[OPE-L:3003] Zimbabwe

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 14:23:17 EDT

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Nicky, I am a bit confused by your account of events. The constitutional
referendum which was voted down in Februrary would have given Mugabe broad
based powers, only one of which would have been the right to confiscate
white owned lands (whites, less than 20f the pop, own 300f the land,
700f the most arable land, right?) Now while whites of course voted down
the constitutional reform primarily because of the confiscation powers
Mugabe was trying to obtain, is this why the majority of the people voted
it down? I can find no confirmation of this claim in the news stories
which I just read. And if this were the case, then why is Mugabe trying
to win the election in part--aside from the brutal murder and repression
which has characterized his regime from the outset--by forcing Britain to
compensate the settlers for confiscated land? Are you sure that there is
widespread popular opposition to this specific measure? Of course I would
sign any petition against the international finance community's
darling Mugabe's use of terror to suppress opponents,
but getting Britain to compensate settlers would not be the reason for my
opposition. It seems to me a terrible blunder to make this the focus of
opposition to Mugabe--I shared Julian's and Paul C's reaction to your
initial comments. By the way, do you know how Morgan Tvsenginai (sorry
for any misspelling) has proposed to deal with the land crisis?
Yours, Rakesh

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