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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE3470
2001-11-20 08:36:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

AMERICAN FARMER IN ZIMBABWE PROVIDES GLOOMY

Tags:  EAGR PGOV PINR ZI 
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200836Z Nov 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9141

PAGE 01        HARARE  03470  01 OF 02  200922Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AGRE-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00  COME-00  DINT-00  
      DODE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  
      FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   L-00     VCE-00   
      AC-01    NSAE-00  OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PC-01    PM-00    
      PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    TRSE-00  USIE-00  PMB-00   
      DSCC-00  DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /007W
                  ------------------40BAE1  200923Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0323
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003470 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY
PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY
NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/11
TAGS: EAGR PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: AMERICAN FARMER IN ZIMBABWE PROVIDES GLOOMY
SNAPSHOT OF COUNTRY'S COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE

REF: HARARE 3401

CLASSIFIED BY POLOFF TODD C. FAULK FOR REASONS: 1.5 (B)
AND (D).



1. (C) ON NOVEMBER 15, THE EMBASSY RECEIVED AN URGENT
MESSAGE FROM AMERICAN FARMER MITZI CARRUTHERS, WHO, WITH
HER ZIMBABWEAN HUSBAND BRUCE, WORKS A SIZABLE FARM 20 KM
OUTSIDE OF BINDURA TOWN. THEY DO NOT OWN THE PROPERTY,
BUT LEASE IT FROM A ZIMBABWEAN WHO HAS SINCE RELOCATED
TO AUSTRALIA. THE FARM HAD BEEN VISITED THAT DAY BY A
TECHNICAL TEAM FROM THE AGRITEX PARASTATAL BELONGING TO
THE MINISTRY OF LANDS AND AGRICULTURE. AS NEITHER SHE
NOR HER HUSBAND WERE AT HOME, THE FARM MANAGER CONVINCED
THE TEAM TO RETURN THE NEXT DAY. FEARING THEY WERE
ABOUT TO BE SERVED A SECTION 8 EVICTION NOTICE, MRS.
CARRUTHERS, AN EMBASSY WARDEN, CONTACTED THE EMBASSY
(SEE REFTEL FOR DETAILS ON SECTION 8 OF THE LAND
ACQUISITION ACT).



2. (C) ON THE MORNING OF NOVEMBER 16, POLOFF JOINED
MRS. CARRUTHERS AT HER FARM TO AWAIT THE RETURN OF THE
AGRITEX GROUP AND OBSERVE THE PROCEEDINGS. THE GROUP,
COMPRISING TWO YOUNG WOMEN AND A MAN, SHOWED UP MORE
THAN AN HOUR LATE AND EXPLAINED THEY WERE JUST A
TECHNICAL TEAM THERE TO TAKE SOIL SAMPLES, MARK THE
PROPERTY BOUNDARY, AND ASSESS THE EXTENT OF THE FARM'S
INFRASTRUCTURE. (NOTE: THE FARM OWNERS SOME TIME AGO
HAD BEEN SERVED A SECTION 5 NOTICE, WHICH NOTIFIES THE
OWNERS OF THE GOVERNMENT'S INTENTION TO ACQUIRE THE
PROPERTY. SURVEYING THE PROPERTY IS PERMISSIBLE UNDER
SECTION 5 OF THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT. END NOTE.) THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 03470 01 OF 02 200922Z
AGRITEX PEOPLE WERE LOW-KEY AND NON-CONFRONTATIONAL, AND
HAD ALL THE APPEARANCE AND DEMEANOR OF SUMMER INTERNS.
WHEN ASKED IF A SECTION 8 EVICTION NOTICE WAS SOON TO
FOLLOW, THE TEAM LEADER RESPONDED THAT A DIFFERENT
MINISTRY DEPARTMENT WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT AND SHE DID
NOT KNOW WHAT THE DEPARTMENT INTENDED TO DO. THE TEAM
CARRIED OUT ITS ONE-HOUR SURVEY WITHOUT INCIDENT.



3. (C) MRS. CARRUTHERS TOLD POLOFF THAT THIS WAS THE
FIRST TIME HER FARM HAD BEEN VISITED BY THE LANDS
MINISTRY. SHE AND HER HUSBAND HAVE BEEN VERY LUCKY AND
HAVE NOT HAD SQUATTERS OR WAR VETERANS ON THE FARM SINCE
THE TROUBLE BEGAN LAST YEAR. SHE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT A
FEW MONTHS AGO THE MAYOR OF BINDURA APPEARED ON THE FARM
IN AN APPARENT SCOUTING MISSION FOR A PROPERTY THAT WAS
CLOSER TO TOWN. THE MAYOR'S FARM NEAR SHAMVA WAS TOO
FAR AWAY, HE REPORTEDLY TOLD THE FARM MANAGER. MRS.
CARRUTHERS REPORTED THAT HER NEIGHBORS HAVE NOT BEEN SO
FORTUNATE. MOST OF THEM HAVE OCCUPIERS WHO HAVE DENUDED
SURROUNDING FORESTS AND BUILT HUTS ON THE PROPERTIES
(POLOFF OBSERVED SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE OF THIS ON THE WAY
TO THE CARRUTHERS' FARM). THE BINDURA POLICE
COMMISSIONER EVEN BUILT A HUGE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF A
NEIGHBOR'S IRRIGATED FIELD, MRS. CARRUTHERS STATED.



4. (C) ALTHOUGH RELIEVED THAT THEY HAVE NOT BEEN SERVED
A SECTION 8 NOTICE YET, THE CARRUTHERS STATED THEY ARE
WORRIED ABOUT THE FUTURE. THEY ALREADY HAVE ZIM$1.5
MILLION (APPROXIMATELY US$5,000) WORTH OF FERTILIZERS ON
FIELDS THAT ARE INTENDED TO GROW SOYBEANS. THEY HAVE
PURCHASED THE SEED, THEIR WORKERS HAVE PLOWED THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 03470 01 OF 02 200922Z
FIELDS, AND AN EXPENSIVE IRRIGATION SYSTEM IS INSTALLED
AND READY FOR USE, THEY REPORTED. THEY ARE APPREHENSIVE
ABOUT PLANTING -- FEARFUL THAT THEIR CROPS WILL BE
PLOWED OVER BY SQUATTERS OR UNSCRUPULOUS LOCAL OFFICIALS
OR THAT THEY WON'T EVEN BE AROUND TO HARVEST IN A FEW
MONTHS. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THEY DON'T PLANT SOON,
THERE IS NO DOUBT THEY WILL HAVE WASTED MILLIONS OF
ZIMBABWE DOLLARS AND WON'T HAVE ANY WAY TO RECOVER IT.
IN A FOLLOW-UP CONVERSATION NOVEMBER 19, BRUCE
CARRUTHERS REPORTED THAT THE AGRITEX PEOPLE HAD NOT
RETURNED TO THE FARM AS PROMISED. HE AND HIS WIFE ARE
PLANNING TO JOIN A COLLECTIVE APPEAL BY LOCAL FARMERS TO
THE DISTRICT ADMINISTRATOR AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR TO
SAVE THEIR LAND. INDIVIDUAL APPEALS HAVE HAD LITTLE
EFFECT IN THE PAST, HE SAID.



5. (C) COMMENT: IT IS PROBABLY NOT A COINCIDENCE THAT
THE LANDS MINISTRY DECIDED TO SURVEY THE CARRUTHERS FARM
LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER PRESIDENT MUGABE AMENDED THE LAND
ACQUISITION ACT TO PERMIT THE OUTRIGHT NATIONALIZATION
OF ZIMBABWE'S COMMERCIAL FARMS. THE GOVERNMENT IS
EVIDENTLY REDOUBLING ITS EFFORTS TO SEIZE MOST WHITE-
OWNED PROPERTY BEFORE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DUE BY
MARCH 2002. GIVEN THE NEW LEGISLATION AND THE BINDURA

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ9140

PAGE 01 HARARE 03470 02 OF 02 200922Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AGRE-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 COME-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00
FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PC-01 PM-00
PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00
DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /007W


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

40BAE3 200923Z /38
P 200836Z NOV 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0324
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003470

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY
PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY
NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/11
TAGS: EAGR PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: AMERICAN FARMER IN ZIMBABWE PROVIDES GLOOMY
SNAPSHOT OF COUNTRY'S COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE

MAYOR'S INTEREST IN THE FARM, WE FEAR THE CARRUTHERS'
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 03470 02 OF 02 200922Z
HERETOFORE GOOD FORTUNE, AND CENTURY-LONG HISTORY IN
ZIMBABWE, MAY SOON COME TO AN END. END COMMENT.

SULLIVAN

CONFIDENTIAL

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