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Cablegate: Police, Military Enforce New, Unofficial Farm

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

UNCLAS HARARE 002060

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

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: POLICE, MILITARY ENFORCE NEW, UNOFFICIAL FARM
EVICTION DEADLINE


1. Summary. According to several reports received over the
weekend, the GOZ has purportedly issued directives from "the
highest levels" to both police and military to finalize the
removal of commercial farmers. The Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU), merely a shadow of its former presence, as well as
Justice for Agriculture (JAG) and private sources report that
a new deadline was set for all farmers -- including farmers
who have had their notices of acquisition overturned in the
courts -- to vacate their property and homesteads by mid-day
on September 8. Any farmer refusing to comply would be
arrested and any property remaining on the farms after this
date would be considered forfeited to the GOZ. Press reports
and eyewitness accounts report hundreds of farmers evacuating
their property. No reports of violence or new arrests have
yet been received. End summary.

2. Reports received from various regions throughout the
country indicate that the GOZ is engaged in an intensified
effort to force all commercial farmers with any acquisition
notices -- whether preliminary or final -- off their land,
even those with pending judicial challenges. One farmer
reported that the District Police chief advised him that the
orders were now "coming from the top" and that evictions were
to proceed regardless of court orders overruling the legality
of acquisition notices. This police chief claimed that
Mugabe had mandated that there be a list of vacated
properties belonging to the 2900-plus targeted commercial
farmers on his desk by Monday morning. This farmer further
reported that commercial farmers who wish to continue farming
are now being advised by their evictors to turn over their
title deeds to the GOZ, go in person to the Ministry of
Agriculture, and apply to be granted land in accordance with
the new farm size limits. The farmer speculated that the GOZ
is attempting to capitalize on the optic of hundreds of white
commercial farmers standing in line for hours, hats in hand,
in order to be allocated a piece of land.

3. Another report from the Chiredzi area, in Zimbabwe's
southeastern corner, indicated that a local magistrate
publicly stated her sympathy with the farmers appearing
before her on charges of violating the acquisition orders,
and whose only crime was farming while attempting to
judicially defend their right to their property. However,
this magistrate stated that she was under "immense political
pressure" from the governor. She further indicated that she
could not change bail conditions or dismiss the cases without
permission from the Lands Ministry, which of course was not
sympathetic. The magistrate postponed the cases, but the
prosecutor was informed that he would have to issue a
subpoena or summons to the relevant ministry to ensure that a
representative would be available on the court date. The
farmers believed that the issue of summons/subpoena would be
used to continue their cases endlessly without reaching
resolution.

4. Reports from Karoi, previously one of the more cohesive
farming regions holding out in the face of concerted GOZ
pressure, indicate that armed and uniformed police units as
well as armored military units have been a prominent feature
of the latest eviction push. Some farmers continue to hold
fast and assert their right to challenge the GOZ's haphazard
implementation of land redistribution, which in many cases
does not even comply with the GOZ's own attempts to legalize
the proceedings. Many more, however, are finally giving in,
packing up, and moving out. As one farmer reported, there is
increasing tension on the ground as well as a belief that
farmers who resist the process -- even those who have been
granted judicial relief -- are now putting their lives, as
well as their property, at risk.

5. Comment. This latest eviction push follows closely on the
heels of Mugabe's triumphant speech upon his return from the
Johannesburg summit, in which he said white farmers should
comply with GOZ land redistribution, leave the country, or
face jail. It is clear that a national directive was issued
shortly thereafter, as GOZ security services and local
officials appear to have communicated a uniform message to
commercial farmers nationwide that the September 8 deadline
would be enforced. We are trying to get a more comprehensive
sense of how many farms are affected, but anecdotal evidence
at this stage suggests that we could be witnessing the end
game for Zimbabwe's white farmers. End comment.
SULLIVAN

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