US ambassador says John Nkomo is too timid to assert himself

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front chairman and Lands Minister John Nkomo was too timid to assert himself and was leaving hardliners, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, to run the land reform programme, United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan said.

He was commenting on the latest trends in the land reform programme where a barrage of unsigned letters in The Herald were criticising Nkomo for trying to reverse the programme.

“Clearly, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has thrown the weight of the official media behind Agriculture Minister Made, who is upset over losing the land reform portfolio,” the ambassador said in commentary to a cable he dispatched in May 2004.

“Hardliners Moyo and Made may want to purge remaining white farmers. As major land reform beneficiaries, they may also seek to scuttle any crackdown on multiple farm recipients. Even with encouragement from Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Nkomo - from the minority Ndebele ethnic group - has been too timid to assert himself.

“Hardliners recently prevailed over moderates in taking over Charleswood  Estate and Kondozi farms, skirting numerous judicial decisions. Should Gono eventually assert himself more publicly on the land issue, it may be more difficult for Made and Moyo to steer the process and debate. For now, these hardliners seem to be coming out on top. “

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE862, More GOZ Infighting on Land Issue

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE862

2004-05-24 05:14

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 HARARE 000862

 

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: More GOZ Infighting on Land Issue

 

1. (SBU) Summary: GOZ bickering over land reform has

intensified over the past week, pitting hardliners

against moderates. End summary.

 

The Daily Herald Barrage

------------------------

2. (SBU) Publicly, this wrangle has taken the form of

attacks from the GOZ's daily Herald on Lands, Land Reform

and Resettlement Minister John Nkomo. He is gingerly

attempting to move some settlers around and possibly

account for multiple farm recipients. On May 17, an

unsigned Herald article quoted an unnamed political

analyst, saying Nkomo actions are "tantamount to a

reversal of the land reform program . . . and will have

far-reaching implications." The May 18 Herald suggested

"not all is well with [land reform] since the splitting

up" of the Agriculture and Lands Ministry into two

separate bodies. Similar reports have followed, with

Nkomo finally denouncing these unnamed sources and

denying he was turning back land reform or returning

farms to whites. Today an unsigned Herald letter-to-the-

editor complained that Nkomo had "bedeviled" the "land

reform program since he took over [from] Minister Joseph

Made."

 

Comment

-------

3. (SBU) Clearly, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has

thrown the weight of the official media behind

Agriculture Minister Made, who is upset over losing the

land reform portfolio. Hardliners Moyo and Made may want

to purge remaining white farmers. As major land reform

beneficiaries, they may also seek to scuttle any

crackdown on multiple farm recipients. Even with

encouragement from Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono,

Nkomo - from the minority Ndebele ethnic group - has been

too timid to assert himself. Hardliners recently

prevailed over moderates in taking over Charleswood

Estate and Kondozi farms, skirting numerous judicial

decisions. Should Gono eventually assert himself more

publicly on the land issue, it may be more difficult for

Made and Moyo to steer the process and debate. For now,

these hardliners seem to be coming out on top.

 

Sullivan

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