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Mugabe stripped of honorary degree

President Robert Mugabe was stripped of his honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Massachusetts, in a move without precedent in the uiversity’s 145 year history.

Mugabe had already been stripped of other honorary degrees by the Michigan State University and Edinburgh University.

Interestingly, when the University of Massachusetts awarded Mugabe the degree in 1986, it said: “Gentle firmness in the face of anger and intellectual approach to matters which inflame the emotions of others are hallmarks of quiet integrity”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE660, ZIM NOTES 08-14-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE660

2009-08-17 08:58

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3985

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0660/01 2290858

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 170858Z AUG 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4812

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2369

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2978

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3094

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1523

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2357

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2724

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3142

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5585

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2272

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000660

 

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 08-14-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– MDC and Outstanding Issues…

– New Doctor’s Strike a Blow to Healthcare Efforts…

– Tsvangirai Saluted by Defense Chiefs?…

– MDC-M Pressures Speaker to Ban MPs…

– Secretary Clinton Blames Leadership for Zim Collapse…

– ILO Investigation Begins…

– UMass Revokes Mugabe’s Honorary Degree…

– Investors Assured of Security of Tenure in – Zimbabwe’s Mining

Sector…

– Exports Decline…

– Dollarization Slows Bank Lending…

– Grain Shortages Predicted By September 2009…

– Competition Forces the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to Improve

Service…

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

2. MDC and Outstanding Issues… A meeting on August 13 between

principals President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara failed to

make progress on outstanding Global Political Agreement issues,

principally the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor

Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, and the failure to

swear in Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture. Tsvangirai

will raise these issues at a ministerial retreat the weekend of

August 22.   He then plans to urge South African president Jacob

Zuma to exert pressure on Mugabe when Zuma visits Zimbabwe for an

agricultural show on August 27. Tsvangirai will also attempt to

visit a number of SADC capitals in anticipation of the SADC Summit

of Heads of State and Government in Kinshasa from September 2 to

September 8. Tsvangirai and MDC-T are increasingly concerned about

Tomana, who they blame for the selective prosecution of MDC-T MPs,

and they may be willing to strike a deal with Mugabe whereby Gono

would remain in office and Tomana would go.

 

3. New Doctor’s Strike a Blow to Healthcare Efforts… Doctors at

major hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo began boycotting work on

August 12 to press the cash-strapped government for pay increases.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association that represents all state

doctors wants them paid a salary of US$1,000 per month plus a US$500

allowance compared to the US$390 (US$220 of which comes from a

British relief agency) that they earn now. The association has

threatened to extend the strike to all state hospitals across the

country if their demands are not met.

 

4. Tsvangirai Saluted by Defense Chiefs?… Air Force commander

Perence Shiri and National Army commander Phillip Sibanda appeared

on Tuesday to break ranks with fellow top commanders by saluting

Tsvangirai during the Defense Forces Day ceremony. This potential

thawing of the frosty relationship between the military and the MDC

may come in response to last week’s first meeting of the National

Security Council, of which Tsvangirai is a member. However, some

reports have suggested that the salute was actually directed at

retired General Solomon Mujuru who was seated near Tsvangirai, while

Qretired General Solomon Mujuru who was seated near Tsvangirai, while

other reports suggest it was merely part of a handshake.

 

5. MDC-M Pressures Speaker to Ban MPs… Welshman Ncube, the

Secretary General of the MDC-M, issued an ultimatum calling on

Parliamentary Speaker Lovemore Moyo to ban the three MPs that the

MDC-M leaderhip has expelled from the party for indiscipline.

Ncube told a news conference in Harare on August 13 that if the

Speaker fails to declare the House of Assembly seats vacant, the

 

HARARE 00000660 002 OF 003

 

 

party will refer the matter to judicial authorities on corruption

grounds. The three MPs have been highly critical of party leaders

including Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who they accuse of

siding with ZANU-PF in the inclusive government.

 

6. Secretary Clinton Blames Leadership for Zim Collapse… During

a visit to South Africa where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

pressed President Jacob Zuma on assuming a more forward role in

promoting African democracy, Clinton blamed the huge number of

Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa on leadership failures in

Harare. Meanwhile, President Mugabe used this week’s burial service

for the late VP Msika as an opportunity to continue blaming the West

for Zimbabwe’s woes.

 

7. ILO Investigation Begins… A delegation appointed by the

International Labor Organization (ILO) arrived this week to begin an

official investigation into a 2006 incident in which labor leaders

were brutally assaulted by police after staging protests against the

government. Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Secretary

General Wellington Chibebe and others suffered permanent injuries

from the beatings. The findings will be presented in Geneva later

this year.

 

8. UMass Revokes Mugabe’s Honorary Degree… In a move without

precedent in the University of Massachusetts’ 145 year history, the

school is revoking an honorary degree bestowed upon President Mugabe

in 1986. Mugabe was awarded the honorary Doctorate of Laws degree

for his “exemplary devotion to social justice.” The revocation

follows similar moves taken by Michigan State and the UK’s Edinburgh

University last year.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

9. Investors Assured of Security of Tenure in Zimbabwe’s Mining

Sector… At the fifth annual mining conference held in

Johannesburg last week, investors quizzed the Minister of Mines and

Mining Development over security of tenure and indigenization.

According to an economist at the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, the

Minister told the conference that the Mining Bill that proposed 51

percent shareholding was being revised and would be made more

investor friendly. The Chamber of Mines proposes lower local equity

thresholds commensurate with Zimbabweans’ ability to finance the

purchase.

 

10. Exports Decline… Official data from the Reserve Bank of

Zimbabwe shows that the country’s total exports declined by 38

percent from US$752 million in the first six months of 2008 to

US$476 million during the corresponding period of 2009. Much of the

fall was caused by a combination of a poor local operating

environment and the global financial crisis that reduced demand for

Zimbabwe’s products abroad. The mining sector accounted for 44

percent of total exports and tobacco accounted for 26 percent while

manufactured exports accounted for only 14 percent.

 

11. Dollarization Slows Bank Lending… Reserve Bank data also

Q11. Dollarization Slows Bank Lending… Reserve Bank data also

show that Zimbabwe’s banks have significantly scaled back their

lending following the demise of the Zim dollar. The banks’ average

loan-to-deposit ratio in the second quarter of the year was just 36

percent, down from 62 percent during the same period in 2008. The

regional average is 79 percent. Local bankers say one reason for

the slower pace of lending is that the interbank market disappeared

along with the Zim dollar due to the local scarcity of widely

accepted USD-denominated securities to serve as collateral. Another

reason, according to the bankers, is that deposits in the banking

system now turn over more rapidly than before. These two factors

have made lending an even riskier proposition for banks.

 

12. Grain Shortages Predicted By September 2009… The National

 

HARARE 00000660 003 OF 003

 

 

Early Warning Unit (NEWU) said that the majority of the households

in its June survey are currently able to subsist from their own

grain production, though these stocks are only expected to last

until September/October 2009. The other sources of consumed grain

identified in the survey were derived from casual labor, with less

than one percent of the sampled areas indicating food aid and

remittances as major sources of grain.

 

13. Competition Forces the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to Improve

Service… Following the liberalization of grain marketing, the

government owned GMB improved service delivery by paying farmers

early on a “first come-first served” basis. As of the end of July,

the parastatal had paid out US$3 million to farmers for grain

deliveries. Since June 2009, the GMB has been dispatching inputs to

its depots around the country to enable farmers to prepare for the

coming cropping season early, although the take up by farmers is

reportedly disappointing.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

14. “Gentle firmness in the face of anger and intellectual approach

to matters which inflame the emotions of others are hallmarks of

quiet integrity.” — University of Massachusetts President David

Knapp’s description of President Mugabe in 1986 after presenting him

with an honorary degree.

 

 

DHANANI

 

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