The permanent secretary for Finance Nicholas Ncube told a United States embassy official in December 2001 that the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front had been in election mode for almost three years beginning with the failed campaign for a new constitution in 1999.
During that period, he said, all government policies had been considered with the need to win the presidential elections set for 2002 in mind.
Ncube said he and his minister Simba Makoni had been restricted primarily to damage control.
“He shook his head at some of the proposals that have landed on his desk,” a cable dispatched by the embassy official said.
The embassy official had gone to brief Ncube on the fact that the United States would not include Zimbabwe on its Africa Growth and Opportunity Act which offered incentives to African countries.
The news came just a few days after the US had passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe and its political leaders.
Viewing cable 01HARARE3715, AGOA DECISION CONVEYED TO GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
131149Z Dec 01
PAGE 01 HARARE 03715 131614Z
INFO LOG-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 EB-00 EUR-00
EXIM-01 E-00 VC-00 FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00
ITC-01 AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 ACE-00 SP-00
SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 G-00 SAS-00 /006W
——————4B0EE9 131615Z /45
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0535
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 003715
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL. 12/13/11
SUBJECT: AGOA DECISION CONVEYED TO GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE
REF: STATE 211333
CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF MATT HARRINGTON.
REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).
¶1. (U) POLITICAL SECTION CHIEF DELIVERED REFTEL TALKING
POINTS ON DECEMBER 13 TO MINISTRY OF FINANCE PERMANENT
SECRETARY NICHOLAS NCUBE. POLCHIEF REPORTED THAT ZIMBABWE
WOULD NOT QUALIFY FOR AGOA BENEFITS IN 2002, DESCRIBED THE
REASONS ELABORATED IN REFTEL, AND LEFT NCUBE WITH A NON-
PAPER. HE STRESSED THAT THIS WAS NOT A PERMANENT DECISION.
WE CONDUCT AN ELIGIBILITY REVIEW ANNUALLY, AND SIGNIFICANT
PROGRESS IN ADDRESSING USG CONCERNS WOULD STRENGTHEN
ZIMBABWE’S CHANCES FOR ELIGIBILITY IN 2003.
¶2. (C) THE DECISION WAS NOT A SURPRISE TO NCUBE. WHILE HE
WOULD HAVE PREFERRED A DIFFERENT OUTCOME, HE DESCRIBED THE
USG DETERMINATION AS “STRAIGHTFORWARD, BASED PRIMARILY ON
GOOD GOVERNANCE CONCERNS.” HE LAMENTED THAT THE GOVERNMENT
HAS BEEN IN ELECTION MODE FOR ALMOST THREE YEARS, BEGINNING
WITH THE FAILED CAMPAIGN FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION IN 1999.
DURING THAT PERIOD, ALL GOZ POLICIES HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED
WITH THE NEED TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN MIND. HE
AND FINANCE MINISTER MAKONI HAVE BEEN RESTRICTED PRIMARILY
TO DAMAGE CONTROL — HE SHOOK HIS HEAD AT SOME OF THE
PROPOSALS THAT HAVE LANDED ON HIS DESK — BUT HE HOPED
THAT, ONCE THE ELECTION IS OVER, HE AND HIS BOSS CAN BEGIN
TO NURSE ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY BACK TO HEALTH.
¶3. (C) COMMENT: LIKE HIS BOSS, SIMBA MAKONI, NCUBE IS A
FRANK INTERLOCUTOR WHO IS USUALLY HONEST ABOUT HIS
UNHAPPINESS OVER THE NATIONAL POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT HERE.
IN THIS MEETING, HE WAS MOST FRUSTRATED THAT ZANU-PF’S
DETERMINATION TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION HAS
PREVENTED HIS MINISTRY FROM ADDRESSING THIS COUNTRY’S
PAGE 03 HARARE 03715 131614Z
SERIOUS ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, AND HE WAS RESIGNED TO THE FACT
THAT THIS WOULD CONTINUE TO BE THE CASE UNTIL THE ELECTION.
WE HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE AGOA DECISION, FOLLOWING SO
CLOSELY ON THE HEELS OF ZDERA’S PASSAGE, WILL LEAD THE GOZ
TO MOVE US UP A NOTCH OR TWO ON THE ENEMIES LIST AND TO
SUBJECT US TO FURTHER ROASTING FROM THE GOVERNMENT-
CONTROLLED PRESS — LED BY INFORMATION MINISTER JONATHAN