MPs panel beaten to pass land bill

A former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislator for Chimanimani, Mike Mataure, says ZANU-PF Members of Parliament were told by President Robert Mugabe to vote for a constitutional amendment that allowed the government to compulsorily acquire land without compensation to save their necks.

Mataure said the MPs had requested the meeting with Mugabe to discuss their grievances concerning irregularities in the party primary elections for the 2000 parliamentary elections as most of them had been rejected in the primaries.

Mugabe is reported to have laid down the law- vote with the party on the land issue and we will look into your grievances later.

The bill got the required two-thirds majority needed for a constitutional amendment with 100 MPs voting for the bill.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE1914, PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE1914

2000-04-07 11:20

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

071120Z Apr 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1015

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01914 01 OF 03 071114Z

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------------------48F8C4 071115Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5694

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

USDOC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001914

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

USDOC FOR ERIC HENDERSON

 

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S - RENDER, GURNEY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01914 01 OF 03 071114Z

 

DEPT PASS TO USAID AFR/SA - BILL JEFFERS, NNEWMAN

AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID RMMCCALL

 

DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID EAGR ZI

SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON

LAND ACQUISITION

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER MAKILA JAMES, FOR

REASONS 1.5 B AND D

 

REF: A) HARARE 1777, B) HARARE 1731, C) HARARE 1841

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: ON APRIL 6, ZIMBABWE'S PARLIAMENT

PASSED A CONTROVERSIAL BILL, AMENDING THE NATIONAL

CONSTITUTION FOR THE 16TH TIME, TO ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT

TO ACQUIRE LAND FOR RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES WITHOUT

COMPENSATION (REFTEL A). THE VOTE FOLLOWED SOME ARM-

TWISTING BY PRESIDENT MUGABE, WHO ADDRESSED THE ZANU-PF

PARLIAMENTARIANS EARLIER ON THE DAY OF THE VOTE AND

DIRECTED THEM TO SUPPORT THE PARTY POSITION ON LAND.

THE BILL HAD BEEN FAST-TRACKED BY THE EXECUTIVE IN THE

EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, CONVENED

SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS FROM APRIL 4

TO 6. DESPITE THE LEGISLATION, ENABLING THE GOVERNMENT

TO EFFECT ITS "POLITICAL SOLUTION" TO THE COMMERCIAL

FARM INVASIONS, THE WAR VETERAN LEADERSHIP HAS VOWED TO

REMAIN PUT AND GIVE UP NO LAND. END SUMMARY.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01914 01 OF 03 071114Z

 

2. (C) OF THE 150 MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT (MPS)(ALL BUT

THREE ARE ZANU-PF MEMBERS), 100 MPS VOTED IN FAVOR OF

THE LAND ACQUISITION BILL ON APRIL 6, WITH ONE

ABSTENTION FROM OUTSPOKEN ZIMBABWE UNION OF DEMOCRATS

(ZUD) PARTY PRESIDENT, MARGARET DONGO. THE REMAINING

MPS WERE NOT PRESENT FOR THE VOTE, ALTHOUGH NOT BECAUSE

OF ANY ORGANIZED BOYCOTT OR ABSTENTION. DONGO TOLD

EMBOFFS ON APRIL 7 THAT SHE HAD BEEN LOBBYING HARD TO

BLOCK THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL AND BELIEVED THAT SHE HAD

GARNERED THE SUPPORT OF 20 OTHER MPS. THE STRATEGY WAS

FOR THE CHIEF WHIP, MOSES MVENGE, TO CHALLENGE THE BILL

AND HAVE DONGO AND OTHERS JOIN IN, ACCORDING TO THE ZUD

PRESIDENT. THE STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE BILL WAS

CONFIRMED BY OTHER MPS IN RECENT CONVERSATIONS WITH

POLOFF AND AF DAS SCHNEIDMAN DURING HIS MARCH 22 TO 24

VISIT TO ZIMBABWE (REFTELS A AND B). THE DEAL FELL

APART WHEN PRESIDENT MUGABE WHIPPED THE MPS INTO LINE

DURING A MEETING HE HELD WITH THEM ON THE MORNING OF

APRIL 7, ONE OF THE VERY FEW TIMES HE HAS MET WITH THEM

AS A GROUP OUTSIDE OF HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS.

 

3. (C) MIKE MATAURE, FORMERLY CHAIRMAN OF THE

PARLIAMENTARY REFORM COMMITTEE, TOLD US ON APRIL 7 THAT

THE MPS HAD REQUESTED A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT TO

DISCUSS THEIR GRIEVANCES CONCERNING IRREGULARITIES IN

THE ONGOING ZANU-PF PARTY PRIMARIES. MANY OF THE MPS

HAVE BEEN REJECTED IN THOSE PRIMARIES AND WILL NOT

RUNNING FOR REELECTION, INCLUDING SEVERAL MINISTERS,

DEPUTY MINISTERS AND PARTY STALWARTS. OTHER MPS,

SENSING THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE RULING PARTY'S BLESSINGS,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01914 01 OF 03 071114Z

OR THAT RIGGING WOULD LED TO THEIR DEFEAT, CHOSE NOT TO

RUN ON A ZANU-PF TICKET. THIS GROUP SAYS IT WILL RUN AS

INDEPENDENTS. NEVERTHELESS, ALL 100 WHO VOTED FOR THE

LAND ACQUISITION BILL ATTENDED THE MEETING WITH THE

PRESIDENT, WHICH WAS HELD AT ZANU-PF PARTY HEADQUARTERS.

MUGABE REPORTEDLY LAID DOWN THE LAW -- VOTE WITH THE

PARTY ON THIS ISSUE, AS LAND IS A MATTER OF "NATIONAL

SOVEREIGNTY," AND WE WILL LOOK INTO YOUR GRIEVANCES

LATER.

 

4. (U) THE LAND ACQUISITION BILL WAS INTRODUCED BY THE

MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS,

EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, ON APRIL 4 AND APPROVED BY A TWO-

THIRD MAJORITY, AS REQUIRED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL

AMENDMENTS, AFTER THE THIRD READING OF THE BILL TWO DAYS

LATER. DONGO DISPUTES THAT THERE WAS A QUORUM, AS SHE

MAINTAINS THAT THE BILL REQUIRED 101 VOTES. MINISTER OF

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, NATHAN SHAMUYARIRA, AND MINISTER

WITHOUT PORTFOLIO IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND

ZANU-PF'S CHIEF LAW OFFICER, EDDISON ZVOGBO, SPOKE IN

FAVOR OF THE BILL. BOTH MEN ARGUED THAT THE LEGISLATION

WAS NOT RACIAL, ONLY DESIGNED TO ADDRESS THE LONG-

STANDING IMBALANCE OF LAND DISTRIBUTION IN ZIMBABWE,

OVER WHICH THE COUNTRY'S WAR OF LIBERATION WAS FOUGHT.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO0198

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01914 02 OF 03 071115Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-01

DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-01   VC-01   H-01

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NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00

ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00

SAS-00     /014W

------------------48F8D9 071115Z /38

P 071120Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5695

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

USDOC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 001914

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

USDOC FOR ERIC HENDERSON

 

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02        HARARE 01914 02 OF 03 071115Z

DEPT FOR AF/S - RENDER, GURNEY

 

DEPT PASS TO USAID AFR/SA - BILL JEFFERS, NNEWMAN

AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID RMMCCALL

 

DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID EAGR ZI

SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON

LAND ACQUISITION

 

NOW THAT THE MEMBERS HAVE COMPLETED THEIR LEGISLATIVE

BUSINESS, THEY ADJOURNED AND PARLIAMENT'S LIFE LEGALLY

EXPIRES ON APRIL 12. THE NEW PARLIAMENT WILL NOT COME

INTO EXISTENCE UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION SCHEDULED FOR

SOME TIME IN MAY, ALTHOUGH MOST EXPERTS BELIEVE THE VOTE

CANNOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL LATE IN JUNE OR JULY BECAUSE OF

LOGISTICAL DELAYS. CONSEQUENTLY, NO OTHER LEGISLATIVE

BUSINESS WILL BE DEALT WITH IN PARLIAMENT. IN THE

INTERIM, MUGABE HAS AUTHORITY TO EFFECT "EMERGENCY

LEGISLATION" UNDER THE "PRESIDENTIAL POWERS ACT," SHOULD

HE DEEM ANY NECESSARY, ACCORDING TO THE PARLIAMENTARY

SPEAKER.

 

5. (U) AMENDMENT 16 MUST NOW BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE

PRESIDENT, WHICH IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN SOON. THIS BILL

CONTAINS IDENTICAL LAND ACQUISITION LANGUAGE AS THAT IN

CLAUSE 57 OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION, WHICH WAS REJECTED

IN FEBRUARY. SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, INCLUDING

VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH MSIKA, HAVE DESCRIBED THIS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 01914 02 OF 03 071115Z

LEGISLATION AS THEIR "POLITICAL SOLUTION" TO THE

OCCUPATION OF PRIMARILY WHITE-OWNED COMMERCIAL FARMS BY

WAR VETERANS (REFTEL B). URBAN ZIMBABWEANS REMAIN

HIGHLY CRITICAL OF THE GOVERNMENT'S MANIPULATION OF THE

LAND ISSUE. THEY SEE IT AS A POLITICAL PLOY TO GAIN

SUPPORT IN ADVANCE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. RURAL

PEOPLE HAVE ALSO INDICATED IN A RECENT POLL BY THE HELEN

SUZMAN FOUNDATION THAT LAND REDISTRIBUTION IS NOT THEIR

PRIORITY ISSUE. NEVERTHELESS, LAND IS STILL A VERY

EMOTIONAL AND CONTENTIOUS ISSUE FOR BLACK AND WHITE

ZIMBABWEANS WHO GENERALLY SUPPORT THE NEED FOR A

TRANSPARENT AND ORDERLY LAND REFORM PROGRAM. IN THIS

REGARD, CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE CONDEMNED THE

GOVERNMENT'S ATTEMPT TO EXPLOIT THE LAND QUESTION DURING

THIS CAMPAIGN SEASON AND CALLED FOR A MEANINGFUL LAND

REFORM PROGRAM, BUT HAVE NOT YET STRONGLY ATTACKED THIS

NEW BILL. SIMILARLY, THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION,

WHOSE 4,500 MEMBERS ARE PRIMARILY WHITE, HAS NOT YET

RESPONDED PUBLICLY TO THE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 16.

 

6. (U) THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL LIBERATION WAR

VETERANS ASSOCIATION (NLWVA), AGRIPPA GAVA, TOLD EMBOFFS

ON APRIL 6 THAT THE VETERANS WHO ARE OCCUPYING OVER 700

COMMERCIAL FARMS ARE "NEVER GOING TO MOVE OFF THESE

FARMS." GAVA DISMISSED THE GOVERNMENT'S "POLITICAL

SOLUTION" AND INSISTED THAT THEY WILL NOT VACATE THE

LAND. IN THE MEANTIME, THE POLICE HAVE DONE NOTHING TO

EFFECT A MARCH 17 COURT ORDER TO REMOVE THE ILLEGAL

OCCUPIERS, AND HAVE INSTEAD FILED A MOTION ASKING THE

COURT TO MODIFY THE EVICTION ORDER WHICH THE POLICE SAY

THEY CANNOT ENFORCE WITHOUT PROVOKING VIOLENCE.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 01914 02 OF 03 071115Z

 

7. (U) THE BILL ALSO PROVIDED FOR THE CREATION OF AN

ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION, WHICH ONLY CAN MAKE

RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT ON MEASURES TO ENHANCE

INTEGRITY. THE COMMISSION, HOWEVER, WHICH WILL BE

APPOINTED BY AND REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT, IS THEREFORE

NOT CONSIDERED INDEPENDENT AND WILL HAVE ONLY LIMITED

AUTHORITY TO PROSECUTE ANY ACTS OF CORRUPTION (REFTEL

C).

 

8. (C) COMMENT: THE GOVERNMENT HAS MAINTAINED THAT ITS

INTENT WITH CLAUSE 57 OF THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND NOW

WITH THE ADOPTED AMENDMENT 16 IS TO ALLOW IT TO ACQUIRE

COMMERCIAL FARM LAND FOR RESETTLEMENT PURPOSES, AS

NEEDED, AND SUBJECT TO THE CRITERIA SET OUT IN THE

LEGISLATION. THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSES ON ACTUAL

IMPLEMENTATION THEN BECOMES MUCH MORE VAGUE, WITH SOME

DEGREE OF VACILLATION ON THE INTENT TO ACTUALLY TAKE ANY

FARMS WITHOUT PAYING COMPENSATION. NEVERTHELESS,

AMENDMENT 16 ESTABLISHES THE LEGAL BASIS TO DO SO. THE

GOVERNMENT IS NOW FACED WITH HOW TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS

OF THE WAR VETERANS AND THEIR UNEMPLOYED YOUTH

SUPPORTERS WHO MAY REFUSE TO LEAVE. WHILE WE BELIEVE A

PORTION OF THE OCCUPIED FARMS WILL NOW BE VACATED, AS

THE SQUATTERS WERE ONLY ABLE TO REMAIN WITH GOVERNMENT

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1020

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 01914 03 OF 03 071115Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-01   VC-01   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /012W

------------------48F8E0 071116Z /38

P 071120Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5696

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

USDOC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 001914

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

USDOC FOR ERIC HENDERSON

 

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S - RENDER, GURNEY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 01914 03 OF 03 071115Z

 

DEPT PASS TO USAID AFR/SA - BILL JEFFERS, NNEWMAN

AA/AFR - VNEWTON, AND A/AID RMMCCALL

 

DEPT PASS TO USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/00

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID EAGR ZI

SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON

LAND ACQUISITION

 

SUPPORT, THERE ARE LIKELY TO BE LOCATIONS WHERE THE WAR

VETS MIGHT RESIST EVICTION. THE SITUATION ON THE

COMMERCIAL FARMS REMAIN VOLATILE, WITH MORE REPORTS OF

ATTACKS AGAINST FARM WORKERS AND OWNERS BY THE

OCCUPIERS. BUT ON BALANCE, THE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 16

IS WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTED AND IT MAY NOW BEGIN TO

DISLODGE THE OCCUPIERS AND REENGAGE WITH THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON LAND REFORM FROM WHAT IT

PERCEIVES AS A POSITION OF STRENGTH. END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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