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Jonathan Moyo puts pressure on chief judge to resign

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo piled pressure on Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay to resign or recuse himself from cases involving the Commercial Famers Union because he had stated way back in 1991 his stance on the land issue.

The Supreme Court was hearing a case in which the CFU was challenging the constitutionality of the government’s fast track land reform programme.

Moyo said if Gubbay did not resign he should remove himself from the CFU case and others on which he had already commented publicly, citing Gubbay’s 1991 comments about the unfeasibility of land reform in Zimbabwe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE6388, ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY DEMAGOGUES ARE TURNING UP

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE6388

2000-11-15 05:27

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

150527Z Nov 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9196

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06388 01 OF 03 150527Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00  P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————9F0592 150527Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7617

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 006388

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY DEMAGOGUES ARE TURNING UP

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06388 01 OF 03 150527Z

THE HEAT ON JUDICIARY

 

REFTEL: HARARE 6330

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS: 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ZANU-PF DEMAGOGUES ARE TURNING UP THE

HEAT ON ZIMBABWE’S JUDICIARY IN AN ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE

THE ONLY GOVERNMENT INSTITUTION THAT STILL RETAINS SOME

INDEPENDENCE FROM THE RULING PARTY. SO FAR, THE THREATS

ARE RHETORICAL IN NATURE, BUT THEY ARE BECOMING MORE

FREQUENT AND DIRECT. ZIMBABWE’S SUPREME COURT IS

CURRENTLY HEARING A CASE BROUGHT BY THE COMMERCIAL

FARMERS ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE GOVERNMENT’S

FARM SEIZURES, WHICH HAS LED TO CALLS BY ZANU-PF FOR

CHIEF JUSTICE GUBBAY’S RESIGNATION. OTHER JUDGES ARE

INCREASINGLY FEARFUL THAT GOVERNMENT HARASSMENT OR

THREATS AGAINST THEIR PERSON ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

UP UNTIL NOW, THE GOVERNMENT HAS IGNORED COURT RULINGS

THAT COULD DISRUPT THE RULING PARTY’S PLANS TO STAY IN

POWER, AND MAY SEE LITTLE REASON TO AGGRESSIVELY

INTIMIDATE JUDGES, AS IT HAS OTHER OPPONENTS. HOWEVER,

PRESIDENT MUGABE, INCREASINGLY DESPERATE TO CLING TO

POWER, IS MORE APT TO LASH OUT AT PERCEIVED ENEMIES, AND

ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY BEAR CLOSE WATCHING. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) ON NOVEMBER 1, MINISTER OF STATE FOR INFORMATION

AND PUBLICITY JONATHAN MOYO CALLED FOR THE RESIGNATION

OF SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY GUBBAY. GUBBAY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06388 01 OF 03 150527Z

IS HEARING THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS’ UNION’S (CFU) LEGAL

CHALLENGE TO THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE GOVERNMENT’S

FAST-TRACK LAND RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM. MOYO STATED THAT

IF GUBBAY DOES NOT RESIGN, HE SHOULD REMOVE HIMSELF FROM

THE CFU CASE AND OTHERS ON WHICH HE HAS ALREADY

COMMENTED PUBLICLY, CITING GUBBAY’S 1991 COMMENTS ABOUT

THE UNFEASIBILITY OF LAND REFORM IN ZIMBABWE. TO ADD

PRESSURE ON GUBBAY, TWO ZANU-PF PARLIAMENTARIANS, PHILIP

CHIYANGWA AND RICHARD MAJANGE, ARE DRAWING UP A MOTION,

WITH THE HELP OF A 12-MEMBER ZANU-PF LEGAL COMMITTEE,

THAT CALLS FOR PRESIDENT MUGABE TO SET UP A TRIBUNAL TO

INVESTIGATE GUBBAY’S “ABUSE OF POWER.” THE DRAFT MOTION

DOES NOT LIST ANY SPECIFIC CHARGES, ACCORDING TO THE

NOVEMBER 2 “THE FINANCIAL GAZETTE.” THE MOTION WAS DUE

TO BE TABLED IN PARLIAMENT WHEN IT RECONVENES NOVEMBER

16 TO CONSIDER THE BUDGET, BUT A CHECK WITH PARLIAMENT

OFFICIALS REVEALED THAT THE MEASURE HAS YET TO BE LISTED

ON PARLIAMENT’S AGENDA.

 

3. (C) IN A CONVERSATION WITH DCM AND POLOFF ON

NOVEMBER 2, HIGH COURT JUSTICE YUNUS OMERJEE REPORTED

THAT HE IS INCREASINGLY FEARFUL THAT GOVERNMENT

HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

THE LATEST ROUND OF RHETORICAL ATTACKS AGAINST THE

JUDICIARY HAS REDUCED MORALE TO AN ALL-TIME LOW,

ACCORDING TO OMERJEE. JUDGES ARE AFRAID TO BE SEEN WITH

AMERICANS AND OTHER WESTERNERS OUT OF FEAR OF COMING

UNDER GREATER SCRUTINY BY THE SECURITY SERVICES. THEY

ARE TRYING TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE AT LEAST UNTIL THE

CURRENT COURT SESSION FINISHES AT THE END OF NOVEMBER.

OMERJEE STATED THAT HE DOES NOT KNOW OF ANY JUDGES WHO

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06388 01 OF 03 150527Z

HAVE RECEIVED THREATS OR WHO HAVE BEEN HARASSED, BUT HE

BELIEVES THAT IT MAY NOT BE LONG BEFORE IT STARTS.

 

4. (C) UNIVERSITY OF ZIMBABWE POLITICAL SCIENCE

PROFESSOR JOHN MAKUMBE CHARACTERIZED THE LATEST UPTURN

IN ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY AS MUGABE PLAYING THE “RACE

CARD.” MUGABE IS SO INFURIATED WITH WHITE ZIMBABWEANS,

HE IS GOING TO MAKE ALL THEIR LIVES MISERABLE, MAKUMBE

OPINED (MOST OF ZIMBABWE’S HIGH COURT AND SUPREME COURT

JUSTICES ARE WHITE). MAKUMBE BELIEVES THAT IF MUGABE

CANNOT FORCE JUDGES TO RESIGN OUTRIGHT, HE WILL

“PAUPERIZE” THEM ONCE THEY RETIRE. HE CITED THE CASE OF

A JUDGE WHO RETIRED A FEW YEARS AGO AND HAD MADE

CONTROVERSIAL JUDGEMENTS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. THE

GOVERNMENT VIRTUAL CUT OFF HIS PENSION AND STOPPED

PROVIDING THE PERKS HE WAS ENTITLED TO UNDER HIS

RETIREMENT CONTRACT. THE JUDGE WAS FORCED TO SELL HIS

HOME AND FURNISHINGS AT AUCTION, AND NOW LIVES IN

POVERTY, ACCORDING TO MAKUMBE. (COMMENT: MAKUMBE MAY

HAVE BEEN REFERRING TO FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE ENOCH

DUMBUTSHENA, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE NOW-DEFUNCT

FORUM PARTY. END COMMENT.) THREE JUDGES WILL BE COMING

UP FOR RETIREMENT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS, MAKUMBE ADDED.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9197

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06388 02 OF 03 150528Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————9F059E 150528Z /38

P 150527Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7618

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 006388

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY DEMAGOGUES ARE TURNING UP

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02        HARARE 06388 02 OF 03 150528Z

THE HEAT ON JUDICIARY

 

5. (C) POLOFF MET HIGH COURT JUSTICE FERGUS BLACKIE

NOVEMBER 9 TO GET HIS ASSESSMENT OF THREATS AGAINST THE

JUDICIARY. BLACKIE IS KNOWN RECENTLY FOR HIS DECISION

TO PROHIBIT ZANU-PF FROM SPENDING THE MDC’S SHARE OF

GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR POLITICAL PARTIES UNTIL A RULING

IS MADE. (AT A NOVEMBER 14 HEARING, THE GOVERNMENT WAS

DUE TO PRESENT EVIDENCE THAT THE MDC DID NOT SUBMIT THE

PROPER PAPERWORK FOR GOVERNMENT FUNDING BY THE JUNE

DEADLINE.) BLACKIE SAID THAT NEITHER HE NOR ANY OF HIS

COLLEAGUES HAVE RECEIVED THREATS AGAINST THEIR PERSON–

YET. HE BELIEVES INSTEAD THAT THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

ORGANIZATION (CIO) IS CONDUCTING “RESEARCH” TO DIG UP

DIRT ON THE JUSTICES TO DISCREDIT THEM OR BLACKMAIL THEM

INTO RESIGNING. IT WOULD BE EASIER THAN DISMISSING THEM

BECAUSE JUSTICES CAN BE DISMISSED ONLY AFTER A LONG,

CUMBERSOME PROCESS THAT REQUIRES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A

TRIBUNAL, BLACKIE STATED.

 

6. (C) IT IS NO SECRET THAT GODFREY CHIDIYASIKU, THE

JUDGE PRESIDENT OF THE HIGH COURT, IS A ZANU-PF

LOYALIST, AND HIS ADMINISTRATION OF THE COURT HAS BEEN

BIASED, BLACKIE CONTINUED. (THE JUDGE PRESIDENT IS

CHARGED WITH ASSIGNING COURT CASES.) THERE ARE AT LEAST

TWO OTHER HIGH COURT JUSTICES, OUT OF 15, WHO HAVE PRO-

GOVERNMENT LEANINGS, BLACKIE BELIEVES. HIGH AND SUPREME

COURT JUSTICES ARE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT TO TERMS

THAT EXTEND UNTIL RETIREMENT; JUSTICES MUST RETIRE AT

THE AGE OF 65 UNLESS THEY GET A MEDICAL PERMIT STATING

THAT THEY ARE MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY FIT, IN WHICH CASE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06388 02 OF 03 150528Z

THEY CAN SERVE UNTIL 70. HE WENT ON TO SAY THAT HE SEES

THE JUDICIARY AS THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN

ZIMBABWEANS AND A “SLIDE INTO DICTATORSHIP.”

 

7. (C) SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY GUBBAY

(STRICTLY PROTECT) TOLD POLOFF NOVEMBER 10 THAT HE

BELIEVES HE IS IN A MORE VULNERABLE POSITION THAN THE

OTHER JUSTICES. THE PRESIDENT CAN SUSPEND THE CHIEF

JUSTICE ON ANY GROUNDS, BUT HE CANNOT SUSPEND THE OTHER

SUPREME AND HIGH COURT JUSTICES–ONLY THE CHIEF JUSTICE

CAN, AND ONLY FOR MALFEASANCE OR INCOMPETENCE, ACCORDING

TO GUBBAY. THIS LEAVES GUBBAY PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE

TO THE WHIMS OF THE PRESIDENT, BUT HE DOES NOT THINK

THAT MUGABE WILL ACT AGAINST HIM IN THE NEAR FUTURE,

DESPITE THE GOVERNMENT RHETORIC CALLING FOR HIS

RESIGNATION. (GUBBAY IS DUE TO RETIRE IN 2002.)

VISIBLY PERTURBED, THE CHIEF JUSTICE CHARACTERIZED

JONATHAN MOYO’S STATEMENT ABOUT HIS 1991 REMARKS ON LAND

REFORM AS “COMPLETELY FALSE” AND SAID THAT THE JUSTICE’S

FULL STATEMENT PRINTED IN “THE HERALD” UNWITTINGLY

PROVED THAT MOYO WAS LYING ABOUT THE CHIEF JUSTICE’S

RECORD.

 

8. (C) GUBBAY WENT ON TO SAY HE WAS RELIEVED THAT

VOTERS REJECTED THE GOVERNMENT’S PROPOSED CONSTITUTION

IN THE FEBRUARY REFERENDUM BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE REMOVED

THE SUPREME COURT’S AUTHORITY TO HEAR CONSTITUTIONAL

CASES. IT WOULD HAVE ESTABLISHED A SPECIAL

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT THAT MUGABE WOULD HAVE BEEN FREE TO

PACK WITH HIS SUPPORTERS. THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION WOULD

ALSO HAVE INCREASED THE SUPREME COURT’S NUMBERS FROM

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 06388 02 OF 03 150528Z

FIVE TO 11 AND GIVEN MUGABE THE ABILITY TO PACK THAT

COURT AS WELL. WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT IGNORING

THE SUPREME COURT’S ORDERS, GUBBAY EMPHASIZED THAT THE

GOZ HAS ONLY RECENTLY IGNORED RULINGS PERTAINING TO

LAND, AND HAS GENERALLY FOLLOWED THE COURT’S ORDERS.

 

9. (C) THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT’S

NOVEMBER 10 RULING (REFTEL) THAT THE FARM OCCUPATIONS

ARE ILLEGAL AND MUST END HAS BEEN SURPRISINGLY

LACKLUSTER. SOME MINISTERS, SUCH AS LANDS, AGRICULTURE

AND RESETTLEMENT MINISTER JOSEPH MADE WENT AS FAR TO

SUGGEST THE GOVERNMENT WOULD COMPLY WITH THE SUPREME

COURT’S ORDER. INFORMATION MINISTER JONATHAN MOYO, WHO

HAS MADE A HABIT OF ATTACKING THE JUDICIARY, PASSED UP

THE OPPORTUNITY THIS TIME AND INSTEAD PORTRAYED THE

RULING AS A REAFFIRMATION OF WHAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS

BEEN TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH ALL ALONG ON LAND REFORM. THE

SUPREME COURT IS NOT OUT OF THE WOODS, YET, HOWEVER, AS

THE RECENT RULING WAS ONLY A RESPONSE TO AN URGENT

APPLICATION BY THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS’ UNION (CFU) ON

THE LEGALITY OF THE FARM OCCUPATIONS. THE CHIEF JUSTICE

TOLD POLOFF THAT THE CFU’S CHALLENGE ON THE

CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE GOVERNMENT’S WHOLE RESETTLEMENT

SCHEME IS STILL BEFORE THE COURT. GUBBAY SAID THAT THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9198

 

PAGE 01      HARARE 06388 03 OF 03 150528Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-02

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /010W

——————9F05A3 150528Z /38

P 150527Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7619

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 006388

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/10

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI ZANU PF

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE RULING PARTY DEMAGOGUES ARE TURNING UP

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 06388 03 OF 03 150528Z

THE HEAT ON JUDICIARY

 

CASE WILL LIKELY TAKE MONTHS TO RESOLVE, AND A RULING

WON’T BE FORTHCOMING UNTIL JANUARY AT THE EARLIEST.

 

10. (C) COMMENT: ALTHOUGH WE ARE ENCOURAGED THAT THE

GOVERNMENT APPEARS TO BE WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT FOR THE

TIME-BEING ON THE COURT’S RULING, THE JUDICIARY OPERATES

IN A MORE HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT NOW THAN IT DID TWO MONTHS

AGO. MANY JUSTICES ARE RELUCTANT TO BE SEEN IN PUBLIC

WITH AMERICANS AND OTHER WESTERNERS OUT OF FEAR OF

COMING UNDER GREATER SCRUTINY FROM THE SECURITY

SERVICES. ALL HAVE TOLD US THAT THE GOVERNMENT’S VERBAL

ATTACKS HAVE ADDED PRESSURE TO THEIR ALREADY STRESSFUL

JOBS, AND THEY FEAR THAT IT COULD STILL TURN INTO

OUTRIGHT INTIMIDATION. UP UNTIL NOW, THE GOVERNMENT HAS

IGNORED COURT RULINGS THAT WOULD DISRUPT ITS LAND REFORM

PROGRAM, AND IT MAY SEE LITTLE REASON TO AGGRESSIVELY

INTIMIDATE JUDGES, AS IT HAS OTHER OPPONENTS. HOWEVER,

PRESIDENT MUGABE, WHO SEES HIMSELF AS UNDER SIEGE FROM

ALL SIDES, IS MORE LIKELY TO TURN THE FORCES OF VIOLENCE

ON HIS PERCEIVED ENEMIES THAN EVER BEFORE. HE HAS YET

TO CROSS THAT LINE WITH THE JUDICIARY, BUT ANY ATTACKS

ON THE LAST BASTION OF OBJECTIVE GOVERNMENT IN ZIMBABWE

BEAR CLOSE WATCHING. WE WILL CONTINUE TO ACTIVELY MEET

WITH JUSTICES TO SHOW THEM SUPPORT AND CONCERN. END

COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 06388 03 OF 03 150528Z

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

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