Cablegate: "Green Bombers" Join the Ranks of Land
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 002415
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: "GREEN BOMBERS" JOIN THE RANKS OF LAND
REF: IIR 6 926 0018 04
1. Summary. Minister of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural
Resettlement, Joseph Made, recently announced that two farms
in each province will be set aside "for utilization by
graduates of the National Youth Training" program. Now, the
notorious youth militia graduates -- commonly known as "green
bombers" -- join the ranks of soldiers and prisoners as "new
farmers" in this brave new world. End summary.
2. This new initiative of allocating farms to paramilitary
units closely follows the GOZ's decisions to allocate entire
farms to its military organizations and prison system. In
the case of the National Youth Training Program, it is less
clear who will actually be operating the farm. In the case
of some previous military and prison allocations, the farms
would allegedly be worked to provide food for soldiers or
prisoners, respectively. In the case of the banana
plantation recently seized by Zimbabwe Defense Industries
(ZDI) (ref), the implication was that ZDI only wanted to
siphon cash from the operation. Although the purported aim
of the program is to develop "national and self-development,"
it is difficult to imagine the curriculum producing dedicated
subsistence farmers or farm laborers.
3. The logistics, as well, are difficult to envision.
Although the news report states that input support will be
provided to those who are "given the land," it is highly
unlikely that two farms in each province (18 farms total)
will even begin to appease the wave of underemployed youths
churned from the program. It is also not clear whether the
farms will be operated as training centers (for youths who
have ostensibly already graduated from training), or will be
carved into small plots for private use. This points out one
of the key false notes in the entire Land Resettlement
program. If all Zimbabweans have a right to own land, how
will the GOZ accommodate the future waves of Zimbabwean
claimants? It also underscores the inherently chaotic nature
of the program, in which the GOZ makes up rules as it goes
along -- with no rhyme, no reason, and no vision of what
agriculture will look like when the program is complete.