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It’s an insult to call Mugabe, Mr

It is an insult and denigrating to call President Robert Mugabe, Mr, the United States embassy said in a cable dispatched shortly after the controversial 2008 elections.

The embassy was referring to the arrest of Raymond Majongwe president of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.

Majongwe had been arrested at the hearing of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union leaders Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo who were charged with inciting violence.

The embassy said Majongwe’s PTUZ had been outspoken in recent weeks, publicising the targeting of teachers in rural areas and the negative impact of this in rural schools.

It had also sponsored a full-page advert in The Standard which referred to President Robert Mugabe as Mr Robert Mugabe which was perceived by the government to be an insult and denigrating.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE462, ZIM NOTES May 23, 2008

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08HARARE462

2008-05-23 11:42

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1873

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0462/01 1441142

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 231142Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2941

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1973

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1996

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2117

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0662

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1394

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1752

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2173

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4604

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1257

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000462

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

TREASURY FOR D.PETERS 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 EAGR EFIN EMIN ZI

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES May 23, 2008

 

————-

1. SUMMARY

————-

Topics of the week:

 

– Tsvangirai to Return

– ZANU-PF Strategy To Maintain Power And Considerations of a GNU

– A Compendium Of Violence

– Media Crackdown

– Two Union Leaders Released On Bail, Another Arrested

– Bishop Kunonga Excommunicated

– Police Officer Fined For Assaulting Human Rights Lawyers

– Water Woes

– Zimbabwe Dollar In Free-Fall

– RBZ Suspends Mechanism For Trading Shares Between Stock Exchanges

— Tobacco Auctions Interrupted Over Cash Shortages

— Rich Platinum Claims Change Hands in Hush-Hush Deals

— Government Orders Prop Up Ag Equipment Manufacturer

 

——————————————— ———

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate and Selected products

——————————————— ———

 

Parallel rate for cash diverged further, at ZW$430 million:US$1,

from inter-bank average of Z$390 million:US$1

Bank transfer rate jumped to: Z$530 million;

Official rate: ZW$$30,000:US$1

 

Sugar rose to Z$670 million/2kg vs. controlled price of Z$8

million/2kg

 

Cooking oil is steady at Z$750 million/750ml vs. controlled price of

Z$9.3 million/750ml

 

Petrol and diesel rose to Z$650million/liter vs. controlled price of

Z$60,000/liter

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

3. Tsvangirai to Return… After several false starts, it appears

that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai will actually return to Zimbabwe

this weekend. As yet, there are no definite plans as to when and

where he will kick off the election campaign.

 

4. ZANU-PF Strategy To Maintain Power And Considerations of a

GNU… Ruling party ZANU-PF’s strategy to maintain power centers

around a campaign of terror in rural areas to weaken and intimidate

the opposition, targeted attacks and intimidation of the key

opposition officials, an information campaign to bolster ZANU-PF and

deny the opposition access to media, restrictions on international

election observers and intimidation of local observers, and a

vote-rigging apparatus that will stand in stark contrast to the

electoral structures of March 29. With ZANU-PF concerned that it

could lose the election despite its campaign of terror, and with the

MDC concerned that ZANU-PF might not yield power even if it loses

the election, there is growing talk of negotiations between the two

parties. If negotiations actually do take place, the obstacle to

any agreement will be who would lead. Tsvangirai rightly believes

he won the election and should not have to take a back seat in a

power-sharing arrangement. And even if Mugabe could be persuaded to

step down, those around him are unwilling at this point to give up

the reigns of power and the attendant emoluments of security and

wealth. See Harare 453.

 

5. A Compendium Of Violence… The Solidarity Peace Trust has

issued a comprehensive report on Zimbabwe’s post-election violence:

“Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens: The Zimbabwe Elections

 

HARARE 00000462 002 OF 003

 

 

2008.” The report concludes that a run-off election “is neither

practical nor desirable” in the current environment and recommends a

transitional government. See http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org

 

6. Media Crackdown… Local media watch-dog organizations reported

the arrest or detention of at least five members of the foreign

media and four local journalists in relation to their post-election

reporting; many others have been harassed. The systematic

intimidation of journalists has included the resuscitation of old

legal cases against journalists and the re-arrest of previously

acquitted journalists. The post-election period has seen a

tightening of guidelines at the state-run Zimbabwean Broadcasting

Corporation (ZBC) by ruling party leaders and the dismissal of the

ZBC CEO Henry Muradzikwa for reportedly defying ministerial orders

to deny the opposition neutral pre-election coverage. These severe

limits on freedom of expression are yet more evidence that the

conditions for free and fair elections do not exist.

 

7. Two Union Leaders Released On Bail, Another Arrested…

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) leaders Wellington

Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo were released on bail after spending

over a week in jail on charges of inciting violence. At their

hearing, Raymond Majongwe, General Secretary of the Progressive

Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) was arrested and held for several

hours; no charges were filed. PTUZ has been outspoken in recent

weeks, publicizing the targeting of teachers in rural areas and the

negative impact of this on rural schools. PTUZ also sponsored a

recent full-page advertisement in The Standard which referred to

President Mugabe as “Mr. Robert Mugabe;” it was perceived by the GOZ

as an insult and “denigrating” to the president.

 

8. Bishop Kunonga Excommunicated… The Anglican church

excommunicated Bishop Kunonga, a strong supporter of President

Mugabe, the weekend of May 17 for failing to follow church rules and

for starting his own church. This follows weeks of discord between

Kunonga and the newly appointed Bishop, Sebastian Bakare; Bakare’s

services continue to experience disruptions by Zimbabwean police and

by Kunonga who insists on sharing the Anglican cathedral while the

courts continue to deal with Bakare’s efforts to evict him.

 

9. Police Officer Fined For Assaulting Human Rights Lawyers… The

High Court recently ordered senior police official Joel Tenderere to

pay a total of Z$90 billion to two human rights lawyers who were

subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment when they were arrested

last year. Tenderere has previously been accused of ordering

assault and torture in other cases, including the arrest of Zimbabwe

Congress of Trade Union leaders in 2006.

 

10. Water Woes… The Herald reported today that ZINWA (Zimbabwe

National Water Authority) has for the second time in 2 weeks reduced

water production by 30% after running out of treatment chemicals.

Two weeks ago, the authority reduced water production by 20% only to

resume pumping at full capacity early this week before cutting down

again yesterday.

 

————————–

Economic and Business News

—————————

 

11. Zimbabwe Dollar In Free-Fall… The street value of the local

currency plummeted in the past week by 31.5% from Z$275 million:US$1

to Z$430 million:US$1. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)

attributed the collapse to excess demand for foreign exchange in the

face of low supply. Its recent liberalization of some foreign

exchange transactions was meant to increase exports and thus forex

earnings, but there is a lag before the positive effect kicks in.

Moreover, market players do not believe that the liberal foreign

exchange regime will last, given the steep increases in the price of

imports that it brought in. As a result, demand for foreign

 

HARARE 00000462 003 OF 003

 

 

exchange has risen far higher than under normal circumstances.

 

12. RBZ Suspends Mechanism For Trading Shares Between Stock

Exchanges… The RBZ suspended the fungibility of shares in Old

Mutual Limited, ABC and Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited. According to

a communication sent to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, shares in these

counters will now only be brought into the country but may no longer

be taken out as the latter entails the movement of much needed

foreign exchange out of the country. Notwithstanding this, Old

Mutual traded 25% firmer, ABC traded steady, and Kingdom Meikles

rose in value.

 

13. Tobacco Auctions Interrupted Over Cash Shortages… Business

ground to a halt this week at the country’s three auction floors

after small-scale farmers stopped selling their crop in protest over

non-payment. Sales by the cash-dependent small-scale growers who

make up about 50% of the market surpass Z$500 billion on average.

For lack of availability of the new Z$5-50 billion “agro-cheques,”

however, these growers were only being paid out Z$5 billion in cash

and the rest in checks (many of the farmers do not have bank

accounts). Large-scale growers are paid via bank transfers. Rodney

Ambrose, CEO of Zimbabwe Tobacco Association told us that the

auctions were starting back up today as the “agro-cheques” became

increasingly available.

 

14. Rich Platinum Claims Change Hands in Hush-Hush Deals… The

GOZ appears troublingly willing to sell the family silver, or in

this case, platinum, in shadowy deals for short-term benefit to

questionable investors with no experience in platinum and absent

public tender or public scrutiny of the terms. Desperate for forex,

the GOZ has opted for the quick return. See Harare 459.

 

15. Government Orders Prop Up Ag Equipment Manufacturer… The MD

of publicly traded Steelnet (Zimbabwe), Dave McCann, told analysts

this week that the company had generated strong profits and cash in

the four months to April.   Two very big orders for the GOZ’s Farm

Mechanization Scheme – one for animal drawn implements and the other

for tractor drawn – had buoyed the numbers.

 

MCGEE

 

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