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Cablegate: Land Audit: Disavowed Document Acknowledges

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000470

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: LAND AUDIT: DISAVOWED DOCUMENT ACKNOWLEDGES
CORRUPTION

REF: LAND AUDIT REPORT FAXED TO AF/S

1. (SBU) Summary. Long plagued by accusations of chaos and
official corruption in its Land Reform and Resettlement
Program (LRRP), the GOZ has promised since last September a
land audit to investigate program implementation. Various
other unofficial lists purporting to document this official
corruption have been circulated by interested parties,
including the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and Justice for
Agriculture (JAG). Despite GOZ assurances that it was
looking into such accusations, no official report has ever
been released. However, three documents distributed as
"leaked" copies of the official interim report on the land
audit (ref) have been making the rounds of the diplomatic
community and the international press. Now that newspapers
have published excerpts from the "leaked" report, one
GOZ-linked newspaper has claimed that an official report does
not exist. In our view, the report is likely genuine,
although unlikely to be officially acknowledged. Leaking of
the document, however, has had the useful effect of exposing
at least some of the shenanigans and putting more pressure on
Zanu-PF to correct the abuses. End summary.

---------------------
Report? What Report?
---------------------
2. (SBU) In addition to recent summaries appearing in the
newsletter "Africa Confidential" and the Financial Times, a
report on the official LRRP land audit appeared in the
pro-Zanu-PF weekly the Sunday Mirror. However, the following
week (March 2, 2003), the Sunday Mirror headlined, "Govt
Denies Existence of Land Audit Report." In the text of the
article, the denial continues (begin text): "There is no
such report, and whatever report there is, is merely an
invention of the enemies of the State," a senior government
official said... He strongly castigated the Sunday Mirror for
having reproduced the "Africa Confidential" report, which
broke the story in its February 21 issue. "It was an act of
mischief on your (the Sunday Mirror's) part to have
reproduced that story, for there was definitely no report to
leak since it does not exist," the official reprimanded. (End
text.)

--------------------
Detailing the Abuses
--------------------
3. (SBU) The first of the three documents details abuses
within both the Ministry of Lands and local government bodies
in implementing LRRP, among them:
-- failure of the Ministry to release state land for
resettlement
-- failure of the Ministry of Lands to delist some wrongfully
acquired farms despite clear administrative guidelines,
including agro-industrial farms, plantations, export
production zones, and properties protected by Bilateral
Investment Treaties (BITs)
-- failure of the Ministry to implement the "one man one
farm" policy, both for white and indigenous farmers
-- failure of the Ministry to implement maximum farm sizes
for allocations of A2 plots, as delineated within each
agro-ecological region
-- failure of the Ministry to act on LA3 Forms (forms by
which a property owner subdivides his own land and offers
land in excess of the maximum farm size to the GOZ for
resettlement)
-- allocation of separate A2 plots to both spouses of a
married couple "contrary to policy"
-- allocation of multiple A2 plots to some
politically-connected beneficiaries
-- re-designation of A1, or small-scale de-congestion plots,
to A2, or large-scale commercial plots
-- issuance of "Certificates of No Present Interest" to
indigenous buyers (and thus permission to purchase) for farms
which have already been formally resettled
-- failure of the Ministry to promptly assess amount of
compensation payable for improvements on acquired farms
-- bad-faith actions of local District Land Committees in
targeting specific inappropriate properties (including hotels
and guest houses) for the benefit of "local political
heavyweights"
-- actions of some local politicians in interfering with
District Land Committees and allocating land based on their
own preferences

4. (SBU) The first document also details inadequacies in the
GOZ's implementation of support for the LRRP, including:
-- crop and seed input schemes
-- fertilizer supply schemes
-- transport for crop inputs
-- tillage services
-- livestock development schemes ("heifer loan scheme")
-- irrigation equipment rehabilitation
-- and borehole (well) drilling for both potable water and
irrigation purposes

The lack of coherent policy regarding conservancies is
briefly highlighted, and one paragraph addresses the "Farm
Workers Plight," noting that many districts do not have
statistics on the number of farm workers and their current
activities or whereabouts. The impetus behind this concern
is revealed, however, in the final sentence: "...these farm
workers were not only disrupting the operations of A2 farmers
but have also been reported to be poaching and cutting down
trees in certain areas."

5. (SBU) The Interim Report closes with a list of
recommendations and advice for getting the LRRP back on
track. The recommendations include,

-- "Seed houses should be encouraged to produce adequate seed
through the regular and timeous review of seed prices."
-- "Fertiliser producers should be encouraged to produce
adequate quantities through the regular and timeous review of
fertiliser prices."

In conclusion, the report cites "the successful A1 Model of
resettlement," while criticizing the shortcomings in the A2
model such as "multiple allocation of plots to certain
individuals and slow uptake." The conclusion acknowledges
"the current disgruntled feeling among the masses who
expressed their disappointment at the lack of transparency in
the implementation of the (LRRP)," and exhorts the GOZ to
"quickly re-align" the program to "equitably redistribute the
land in Zimbabwe and empower the indigenous people through
land ownership."

----------------------------
Addendum -- or Hall of Shame
----------------------------
6. (SBU) The second document, the Addendum, names names.
Several Zanu-PF stalwarts are mentioned, including
pro-Zanu-PF Mutumwa Mawere and Ibo Mandaza, both of whom have
"purchased" several already resettled farms. The Addendum
states that Dr. Mandaza purchased five separate farms
totaling over 7,500 hectares, and "has since taken the
settled families to court in an attempt to evict them from
the properties." War veterans Chris Pasipamire (currently
pursuing a PhD in England) and Mike Moyo are "violently
evicting 36 settlers... some (of whom) have been
assaulted..." The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Abednico Ncube is reportedly behind the attempt to "acquire"
two established hotels. Mashonaland Central Governor E.
Manyika (sic) is identified for allocating A2 farms above 350
hectares -- some, such as the 1500 hectare farm allocated to
Minister of Mines and Mining Chindori-Chininga, well above
the 200 hectare maximum farm size -- thus preventing greater
numbers of indigenous people from benefiting. Minister for
Small and Medium Enterprises Development Sithembisu Nyoni
reportedly claimed a highly-developed citrus, poultry and
livestock farm as an A2 allocation directly from Harare --
despite the fact that the farm was earmarked at the local
level for youths from the National Service training program
as an "agricultural skills training center."

7. (SBU) The most interesting part of the addendum lists
those who have taken multiple farms. A Zanu-PF Who's Who
list, some of the beneficiaries of multiple farms include:
-- Minister Ignatius Chombo, MP J. Gumbo, Governor Josiah
Hungwe, Brig. Kanhanga, Minister Elliot Manyika, Mutumwa
Mawere, Minister and Mrs. Kembo Mohadi, Sabina Mugabe,
Boniface Shamu, ZRP Spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena (2 farms
each);
-- MP Kasukuwere, Minister Jonathan Moyo, Governor Obert
Mpofu, Air Marshall Perence Shiri (3 farms each);
-- MP S. Mahofa (four farms);
-- Governor P. Chanetsa (four farms plus one allocated to his
spouse); and
-- C. Chingosho (seven farms).

The addendum notes that "The list is not exhaustive as the
people interviewed were scared to reveal any information
least (sic) they might be victimised by the multiple farm
owners who seem to have their loyalists within the various
land committees."

--------------------------------------------- -----------
GOZ Expresses Shocked Surprise -- and Little Will to Act
--------------------------------------------- -----------
8. (SBU) The third document comprises minutes of a meeting
dated Monday December 9. The Chairman of the meeting, Vice
President Msika, states his intention to "reappraise
everybody present on the developments taking place in the
LRRP." He immediately "expressed his utter dismay at the
chaotic condition on the ground which contradicted His
Excellency's pronouncements on the LRRP..." After reviewing
the Interim Report, the committee suggested action which
paralleled the suggestions of the Report itself.

9. (SBU) A fourth document detailing a second, follow-up
meeting, produced the lone strong statement: "While
Government should continue to proffer assistance to the
farmers care should be exercised to prevent the setting in of
the dependency syndrome. Already some of the farmers
appeared to be entirely waiting on Government for support.
The farmers should be disabused of this misconception. After
all, in their applications, A2 farmers had to prove that they
had capacity to mobilise the necessary resources.
Furthermore, many seemed to be under the illusion that the
farms had been allocated gratis. A lease document was to be
formulated spelling out the terms of payment for the
properties."

-------
Comment
-------
10. (SBU) At some level, the GOZ seems to be aware of its
unsustainable position regarding the A2 aspect of its land
reform program. The report paints a picture of thousands of
expectant "settlers," many of them not even farmers, placed
on haphazardly allocated pieces of land and waiting for the
impecunious government to till the land and source and
deliver all necessary inputs. Because agriculture is so
central to the Zimbabwean economy, the GOZ now has little
choice but to continue pouring money into this failed scheme
in an effort to restart the economy. The GOZ is responsible
for a debacle wherein local strongmen have felt free to step
in and manipulate the process to their advantage -- resulting
in multiple allocations to key figures, re-allocation of
previously settled land, and allocation of land to
non-farmers unequipped to run a productive farm.

11. (SBU) The public complaints of Zanu-PF activists over
abuses in the land redistribution program at the December
Zanu-PF conference in Chinoyi first prompted President Mugabe
to promise a land audit. For undertaking this initiative,
Minister Flora Buka was reportedly sidelined and the report
was pigeonholed until it surfaced outside Zimbabwe, leading
to its unsourced disavowal in the GOZ press. While it is
impossible to state unequivocally that the leaked documents
are genuine, much of the information contained therein is
consistent with other publicly available information. It is
our view that the report is likely genuine, but that the GOZ
will be reluctant to release it into the public domain.
SULLIVAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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