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Cablegate: New Reports of Farm Evictions

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

UNCLAS HARARE 001871

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S, AF/EX
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
PARIS FOR CNEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON PHUM PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: NEW REPORTS OF FARM EVICTIONS


1. (SBU) Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president David
Hasluck called on Friday, August 16, to confirm several cases
of farm eviction throughout the country. While the overall
situation remains tense but superficially calm, there are
scattered instances of official response to the farmers'
refusal to recognize the GOZ's section 8 ultimatums.

2. (SBU) In Matebeleland South, six farmers -- including the
CFU president for that region -- have reportedly received
summonses to report to the local police station and clarify
why they have not yet moved out of their homesteads. Five of
the farmers are cattle ranchers, and one has a crop in the
ground. All of the six farmers have received section 8
notices of compulsory acquisition, and all six have refused
to move off their farms. According to Hasluck, all of the
farmers were released on bail of Zim $5,000 each (equivalent
to US $7.25 at the parallel rate) and remanded to September 6
for further proceedings.

3. (SBU) In Mashonaland Central, the police have reportedly
been told that they are to begin evicting farmers from their
land, although the police have not yet begun to follow this
directive. It is unclear where this directive has originated.

4. (SBU) In Kwekwe, one farmer who has a 400 hectare crop of
barley growing was forcibly evicted on Thursday by settlers
on the farm. Although this was a settler-led action, the
police were reportedly standing by and observing without
offering assistance to the farmer. The farmer was allowed to
return on Friday to tend his crop. Hasluck is attempting to
contact the provincial governor, who in response to the food
shortage had previously given permission for this farmer to
plant his crop and had orally assured the farmer that he
would be allowed to harvest. Hasluck hopes that an audience
with the governor will rectify the situation, but the
governor is currently unavailable and his whereabouts are
unknown.

5. (SBU) Comment: Hasluck remains mystified, as do most
other observers, as to what President Mugabe could have meant
by his previous comments that loyal farmers will be allowed
to continue farming, and that every farmer who wanted to farm
would have land. It is possible that this is empty rhetoric
along the lines of previous proclamations that no Zimbabwean
farmer has been forced off his land. There is still little
indication of what official GOZ reaction will be forthcoming
in response to the farmers' refusal to leave their lands.
What is certain is that an impasse has been reached, and
unless an acceptable compromise is offered by one side or the
other, confrontation -- whether violent or not -- is
inevitable. End comment.
SULLIVAN

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