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Goche and Chinamasa in MDC talks

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front represented by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Public Service Minister Nicholas Goche began talks with the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change but MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai insisted that negotiations between the two parties would not resume until certain conditions had been met.

Some of the conditions were that there must be an end to violence and more than 1 500 MDC supporters who had been detained should be released. Tsvangirai also said the African Union should be involved in the mediation process.

The Herald, however, reported that talks were taking place in South Africa with Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma representing the MDC-T and Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga representing the Mutambara faction of the MDC.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE611, ZIM NOTES 7-11-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE611

2008-07-14 14:47

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6484

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0611/01 1961447

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 141447Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3175

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2013

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2145

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2265

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0801

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1542

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1900

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2321

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4752

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1411

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000611

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

TREASURY FOR J.RALYEA AND T.RAND

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E.LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 7-11-2008

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– ZANU-PF-MDC Preliminary Talks Begin…

– Parliament to Convene…

– Violence Continues…

– Attack on Government IDP Camp…

– IDPs Flee to Embassy…

– Global Opinion of South Africa Slumps…

– Remittance Disbursements Capped for Lack of Hard Currency

Notes…

– Grain, Vegetable Oil eficits Worsen…

– Back to Barter as Money Loss Value…

 

——————————————— ———

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rte and Selected Products

——————————————— ———-

 

Parallel rate for cash nearly doubled to Z$47billion:US$1 against

inter-bank average of Z$19 billion:US$1

 

Bank transfer rate doubled to Z$140 billion:US$1; official rate:

Z$$30,000:US$1

 

Bread on the parallel market more than doubled to Z$55 billion vs.

controlled price of Z$400 million

 

Sugar increased fivefold to Z$250 billion/2kg vs. controlled price

of Z$8 million/2kg

 

Cooking oil shot to Z$90 billion/750ml vs. controlled price of Z$9.3

million/750ml

 

Petrol and diesel climbed to Z$50 billion/liter vs. controlled price

of Z$60,000/liter

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

3. ZANU-PF-MDC Preliminary Talks Begin… For the last couple of

weeks, MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted that

negotiations between ZANU-PF and the MDC would not resume until

certain conditions were met, including the involvement of the

African Union in the mediation process, an end to violence, and the

release of over 1,500 MDC detainees. The government-controlled The

Herald trumpeted inter-party talks taking place July 10 and 11 in

South Africa as a flip flop on the part of the MDC. The MDC

subsequently issued a press release clarifying that the South

African talks between ZANU-PF and representatives of the two MDC

factions (Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche for ZANU-PF, Tendai

Biti and Elton Mangoma for the Tsvangirai faction, and Welshman

Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushongo for the MDC Mutambara

faction) were designed to iron out the conditions set by Tsvangirai

so that actual negotiations could take place. See Harare 605 for

the post-electoral state of play and status of negotiations.

 

4. Parliament to Convene… By law, President Mugabe must convene

Parliament by July 17. As a result of the March 29 and June 27

elections, the combined MDC has 110 members in the House of

Assembly, ZANU-PF has 99, and there is one independent. MDC should

theoretically be able to elect the powerful House Speaker. But

ZANU-PF’s campaign of violence has reportedly resulted in the deaths

of two MDC parliamentarians-elect, the disappearance of one, and the

continuing incarceration of several. Several others are underground

 

HARARE 00000611 002 OF 003

 

 

since they are targeted for arrest. While the MDC is hopeful it can

produce a majority in Parliament next week, this is problematic;

treatment of parliamentarians-elect will certainly be one of the

subjects of the South African preliminary talks taking place now.

See also Harare 605.

 

5. Violence Continues… Since the June 27 election, violence

appears to have subsided in Harare and ZANU-PF bases have been

dismantled. Apart from sporadic outbreaks, violence during the

electoral period was never a big issue in Bulawayo and Matabeleland.

But ZANU-PF bases continue to exist in the rest of the country, and

there have been serious pockets of violence in communities in the

Mashonaland provinces, Masvingo, Midlands, and Manicaland.

Additionally, targeting of MDC officials at all levels continues.

See Harare 606.

 

6. Attack on Government IDP Camp… On June 26, over 300 IDPs

arrived at the South African Embassy in Harare seeking shelter and

assistance. On June 27, Election Day, following a reported

arrangement between some international agencies and Zimbabwean

authorities, the IDPs were relocated to a facility run by the

Ministry of Social Welfare in Ruwa, outside Harare. In the early

morning hours of July 7, an unknown number of masked armed men,

suspected to be police, raided the site and beat the IDPs. Eight

were hospitalized as a result of their injuries and 14 fled into the

bush. Zimbabwean officials blamed the opposition MDC for the

attack. See Harare 598 and 602.

 

7. IDPs Flee to Embassy… The GOZ’s campaign of violence has

displaced at least 33,000 Zimbabweans, and the humanitarian crisis

remains acute. On July 3, over 300 displaced MDC supporters sought

shelter, food, medical care, and supplies at Embassy Harare. In the

absence of a coordinated humanitarian response to the crisis,

Mission staff assisted women and children to alternative locations

and moved the remaining men offsite the next day. Informal networks

of organizations and individuals have stepped in to attempt to

assist the IDPs, most of whom remain too frightened, or without the

means, to return to their home areas. Exacerbating the situation,

the “safe houses” are vulnerable to government security forces and

food is scarce. UN agencies are not equipped to meet the heavy

demand for services, and, significantly, fear getting involved

without government permission. See Harare 598.

 

8. Global Opinion of South Africa Slumps… Communications monitor

Media Tenor says global opinion of South Africa has slumped

significantly in the past year. The report released July 8th 2008

analyzed 96 opinion leading media in 15 countries between January

2007 and May 2008. The findings show coverage of recent xenophobic

attacks and President Thabo Mbeki’s stance on Zimbabwe are partly to

blame. The report says western media have grown increasingly

critical of President Thabo Mbeki and South Africa’s foreign policy

especially with regards to Zimbabwe. The report says Mbeki’s

profile internationally has become synonymous with his relationship

with Mugabe.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

9. Remittance Disbursements Capped for Lack of Hard Currency

Notes… On the heels of Giesecke & Devrient’s termination of the

supply of bank note paper to Zimbabwe, U.K.-based Travelex suspended

its supply of foreign cash to Western Union in Zimbabwe in late

June, apparently fearful of being tarred, like Barclays and Anglo

American, with sustaining the Mugabe regime. Lines for cash at

Western Union outlets are up to 400 people long as the country’s

biggest money transfer agency caps disbursements and scrambles for

other sources of cash. See Harare 604.

 

HARARE 00000611 003 OF 003

 

 

 

10. Grain, Vegetable Oil Deficits Worsen… Zimbabwe’s winter

wheat crop is 30,000 MT-less than a tenth of the local consumption

requirement-according to the annual Zimbabwe Grain and Feed Report

published by the USDA FAS Global Agriculture Information Network

(GAIN). In addition, the country faces a sizeable maize deficit

following a poor harvest estimated at 470,000 MT. The magnitude of

imports needed coupled with the global rise in food prices will put

a significant strain on the fiscus. The GAIN Oilseeds and Products

annual report notes that cottonseed production, which accounts for

about half of total oilseed production, increased 27.9% in the

2007/08 season, but soybean output dropped 35%, threatening the

country’s poultry and piggery sectors. Ironically, demand for

cottonseed meal is in decline as Zimbabwe’s commercial beef herd

shrinks. Domestic vegetable oil production is estimated at 32,000

MT against a national requirement of 80,000 MT.

 

11. Back to Barter as Money Loses Value… With year-on-year

inflation now in the tens of millions percent, more companies are

turning to barter to preserve value. The Embassy’s local internet

service provider advised us formally that it is accepting payment in

fuel coupons from selected service stations or in highly valued Old

Mutual shares; suppliers of potatoes to Cairns Holdings Limited are

seeking payment in fuel coupons or any other commodity that

maintains value. Golf club membership fees are also payable in fuel

coupons.

 

——————–

Allegory of the Week

——————–

 

12. from Imara Asset Management CEO John Legat’s “Investment Notes”

of July 2008:

 

13. The Titanic has now sunk. There are a small number of

lifeboats left drifting filled with shocked, injured and traumatized

passengers. One of the lifeboats has the Captain and his senior

officers on board, those same people who irresponsibly drove the

ship at high speed into the iceberg that ultimately sank the great

ship. As the sun begins to rise, a sense of relief is felt on the

boats, with hope that nearby ships from Europe and America could

soon provide assistance. The Captain looks very concerned and

helpless as it becomes apparent that his lifeboat is sinking. Those

in the other lifeboats, sensing that their help is required, look

the other way as their boats are already full. A chuckle is heard

from one of them. Too bad.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

14. From interview with RBZ Governor Gono in The Herald, July 11,

2008:

 

“Ultimately for me, I would like the whole world and Zimbabweans in

particular to know that I want to be counted as one of those

patriotic sons of the soil who was there for my country, stood for

and by my country and countrymen/women at Zimbabwe’s hour of maximum

danger, its hour of maximum need and not one who hid behind a finger

or heap of lies, or under the desk when the country needed men and

women to uphold its laws, preserve and promote peace and stability

through whatever modes efforts I am able to make, and contributed to

the preservation of the nation’s legacy as defined by our present

and departed heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle.”

 

DHANANI

(3 VIEWS)

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