Cablegate: Few Commercial Farmers Evicted As Cfu Perceives

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. A) HARARE 1827
B. B) HARARE 1822

1. (U) Summary. Pursuant to the August 9 deadline for the
first wave of commercial farmers to abandon their homesteads,
in one region police have confronted farmers on five separate
properties, and in a second region another farmer faces
forced eviction. Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president
David Hasluck states that his organization is extrapolating a
new August 31 deadline for vacating the homesteads, based on
President Mugabe's speech at Monday's Heroes' Day
commemoration. Otherwise matters remain at an impasse. End

2. (SBU) The four-day Heroes Day weekend, which followed the
August 9 deadline for commercial farmers with compulsory
acquisition notices to vacate their homesteads, passed with
very few reports of GOZ action or confrontation. The CFU now
estimates that of the 4500 farms under notice of acquisition,
only about 1300 had section 8 orders which "matured" on
August 9, and that the number of farms with "mature" section
8 orders would be increasing every day. CFU president David
Hasluck believes that while many owners had chosen to be
absent (on holiday or for safety reasons) over the previous
weekend, owners of approximately 2500 listed farms have
refused to vacate their properties despite the deadline. The
hardline advocacy group Justice for Agriculture (JAG, reftel
A), on the other hand, estimates that over 60% of the owners
of 6022 listed farms, along with staff and families, have
remained on their farms despite the August 9 deadline. The
discrepancies in the two sets of numbers result from the
differences in unit numbers; while there are a total of 6148
separate title deeds, of which 6022 are under some notice of
acquisition, many farms consist of multiple title deeds, with
the average running 1.5 title deeds per farm. Nevertheless,
JAG estimates that over 1.5 million people, mostly commercial
farm workers and their families, are affected by the
overhanging uncertainty.

3. (SBU) In the Middle Save area in southeastern Zimbabwe, a
group of five farmers who are reportedly growing a winter
wheat crop were visited twice over the long weekend by an
eviction force comprising police and representatives of the
local land committee. According to David Hasluck, the newly
appointed Zanu-PF member in charge of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) in that area is being very aggressive in
pursuing the perceived policies of his superiors. While
Hasluck was reluctant to use the words "forced off their
land," he did concede that the CFU had agreed that the
farmers in question should not remain resident on the land as
of Monday, although they were urged to continue farming until
they were forcibly prevented. Additionally, in the Mazowe
area approximately 30 km north of Harare, one farmer reported
to the CFU that he is currently (1000 hours local time)
facing an attempt at eviction, although it is not clear to
the CFU whether that action is originating from police, GOZ
officials, war vets, or settlers.

4. (SBU) Hasluck stated that the CFU has extrapolated a "new"
August 31 deadline for vacating homesteads from President
Mugabe's Heroes Day speech on August 12 (septel), wherein
Mugabe stated that newly settled farmers must be on their
land by month's end in order to prepare the land for the
coming season and the coming rains. Hasluck believes that
the policy of the GOZ -- to the extent that there is one --
is to keep the remaining farmers in a heightened state of
uncertainty by forcing a few random evictions per week, while
simultaneously hoping that the farmers give in to the
increasing pressure and abandon their property of their own

5. (SBU) Comment: Despite Mugabe's continued insistence that
there will be no going back on his chaotic land reform
program, the CFU continues to grasp at any glimmer of
reprieve that its members can discern. Hasluck is likely
correct in his assessment that evictions will occur in a
random and representative fashion, although questions of who,
when and how are yet to be answered. End comment.

© Scoop Media

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