Cablegate: New Goz Directive On Land Acquisition

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

1. (SBU) Summary. During a recent meeting with Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU) personnel, laboff received a copy of a
GOZ directive targeted at "cleaning up" the chaotic land
redistribution exercise. This policy statement is directed
to the ad-hoc decisions and dealmaking which have
characterized the directionless land redistribution exercise,
whereby individual governors and District Administrators have
entered into widely varying agreements with commercial
farmers who are desperate to keep some portion of their
assets. It also contains an oblique reference to allegations
that some ZANU-PF beneficiaries have claimed several farms
apiece. Further, it clearly contradicts GOZ claims that
white commercial farmers would be allowed to keep part of
their land, that no white commercial farmer had been forcibly
evicted from his land, and that farms which are the only
property of commercial farmers would be exempt from
expropriation. In this sense, the sentiment embodied in the
statement "One man, one farm" has morphed from a protective
policy for white commercial farmers into a warning statement
to indigenous Zimbabwean speculators. Copy of the GOZ policy
statement follows. End summary.

2. (SBU) Begin text:

"Attention: -

All Provincial Governors

The Secretary of Local Government, Public Works and National

The Secretary of Rural Resources and Water Development

The Secretary of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affair

All Provincial Administrators

All Provincial Chief Land Officers

All District Administrators

All District Land Officers


The Fast Track Land Resettlement exercise has been a mammoth
task which has had many challenges. Cabinet, at its meetings
of 17th September 2002 and 15th October 2002, decided that
the 11 million hectares acquired compulsorily during the Fast
Track Resettlement Programme and the 3.6 million acquired
under the normal resettlement programme since 1980 stand as
acquired and now constitute STATELAND and cannot revert back
to their original status for any reason. All officers
dealing with the Land Reform Programme should take note of
this decision.

District and Provincial officers have given themselves
excessive powers to make concessions with farmers without
referring such decisions to the Minister of Lands,
Agriculture and Rural Resettlement who is vested with such
Land Authority powers. This must stop forthwith.

Cabinet has also resolved that:-

1. resettled farmers shall not be evicted from the 11
million hectares they have settled on;

2. white farmers affected by the above-cited position shall
be accommodated elsewhere where they may be allocated
portions of land which are up to the relevant maximum farm
size and the allocation of the relevant maximum farm size
shall NOT be deemed as a right to any white farmer;

3. there shall be no ownership of rural agricultural land by
companies and that where such transfers have occurred in the
recent past, such transfers shall be rescinded by Government;

4. rural agricultural farms shall not be regarded as assets
of a company but must stand on their own and shall be
registered in an individual's name;

5. rural land under the A2 Model shall be leased;

6. all A2 leases shall be in the name of individuals and
shall not be in the name of companies;

7. A2 leases shall contain a condition regarding
Government's right to recourse in respect of the land in
question or a portion thereof;

8. Government suspends until further notice the issuing of
Certificates of No Present Interest in respect of all rural
agricultural land;

9. the subdivision of farms shall be undertaken without any
hindrance to Land Officers or influence from the white farmer
who may be allocated any of the resultant subdivisions;

10. white farmers shall not be grouped into an enclave as
and when they are resettled;

11. the planning, demarcation and resettlement of farms with
orchards, horticultural and agro-industries shall be done
with speed and requisite care;

12. the policy of one person/house hold one plot or farm
still holds in the interest of equity, justice and fair play
and shall be enforced;

13. future acquisitions and gazetting of rural agricultural
land for resettlement shall follow the already laid down
criteria and procedures which criteria and procedures shall
be respected; and

14. similarly, any material policy changes in respect of the
land acquisition process shall be channeled through the laid
down procedures

(no signature)
N. Masoka


End text.

3. (SBU) Comment. The adjective "chaotic" is frequently used
to describe the resettlement program in Zimbabwe because
local officials are implementing redistribution patterns of
their own design. While the governors of some regions --
such as Midlands -- are attempting to craft a solution which
is sustainable, other regions have seen "solutions" which
resemble warlord politics, with white commercial farmers
bribing the highest official they can find in a desperate
attempt to salvage some of their property, or rival political
leaders promoting land invasions while other resist.
Ironically, such commercial farmers are still subject to
dispossession, with settlers and war veterans forcing
evictions whereby other arrangements, including High Court
judgments in the farmers' favor, have been flagrantly
ignored. CFU contacts also report that the Ministry has
directed that any recent sales of commercial farms from white
farmers to indigenous Zimbabwean farmers -- another attempt
by white commercial farmers to salvage part of their life's
work -- are null and void, with the land in question
remaining vulnerable to expropriation. This latest directive
appears to be an attempt on the part of the Ministry of
Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to re-exert some
level of central control over a wildly disorganized process.
Whether or not the Ministry is successful, commercial farmers
do not stand to gain any relief from this initiative. As
evidenced by the language in this policy pronouncement, the
GOZ remains firmly committed to the destruction of white
commercial farmers and their concomitant political voice.
End comment.


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