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Cablegate: White Farmers Remain Divided

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

UNCLAS HARARE 000280

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S AND AF/EX
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND
PASS USTR ROSA WHITAKER
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND C WILKINSON
DEPT PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EFIN ECON ZI
SUBJECT: White Farmers Remain Divided

Ref: a) Harare 239 b) Harare 267

1. (SBU) Summary: Justice for Agriculture (JAG)
representatives told us they strongly lament the
willingness of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) to
engage the Government of Robert Mugabe on fast-track land
reform. JAG remains committed to dialogue with the GOZ
only after the restoration of rule-of-law. End Summary.

2. (SBU) JAG reps recently updated Amb. Sullivan on their
campaign against Mugabe's land reform. JAG says around
300 members have joined its ranks, which usually entails
resigning from the more moderate CFU. The organizations
differ more on tactics than assessments of fast-track
land reform.

3. (SBU) JAG takes issue with the CFU's restarting a
dialogue with the GOZ, analyzed in refs a-b. JAG members
feel the GOZ is merely using talks with the CFU as a
means of persuading Western governments that a) white
farmers now approve of land reform and b) it is time to
lift sanctions and support resettled farmers. JAG
refuses to speak with the GOZ, which it considers
illegitimate.

4. (SBU) Comment: The split among white farmers reflects
diverging interests. JAG members have mostly lost farms
and wish to pursue title claims indefinitely in the hope
of restitution or compensation; CFU members are often
still trying to hold onto all or part of their farms. If
a successor government one day comes to power, JAG's
strident line could prove an impediment to revamping land
reform. While we agree that land reform has been unjust
and devastating to Zimbabwean agriculture, we do not
believe a future government could completely reverse it
or pay full compensation. The only way to make sense of
the senseless may be a negotiated deal that returns white
farmers to a portion of their farms, in exchange for them
relinquishing title to the other portion and assisting
new farmers. As time wears on, however, such an
agreement becomes less and less feasible and we do agree
that GOZ dialogue with the CFU to date has been mostly
for show with little or no serious effort at compromise.

Sullivan

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