Why the US was interested in Zimbabwe’s land reform


0

At least seven United States citizens were likely to lose their properties under the government’s land reform programme according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The properties, some of them conservancies, were valued at US$200 000 to US$2 million.

The embassy in Harare listed the American and their properties as:

  • Claimant A: William Holmes Taylor IV and two sons, all American citizens, with property owned in trust by Emblehope Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a Zimbabwean entity. Taylor and his two sons are the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
  • Claimant B: Edward Galante, an American citizen, with the property owned by Machera Farming Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a Zimbabwean entity. Galante and his two AmCit children are the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
  • Claimant C: Sam and Janet Chambliss, both American citizens. The property is owned by Twin Springs Conservancy (Pvt.) Ltd. with Sam and Janet Chambliss as the sole shareholders. No PAW signed.
  • Claimant D: Debbie Rabinovitch and minor children Diane and Desmond Rabinovitch, all American citizens. The property is owned by a Zimbabwean trust of which Diane and Desmond are the beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
  • Claimant E: Weldon and Kathy Schenck, both American citizens. The property is owned by a Zimbabwean trust due to interrelated obligations of conservancy landowners. No PAW signed.
  • Claimant F: Terry and Joan Ryan, Husband is Zimbabwean and wife is American citizen. The property is owned under J.T. Management Consultancy (Pvt.) Ltd. No PAW signed.
  • Claimant G: Lasting Impressions Wilderness Training Corporation, a registered California Non-Profit Religious organization, which wholly owns and controls The Lasting Impressions Trust, a Zimbabwean entity. Shelly Croudace, a director of The Lasting Impressions Trust is our contact and is an American citizen as well. No PAW signed.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE847, 2005 ZIMBABWE REPORT ON INVESTMENT DISPUTES AND

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE847

2005-06-17 08:34

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 SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000847

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR BNEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE

USDOC FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

PASS USTR FOR FLORIZELLE LISER

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

US MISSION GENEVA FOR JOHN CHAMBERLIN

USDOL FOR ROBERT YOUNG

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: CASC EFIN EINV KIDE PGOV KSPR ZI

SUBJECT: 2005 ZIMBABWE REPORT ON INVESTMENT DISPUTES AND

EXPROPRIATION CLAIMS

 

REF: SECSTATE 70014

 

1. (U) The U.S. Government is aware of seven expropriation

claims of U.S. persons that may be outstanding against the

Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ). All seven claims arise out of

the GOZ’s Land Resettlement Program, which commenced in 2000.

In the past year, the general pace of land reform has

considerably slowed. However, one additional American

property owner (Claimant F) was dispossessed of his land.

 

2. (U) Under its continuing Land Resettlement Program, the

GOZ has targeted almost all farm or wildlife property owned

by non-indigenous landowners for compulsory acquisition. The

GOZ has consistently maintained that no compensation will be

made for land itself, but that compensation will be made for

improvements to the property. However, to date, the GOZ has

not compensated any American claimants for either acquired

property or improvements to property. Disruptions posed by

land reform and the economy’s generally chaotic conditions

complicate meaningful valuation of the land or of any

improvements made. However, the values of the seven American

citizen claimant properties at issue range from USD 200,000

to more than USD 2,000,000.

 

3. (U) Despite various GOZ statements to the contrary, there

has been no progress either on the ground or in the courts to

resolve ownership, possession, and compensation issues for

the American-owned properties. Because of the current

judicial and political chaos, it is difficult to state

precisely when any of the seven landowners was legally

dispossessed. Therefore, the dates of expropriation offered

below are approximations only. Many of them continue to press

claims and challenges to GOZ acquisition of their properties

through Zimbabwe’s courts. However, even in instances where

Zimbabwean courts issue favorable rulings to such challenges,

the police and District Land Administrators usually refuse to

enforce the rulings.

 

4. (U) Post continuously tracks the situation of all seven

properties, all of which have received either Preliminary or

Final Notices of Acquisition from the GOZ. Most of the

American citizens affected have not asked the Embassy to

intervene beyond raising the issue of compensation with

appropriate GOZ officials in our normal course of meetings

and through diplomatic notes.

 

5. (U)     a. Claimant A

 

b. 2002

 

c. Claimant A reported that his property had been invaded by

approximately eight war veterans, and that a prosperous and

well-connected Zimbabwean was grazing his cattle on the

property. Approximately 60 sables had been released from a

grazing pen and had subsequently disappeared — either

escaped from the property or poached.   Although contact has

not recently been made with Claimant A, there has been no

report that the occupiers or the livestock have been moved

off of the property.

 

Claimant A continues to be denied access to his property

despite a favorable ruling through the Zimbabwe High Court.

The farmhands still remaining on the property reported

widespread looting of the premises.

 

 

6. (U)     (Claimant B from last year’s report passed away

in 2004 and there are no surviving American citizen claimants

to the land; accordingly, we removed this claim from the

expropriation report.)

 

 

7. (U)     a. Claimant B

 

b. 2002

 

c. Claimant B has an 85-hectare flower-exporting farm that

has been listed for compulsory acquisition under an initial

notice of acquisition (Section 5 notice). Claimant B is

awaiting a court ruling on the GOZ,s claim to his property.

In 2004, the Mashonaland East Governor signed a

&delisting8 form but the Local Government and Land

Ministries refused to assent.   Claimant B then attempted to

sell his property to a nephew of the Chief Justice of

Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, but the sale fell through as the

nephew reneged on payment.   Claimant B is off the farm, and

the head of GOZ armed forces General Constantine Chiwanga

currently farms the land. According to Claimant B, there has

been no significant development in his case during the past

year.

 

 

8. (U)     a. Claimant C

 

b. 2003

 

c. Claimant C, received a final notice of acquisition

(Section 8 notice) in January, 2003   Claimant C purchased

the 7,618-hectare property in 1985 with Zimbabwe Investment

Center (ZIC) certificates to run a hunting and photographic

safari business. Although still on the land, Claimant C has

subsequently stopped his safari business as he claims

invaders have poached all of the game. Claimant C is

protesting the acquisition through Zimbabwe’s courts.

After receiving permanent residency in South Africa, Claimant

C has been laying the groundwork to emigrate but has been

unable to secure the proper documentation to move personal

belongings out of Zimbabwe.

 

 

9. (U)     a. Claimant D

 

b. 2002

 

c. Claimant D’s rural wildlife-based property, which was

transferred from a Zimbabwean spouse to a trust benefiting

the couple’s two American children, is located in the

district of Hwange. Claimant D used the 420-hectare property

primarily for hunting and photographic safari purposes. The

Government has allocated the property to a Zimbabwean settler

who has done nothing with the land.   Claimant D left the

farm on October 1, 2002, and the settler kicked off all

Claimant D’s employees by March 2004. Since that time, there

has been no substantial change in the situation on the

ground. Claimant D has asked the Embassy not to pursue this

case through official channels.

 

10. (U)     (Last year’s report’s Claimant E has made no

contact with the Embassy for more than two years and we are

unaware of her whereabouts; accordingly, we recommend taking

this claim out of the expropriation report.)

 

 

11. (U)     a. Claimant E

 

b. n/a

 

c. Claimant E has received a Section 5 notice but is still

in possession of the property in the Bikita District in

southern Zimbabwe. The property is dedicated to a

26-property wildlife conservancy containing both black and

white rhinos. The GOZ has announced plans to implement a

land tenure scheme whereby title of conservancies reverts to

the State, which then grants a 25-year lease to each property

owner. In return, the current owners would agree to

indigenize their businesses through shareholder equity. The

25-year leases would be automatically renewable, but not

transferable. Claimant E has said he would rather pull out

than pay rent for property he has already purchased, but

continues to negotiate with the GOZ along with other

Conservancy spokesmen. Ambassador Dell raised Claimant E,s

case with Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema, who

indicated that he would like to see Claimant E and the rest

of the conservancy join the Trans-Frontier Conservation Area

(a park linking tracts in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South

Africa). Charge, d’Affaires Schultz also met with Claimant

E at the Embassy.

12.         a. Claimant F

 

b. 2004

 

c. Claimant F owns a 996-hectare farm in his American wife,s

name after Claimant F,s son ran the farm into bankruptcy.

Claimant F does not have a Zimbabwe Investment Certificate.

Claimant F was able to move much of his irrigation and farm

equipment off the property prior to losing control of the

farm but lost 170 head of cattle. Settlers first arrived on

the farm in 2000 but Claimant F maintained good relations

with them and local police, and he continued to have access

to the farm until 2004. From May to July 2004, Claimant F

received Section 5 and Section 8 notices of acquisition and

asked the Embassy to write a diplomatic note protesting the

intended acquisition. The Embassy did so and received a pro

forma response. Shortly thereafter, Claimant F was no longer

afforded access to the farm and effectively dispossessed of

the land. There have been no further developments on the

ground and Claimant F decided not to use the courts as the

GOZ is not enforcing judgments adverse to its own interests.

 

13. (U)     a. Claimant G

 

b. N/A

 

c. Registered in 1997, Claimant G is a subsidiary trust of a

California-registered Non-Profit Religious Organization that

planned to establish an environmental and life skills

teaching center operating near Kadoma. Claimant G purchased

the 160-hectare parcel in 1999 but has been unable to effect

a proper transfer of title. Nonetheless, in addition to

having exclusive use of the land since 1999, Claimant G has

the Agreement of Sale as proof of purchase. In November

2004, Claimant G received a Section 5 initial notice of

acquisition, to which it has responded in court as well as by

correspondence to various Zimbabwean government entities.

Claimant G recently received a Section 8 notice of immediate

acquisition, which it is also contesting in the courts.

 

14. (SBU)   Please find below the identities of the claimants

listed above as per Ref A, paragraphs 18 and 19:

 

Claimant A: William Holmes Taylor IV and two sons, all

American citizens, with property owned in trust by Emblehope

Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a Zimbabwean entity. Taylor and his

two sons are the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.

Claimant B: Edward Galante, an American citizen, with the

property owned by Machera Farming Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a

Zimbabwean entity. Galante and his two AmCit children are

the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.

Claimant C: Sam and Janet Chambliss, both American citizens.

The property is owned by Twin Springs Conservancy (Pvt.) Ltd.

with Sam and Janet Chambliss as the sole shareholders. No

PAW signed.

Claimant D: Debbie Rabinovitch and minor children Diane and

Desmond Rabinovitch, all American citizens. The property is

owned by a Zimbabwean trust of which Diane and Desmond are

the beneficiaries. No PAW signed.

Claimant E: Weldon and Kathy Schenck, both American citizens.

The property is owned by a Zimbabwean trust due to

interrelated obligations of conservancy landowners. No PAW

signed.

Claimant F: Terry and Joan Ryan, Husband is Zimbabwean and

wife is American citizen. The property is owned under J.T.

Management Consultancy (Pvt.) Ltd. No PAW signed.

Claimant G: Lasting Impressions Wilderness Training

Corporation, a registered California Non-Profit Religious

organization, which wholly owns and controls The Lasting

Impressions Trust, a Zimbabwean entity. Shelly Croudace, a

director of The Lasting Impressions Trust is our contact and

is an American citizen as well. No PAW signed.

SCHULTZ

 

(115 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *