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Cablegate: Farm Workers

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

211135Z Oct 02

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 002310

SIPDIS

DCHA/OFDA FOR KHANDAGLE, BORNS, AND MARX
DCHA/FFP FOR LANDIS, BRAUSE, SKORIC, AND PETERSON
AFR/SA FOR POE, FORT AND MARJORIE COPSON
AFR/SD FOR ISRALOW AND WHELAN
STATE FOR AF/S DELISI AND RAYNOR
STATE/INR FOR LESLIE CURTIN AND WILLIAM WOOD
NAIROBI FOR DCHA/OFDA/ARO FOR RILEY AND MYER,
REDSO/ESA/FFP FOR SENYKOFF
NSC FOR DWORKIN
PRETORIA FOR DCHA/FFP DISKIN, DCHA/OFDA BRYAN, AND
USDA/FAS HELM
ROME FOR LAVELLE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EAGR PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: FARM WORKERS


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. THE EFFECTS OF GOVERNMENT MACROECONOMIC POLICIES
INHIBITING CROP PRODUCTION, IMPORTS, AND EQUITABLE
DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING, COMBINED WITH LOWER THAN
AVERAGE RAINFALL, HAVE RAISED THE SPECTER OF FAMINE IN
ZIMBABWE. UP TO 1.5 MILLION EX-COMMERCIAL FARM WORKERS
AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE CURRENTLY OR COULD SOON BE IN
VULNERABLE, AND FACE POSSIBLY LIFE THREATENING
CIRCUMSTANCES DUE TO FARM EXPROPRIATIONS IN ZIMBABWE
WHICH HAVE FREQUENTLY BEEN ACCOMPANIED BY VIOLENT
INVASIONS. MANY EX-FARM WORKERS' VULNERABLE SITUATIONS
ARE EXACERBATED BY THE POLITICAL TENSIONS ASSOCIATED
WITH FARM EXPROPRIATIONS, AND MINIMAL HUMANITARIAN
ASSISTANCE IS BEING PROVIDED TO EX-FARM WORKERS BECAUSE
OF A LACK OF QUALIFIED IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS IN
COMMERCIAL FARM AREAS AND POLITICAL TENSIONS ASSOCIATED
IN WORKING WITH EX-FARM WORKERS. WHILE COPING MECHANISMS
AND SEVERANCE PACKAGES MAY SUSTAIN EX-FARM WORKERS IN
MASHONALAND AND MANICALAND FOR ANOTHER FEW MONTHS, THE
INABILITY TO OBTAIN SUFFICIENT FOOD IN MANY AFFECTED
AREAS WILL EVENTUALLY FORCE PEOPLE TO MOVE. THERE IS
DOCUMENTED AND ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE THAT INCREASING
NUMBERS OF EX-FARM WORKERS ARE ON THE MOVE. WHILE MOST
EX-FARM WORKERS WILL PROBABLY RELOCATE TO URBAN AREAS IN
ZIMBABWE, THERE MAY BE INCREASING NUMBERS OF DISPLACED
LEAVING FOR NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES. OFDA/RA BELIEVES
THAT THE MIGRATION TO CITIES AND TOWNS WILL INTENSIFY
SOON, WITH VERY NOTICEABLE INCREASES BY JANUARY. END
SUMMARY.

---------------------
GENERAL IDP SITUATION
---------------------

2. A TEAM COMPOSED OF A USAID/DCHA/OFDA EMERGENCY
DISASTER RESPONSE COORDINATOR AND INFORMATION OFFICER
TRAVELED TO ZIMBABWE FROM OCTOBER 6-9 TO MEET WITH
USAID/ZIMBABWE AND THE USAID/DCHA/OFDA HUMANITARIAN
RESPONSE ADVISOR (HRA) IN HARARE. THE TEAM TRAVELED TO
ZIMBABWE TO DISCUSS THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSON
(IDP) SITUATION, NOTING AN ONGOING ASSESSMENT BY THE
ZIMBABWE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRUST (ZCDT) THAT
SUGGESTS THAT AS MANY AS 1.5 MILLION EX-COMMERCIAL FARM
WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE CURRENTLY OR COULD SOON
BE IN VULNERABLE, AND POSSIBLY LIFE THREATENING
CIRCUMSTANCES FOLLOWING FARM EXPROPRIATIONS (NOTE: THE
TERM EX-FARM WORKERS HEREINAFTER REFERS TO BOTH ACTUAL
EX-FARM WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES. END NOTE). THESE
EX-FARM WORKERS ARE LOCATED PRIMARILY IN NORTHERN
ZIMBABWE IN THE PROVINCES OF MASHONALAND EAST, CENTRAL,
AND WEST, AND MANICALAND. ON SEPTEMBER 19, THE ZCDT
RELEASED THE RESULTS OF A SURVEY IDENTIFYING 750,000
VULNERABLE EX-FARM WORKERS, MANY OF WHOM HAVE BEGUN TO
MOVE ALONG ROADWAYS AND TO THE MARGINS OF CITIES. ZCDT
REPORTS THAT MANY OF THOSE REMAINING ON THE FARMS ARE
DOING SO WITHOUT ACCESS TO SAFE WATER AND SANITATION.
NEWS SOURCES HAVE ALSO REPORTED DEATHS FROM DIARRHEA AND
CHOLERA AMONG EX-FARM WORKER POPULATIONS.

3. SOME EX-FARM WORKERS ARE RECEIVING MEAGER `FORCED
RETRENCHMENT' SEVERANCE PACKAGES FROM EXPELLED FARMERS,
AS REQUIRED BY ZIMBABWEAN LAW. HOWEVER, MANY HAVE NOT
RECEIVED ANY SEVERANCE PAY. ON SEPTEMBER 20, OFDA/HRA
INTERVIEWED TWO YOUNG EX-FARM WORKERS IN EPWORTH, AN
AREA IN SOUTHEAST METROPOLITAN HARARE. EACH WAS GIVEN
2400 ZIMBABWEAN DOLLARS (Z2,400 = $US2.50) IN SEVERANCE
AND WAS SUBSISTING ON A DAILY BREAD LOAF THAT COST THEM
Z100. (NOTE: AT THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE, ONE DOLLAR
U.S. EQUALS Z950. END NOTE.) WHILE SEVERANCE PACKAGES
VARY ACCORDING TO THE LENGTH OF SERVICE, THEY LIKELY
WON'T LAST MUCH LONGER WITH THE RISING INFLATION IN
ZIMBABWE.

4. MANY EX-FARM WORKERS' VULNERABLE SITUATIONS ARE
EXACERBATED BY THE POLITICAL TENSIONS ASSOCIATED WITH
FARM EXPROPRIATIONS. REPORTS INDICATE ABUSE OF EX-FARM
WORKERS AND DENIAL OF FOOD FOR POLITICAL REASONS. A
REPUTABLE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION STUDY INDICATES THAT
APPROXIMATELY THREE OUT OF FOUR EX-FARM WORKERS HAVE
BEEN PHYSICALLY ABUSED. THE GENERAL AGRICULTURAL AND
PLANTATION WORKERS UNION OF ZIMBABWE (GAPWUZ) CITES THAT
AS MANY AS 60% OF EX-FARM WORKERS HAVE PARENTAGE
ORIGINATING IN NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES AND THUS ARE
TECHNICALLY CONSIDERED STATELESS, DESPITE HAVING VOTED
AND LIVED IN ZIMBABWE FOR DECADES, IF NOT GENERATIONS.
AS A RESULT, MANY OF THOSE WHO LEAVE COMMERCIAL FARMING
AREAS MAY BE ATTEMPTING TO BLEND INTO THE URBAN
POPULATION IN ORDER TO ESCAPE PERSECUTION. THIS
COMPLICATES THE IDENTIFICATION OF IDPS FOR PROVISION OF
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE.

-----------------------
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
-----------------------

5. AT PRESENT, ONLY MINIMAL HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IS
BEING PROVIDED TO THE EX-FARM WORKERS FOR SEVERAL
REASONS. AS THE NORTHERN AREAS OF ZIMBABWE HAVE
TRADITIONALLY BEEN MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT, IN LARGE PART
BECAUSE OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMS, INTERNATIONAL NGOS HAVE
TENDED TO FOCUS ON THE LESS DEVELOPED AREAS OF THE
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. HAVING
ALREADY ESTABLISHED AN INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT
ASSISTANCE IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AREAS, THE
INTERNATIONAL NGOS ARE FOCUSING THEIR HUMANITARIAN
ASSISTANCE ACTIVITIES IN THOSE AREAS AS WELL. ANOTHER
REASON IS THAT MOST NEWLY ARRIVED NGOS ARE IN THE
PROCESS OF REGISTERING AND ESTABLISHING THEMSELVES,
BRINGING IN STAFF, AND DEVELOPING LOGISTICAL
CAPABILITIES. THE GOZ'S BUREAUCRATIC AND LENGTHY
REGISTRATION PROCESS HAS SIGNIFICANTLY DELAYED A NUMBER
OF NGOS FROM COMMENCING HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE. IT IS
NOT YET CLEAR HOW MANY OF THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED NGOS, IF
ANY, WILL TARGET THE NORTHERN AREAS AND/OR THE EX-FARM
WORKERS. FINALLY, BASED ON INTERVIEWS WITH INTERNATIONAL
AND LOCAL NGOS CONDUCTED BY OFDA/EDRO AND HRA ON OCTOBER
8, THESE ORGANIZATIONS ARE RELUCTANT TO WORK IN NORTHERN
AREAS BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL TENSIONS ASSOCIATED WITH
ASSISTING EX-FARM WORKERS. AT LEAST THREE MAJOR
INTERNATIONAL NGOS HAVE RECENTLY BEEN DENIED PERMISSION
TO UNDERTAKE FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS IN ZIMBABWE, SEVERELY
RESTRICTING THE AVAILABILITY OF QUALIFIED IMPLEMENTING
PARTNERS IN VULNERABLE AREAS.

6. IN SOME COMMERCIAL FARMING AREAS, LOCAL NGOS
REPRESENT THE ONLY PROVIDER OF ASSISTANCE TO EX-FARM
WORKERS. A LOCAL NGO CONSORTIUM, FOOD SECURITY NETWORK
(FOSENET), HAS BEEN FORMED TO MONITOR FOOD DELIVERY
PROBLEMS NATIONWIDE AND EX-FARM WORKERS ARE A SUBSET OF
THEIR CONCERN. THEIR OBJECTIVES ARE TO FIELD LOCAL
CONCERNS AND ISSUES, AND PASS THEM ON TO THE UN
DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (UNDP), THE UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM,
DONORS AND THE INTERNATIONAL NGOS. FOSENET IS
CONSIDERING EXPANDING ITS SCOPE OF WORK TO INCLUDE
RELIEF ELEMENTS AS WELL.

7. IN ADDITION TO THE LACK OF QUALIFIED IMPLEMENTING
PARTNERS IN SOME SEVERELY AFFECTED AREAS, THERE IS NOT
YET AN EFFECTIVE IDP IDENTIFICATION FRAMEWORK IN PLACE.
USAID SUPPORTED THE CREATION OF THE UNDP/RELIEF AND
RECOVERY UNIT (UNDP/RRU) AS THE LEAD COORDINATING UNIT
FOR THE HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE, WITH RESPONSIBILITY FOR
MONITORING THE IDP SITUATION. HOWEVER, THE RRU'S IDP
SPECIALIST POSITION, ESSENTIAL FOR EFFECTIVE MONITORING
OF THE IDP SITUATION, HAS YET TO BE FILLED. IN THE
ABSENCE OF AN IDP MONITORING UNIT, UNDP/RRU RECENTLY
SIGNED A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH THE MINISTRY
OF LABOR AND SOCIAL WELFARE TO CONDUCT A JOINT
ASSESSMENT OF THE NUMBER OF DISPLACED EX-FARM WORKERS.
WHILE THIS MAY BE A STEP FORWARD, AN INDEPENDENT, NON-
GOVERNMENTAL IDP MONITORING PROGRAM REMAINS VITAL TO THE
EFFECTIVE PROVISION OF HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE.
----------------------
POTENTIAL DISPLACEMENT
----------------------

8. OFDA/RA ESTIMATES THAT TWO-THIRDS OF THE EX-FARM
WORKERS WERE WORKING ON FARMS IN MASHONALAND, IN A 150
KILOMETER RADIUS AROUND HARARE. THIS IS THE PRIME
AGRICULTURAL LAND WHERE THE MAJORITY OF THE EXPROPRIATED
COMMERCIAL FARMS ARE LOCATED. AS THE HUMANITARIAN
SITUATION IN THESE AREAS CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE, MOST
EX-FARM WORKERS ARE LEFT WITH THE CHOICE TO STAY WHERE
THEY ARE AND HOPE THAT HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE FINDS
THEM, OR TO MOVE IN SEARCH OF FOOD.

9. AT PRESENT, IT APPEARS THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE CHOOSING
TO STAY WHERE THEY ARE. HOWEVER, THERE IS DOCUMENTED
AND ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE THAT SMALL, BUT INCREASING
NUMBERS ARE ON THE MOVE. SOME OF THE EX-FARM WORKERS,
PROBABLY IN THE LOW THOUSANDS, ARE LEAVING ZIMBABWE IF
THEY HAVE PASSPORTS AND MONEY. NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES
ARE NOT OPENLY EMBRACING THEM. OFDA/HRA IS HEARING
DISTURBING STORIES THAT THE GOZ MAY BE TRUCKING SOME
FARM WORKERS TO AREAS NEAR BORDERS, BUT THESE HAVE YET
TO BE CONFIRMED. HOWEVER, IF LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES,
AND IF THEY CAN FIND TRANSPORTATION, OFDA/HRA BELIEVES
THOSE ON THE MOVE WILL HEAD TOWARD HARARE AND OTHER
MEDIUM-SIZED TOWNS. SIGNIFICANT EVIDENCE OF INFORMAL
SETTLEMENT GROWTH IN THE EPWORTH, HATCLIFFE EAST,
DZIVARASEKWA, PORTA CAMP, AND OTHER AREAS AROUND HARARE
HAS BEEN REPORTED BY NGOS AND WITNESSED BY OFDA/RA.

10. THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS TO BELIEVE THIS TREND WILL
CONTINUE IN THE COMING MONTHS. FOOD MAY BE AVAILABLE IN
SHOPS, AND COSTS CAN BE LOWER IN THE CITIES BECAUSE
PRICE GOUGING IS MORE CONTROLLED. IN ADDITION, THE
COMMUNAL FAMILY STRUCTURE IN RURAL AREAS IS ALREADY
STRETCHED TO CAPACITY AND CANNOT SUPPORT ADDITIONAL
FAMILY MEMBERS. FINALLY, AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY,
THE URBAN AREAS ARE NOT AS TIGHTLY CONTROLLED
POLITICALLY, ALLOWING EX-FARM WORKERS TO ESCAPE NOTICE.
AS MANY AS HALF OF THE EX-FARM WORKERS MAY DRIFT TOWARD
HARARE AND MOST OF THE REST TO NEIGHBORING SMALL CENTERS
SUCH AS CHINHOYI, BINDURA, CHITUNGWIZA, AND MARONDERA.
THIS PATTERN OF RURAL TO URBAN DISPLACEMENT WAS ALSO
RECORDED DURING THE 1992 FOOD SECURITY CRISIS,
SUGGESTING SIMILAR MOVEMENT AS THE FOOD SECURITY
SITUATION DETERIORATES.

11. SOME HUMANITARIAN WORKERS IN ZIMBABWE BELIEVE THAT
IDPS MAY INCREASINGLY SEEK TO ESCAPE FOOD INSECURITY BY
LEAVING THE COUNTRY. THEY NOTE THAT EX-FARM WORKERS
OFTEN HAVE FAMILY ORIGINS IN NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES AND
SO MAY HAVE SOMEPLACE TO RETURN TO. IN ADDITION, THE
RELATIVELY SMALL SIZE AND EXCELLENT TRANSPORT NETWORK IN
ZIMBABWE MAKE MOVING LONG DISTANCES BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
POSSIBLE. WHILE NOT ALL IDPS WILL HAVE MONEY FOR
TRANSPORT, A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER MAY CHOOSE TO TRY TO
ESCAPE THE CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE. THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH
AFRICA HAS PLANS FOR THE POSSIBLE ARRIVAL OF EX-FARM
WORKERS AND OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS. THE INTERNATIONAL
FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS/RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES
(IFRC) IN PARTICULAR HAS BEEN VERY ACTIVE IN WORKING
WITH RED CROSS SOCIETIES IN COUNTRIES NEIGHBORING
ZIMBABWE TO PLAN FOR POSSIBLE ARRIVALS. AS WITH
INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT IN ZIMBABWE, IT MAY BE VERY
DIFFICULT TO TRACK NUMBERS OF EX-FARM WORKERS LEAVING
ZIMBABWE, AS THEY WILL BE MOVING WITHOUT OFFICIAL
DOCUMENTATION AND WILL LIKELY TRY TO ESCAPE NOTICE.

----------------------------------
EX-FARM WORKERS REMAINING IN PLACE
----------------------------------

12. THOSE EX-FARM WORKERS WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO REMAIN IN
PLACE, OR HAVE NOT YET STARTED TO MOVE, HAVE DONE SO FOR
SEVERAL REASONS. OVERALL HEALTH HAS NOT YET BECOME AN
ISSUE FOR THE GENERAL POPULATION AND MANY CAN WITHSTAND
ANOTHER FEW MONTHS OF WEIGHT LOSS. ALSO, MANY ARE
STILL ABLE TO LIVE OFF THEIR SEVERANCE PACKAGE. ANOTHER
BENEFIT OF REMAINING IN PLACE IS THE RESIDUAL MAIZE CROP
FROM THE COMMERCIAL FARMS. SOME EX-FARM WORKERS HAVE
BEEN ABLE TO STASH SMALL AMOUNTS OF THIS MAIZE FOR
CONSUMPTION LATER. THESE FACTORS, DEPENDING ON THE
CIRCUMSTANCES, COULD HOLD PEOPLE IN PLACE FOR ANOTHER
TWO TO THREE MONTHS.

13. SOME EX-FARM WORKERS MAY LEAVE THEIR FARMS, BUT
INSTEAD OF MOVING DIRECTLY TOWARDS THE CITIES, THEY WILL
TAKE REFUGE AT OTHER FARMS WHERE THE PRESSURE TO MOVE IS
NOT SO INTENSE. OFDA/HRA ALSO SUSPECTS THAT MANY WILL
BEGIN TO GO TO CHURCH-BASED MISSIONS WITH HOSPITALS THAT
ARE SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRYSIDE. HOWEVER, THESE
MAY JUST BE WAY STATIONS ON THE MIGRATION ROUTE TO
CITIES AND TOWNS.

-----------
CONCLUSIONS
-----------

14. WHILE COPING MECHANISMS AND SEVERANCE PACKAGES MAY
SUSTAIN VULNERABLE EX-FARM WORKERS FOR ANOTHER FEW
MONTHS, THE LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT OR OTHER
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN THE AFFECTED AREAS WILL
EVENTUALLY FORCE PEOPLE TO MOVE. OFDA/HRA BELIEVES THAT
THE MIGRATION TO CITIES AND TOWNS WILL INTENSIFY VERY
SOON, WITH NOTICEABLE INCREASES BY JANUARY. IN HARARE,
THAT MIGHT TRANSLATE INTO 100,000 TO 150,000 ADDITIONAL
EX-FARM WORKERS SQUATTING IN TEMPORARY SETTLEMENTS. BY
MARCH, THESE NUMBERS COULD REACH 400,000 TO 500,000.
THE SAME DYNAMIC WILL LIKELY APPLY TO THE SMALLER
SURROUNDING REGIONAL TOWNS. THE 1992 FOOD SECURITY
CRISIS PROVIDES A BLUEPRINT OF POPULATION MOVEMENTS IN A
SIMILAR SITUATION. HOWEVER, THE ADDED COMPLEXITIES OF A
POLITICAL SITUATION LIMITING IDENTIFICATION AND
TARGETING OF IDPS COULD SERVE TO EXACERBATE THE EFFECTS
OF THE CURRENT CRISIS BEYOND THAT OF 1992.

---------------
RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------

15. A STRENGTHENED UN HUMANITARIAN IDP MONITORING UNIT
IS ESSENTIAL TO THE EFFECTIVE UNDERSTANDING AND TRACKING
OF THE IDP SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE. TO THE EXTENT
POSSIBLE, THE USG SHOULD WORK TO IMPROVE THIS CAPACITY.
IN PARTICULAR, INFORMATION GENERATION REGARDING THE
NUMBERS OF DISPLACED EX-FARM WORKERS AND THE LOCATIONS
OF IDP CAMPS AND INFORMAL SETTLEMENT AREAS IN AND AROUND
URBAN AREAS IS A HIGH PRIORITY FOR GUIDING HUMANITARIAN
RESPONSE.

16. INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL NGOS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO
DEVELOP PROGRAMS TO RESPOND TO THE NEEDS OF DISPLACED EX-
FARM WORKERS IN COMMERCIAL FARMING AREAS OF ZIMBABWE.
PROGRAMS SHOULD MEET IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY NEEDS, SUCH AS
SUPPLEMENTAL AND THERAPEUTIC FEEDING, AS DESCRIBED IN
ONGOING SITUATION ASSESSMENTS. SUCH PROGRAMS SHOULD BE
DEVELOPED URGENTLY TO DEAL WITH THESE IMMEDIATE NEEDS,
BUT ALSO TO PUT ASSISTANCE MECHANISMS IN PLACE BEFORE
LARGE-SCALE MOVEMENTS START TO OCCUR.

17. THE GROWTH OF INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS IN AND AROUND
URBAN AREAS SHOULD BE CLOSELY MONITORED, AS LACK OF
ACCESS TO CLEAN WATER, FOOD, ADEQUATE SHELTER, AND BASIC
HEALTH CARE MAY LEAD TO EPIDEMIC DISEASE OUTBREAK AND
DRIVE CONTINUED POPULATION MOVEMENT. WHERE APPROPRIATE,
EMERGENCY PROGRAMS RESPONDING TO NEEDS IN INFORMAL
SETTLEMENT AREAS SHOULD BE INITIATED. SULLIVAN

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