in Stories

Gono told US ambassador he grew up with Tsvangirai

Central bank governor Gideon Gono told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan that he was close to the Movement for Democratic Change leadership because he had grown up with party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

They both come from Buhera though some reports say Tsvangirai was born in Gutu.

He also said he had given party secretary-general Welshman Ncube leave of absence from the University of Zimbabwe when he was head of the university council and had taught most of the leadership as college students.

Sullivan, however, appeared very sceptical describing Gono as some combination of Uriah Heep in describing his humble beginnings and “modest influence” and show-off in listing his hundreds of friends and close access to the President.

“He describes himself as resisting every evil and fighting every good fight. The test is how many good fights he can win,” Sullivan said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE1110, GA-GA FOR GONO

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

04HARARE1110

2004-07-06 12:53

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001110

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

STATE FOR AF/S

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

 

E. O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: SENV EAID BTIO EINV ECON PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: GA-GA FOR GONO

 

1. (SBU) Summary: During their visit to Harare, the

Staff Delegation lunched with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

(RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono. The conversation touched upon

the local economy and the international community, land

nationalization, food security and recent food deals,

electoral reform, and Zanu-PF rivalries. End summary.

 

LOCAL ECONOMY AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

——————————————— —

2. (SBU) Gono repeated his goals of reducing inflation to

200% by year-end and accounting for every penny of

foreign exchange. RBZ has US$30 million (about two weeks’

cover) in reserves.

 

3. (SBU) Gono appealed for help from the international

community, stating Zimbabwe’s economy could do a lot

better with financial assistance. In his meetings with

Treasury and IMF in Washington, he was encouraged by

praise for recent RBZ actions to stabilize the economy.

He congratulated Treasury for being forthright and laying

their cards on the table. This is his nice way of

acknowledging both USG skepticism and his understanding

the message- the need for political and economic reforms.

 

LAND NATIONALIZATION

———————-

4. (SBU) Gono confirmed that 99- and 25-year leases

applied only to land acquired through fast track land

reform. He agreed the 25-year lease term was insufficient

both for profit generation and as collateral for loans.

He is working to move the leases to 50 years or more.

(The American conservancy owner has secured a meeting

with Gono for July 7 and will discuss this point.) Gono

also stated that farmers would be compensated for

improvements after expiration or termination of a lease.

(Note: The old commercial farmers are still waiting for

promised compensation for their improvements and

equipment. Gono called this an “administrative issue”.

End Note.) GOZ continues to list properties for

acquisition a year after declaring land reform complete.

There is, therefore, no end yet to the amount of land

that would be nationalized.

 

5. (SBU) The Land Ministry’s Permanent Secretary’s

(PermSec) recent statements to the German Charge

partially contradict Gono’s assessment of the

nationalization plan. The PermSec asserted that GOZ

policy was to take all designated land regardless of

court orders or bilateral investment agreements. GOZ will

acquire all land owned by MDC supporters. Although not

news policy wise, it is surprising that a GOZ official

would state the policy so baldly to a foreign diplomat.

 

FOOD SECURITY AND RECENT FOOD DEALS

————————————-

6. (SBU) Gono again dismissed the 2.4 million tones of

maize as fantasy, adding that the RBZ was conducting its

own assessment to be completed in two weeks. Preliminary

results suggest 1.3 million tones of maize. Gono

conducted his own study because the RBZ would be expected

to provide foreign exchange to cover any deficit from the

official figures. Gono instructed the acting Finance

Minister to present the findings to Cabinet, threatening

to speak publicly if he does not. Gono also distanced

himself from recent statements by Minister Chombo

regarding kicking NGOs out of the country.

 

7. (SBU) Gono recognizes that donors must decide where to

deliver assistance. If WFP tears down its infrastructure,

rebuilding could not occur overnight. He hopes RBZ’s food

assessment will force Cabinet to change its position and

allow continued donor assistance, especially to rural

school children and the HIV/AIDS affected.

 

8. (SBU) Gono explained the news reports of a food deal

between GOZ and Sentry Financial. In 1999, GOZ struck a

five-year deal to pre-sell Zimbabwe tobacco in exchange

for financing maize purchases. GOZ committed 80 million

tons of tobacco each year to Diamond, the largest tobacco

purchaser in the world. Sentry financed the deal with

US$700 million. This year, due to land reform-induced

production declines, GOZ allocated 30 million tons. The

current maize shipments are actually deferments from last

year. Apparently, GOZ deferred receipt of the maize due

to the over-worked Mozambiquean ports, the over-taxed

Zimbabwean railroad system, and storage charges. Gono was

exasperated with Agricultural Minister Made’s deal

denial, wondering aloud why he felt the need to hide it.

 

ELECTORAL REFORM

——————–

9. (SBU) Gono claimed a lack of expertise in this arena.

(Note: An unusual admission for someone who has his hands

in everything). However, he highlighted the most recent

election reforms announced by the Politburo. These

reforms include an independent Election Commission that

Gono hopes to change from a president-appointed

chairperson to an independent one. Congressional Staff

emphasized that the commission must be able to timely

receive complaints, make decisions, and have the means to

enforce those decisions. The new policies could be

implemented for the March 2005 parliamentary elections.

Gono also suggested that constitutional reforms and

simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections

next year were still a possibility despite Mugabe’s

recent statements that he intended to serve out his term.

 

10. (SBU) Governor Gono equated reports of use of GOZ

food as an election weapon with GOZ claims that donors

inserted pamphlets in maize bags promoting the MDC-

largely hearsay and founded in deep suspicion. This

seemed a bit flippant. There is no doubt that individuals

have often had to show their Zanu-PF identity card before

they can access GOZ maize. He also suggested Zimbabweans

are independent-minded and will simply take assistance

from whoever offers while voting for who they want to

anyway. Congressional Staff responded that it is pretty

hard to remain independent when your stomach is empty.

 

11. (SBU) Gono suggested Zanu-PF extremists (read

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo) were the main

obstacle to press freedoms. The problem could be resolved

in approximately two months, although he made no mention

of the The Daily News or The Tribune (both independent

dailies GOZ closed down).

 

ZANU-PF RIVALRIES

——————-

12. (SBU) The extremists give Gono headaches and prevent

him from doing his job. He cannot engage with civil

society, the MDC, and the international community with

some of their public statements. Their misrepresentations

also force him to cover their mistakes.

 

13. (SBU) Daggers are drawn over food security,

especially with RBZ’s assessment showing 1.3 million tons

of maize. Gono stated this issue would be heated in up-

coming Cabinet meetings and he hopes that GOZ will revise

its estimates to allow donors to continue their work.

 

14. (SBU) Information Minister Jonathan Moyo is

apparently in trouble. There is recognition that he has

become a liability rather than an asset. Moyo apparently

has been called before a Zanu-PF disciplinary committee

to explain recent attacks on several party elders like

Vice-President Msika, Land Minister (and Zanu-PF party

chairman) Nkomo, Matabeleland heavy Damiso Dabengwa, and

Zanu-PF Information Officer Nathan Shamuyarira.

 

 

 

 

COMMENT

———-

15. (SBU) Gono continued his charm offensive. He

emphasized the need for engagement with the international

community, between Zanu-PF and MDC, and within the

differing Zanu-PF factions, especially his unique ability

to facilitate all of the above. He repeated several

stories of his crucial involvement in brokering deals

between the World Bank and both Made and Nkomo as well as

his friendships with the MDC leadership (growing up with

Morgan Tsvangirai, giving Welshman Ncube a leave of

absence from the University of Zimbabwe, and teaching

most of the leadership as college students). Gono also

emphasized his role with civil society through his RBZ

policy board. (Note: Gono failed to mention that ZCTU

declined to participate without significant governmental

reform. End Note.) Gono claims the confidence of

President Mugabe as his personal banker.

 

16. (SBU) Gono is some combination of Uriah Heep in

describing his humble beginnings and “modest influence”

and show-off in listing his hundreds of friends and close

access to the President. He describes himself as

resisting every evil and fighting every good fight. The

test is how many good fights he can win.

 

BIOGRAPHIC NOTE

—————–

17. (SBU) Gono mentioned he served both as the Chair of

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and Chair of the

Economics Department at the University of Zimbabwe. He

repeatedly mentioned his study of American presidents and

produced tapes of President Ronald Reagan’s speeches that

he said he listens to in his car. He recently received a

copy of President Clinton’s autobiography.

 

18. (SBU) Note: Staffdel left post prior to reviewing

this message. End Note.

 

Sullivan

 

(3 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