NUMBER ONE ISSUE, IT HAS ABDICATED THE

POLITICAL STRATEGIC INITIATIVE IN THE RURAL AREAS TO

ZANU-PF AND THE WAR VETERANS.

 

11. (C) CONFIRMING OUR PERCEPTION THAT ZANU IS IN

CAMPAIGN MODE IS THE FACT THAT THE JULY 20 ZANU-PF

CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEETING WAS ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL

ELECTION, AND HOW TO GET THINGS RIGHT FOR IT. THE BODY

DISCUSSED THE ECONOMY AND LAND, BUT DID NOT CONDUCT A

POSTMORTEM ON THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. AT THIS

POINT, WE THINK THAT MUGABE HAS NOT COMPLETELY MADE UP

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04362 03 OF 03 071408Z

HIS MIND AS TO WHETHER HE WILL RUN IN 2002. SOME HERE

THINK THAT IF MUGABE VIEWS HIMSELF AS SUCCESSFUL ON THE

LAND ISSUE, HE WILL BE SATISFIED AND NOT PRESENT HIMSELF

AS A CANDIDATE, AND, LOOK INSTEAD FOR A WAY TO RETIRE

WITH HONOR AND ACCLAMATION. WE WORRY THAT THAT MAY BE

WISHFUL THINKING.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(21 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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