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Cablegate: War Ends with War: Another Farmer Loses the Long Struggle

VZCZCXRO2419
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0857/01 3011405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281405Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5070
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2393
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3122
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3234
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1661
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2495
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2864
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3282
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5730
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2414
RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000857

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L. DOBBINS AND E. LOKEN
STATE PASS TO DOL FOR S. HALEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB PGOV ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: WAR ENDS WITH WAR: ANOTHER FARMER LOSES THE LONG STRUGGLE
TO KEEP HIS FARM

-------
SUMMARY

------

1. (SBU) As part of a trip to research the impact of recent farm
invasions, poloffs visited farms and farmers in central Zimbabwe on
October 21 and 22 (septel). On October 21, we met with Manie and
Lucy Grove who, after battling to keep their property since 2002,
were homeless just five days after we met them as the result of a
ZANU-PF-led invasion. Their farm is one of 78 included in the
so-called "Campbell Case" in which the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) Tribunal ruled in November 2008 that the seizure of
the plaintiffs' farms violated the SADC treaty. This latest
incursion, and the dozen farmworkers it left homeless and
unemployed, is just the latest page in a long and growing history of
farm invasions that continue to render Zimbabwe incapable of feeding
itself. END SUMMARY.

----------------------------
Grove Farm Slowly Taken Over
----------------------------

2. (SBU) On October 21, as part of a trip through central Zimbabwe
to investigate recent farm invasions, we met with embattled farmers
Mike Jansen and Hermanus "Manie" Grove and their family members.
The Grove farm, Inogo Ranch, is protected under the SADC tribunal
ruling and several Zimbabwean court orders. (NOTE: The SADC
Tribunal ruled that the seizure of the Campbell's farm and that of
77 other farms violated the SADC treaty in that Amendment 17 to the
Zimbabwean constitution precluded access to the courts and the
seizures themselves were racist. END NOTE.) Grove explained the
history of his farm, which is typical of many of the farms currently
under threat.

3. (SBU) The Groves, who were born in Zimbabwe, purchased the 1700
hectare farm in 1990 when there was little on the land. At the
farm's peak, it employed 25 full-time and 30 seasonal employees to
work the cattle, dairy, maize, wheat, and barley fields. In 2002
the Groves agreed to a deal with Midlands Provincial Governor Cephas
Msipa and the provincial land committee to cede 1,200 hectares to 53
families, including 100 hectares of irrigated land, and five
percent of their 2002 crop to new farmers. In 2005, the Groves
applied for reallocation of the remaining 500 hectares, according to
new legislation. Around the same time, a Mr. Marwisa arrived at the
farm asserting that he had an offer letter from the government
entitling him to the land. In December 2005, a delegation of
provincial and local officials visited the farm and told Grove he
had a right to stay on the land, as he had already ceded land to new
farmers.

4. (SBU) Several months later, in 2006, local lawyer, ZANU-PF
stalwart, and reported Emmerson Mnangagwa confidant, Martin Makonese
visited the farm and asserted that he, too, had an offer letter for
Qvisited the farm and asserted that he, too, had an offer letter for
the property, including the home. Throughout 2006 and 2007, the
Groves and their ever-dwindling staff suffered beatings, arson of
the barley crop, and continued disdain for court orders, largely at
the instigation of Makonese and his two "farm managers" who forcibly
took up residence on the farm. For example, in November 2007, the
Groves, their adult son and their staff were beaten by Makonese and
Marwisa's hired gang of about 35 people. Grove needed 13 stitches
for a cut on his head. Earlier this year, one of the farm workers
suffered a broken arm after Makonese's men beat him.

HARARE 00000857 002 OF 003

-------------------
Threats Escalate:
"War Ends With War"
-------------------

5. (SBU) Since February 2009, the legal battle and intimidation
against the Groves have escalated. On February 18, Manie Grove was
summoned to appear in court the next day to face charges of
illegally occupying state land. Although the case was deferred to
give his lawyer time to prepare for trial, Grove was arrested on
Friday February 20 and held in jail over the weekend without charge.
During that time, Makonese told his family that if they paid
US$25,000 to the magistrate, the case would be resolved. The Groves
refused and subsequently successfully moved the case to the Supreme
Court, where it is still pending.


6. (SBU) Several weeks later, in March, the Groves' lawyer, Malina
Matshiya, was arrested and held for five hours for her continued
involvement in defending the Groves. In May, several tons of
soybeans, maize and sorghum were stolen from the fields. The police
continue to refuse to investigate theft, violence, and harassment on
the farm. When we met on October 21, the Groves told us that they
were ready to plant this year's crops "yesterday," including barley
which was already contracted to a local beer producer. However, the
continued disruptions and threats prevented them from planting
anything for the coming season. Grove showed us a picture of one of
the buildings Makonese's men had taken over that was adorned with a
ZANU-PF flag and threatening graffiti: "war ends with war."

--------
Reprisal
--------

13. (SBU) The day after we met the Groves in Kwekwe, a group of
20-40 ZANU-PF supporters invaded their farm at 5:00 a.m. The
invaders arrived in a truck owned by Makonese and broke the lock to
the yard that contains the Groves' home and workshop. Lucie Grove
told us that she saw one of her workers sprinting "for his life"
from his compound to the forest as he was chased by three of the
men. His fate remains unknown. Manie Grove and his son took turns
attempting to reason with the group while Lucie Grove sat in the
kitchen with a firearm, ready to defend herself if the group was
able to enter the house. According to the Groves, the men received
fresh supplies of beer throughout the day delivered by Makonese's
truck, which, when not occupied, was parked in the Groves' yard.
The men reportedly continued to get louder and more belligerent
throughout the day.

14. (SBU) The Groves' lawyer repeatedly sought help from the Kwekwe
police, who refused to act, claiming they did not have a vehicle.
(NOTE: We spent roughly one hour in Kwekwe on October 22 and saw
two police vehicles circulating in town. END NOTE.) In a meeting
with Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe the morning of October
Qwith Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe the morning of October
22, the Charge raised the issue of the invasion of the Groves' farm.
Polecon chief did likewise in a phone call to Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara later in the morning. Nevertheless at 6:00 p.m. on
October 22, a lone police officer arrived to tell the Groves that
there was nothing he could do.

15. (SBU) On the morning of October 23, a leading ZANU-PF figure
from Kwekwe known as Makumbe (possibly the local head of the war

HARARE 00000857 003 OF 003


veterans) arrived at the farm and told the Groves that they had to
leave before sun-down or they would be forced off. Before driving
away he told Manie Grove that he was bringing the men "more beer and
marijuana."

-----------------------------
Al-Jazeera Confronts Makonese
-----------------------------

16. (U) That afternoon, a television crew from Al-Jazeera, led by
Zimbabwean correspondent Haru Mutasa, went to Makonese's office in
Kwekwe to ask him about the ongoing invasion. At Mutasa's behest,
Makonese accompanied her to the farm where he reiterated his claim
that he had a right to the land, despite the SADC Tribunal's ruling.
He tried to portray the ZANU-PF supporters in the yard as peaceful,
but the crowd of drunken men and their ZANU-PF flags indicated
otherwise.

---------------------------------
Grove Confronts Defiant Mnangagwa
---------------------------------

17. (SBU) On the morning of Saturday October 24, Manie and Lucie
Grove drove to the home of their Member of Parliament, Defense
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, to confront him about the ongoing land
invasion. Makonese, Makumbe, and other farm invaders in the
Midlands and Masvingo areas, in particular, have been affiliated
with the powerful minister. According to the Groves' adult
daughter, Mnangagwa told the Groves that he would not intervene or
stop the eviction because the Groves had taken their court case to
SADC (a reference to their participation in the Campbell case). He
asked the Groves, "Who do you think you are, taking the government
to court?"

18. (SBU) Shortly after the Groves returned to the farm, the men
forced their way into the house and began throwing the Groves'
personal belongings into the yard. Throughout Saturday evening,
Sunday, and Monday, the Groves were allowed to remove most personal
belongings, their dogs and heirlooms from the home where they have
lived for 30 years. They are negotiating to remove the tools from
their shed and remaining furniture from the house.

-------
COMMENT
-------

19. (SBU) The events of October 22-24 marked the bitter end of the
Groves' seven-year fight to keep their farm. Although the legal
battle still technically continues in court, ZANU-PF ultimately won
the more important battle of physical force on the farm. It appears
increasingly clear that ZANU-PF, largely led by Mnangagwa and his
cronies, is hell-bent on eliminating white farmers, regardless of
the SADC Tribunal ruling and international pressure. The Groves,
like many other white farmers, tried every avenue available to them
in order to protect their property and workers: Zimbabwean courts,
regional courts, diplomatic pressure, the international press, and,
Qregional courts, diplomatic pressure, the international press, and,
finally, direct confrontation of Mnangagwa himself. These sad
events, while not new, are a reminder of just how far Zimbabwe has
to go to bring things right again, and of the important role SADC
could play in helping restore rule of law by pressuring ZANU-PF to
respect both Zimbabwean and SADC courts. END COMMENT.

PETTERSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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