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Mugabe shifts focus from real issues to land

President Robert Mugabe had succeeded brilliantly in shifting the focus of the electoral campaign debate in 2000 away from what really ailed the country -the failing of leadership and the economic morass- to the land issue.

But the United States embassy said if allowed to proceed unchecked in his home-grown land reform programme, Mugabe would inflict damage that would be very difficult to reverse.

Once the land issue had been dealt with, whether ineptly and unjustly or not, it would be more than difficult for any subsequent government to reverse it.

The embassy said Mugabe would inevitably have to address the economy but he would probably do so insincerely.

“The President likely will shift the blame for its poor performance on the West (speculators, the British, homosexuals and whomever else comes to mind), and argue that he is the only one who can save Zimbabwe from the tenebrous forces unleashed by globalisation,” it said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE2810, THE MORNING AFTER: ZIMBABWE’S POST-ELECTION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE2810

2000-05-24 14:48

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.

 

241448Z May 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2086

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02810 01 OF 03 241446Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00 CTME-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-01   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00   FRB-00

H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00

ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00   USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————5AE569 241447Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6138

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USDOC WASHDC

DEPTTREAS WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002810

 

SIPDIS

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

PASS USAID FOR A/AID RMCCALL AND AFR/SA WJEFFERS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2010

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02810 01 OF 03 241446Z

TAGS: PGOV ECON PINR ZI

SUBJECT: THE MORNING AFTER: ZIMBABWE’S POST-ELECTION

ECONOMIC HANGOVER

 

REF: HARARE 2684

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5

(B) AND (D).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS ARE NOT BEING

DISCUSSED DURING THIS ELECTION CAMPAIGN; PRESIDENT

MUGABE HAS DONE A BRILLIANT JOB MAKING LAND

REDISTRIBUTION THE PRINCIPAL AGENDA ITEM FOR DEBATE. WE

SEE THREE POSSIBLE ELECTION SCENARIOS UNFOLDING IN THE

NEXT MONTH: 1. A MORE OR LESS EVEN SPLIT BETWEEN THE

RULING PARTY AND THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC

CHANGE (MDC); 2. AN OUTRIGHT MDC VICTORY; OR 3. AN

OVERWHELMING ZANU-PF VICTORY. AT THIS WRITING THE LAST

OUTCOME IS THE MOST PROBABLE, AND SHOULD IT COME TO PASS

IT SEEMS CLEAR TO US THAT ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

WILL ONLY WORSEN, BECAUSE PROPONENTS OF RESPONSIBLE

FISCAL AND MONETARY POLICIES WILL BE MARGINALIZED. WE

THINK PRESIDENT MUGABE MAY RUN FOR OFFICE AGAIN IN 2002

ON THE STRENGTH OF HIS HANDLING OF THE LAND ISSUE AND

CLAIM OF UNIQUE ABILITY TO STEER THE COUNTRY THROUGH ITS

MOUNTING DIFFICULTIES. HE WILL NOT, HOWEVER, ADDRESS

THE ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC MALAISE SINCERELY, BUT RATHER

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02810 01 OF 03 241446Z

WILL SHIFT THE BLAME FOR IT ON OTHERS. MEANWHILE, WE ARE

PICKING UP SIGNALS THAT POLITICALLY-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE

MAY TAPER OFF IN THE RUN-UP TO THE ELECTION. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE SUCCEEDED BRILLIANTLY IN

SHIFTING THE FOCUS OF THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN DEBATE AWAY

FROM WHAT REALLY AILS THIS COUNTRY — THE FAILING OF

LEADERSHIP AND THE ECONOMIC MORASS — TO THE LAND ISSUE.

IF ALLOWED TO PROCEED UNCHECKED IN HIS HOMEGROWN LAND

REFORM PROGRAM, HE WILL INFLICT DAMAGE THAT WILL BE VERY

DIFFICULT TO REVERSE.

 

———————–

THREE OUTCOME SCENARIOS

———————–

 

3. (C) THREE SCENARIOS PRESENT THEMSELVES FOR THE JUNE

24-25 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION, WHICH, THANKS TO THE

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN

AGAINST OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS, THE PRESIDENT FELT

SUFFICIENTLY CONFIDENT TO CALL. THE FIRST SEES A MORE

OR LESS EVEN SPLIT OF THE VOTE, WITH A SMALL WIN FOR ONE

OF THE PARTIES. SUCH AN OUTCOME WOULD IMPLY A TWO-YEAR

DE FACTO TRANSITION PERIOD FOR ZANU-PF, UNTIL THE 2002

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE RULING PARTY NO LONGER WOULD

HAVE THE LEGITIMACY SIMPLY TO IGNORE THE MDC, AND THE

MODERATES AND REFORMERS IN ZANU-PF WOULD GAIN STRENGTH

FROM THE POLITICAL DYNAMICS OF THE DAY.

 

4. (C) THE SECOND SEES AN OUTRIGHT VICTORY FOR THE MDC,

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02810 01 OF 03 241446Z

AN INCREASINGLY REMOTE POSSIBILITY. WE CANNOT RULE IT

OUT BECAUSE OF AT LEAST TWO UNKNOWNS: FIRST, WHETHER

ZANU-PF’S INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN HAS BACKFIRED, AND ON

ELECTION DAY THE PEOPLE WILL BRAVE THREATS OF

RETRIBUTION AND VOTE FOR THE MDC; AND SECOND, WHETHER

THE CIVIL SERVANTS, INCREASINGLY TARGETED BY ZANU-PF’S

IRE AND WHOSE TASK IT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST TO OFFICIATE

AT THE POLLS, WILL BE REPLACED BY MORE “LOYAL” ZANU-PF

SUPPORTERS (AMONG THEM WAR VETS) TO HELP RIG THE POLLS.

THE GOVERNMENT THAT EMERGES IN THAT CASE WILL BE FACED

WITH CONTINUOUS CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES, OCCASIONALLY

EVEN PARALYSIS, AS THE CURRENT CONSTITUTION DOES NOT

ENVISION SUCH AN EVENTUALITY. IT WILL BE ROUGH, BUT

WITH HOPE. AT THIS WRITING THAT OUTCOME IS IMPROBABLE.

WE DO NOT RULE OUT A SUBSET OF THIS SCENARIO IN WHICH

THE MDC IS ALLOWED TO HAVE AS MANY AS 30 SEATS,

REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME AT THE BALLOT BOX, AND BE

SATISFIED WITH THE OUTCOME.

 

5. (C) THE THIRD SCENARIO SEES AN OUT-AND-OUT ZANU-PF

MAJORITY (THIS ALLOWS FEWER THAN 30 SEATS FOR MDC). AT

THIS TIME, THIS SEEMS LIKE THE MOST PROBABLE ELECTORAL

OUTCOME, ACHIEVED THROUGH INTIMIDATION, RIGGING, AND

NEUTRALIZING THE OPPOSITION’S ABILITY TO MOUNT ANY

RESISTANCE. CONCERN FOR THE ECONOMY IN THAT CASE WILL

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2087

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02810 02 OF 03 241447Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00 CTME-00

INL-01   DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-01   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00

FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   ITC-01   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00

STR-00   USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00

NFAT-00 SAS-00     /012W

——————5AE57A 241447Z /38

P 241448Z MAY 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6139

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USDOC WASHDC

DEPTTREAS WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 002810

 

SIPDIS

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

PASS USAID FOR A/AID RMCCALL AND AFR/SA WJEFFERS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02810 02 OF 03 241447Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2010

TAGS: PGOV ECON PINR ZI

SUBJECT: THE MORNING AFTER: ZIMBABWE’S POST-ELECTION

ECONOMIC HANGOVER

 

BE THE PREOCCUPATION OF A FEW, PROBABLY CIVIL SERVANTS,

WHO WORRY ABOUT THE COUNTRY’S CREDIBILITY ON THE

INTERNATIONAL SCENE. THESE INDIVIDUALS LIKELY WILL BE

MARGINALIZED OR SILENCED. THE TRIUMPHANT ZANU-PF

LEADERSHIP WILL CONTINUE ITS ECONOMIC ISOLATION WITH

PRIDE, AND WILL BE IN NO HURRY TO RESTORE RELATIONS WITH

THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS OR THE DONORS.

MANY THINK, LIKE COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER NATHAN

SHAMUYARIRA, THAT THE COUNTRY WAS BADLY ADVISED BY THE

WEST TO ADOPT A STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM IN 1991,

AND THAT MUGABE COULD RETURN TO THE STATIST, AUTARCHIC

AND MARXIST ECONOMIC POLICIES OF THE 1980’S.

 

————————–

RIGHTING THE SHIP OF STATE

————————–

 

6. (C) NO COUNTRY APPEARS ABLE TO SURVIVE ANY MORE WITH

SUCH POLICIES IN PLACE (THE EXAMPLES OF NORTH KOREA,

CUBA AND IRAQ SPRING TO MIND), AND NOT ONLY ZIMBABWE’S

PEOPLE BUT THE SUB-REGION AS A WHOLE WILL FEEL THE

IMPACT OF DECLINING ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. THE PROBLEMS

CURRENTLY FACED OF AN OVERVALUED BUT FUNDAMENTALLY WEAK

CURRENCY, NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE, GALLOPING INFLATION,

BALLOONING PUBLIC DEBT AND SHRINKING OUTBOUND TRADE WILL

ONLY GET WORSE. IT WILL ONLY BE A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02810 02 OF 03 241447Z

TURMOIL RESURFACES. AT THIS POINT WE FORESEE

SUBSTANTIAL CAPITAL FLIGHT, WITH WHITES QUEUING UP TO

FLEE TO WHATEVER COUNTRY WILL TAKE THEM, AND

MANUFACTURERS CLOSING FACTORIES AND SHRINKING OPERATIONS

TO STAUNCH THEIR LOSSES.

 

7. (C) IN OUR JUDGMENT, FOR ZIMBABWE TO GET BACK ON THE

ECONOMIC TRACK THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO:

 

— SLASH SPENDING TO REIN IN THE DEFICIT (FISCAL

POLICY);

 

— ADHERE TO A STRICT MONETARY POLICY;

 

— SUPPORT, AND NOT ATTACK, THE PRIVATE SECTOR;

 

— PRIVATIZE THE PARASTATALS, VIRTUALLY ALL OF WHICH ARE

LOSS MAKERS;

 

— INITIATE A SERIOUS ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE WITH

CREDIBLE FOLLOW-THROUGH;

 

— PARTICIPATE IN SADC IN A SERIOUS MANNER (THE ATTITUDE

NOW IS STRICTLY WHAT’S IN IT FOR ZIMBABWE AND USING IT

AS A POLITICAL FORUM);

 

— CARRY OUT LAND REFORM IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER; AND

 

— RESTORE THE CITIZENRY’S FAITH IN RULE OF LAW AND

RESPECT FOR FREE MARKET PRINCIPLES.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02810 02 OF 03 241447Z

8. (C) FOR THE TIME BEING WE HAVE SEEN LITTLE

INDICATION THAT ANYONE IN THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IS

GIVING ANY OF THESE MEASURES SERIOUS THOUGHT, NEVER MIND

TAKING ANY STEPS IN SUCH A DIRECTION. ONE SENIOR

MINISTRY OF FINANCE OFFICIAL, TRYING TO PUT THE BEST

FACE ON THINGS, TOLD US ON MAY 23 THAT HIS MINISTRY’S

PATRIOTIC CIVIL SERVANTS HAD INSTITUTED A PRE-PAID

SYSTEM OF COUPONS TO BAR OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS

FROM GETTING FREE FUEL AT THE GOVERNMENT’S DEPOTS. NO

GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL WILL BE PINNED DOWN ON WHAT THE

POST-ELECTION ECONOMIC POLICY MIGHT BE BEYOND REFERRING

TO THE MILLENNIUM ECONOMIC RECOVERY PROGRAM (MERP), A

COMPILATION OF ECONOMIC GOALS LONG ON DESIDERATA AND

SHORT ON SPECIFICS OF HOW TO REACH THEM. THE ZANU-PF

ELECTORAL PARTY PLANK, IN ANY CASE, MIGHTILY CONTRADICTS

THE MERP’S PRECEPTS AND GOALS. CIVIL SERVANTS WHO WILL

BE BRUTALLY FRANK WITH US SAY THAT THEY HOPE THE WORLD

WILL FORGET THE BEHAVIOR AND EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE

ELECTION AND LEND ZIMBABWE A HELPING HAND. “WE WILL

NEED A FEW FRIENDS,” OUR FINANCE MINISTRY INTERLOCUTOR

TOLD US, “TO HELP US OUT OF THE PIT WE HAVE DUG

OURSELVES.”

 

9. (C) ROBERT MUGABE WILL BE DEALING WITH A HIGHLY

INDEBTED AND DYSFUNCTIONAL COUNTRY AS HE CONTEMPLATES

ANOTHER RUN AT THE PRESIDENCY IN 2002. ONCE THE LAND

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2088

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02810 03 OF 03 241447Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00 CTME-00

INL-01   DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-01   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00

FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00

VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   STR-00

USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/013W

——————5AE585 241447Z /38

P 241448Z MAY 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6140

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USDOC WASHDC

DEPTTREAS WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 002810

 

SIPDIS

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

PASS USAID FOR A/AID RMCCALL AND AFR/SA WJEFFERS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND GRACE SONE

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02810 03 OF 03 241447Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2010

TAGS: PGOV ECON PINR ZI

SUBJECT: THE MORNING AFTER: ZIMBABWE’S POST-ELECTION

ECONOMIC HANGOVER

 

ISSUE IS DEALT WITH (WHETHER INEPTLY AND UNJUSTLY OR

NOT, IT WILL BE MORE THAN DIFFICULT FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT

GOVERNMENT TO REVERSE IT), IT WOULD SEEM, PERFORCE,

MUGABE WILL HAVE TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMY. WE PREDICT HE

WILL DO SO INSINCERELY, IF HISTORY TEACHES US ANY

LESSONS IN ZIMBABWE. THE PRESIDENT LIKELY WILL SHIFT

THE BLAME FOR ITS POOR PERFORMANCE ON THE WEST

(SPECULATORS, THE BRITISH, HOMOSEXUALS AND WHOMEVER ELSE

COMES TO MIND), AND ARGUE THAT HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO

CAN SAVE ZIMBABWE FROM THE TENEBROUS FORCES UNLEASHED BY

GLOBALIZATION.

 

———————————-

THE NEAR TERM OUTLOOK FOR VIOLENCE

———————————-

 

10. (C) REGARDING POLITICAL VIOLENCE, WE ARE PICKING UP

COUNTERINTUITIVE SIGNALS THAT IT LIKELY WILL ABATE IN

THE IMMEDIATE RUN-UP TO THE ELECTION, ALTHOUGH THE WEEK

PRECEDING THE JUNE 24 AND 25 VOTING DATES COULD SEE AN

ESCALATION. WITH THE SAME, SIMPLE LOGIC HIS PRESIDENT

USED ON LAND (THEY STOLE IT FROM US, WE’LL TAKE IT

BACK), THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY,

SYDNEY SEKERAMAYI, ON MAY 21 IN MARONDERA CALLED FOR AN

END TO POLITICAL VIOLENCE, BUT WARNED OMINOUSLY THAT,

“AFTER THE VOTES WE WILL SEE WHO HAS BEEN CHEATING US

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02810 03 OF 03 241447Z

AND WE WILL DEAL WITH EACH OTHER.” THE ARRIVAL OF

FOREIGN OBSERVERS IS BEGINNING TO HAVE AN EFFECT. THE

ZANU-PF LEADERSHIP DOES NOT WISH TO BE SEEN AS THE

PERPETRATOR OF CRUDE SAVAGERY WHEN IT IS SQUARE IN THE

FOCUS OF THE WORLD, PARTICULARLY THAT OF FELLOW

AFRICANS.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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