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Ministers gave principals one week to report on outstanding issues

Movement for Democratic Change cabinet ministers pressed all principals, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, to resolve all outstanding issues and report back within a week.

The report said agreement had already been reached on the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors, permanent secretaries and the swearing in of Roy Bennett as deputy Minister of Agriculture.

The outstanding issues were the continued presence of Gideon Gono as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Johannes Tomana as attorney-general.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE577, ZIM NOTES 07-10-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE577

2009-07-13 09:41

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5480

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0577/01 1940941

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 130941Z JUL 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4709

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2342

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2943

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3061

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1490

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2324

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2691

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3109

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5552

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2239

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000577

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND J. HARMON

COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 07-10-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– Kimberley Team Urges Ban on Chiadzwa Diamonds…

– Cabinet Presses Ministers on Outstanding Issues…

– Constitutional All Stakeholders Conference to Kick-Off Monday…

– Another MDC-T MP Convicted…

– Swine Flu in Zimbabwe?

– MIC Maintaining Journalist Accreditation Authority…

– Well-Connected Brit Gets Off…

– Zimbabweans Are World’s Unhappiest People…

– Cost of Living Rises Sharply in June 2009…

– Zimbabwe’s Horticulture Industry Affected by Global Recession…

– Investment Conference Sends Mixed Signals…

– Panning More Lucrative Than Ever…

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

2. Kimberley Team Urges Ban on Chiadzwa Diamonds… A delegation

from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has called for an

immediate ban on trade in diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields

after unearthing gross human rights violations and other illegal

activities at the notorious diamond fields. The delegation said

their final report and recommendations (which could include

Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Kimberley Process) will take into

account measures the GOZ implements over the two weeks following the

visit. The Liberian team leader made a powerful rebuke of the

state-sponsored violence when he compared the atrocities to those

that occurred in his own country. The GOZ’s initial public response

pledged phased demilitarization of Chiadzwa, but did not include

immediate suspension of mining.

 

3. Cabinet Presses Ministers on Outstanding Issues… In a

contentious Cabinet meeting this week, MDC ministers pressed all

three principals –Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Mutambara– for

resolution of outstanding issues. With agreement apparently reached

on the appointment of governors, ambassadors, and permanent

secretaries, and the swearing-in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister

of Agriculture to be implemented in August, the remaining unresolved

issues are the continued presence of Gideon Gono as Governor of the

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Johannes Tomana as Attorney General.

The ministers demanded that the principals report back to them at

next week’s Cabinet meeting. Separately, Tsvangirai plans to travel

to SADC capitals within the next couple of weeks to urge an

extraordinary SADC summit to deal with these issues.

 

4. Constitutional All Stakeholders Conference to Kick-Off Monday…

4,000 delegates representing a cross-section of Zimbabwe’s populace

are scheduled to converge on Harare on Monday to kick-off the first

All Stakeholders Conference (ASC). The conference is charged with

establishing thematic sub-committees that will direct a four-month

nationwide consultative program to extract Zimbabwean’s views on

constitutional issues such as checks on executive authorities,

control of the military, and potentially a Bill of Rights. The

constitutional process has been progressing on schedule, but is

Qconstitutional process has been progressing on schedule, but is

threatened by political infighting, disagreements over the role of

the Kariba Draft, and attempts by ZANU-PF to delay the process. See

Harare 570.

 

5. Another MDC-T MP Convicted… A Chipinge magistrate sentenced

the MP for Chipinge South, Meki Makuyana, to 18 months in prison on

charges of kidnapping. He was sentenced along with three other MDC

members, Hardwork Masaiti the counselor for ward 26 in Chipinge

South, Simon Chaya and Wedzerai Gwenzi. According to an MDC

statement, this brings to seven the number of MDC-T MPs who have

 

HARARE 00000577 002 OF 003

 

 

been convicted or face trumped-up charges this year.

 

6. Swine Flu in Zimbabwe? The lead article in the Herald on July 9

warned of the country’s first two cases of the deadly H1N1 swine flu

virus. Neither case has resulted in a fatality. One victim was a

visiting Asian man recently arrived from London, while the other was

a Zimbabwean who had just returned from South Africa. Zimbabwe

lacks the ability to test for the disease locally, indicating that

most likely the diagnoses occurred overseas.

 

7. MIC Maintaining Journalist Accreditation Authority… The Media

Information Commission –a body that a High Court judge in June

ruled no longer had accreditation powers– insisted that journalists

wishing to cover this week’s International Investment Conference

would have to be vetted and accredited by the MIC.

 

8. Well-Connected Brit Gets Off… British property tycoon,

Nicholas van Hoogstraten, has been cleared of illegal currency

dealing and possession of pornography charges by a Zimbabwean court.

The case was thrown out this week after judges said police had

broken the rules when they raided his home. The 64-year-old, who

appeared in court using his new surname von Hessen and owns about

200 properties in Zimbabwe, is reported to have good relations with

President Mugabe.

 

9. Zimbabweans Are World’s Unhappiest People… In a recent survey

by a U.K.-based think tank, the New Economics Foundation, Zimbabwe

ranked last out of 143 nations surveyed over the happiness of its

citizens. The think tank attempted to measure life expectancy,

personal satisfaction, and the natural environment to develop the

“Happy Nation Index”. Low life expectancy in Zimbabwe is cited as

one of the core reasons for Zimbabwe’s poor showing. Zimbabwean men

are expected to live just 37 years, while women on average live only

34.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

10. Cost of Living Rises Sharply in June 2009… The Consumer

Council of Zimbabwe calculated that the cost of living for a family

of six rose by 15 percent from US$438 in May to US$502 in June 2009.

Much of this increase was accounted for by a 24 percent increase in

the price of food and rent. The figures highlight the inadequacy of

the US$100 allowance given to civil servants.

 

11. Zimbabwe’s Horticulture Industry Affected by Global

Recession… The Horticultural Promotion Council (HPC) of Zimbabwe

says the industry has been adversely affected by the global

recession. The flower sector has been the biggest loser with prices

falling by as much as 35 percent. As a result, small-scale flower

growers have gone under due to viability problems. The HPC is

urging members to diversify their businesses by exploring the

Australian, New Zealand, South African, and South East Asian markets

in addition to their traditional European markets.

 

12. Investment Conference Sends Mixed Signals… The GOZ organized

Q12. Investment Conference Sends Mixed Signals… The GOZ organized

an international investment conference running from July 9 to 10,

2009 to market a more positive image of the country despite the

economic and social realities on the ground. Mugabe opened the

conference, but dampened spirits when he said the British will have

to compensate farmers who lost their land during the chaotic land

reform. At this point commercial farmers in attendance got up and

left, while the remainder of the audience appeared more subdued.

Only a handful of international investors attended the conference.

 

13. Panning More Lucrative Than Ever… Since dollarization and

the release of gold price controls earlier this year, irregular

panning has become more lucrative than ever in Penhalonga near

Metallon Gold’s Redwing gold mine. Metallon closed the mine in 2008

 

HARARE 00000577 003 OF 003

 

 

due to flooding caused by power blackouts. Residents of the mining

settlement told us that ZANU-PF bigwigs pass through regularly and

pay up to US$20 per gram (US$568/oz) cash for gold which is trading

on the world market this week at around US$930/oz.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

14. “I am from Liberia, Sir I was in Liberia throughout the 15

years of civil war, and I have experienced too much senseless

violence in my lifetime, especially connected to diamonds. In

speaking with some of these people, Minister, I had to leave the

room. This has to be acknowledged and it has to stop.” — An excerpt

from the Kimberley Team report provided to GOZ officials this week.

Liberian Kimberley Process Team Leader Kpandel Fayia describes his

reaction to state-sponsored violence in the Chiadzwa diamond

fields.

 

 

DHANANI

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