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Cablegate: Goz to Seize Equipment On Resettled Farms

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

UNCLAS HARARE 002421

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON EINV ETRD PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: GOZ to seize equipment on resettled farms


1. (U) Summary: The GOZ has taken fast track land reform
to the next level, authorizing its agents to seize
equipment such as tractors, sprinklers and ploughs from
former commercial farmers. End Summary.

2. (U) Statutory Instrument 273A of 2003 allows the
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to
assign to any agent the responsibility to "enter any land
or premises at any reasonable time" and "acquire any farm
equipment or material not currently being used for
agricultural purposes." Since it has the effect of a
Presidential decree, the GOZ may act upon it immediately,
in advance of Parliamentary deliberation. It calls for
former commercial farmers who sell or damage their farm
equipment to be fined or imprisoned. While the
instrument lays out a compensation timetable, it will be
the responsibility of the Ministry to determine fair
valuation.

3. (SBU) Comment: Efforts by former, mostly white
farmers to stash farm equipment around the country have
irritated the GOZ and some land reform beneficiaries.
However, movable farm equipment and supplies (such as
fertilizer) have remained the property of the ex-farmer,
who retained the right to sell but not export these
implements. Some held on to equipment because they hoped
to return to their land - others because they could not
get what they considered a fair price due to the glut of
equipment on the market. This legislation will permit
many beneficiaries to seize equipment, perhaps through
force. The GOZ has increasingly moved beyond the idea
that land reform should be limited to redistribution of
arable white farms. Conservancies and certain businesses
are also now included. We expect the GOZ will establish
very low values for seized equipment, applying the
official exchange rate or an amount that does not reflect
Zimbabwe's high inflation.

Sullivan

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