in Stories

Biti named best finance minister in Africa

Finance Minister Tendai Biti was named by Euromoney Emerging Markets the Best Finance Minister in Africa.

Biti had withstood steady abuse from the government press for prudent policies that put a stop to the destabilising habits of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono.

Despite the iron constraints that came with a cash budget, Zimbabwe’s economy had recovered significantly under Biti’s watch.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE812, ZIM NOTES 10-09-2009

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE812

2009-10-13 11:24

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8387

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0812/01 2861124

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 131124Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4999

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3077

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3189

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1618

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2452

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2821

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3237

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5684

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2371

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000812

 

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 10-09-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– Mugabe Opens Parliament…

– …And Then Attacks West’s “Obnoxious Agenda”…

– State Media Calls Off Attack Dogs…

– … And Then Intimidates Independent Paper…

– Voter Roll Irregularities…

– Striking Mine Workers Shot, Intimidated…

– Minister of Defense Leads Diamond Delegation…

– Zim Third-to-Last in Governance…

– Biti is Best Finance Minister in Africa…

– Stock Exchange Rises Against a Sea of Gloom…

– Large Textile Firm Goes Under…

– Journalists Astounded…

– Government Cooks Up Another Privatization Plan…

– Gono Wins Ig Nobel Prize…

 

———————————

On the Political and Social Front

———————————-

 

2. Mugabe Opens Parliament… President Robert Mugabe gave a

subdued and conciliatory speech at the opening of Parliament this

week. There was a marked contrast with the atmosphere last year

when MDC MPs jeered him and accused him of stealing the election.

Under instructions from their party, they remained respectful and

even applauded when Mugabe called for unity. Instead of the

anti-Western rhetoric of previous parliamentary openings, Mugabe

stated, “Our country remains in a positive stance to enter into

fresh, friendly and cooperative relations with all those countries

that have been hostile to us in the past.” Mugabe also said that as

re-engagement proceeds, he would expect sanctions to be lifted.

 

3. …And Then Attacks West’s “Obnoxious Agenda”… President

Mugabe spoke at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

‘World 2009’ meeting in Geneva on Wednesday. He attacked the West

for what he called the continued violation of Zimbabwe’s airwaves by

foreign based radio stations. Mugabe told a Council of Ministers

meeting that ‘certain western countries’ had ‘radio broadcasting

systems’ that were targeting ‘his’ country to further their

‘obnoxious regime change agendas.’

 

4. State Media Calls Off Attack Dogs… State media has ceased, at

least for the time being, attacks on Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai. A Tsvangirai advisor told us that “hate speech” was one

of the issues about which Tsvangirai had recently confronted

President Robert Mugabe, and that Mugabe had subsequently instructed

George Charamba, presidential spokesperson and permanent secretary

in the Ministry of Information, to lay off. Charamba, who has

substantial control over the content of State media, took Mugabe’s

instructions one step further. There has been no negative coverage

of Tsvangirai, but neither has there been any other coverage.

 

5. …And Then Intimidates Independent Paper… George Charamba

admonished Zimbabwe Independent Editor Barnabas Thondhlana to not

launch publication of a new independent daily “NewsDay.” Charamba

threatened to arrest him if the paper begins publishing without a

license from the Media Information Commission. The MIC has been

Qlicense from the Media Information Commission. The MIC has been

defunct for more than six month, and until the President announces

the new Zimbabwe Media Commission, there is no body to issue

licenses.

 

6. Voter Roll Irregularities… In an exhaustive preliminary

analysis of the Zimbabwe voters’ roll entitled “2013 Vision-Seeing

Double and the Dead,” the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) based in

 

HARARE 00000812 002 OF 003

 

 

Harare points to numerous irregularities that undermine the

possibility of a fair election in Zimbabwe. Among RAU’s findings:

There are over 74,000 registered voters over the age of 100 out of

approximately 6 million voters (and RAU asserts the 6 million figure

is improbable in a population that was calculated at 11.6 million in

the last census in 2002); there are over 182,000 voters registered

in two or more constituencies; in a number of instances, entire

blocks of voters appear in two constituencies. Because electoral

authorities refused to release detailed election results, it was

impossible to compare the voters’ roll with actual voting. RAU

recommends legislative reform to remove the discretion of the

Registrar-General in registration of voters, a reconstituted and

independent electoral commission, a new Registrar-General, and

construction of a new voters’ roll.   The RAU report can be found

at: www.sokwanele.com/this

iszimbabwe/archives/4858

 

7. Striking Mine Workers Shot, Intimidated… Three leaders of a

protracted strike at Shabanie asbestos mine in central Zimbabwe were

shot on September 25 by police apparently acting at the behest of

management of the government-operated mine. Since the shooting,

workers have returned to the job, fearing further violence and loss

of their mine-owned housing. Labor leaders have called for an

official inquiry into the shooting, but so far no action has been

taken. See Harare 788.

 

8. Minister of Defense Leads Diamond Delegation… The Herald is

reporting that Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is leading a

Zimbabwean delegation to Angola and Namibia to consult on how best

to comply with Kimberley Process recommendations in exploiting the

Chiadzwa diamonds. Deputy Minister of Mines Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T)

and other “high level officials” are also on the trip. Zwizwai

caused a firestorm in the MDC in June when he repeated ZANU-PF’s

mantra that there had been no violence in the lucrative, troubled

diamond fields, where NGOs report over 200 have been killed in the

last year.

 

9. Zim Third-to-Last in Governance… The Mo Ibrahim Foundation

released its Index of African Governance this week, ranking Zimbabwe

51 out of the 53 African countries measured by commitment to four

pillars of governance – safety and rule of law, participation and

human rights, sustainable economic opportunity, and human

development. Only Somalia and Chad scored worse.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

10. Biti is Best Finance Minister in Africa… In another case of

a prophet not being popular at home, Finance Minister Tendai Biti

has just won the Euromoney Emerging Markets award for Best Finance

Minister in Africa. Biti has withstood steady abuse from the

government press for prudent policies that put a stop to the

destabilizing habits of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono. Despite

Qdestabilizing habits of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono. Despite

the iron constraints that come with a cash budget, Zimbabwe’s

economy has recovered significantly under Biti’s watch.

 

11. Stock Exchange Rises Against a Sea of Gloom… Following the

end of hyperinflation and the re-opening of trading on the Zimbabwe

Stock Exchange (ZSE) in February, the market has performed

exceptionally well. The latest data show that the benchmark

industrial index rose by 64 percent from February through September.

According to the ZSE’s Chief Executive Officer, foreign investors

are taking advantage of low share prices for heavily capitalized

firms such as Delta, Econet, Old Mutual, and Innscor, which should

produce solid returns if the economic recovery is sustained.

 

12. Large Textile Firm Goes Under… One of the largest textile

manufacturers in Zimbabwe, David Whitehead Limited, has filed for

 

HARARE 00000812 003 OF 003

 

 

voluntary liquidation. The company has high production costs and a

debt overhang of over USD2 million. New investors who bought the

company late last year now believe that the balance sheet failed to

show the company’s true financial strength as it included some

assets that were in dispute. The closure of the company will result

in a loss of 1,400 jobs.

 

13. Journalists Astounded… On October 5 the Public Affairs

Section held a press roundtable on Zimbabwe’s economy. The

questions mainly had to do with sanctions — or the “illegal

economic embargo,” as it is known in the official press. The

assembled journalists, all of them from independent news outlets,

were astounded to hear that trade between the U.S. and Zimbabwe has

doubled since 2003. So much for the embargo. Surprisingly — or

perhaps not — the local press did not consider this worth

reporting.

 

14. Government Cooks Up Another Privatization Plan…

privatization plan prepared by the Ministry of State Enterprises and

Parastatals. Most state-owned enterprises are operating at around

five percent capacity, mainly because their capital stock has

eroded. Zimbabwe has seen many privatization plans but relatively

little privatization. We do not expect a different outcome this

time.

 

15. Gono Wins Ig Nobel Prize… Reserve Bank Gideon Gono received

the Ig Nobel Prize in Mathematics on October 1 for “giving people a

simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers – from

very small to very big – by having his bank print bank notes with

denominations ranging from one cent ($.01) to one hundred trillion

dollars ($100,000,000,000,000).” The Annals of Improbable Research

announced the awards in a ceremony at Harvard University. Gono did

not attend.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

16. “We have repeatedly told the police that they should always

refrain from using firearms against defenseless people.” —

Co-Minister of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, speaking about the

September 25 shooting at Shabanie mine

 

 

17. “I was hired by politics to make them look pretty” –George

Charamba, the bombastic Information Ministry Permanent Secretary

speaking to Zimbabwean newspaper editors at a UNESCO-organized

meeting on October 6.

 

 

PETTERSON

(25 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment