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Cablegate: Black Farmer Group Reacts to White Overtures

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

021423Z Jun 04

UNCLAS HARARE 000912

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON, ERIC LOKEN

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID EAGR EINV PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: Black farmer group reacts to white overtures

Ref: Harare 849

1. (SBU) Summary: With pressures from Zimbabwe's next
parliamentary elections mounting, the mostly black
Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union (ICFU) told us it
would have to reach a break-though in talks with the
mostly white Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) in the next
month or so, or wait until after elections. End summary.

2. (SBU) Econoff recently spoke to ICFU President Davison
Mugabe at length about talks he has had with CFU
President Doug Taylor-Freeme (ref). Mugabe said he wants
talks to move forward and shares the vision of a
multiracial Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union. Mugabe
told us he has put out "feelers" within the GOZ to gauge
official support. However, he said the rival farmer
bodies would have to make progress in talks within the
next month or so. Beyond that, he is afraid election-
induced political pressures would weigh too heavily on
the ICFU for it to be able to move into this direction.

3. (SBU) Mugabe acknowledged his ICFU would benefit
enormously from CFU know-how and resources. Yet he
harbors palpable bitterness toward the white farmer
group. He referred to white farmers repeatedly as
"arrogant," unwilling to become Zimbabweans. He said CFU
leaders would have to distance themselves more visibly
from the more confrontational Justice for Agriculture
(JAG) as well as acts of white farmer violence. (White
farmer Peter Spero-Landos alleged shot dead settler Mike
Mufambi last month.)

Comment
-------
4. (SBU) While chances for immediate success are not
great, the Embassy will continue to encourage dialogue
among the groups. Ultimately, we believe the GOZ would
have to lend support to a CFU-ICFU merger. Before
signing on, the ICFU would need the GOZ's official
blessing; the CFU would want assurance the remaining 600
white farms would remain untouched. This would not sit
well with some GOZ hardliners, nor would it match State
media propaganda that any problems with the land
redistribution program are due to the sabotage and
resistance of white farmers.

Sullivan

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