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Cablegate: The Unbearable Strangeness of Land Reform

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

UNCLAS HARARE 001329

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S
USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EAID BTIO EINV EAGR ECON PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: THE UNBEARABLE STRANGENESS OF LAND REFORM

1. (SBU) Summary: Just when you thought the debate over
land reform could get no stranger it does. Amid the
clamor about ZANU-PF and GOZ bigwigs receiving more than
one farm, inter-factional fighting within Zanu-PF has
resulted in the GOZ-controlled Herald newspaper
inadvertently praising former white commercial farmers
and exposing the faults with land reform. End Summary.

NKOMO AND MOYO SPAR PUBLICLY
2. (SBU) Land Minister, and ZANU-PF Secretary General,
John Nkomo has renewed his effort to locate and take away
properties from Zanu-PF and GOZ heavyweights who have
violated the stated one-family one-farm standard for fast
track land reform. A list of 329 violators has become
public and Nkomo has sent letters to top officials
requesting that they divest extra farm holdings. Included
on this list is Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, the
force behind the GOZ's invidious state media.
3. (U) In response, The Herald of August 1, 2004 has, as
its lead article, the story of an underutilized Lynton
Farm owned by the Land Ministry Permanent Secretary Simon
Pazvakambwa. According to the article, "Irrigation
equipment worth millions of dollars and other farming
implements are lying idle . . . while workers on the plot
allege that they have not been paid since May".

4. (U) The article states that tobacco barns and pigsties
lay unused and only one maize field and one groundnut
field were planted last year. The workers stopped work on
July 3 due to lack of payment of their "meager salary of
Z$52000 each" (less than US$10) a month. The reporter
then recounts pregnant women's stories of their reliance
upon well-wishers for survival. Pazvakambwa promised to
plant wheat this season but has not done so.

5. (SBU) In classic expose style, the article closes with
an interview with Pazvakambwa. He demands to know the
sources for the story and refuses to comment further. The
story claims, however, that Pazvakambwa let slip that he
will pay the workers immediately.

HERALD REMINISCES ABOUT WHITE FARMERS
6. (U) The truly surreal quality of land reform, however,
comes out in the article's portrayal of the white farmer
who owned Lynton Farm. According to one of the workers at
the farm, "`around this time Mr. Malzer would have put
tobacco and paprika seed and would be planting early
maize for December.'" The reporter describes how Malzer
"used to grow paprika, maize, tobacco and ran a thriving
cattle ranch and piggery".

COMMENT
7. (SBU) Zimbabwe's surreal environment has the GOZ-
controlled Herald praising the former white farmer's
utilization of Lynton Farm, as compared to its current
underutilization by a GOZ bigwig, when it was GOZ that
removed the white commercial farmer in the first place.
Yet in the heat of Zanu-PF primaries leading up to next
year's parliamentary elections, hardliners like Moyo care
more about undermining moderates like Nkomo than
attacking whites. It is a strange twist in political
discourse here.

8. (SBU) Nkomo and the Land Ministry are not likely to
simply take the criticism. The Herald's expose of Lynton
Farm may lead to further articles in the independent and
semi-independent press about the state of affairs on
other farms owned by party and GOZ bigwigs. In the
process of inter-factional fighting, these very public
disagreements may discredit the entire land reform
process, providing an entertaining spectacle as Zanu-PF
discredits its own touted policy.

Sullivan

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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