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Biti said Gono was a thief

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told United States embassy officials that central bank governor Gideon Gono was a thief because he had misused commercial bank reserves at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. 

He was briefing embassy officials on the outcome of the Southern African Development Community troika meeting that had been held in Maputo the previous week.

According to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks which was dispatched by new US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray on 10 November 2009, Biti said the troika had given parties to the Global Political Agreement 15 days to resolve outstanding issues. If they failed to reach agreement, South African President Jacob Zuma would begin a 15-day mediation process.

Biti thought that President Robert Mugabe would agree to some of the issues such as the appointment of provincial governors and the swearing in of Roy Bennett, but he was not sure whether Mugabe would agree to the replacement of Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana, whom Biti accused of selective prosecutions and being corrupt.

Bennett was the Movement for Democratic Change’s deputy Minister of agriculture candidate but has now been sworn in up to now.

American officials were, however, not as optimistic as Biti but noted that it was now clear that the MDC was not going to leave the government.

“Its ‘disengagement’ was a once-only effort to place pressure on ZANU-PF, and it succeeded in gaining the intervention of SADC and Zuma. But the MDC does not have further leverage, and it is doubtful ZANU-PF will make significant concessions,” the cable says.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE894, BITI ON STATE OF PLAY IN ZIM

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

09HARARE894

2009-11-10 15:00

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4564

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0894/01 3141500

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 101500Z NOV 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5131

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3168

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3280

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1707

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2541

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2910

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3328

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5776

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2460

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000894

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

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

NSC FOR SENIOR AF DIRECTOR M. GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/10/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: BITI ON STATE OF PLAY IN ZIM

 

REF: A. HARARE 885

B. HARARE 863

 

Classified By: Ambassador Charles A. Ray for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Minister of Finance and MDC Secretary-General Tendai

Biti briefed pol/econ chief on last week’s SADC Troika

meeting in Maputo and the MDC’s next steps.

 

2. (C) According to Biti, South African President Jacob

Zuma, who as the SADC process facilitator, joined the SADC

Troika leaders (Guebuza of Mozambique, Mswati of Swaziland,

and Banda of Zambia) in Maputo on November 5, forcefully

urged the Global Political Agreement (GPA) parties to resolve

outstanding issues. Biti said that GPA negotiators (Biti and

Elton Mangoma of MDC-T, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mashonga and

Welshman Ncube of MDC-M, and Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas

Goche of ZANU-PF) and GPA principals (Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai of MDC-T, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara

of MDC-M, and President Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF) would meet

later this week to discuss these issues. He added that if

the parties were unsuccessful in resolving them within 15

days of the Troika Summit of November 5, Zuma would begin a

15-day mediation process.

 

3. (C) Biti thought that Mugabe would agree to the

appointments of provincial governors and the swearing-in of

Roy Bennett. He was less certain Mugabe would agree to the

replacements of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor

Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana. He was

insistent, however, that they should go. Referring to Gono’s

misuse of commercial bank reserves at the RBZ, Biti said Gono

was a thief. Tomana, through selective prosecutions, had

also been corrupt.

 

4. (C) Acknowledging that sanctions would be an issue in

negotiating with ZANU-PF, particularly in light of the SADC

Communique calling for international sanctions to be lifted

(Ref A) Biti said the MDC would propose formation of a

sanctions committee within the context of the negotiations to

discuss sanctions. The MDC would tell ZANU-PF that it

favored the lifting of sanctions on entities and the repeal

of ZDERA, although it was not yet ready to make these

positions public.

 

5. (C) We asked Biti what the MDC would do if the SADC

process in the next 30 days did not result in the resolution

of outstanding issues. He replied that the MDC would ask for

a SADC Extraordinary Summit of all SADC members. If this did

not produce results, he said the MDC would consider trying to

dissolve the GPA and have elections scheduled. When we

observed that Mugabe would likely not agree to elections,

Biti agreed and said the MDC would seek further SADC

intervention.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) The MDC has made clear it is not going to leave

government. Its “disengagement” was a once-only effort to

place pressure on ZANU-PF, and it succeeded in gaining the

intervention of SADC and Zuma. But the MDC does not have

further leverage, and it is doubtful ZANU-PF will make

significant concessions; with pressure from Zuma, however, it

Qsignificant concessions; with pressure from Zuma, however, it

is likely Mugabe will resolve some of the outstanding issues

such as the appointment of MDC provincial governors and

(perhaps) the appointment of Roy Bennett if he is acquitted

in his treason trial now set for November 11.

 

7. (C) The ZANU-PF Congress, held every five years for the

 

HARARE 00000894 002 OF 002

 

 

election of ZANU-PF officials, will take place in early

December. To avoid criticism from hard-liners, it is

doubtful Mugabe will make any concessions until after the

Congress. The bottom line is that we will continue to see

foot-dragging and fitful progress — with the MDC remaining

in government. END COMMENT.

 

RAY

(8 VIEWS)

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