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MDC did not want economy repaired while Mugabe was in power!

The Movement for Democratic Change was in a catch-22 situation when it began to control the country’s major urban centres.

According to one of the diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, the mayor of Mutare, Misheck Kagurabadza was, for example, faced with the dilemma that though he desperately craved for outside assistance, he also faced the contradiction of an MDC that did not want the outside world to repair the national economy with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF in power.

But at the same time the party was inviting aid for the MDC-administered cities.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE2016, Export or Die” for Mutare Businesses

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2016

2003-10-06 13:09

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.

 

061309Z Oct 03

UNCLAS HARARE 002016

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

STATE FOR AF/S

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

 

E. O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON EINV PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: “Export or Die” for Mutare Businesses

 

Ref: Harare 1955

 

1. (U) Summary: Zimbabweans in and around Mutare, the

country’s third largest city, continue to fare better

than most countrymen. On a recent sojourn, we observed

the same U.S. dollar/local crevice found in Masvingo

(ref). Clearly, however, Mutare’s export sector enables

more to reach the privileged USD economy. A new MDC

mayor’s challenge is tapping that export revenue to shore

up dilapidated public services. End Summary.

 

Only Hope Is to Export

———————-

2. (SBU) The local Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce

(ZNCC) rep underscored the economy’s duality.

Receptionists earn Z$ 250,000 (US$44)/month at exporter

Border Timbers but Z$ 55,000 (US$10) at non-exporting

companies. Many local women have become cross-border

traders since Mutare is only a short drive from

Mozambique. They buy whatever is cheaper or less scarce

in one country, then sell in the other. Small but well-

established timber companies told us they aspire to

become exporters, “the only way to earn real money,” but

struggle to get off-shore USD financing. With Zimbabwean

coal producer Wankie Colliery in shambles, firms say they

must import coal and other inputs from South Africa – no

easy task without a USD source.

 

3. (U) At the same time, a visit to a rural community

near Mutare reaffirmed how taxing life has become for

those strictly on the local economy. We toured a 550-

pupil private school that charges only Z$1,500 (US$.26)

tuition for the academic year (due to support from a

religious body). Still, the headmaster explained that

half the children’s families were unable to afford even

that tuition and received assistance from a variety of

charities. The school’s highest paid employee earns

Z$200,000 (US$35)/month. Owing to inflation and lack of

other savings vehicles (interest rates are 350 percent

negative), a plot of land that fetched Z$3,000 five years

ago has now been bid up to Z$1,700 million, affordable

only to those with access to hard currency.

 

New Mayor’s Challenges

———————-

4. (SBU) Incoming MDC Executive Mayor MT Kagurabadza gave

us a quick tour of the poorest shantytowns in Mutare. He

opined that the previous ZANU-PF municipal government had

essentially tossed in the towel on public services. The

Mayor showed us the parking lot for official vehicles, 90

percent of which are inoperable. The city has no working

fire engine and a single ambulance. Since it lacks funds

to buy tar, municipal workers merely fill in potholes

with gravel, returning every two weeks. With only one

functioning garbage truck, piles of disease-spreading

trash accumulate for three weeks at a time. A public

swimming pool, the former summertime destination for

thousands of poor kids, has been closed for the past

three years due to a missing part worth only several

thousand zimdollars.

 

Comment

——-

5. (SBU) Obviously, Mayor Kagurabadza desperately craves

outside assistance. He acknowledged the contradiction of

an MDC that does not want the outside world to repair the

national economy with President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF

in power – but now invites aid to the country’s large MDC-

administered cities. We suggested he try to tax Mutare’s

export revenue, if legally possible on a local level, or

appeal to the social responsibility of export firms to

help restore the city’s public services.

 

Sullivan

 

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