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Biti demands investigation of Gono

Finance Minister Tendai Biti demanded that cabinet should investigate central bank governor Gideon Gono over the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s US$1.2 billion debt.

Biti had been seeking without success the removal of Gono.

The appointments of Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana was now one of the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.

But Biti told United States ambassador James McGhee that the issue of Gono was merely academic.

“We have dealt with his mischief,” he said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE342, ZIM NOTES 04-17-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE342

2009-04-27 07:35

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9457

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0342/01 1170735

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 270735Z APR 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4417

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2272

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2793

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2912

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1357

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2177

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2542

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2960

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5401

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2086

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000342

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND J. HARMON

COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 04-17-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

 

– Stalemate Continues…

– Biti Demands Investigation of Gono, Travels to U.S…

– Ministerial Visit Fails to Quell Disruptions at Farms…

– Constitutional Committee Still Lacks a Chair…

– Political Detainees Rearrested…

– Kunonga vs. Bakare – The Battles Against the Anglican Church

Continue…

– While Anglican Priests Face Charges…

– Media Groups Slam Proposed Media Conference…

– Germany Lifts Travel Warning…

– Gono Admits to Raiding Bank Accounts…

– Old Mutual to Pay Pensions in Foreign Exchange…

– Credit Crunch May Force Government to Sell Parastatals…

– Zimbabwe’s Passport Fees Reduced…

– Activity Picks Up On the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)…

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

2. Stalemate Continues… The GOZ’s executive committee,

consisting of President Robert Mugabe and his two vice-presidents

and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his two deputy prime

ministers met on Thursday for the second time this week to resolve

outstanding issues. The principals will brief their parties this

weekend and resume discussions on Monday.

 

3. Biti Demands Investigation of Gono, Travels to U.S… Minister

of Finance Tendai Biti reportedly demanded that Cabinet investigate

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono over the RBZ’s US$1.2

billion debt. Biti has been seeking, without success, Gono’s

removal as governor. Biti is in Washington, DC for Spring IMF/World

Bank meetings this weekend, and for meetings with U.S. officials.

 

4. Ministerial Visit Fails to Quell Disruptions at Farms…

Violent incidents continued to occur at several disputed

Chegutu-area farms following visits by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur

Mutambara and other high-ranking government ministers on April 17.

Police shot two employees of the Stockdale Farm, which is being

contested by Senate President Edna Madzongwe and the owner, Peter

Etheredge. The two were rushed to a Harare hospital; one lost part

of his leg. Last week Madzongwe’s supporters beat to death an area

resident attempting to steal fruit from a tree. At a different farm

an employee was thrown into a fire, but survived. At four other

Chegutu farms, a mix of war veterans and youth broke locks to gain

entry, destroyed personal property, and barred access to farm

employers and employees. During his visit, Mutambara had strongly

criticized the invaders and ordered them to leave and allow the

courts to determine ownership. See Harare 333.

 

5. Constitutional Committee Still Lacks a Chair… The three

political leaders (Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara) have still not

determined who should lead the Select Constitutional Committee

responsible for directing the process to a new constitution. The

dispute is over whether it should be led by a parliamentarian or an

independent individual. In the interim, the committee will be

Qindependent individual. In the interim, the committee will be

co-chaired by two MPs: Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T and Munyaradzi

Mangwana of ZANU-PF. Attempting to defuse civil society’s

opposition to the drafting process, Prime Minister Tsvangirai met

with the head of the National Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore

Madhuku, on April 22. According to independent press reports, the

two men failed to reconcile differences.

 

 

HARARE 00000342 002 OF 003

 

 

6. Political Detainees Rearrested… After being released on bail

on April 17 and while being treated for injuries at the Avenues

Clinic in Harare, two of the last three identified MDC political

detainees were once again placed under armed guard at the clinic.

According to the detainee’s lawyer, the guards said that Gandhi

Mudzingwa and Chris Dhlamini would remain in police custody. A

manhunt has begun for freelance photographer Andrison Manyere who

left the hospital after bail was granted. The State belatedly

appealed bail, allowing the police to resume guarding Mudzingwa and

Dhlamini. An additional seven unidentified abductees remain

unaccounted for. See Harare 332.

 

7. Kunonga vs. Bakare – The Battles Against the Anglican Church

Continue… While poloff was meeting with a group of Anglican

priests on April 21, one received a call that his church in

Avondale, Harare was being cleaned out by supporters of ZANU-PF

stalwart, excommunicated former Bishop Kunonga. At the church,

about 30 Kunonga supporters and suspected ZANU-PF youths were

outside the building piling up office furniture, files, and even

little red and blue chairs from the church preschool. While

claiming to have a court order supporting the eviction, the

Kunonga-affiliated rector could not produce it. Police refused to

stop the Kunonga group. The first item the Kunonga supporters moved

in was a large photo of Robert Mugabe.   This comes less than two

weeks after the co-ministers of Home Affairs directed the two

factions to share church property.

 

8. While Anglican Priests Face Charges… After being arrested on

March 29 while attempting to hold church services in the Harare

suburb of Glen Norah, six defendants (a priest, a student priest, a

church youth leader, a church warden, and two parishioners) loyal to

Bakare appeared in court on April 20 to face charges of disturbing

the peace and inciting violence. When the police witnesses for the

prosecution did not show up, the case was remanded (for a second

time) to April 23. The State presented their cse on April 23 and

the hearing was adjourned after several hours until April 27 when

the church will present its case and the priests will testify.

 

9. Media Groups Slam Proposed Media Conference… Civil society

groups Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, Media Monitoring Project

Zimbabwe, MISA Zimbabwe, and the Africa Community Publishing

Development Trust have described the proposed government-sponsored

media conference agenda as “fatally compromised and anathema to

media freedom and the principles of the Global Political Agreement.”

The media conference whose theme is “Towards an Open, Tolerant and

Responsible Media Environment” is scheduled for May 6 to 8 in

Nyanga, Manicaland. The groups contend that most of the proposed

facilitators and presenters are “hostile to media freedom and the

free flow of information within Zimbabwe.”

 

10. Germany Lifts Travel Warning… On April 21, Germany announced

Q10. Germany Lifts Travel Warning… On April 21, Germany announced

it was lifting its travel warnings to Zimbabwe. This follows recent

announcements by both the U.S. and Japan to remove travel

advisories.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

11. Gono Admits to Raiding Bank Accounts… Reserve Bank Governor

Gideon Gono admitted on April 20 that he took hard currency from the

bank accounts of private businesses and foreign aid groups without

permission, but with government authorization, saying he was trying

to keep his country’s cash-strapped ministries running. Gono also

published in the Herald a detailed accounting of all the cars his

ministry purchased and to which ministries they were sent. Gono is

trying to make the case that all his actions were sanctioned by the

government to assist the government.

 

12. Old Mutual to Pay Pensions in Foreign Exchange… Old Mutual

 

HARARE 00000342 003 OF 003

 

 

advised pensioners that it will pay pensions in foreign currency in

June. Old Mutual had suspended pension payments in January 2009,

citing lack of liquidity arising from the suspension of trading on

the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. It is not yet clear how much

pensioners will receive given the current market liquidity

constraints.

 

13. Credit Crunch May Force Government to Sell Parastatals… The

Herald on April 22 reported on its website that Zimbabwe is

considering selling some state-owned enterprises in order to raise

money to fund the economic recovery process. The notice goes on to

state that the Finance Minister and the Minister of State

Enterprises will table this proposal at a Cabinet meeting the week

of April 26.

 

14. Zimbabwe’s Passport Fees Reduced… Following a public outcry

over exorbitant fees, the Home Affairs ministry instructed the

Registrar-General to reduce passport fees from US$670 to US$170 for

a standard passport, US$310 for a 24-hour passport and US$385 for an

express passport. According to the co-ministers of Home Affairs, the

new fees will continue to be reviewed downwards, as they remain

higher than those of neighboring countries.

 

15. Activity Picks Up On the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)…

After months of very low trading on the local bourse, activity

picked up strongly during the past eight days with most stocks

recording significant gains. According to Emmanuel Munyukwi, the

CEO of the ZSE, this rise has been underpinned by the restoration of

foreign trading of dual-listed companies.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

16. “They will not vote against Zimbabwe at the WB, IMF, and IFC.

They will behave well.” — Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara

after meeting with British Ambassador Andrew Pocock on April 23.

 

 

MCGEE

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