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Land audit hall of shame

At least three documents claiming to be audits on the controversial land issue were doing the rounds in early 2003 warranting the United States embassy to issue a cable which among others had a hall of shame in which top Zimbabwe African National Union –Patriotic Front officials who had more than one farm were named and shamed.

Those with more than one farm included Ibbo Mandaza, Mutumwa Mawere, Shuvai Mahofa, Ignatius Chombo, Josiah Hungwe, Elliot Manyika, Kembo Mohadi, Sabina Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Perence Shiri, Obert Mpofu, Peter Chanetsa and C. Chingosho who was said to have seven farms.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE470, LAND AUDIT: DISAVOWED DOCUMENT ACKNOWLEDGES

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE470

2003-03-05 13:57

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000470

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON EAGR PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: LAND AUDIT: DISAVOWED DOCUMENT ACKNOWLEDGES

CORRUPTION

 

REF: LAND AUDIT REPORT FAXED TO AF/S

 

1. (SBU) Summary. Long plagued by accusations of chaos and

official corruption in its Land Reform and Resettlement

Program (LRRP), the GOZ has promised since last September a

land audit to investigate program implementation. Various

other unofficial lists purporting to document this official

corruption have been circulated by interested parties,

including the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and Justice for

Agriculture (JAG). Despite GOZ assurances that it was

looking into such accusations, no official report has ever

been released. However, three documents distributed as

“leaked” copies of the official interim report on the land

audit (ref) have been making the rounds of the diplomatic

community and the international press. Now that newspapers

have published excerpts from the “leaked” report, one

GOZ-linked newspaper has claimed that an official report does

not exist. In our view, the report is likely genuine,

although unlikely to be officially acknowledged. Leaking of

the document, however, has had the useful effect of exposing

at least some of the shenanigans and putting more pressure on

Zanu-PF to correct the abuses. End summary.

 

———————

Report? What Report?

———————

2. (SBU) In addition to recent summaries appearing in the

newsletter “Africa Confidential” and the Financial Times, a

report on the official LRRP land audit appeared in the

pro-Zanu-PF weekly the Sunday Mirror. However, the following

week (March 2, 2003), the Sunday Mirror headlined, “Govt

Denies Existence of Land Audit Report.” In the text of the

article, the denial continues (begin text): “There is no

such report, and whatever report there is, is merely an

invention of the enemies of the State,” a senior government

official said… He strongly castigated the Sunday Mirror for

having reproduced the “Africa Confidential” report, which

broke the story in its February 21 issue. “It was an act of

mischief on your (the Sunday Mirror’s) part to have

reproduced that story, for there was definitely no report to

leak since it does not exist,” the official reprimanded. (End

text.)

 

——————–

Detailing the Abuses

——————–

3. (SBU) The first of the three documents details abuses

within both the Ministry of Lands and local government bodies

in implementing LRRP, among them:

— failure of the Ministry to release state land for

resettlement

— failure of the Ministry of Lands to delist some wrongfully

acquired farms despite clear administrative guidelines,

including agro-industrial farms, plantations, export

production zones, and properties protected by Bilateral

Investment Treaties (BITs)

— failure of the Ministry to implement the “one man one

farm” policy, both for white and indigenous farmers

— failure of the Ministry to implement maximum farm sizes

for allocations of A2 plots, as delineated within each

agro-ecological region

— failure of the Ministry to act on LA3 Forms (forms by

which a property owner subdivides his own land and offers

land in excess of the maximum farm size to the GOZ for

resettlement)

— allocation of separate A2 plots to both spouses of a

married couple “contrary to policy”

— allocation of multiple A2 plots to some

politically-connected beneficiaries

— re-designation of A1, or small-scale de-congestion plots,

to A2, or large-scale commercial plots

— issuance of “Certificates of No Present Interest” to

indigenous buyers (and thus permission to purchase) for farms

which have already been formally resettled

— failure of the Ministry to promptly assess amount of

compensation payable for improvements on acquired farms

— bad-faith actions of local District Land Committees in

targeting specific inappropriate properties (including hotels

and guest houses) for the benefit of “local political

heavyweights”

— actions of some local politicians in interfering with

District Land Committees and allocating land based on their

own preferences

 

4. (SBU) The first document also details inadequacies in the

GOZ’s implementation of support for the LRRP, including:

— crop and seed input schemes

— fertilizer supply schemes

— transport for crop inputs

— tillage services

— livestock development schemes (“heifer loan scheme”)

— irrigation equipment rehabilitation

— and borehole (well) drilling for both potable water and

irrigation purposes

 

The lack of coherent policy regarding conservancies is

briefly highlighted, and one paragraph addresses the “Farm

Workers Plight,” noting that many districts do not have

statistics on the number of farm workers and their current

activities or whereabouts. The impetus behind this concern

is revealed, however, in the final sentence: “…these farm

workers were not only disrupting the operations of A2 farmers

but have also been reported to be poaching and cutting down

trees in certain areas.”

 

5. (SBU) The Interim Report closes with a list of

recommendations and advice for getting the LRRP back on

track. The recommendations include,

 

— “Seed houses should be encouraged to produce adequate seed

through the regular and timeous review of seed prices.”

— “Fertiliser producers should be encouraged to produce

adequate quantities through the regular and timeous review of

fertiliser prices.”

 

In conclusion, the report cites “the successful A1 Model of

resettlement,” while criticizing the shortcomings in the A2

model such as “multiple allocation of plots to certain

individuals and slow uptake.” The conclusion acknowledges

“the current disgruntled feeling among the masses who

expressed their disappointment at the lack of transparency in

the implementation of the (LRRP),” and exhorts the GOZ to

“quickly re-align” the program to “equitably redistribute the

land in Zimbabwe and empower the indigenous people through

land ownership.”

 

—————————-

Addendum — or Hall of Shame

—————————-

6. (SBU) The second document, the Addendum, names names.

Several Zanu-PF stalwarts are mentioned, including

pro-Zanu-PF Mutumwa Mawere and Ibo Mandaza, both of whom have

“purchased” several already resettled farms. The Addendum

states that Dr. Mandaza purchased five separate farms

totaling over 7,500 hectares, and “has since taken the

settled families to court in an attempt to evict them from

the properties.” War veterans Chris Pasipamire (currently

pursuing a PhD in England) and Mike Moyo are “violently

evicting 36 settlers… some (of whom) have been

assaulted…” The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Abednico Ncube is reportedly behind the attempt to “acquire”

two established hotels. Mashonaland Central Governor E.

Manyika (sic) is identified for allocating A2 farms above 350

hectares — some, such as the 1500 hectare farm allocated to

Minister of Mines and Mining Chindori-Chininga, well above

the 200 hectare maximum farm size — thus preventing greater

numbers of indigenous people from benefiting. Minister for

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Sithembisu Nyoni

reportedly claimed a highly-developed citrus, poultry and

livestock farm as an A2 allocation directly from Harare —

despite the fact that the farm was earmarked at the local

level for youths from the National Service training program

as an “agricultural skills training center.”

 

7. (SBU) The most interesting part of the addendum lists

those who have taken multiple farms. A Zanu-PF Who’s Who

list, some of the beneficiaries of multiple farms include:

— Minister Ignatius Chombo, MP J. Gumbo, Governor Josiah

Hungwe, Brig. Kanhanga, Minister Elliot Manyika, Mutumwa

Mawere, Minister and Mrs. Kembo Mohadi, Sabina Mugabe,

Boniface Shamu, ZRP Spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena (2 farms

each);

— MP Kasukuwere, Minister Jonathan Moyo, Governor Obert

Mpofu, Air Marshall Perence Shiri (3 farms each);

— MP S. Mahofa (four farms);

— Governor P. Chanetsa (four farms plus one allocated to his

spouse); and

— C. Chingosho (seven farms).

 

The addendum notes that “The list is not exhaustive as the

people interviewed were scared to reveal any information

least (sic) they might be victimised by the multiple farm

owners who seem to have their loyalists within the various

land committees.”

 

——————————————— ———–

GOZ Expresses Shocked Surprise — and Little Will to Act

——————————————— ———–

8. (SBU) The third document comprises minutes of a meeting

dated Monday December 9. The Chairman of the meeting, Vice

President Msika, states his intention to “reappraise

everybody present on the developments taking place in the

LRRP.” He immediately “expressed his utter dismay at the

chaotic condition on the ground which contradicted His

Excellency’s pronouncements on the LRRP…” After reviewing

the Interim Report, the committee suggested action which

paralleled the suggestions of the Report itself.

 

9. (SBU) A fourth document detailing a second, follow-up

meeting, produced the lone strong statement: “While

Government should continue to proffer assistance to the

farmers care should be exercised to prevent the setting in of

the dependency syndrome. Already some of the farmers

appeared to be entirely waiting on Government for support.

The farmers should be disabused of this misconception. After

all, in their applications, A2 farmers had to prove that they

had capacity to mobilise the necessary resources.

Furthermore, many seemed to be under the illusion that the

farms had been allocated gratis. A lease document was to be

formulated spelling out the terms of payment for the

properties.”

 

——-

Comment

——-

10. (SBU) At some level, the GOZ seems to be aware of its

unsustainable position regarding the A2 aspect of its land

reform program. The report paints a picture of thousands of

expectant “settlers,” many of them not even farmers, placed

on haphazardly allocated pieces of land and waiting for the

impecunious government to till the land and source and

deliver all necessary inputs. Because agriculture is so

central to the Zimbabwean economy, the GOZ now has little

choice but to continue pouring money into this failed scheme

in an effort to restart the economy. The GOZ is responsible

for a debacle wherein local strongmen have felt free to step

in and manipulate the process to their advantage — resulting

in multiple allocations to key figures, re-allocation of

previously settled land, and allocation of land to

non-farmers unequipped to run a productive farm.

 

11. (SBU) The public complaints of Zanu-PF activists over

abuses in the land redistribution program at the December

Zanu-PF conference in Chinoyi first prompted President Mugabe

to promise a land audit. For undertaking this initiative,

Minister Flora Buka was reportedly sidelined and the report

was pigeonholed until it surfaced outside Zimbabwe, leading

to its unsourced disavowal in the GOZ press. While it is

impossible to state unequivocally that the leaked documents

are genuine, much of the information contained therein is

consistent with other publicly available information. It is

our view that the report is likely genuine, but that the GOZ

will be reluctant to release it into the public domain.

SULLIVAN

(36 VIEWS)

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