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New senators-few guiding lights

Most of the new senators elected when the upper house was reintroduced were ruling party hacks in office only to accumulate a salary and government-provided luxury cars which were going to cost the taxpayer US$4.5 million according to United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell.

Dell, however, said the senate included a precious few who, if given the right environment, could contribute to political and economic reform within Zimbabwe.

But under the prevailing set-up the upper house was unlikely to act as an effective driver of reform, despite the presence of some reform-minded individuals.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 05HARARE1680, THE NEW SENATORS: FEW GUIDING LIGHTS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05HARARE1680

2005-12-13 14:42

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001680

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2015

TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL ZI

SUBJECT: THE NEW SENATORS: FEW GUIDING LIGHTS

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) By far the majority of the 66 new Senators are ruling

party hacks, in office only to accumulate a salary and

government-provided luxury cars, a fleet of which, according

to a state-controlled newspaper, will cost more than US$4.3

million at the overvalued official rate. Nonetheless, the

body also includes a precious few who, if given the right

environment, could contribute to political and/or economic

reform within Zimbabwe. However, as currently constituted

Zimbabwe,s recreated upper house is unlikely to act as an

effective driver of reform, despite the presence of some

reform-minded individuals. Below are biographic sketches of

the Senators who are known to Post and who either hold key

positions or could potentially serve as voices for reform )

admittedly this is a short list. Over the coming weeks, Post

will endeavor to learn more about the remaining – largely

unknown – Senators to see if there are other bastions of

hope. End Summary.

 

——————————-

Senate President Edna Madzongwe

——————————-

 

2. (C) A parliamentarian since 1990, Madzongwe is a

competent interlocutor who is eager to be seen as a leader on

gender issues. Madzongwe, who is also the ZANU-PF Deputy

Secretary for Production and Labour, has a long history of

 

SIPDIS

advancing women,s issues, but carries little clout on other

issues. The director of the SUNY parliamentary support

project, John Makamure, told Post that Madzongwe has often

been an obstacle to legislative reform, boding ill for the

establishment of the nascent Senate. In the same vein, MDC

Mayor of Chegutu Francis Dhlakama told Post that Madzongwe’s

Mashonaland West machine has been responsible for the

incessant harassment (violent demonstrations, arrests) that

have hamstrung his administration since his election in 2001.

 

 

3. (U) Closely aligned with Vice President Joyce Mujuru,

Madzongwe was in 1990 elected MP for Kadoma East and a year

later was appointed Deputy Minister for Education and

Culture, a Post she held for two years. In 1995, she became

the first female Deputy Speaker of Parliament. In 1989, she

was appointed ZANU-PF Deputy Secretary for Education, after

rising through the ruling party,s women,s league ranks.

Madzongwe joined the ZANU youth movement in 1966 and worked

to raise funds for the independence war in the United States,

where she was a student.

 

4. (U) Madzongwe attended Salvation Army School in Harare

and Mhofu Primary in Highfield for her primary education,

before proceeding to Goromonzi Secondary from 1959-62. She

attended Quinsigamond Community College in Massachusetts from

1966-68, where she earned an Associate degree in liberal arts

and then proceeded to Worcester State College from 1969-1972

where she earned a Bachelor degree with a major in English

and a minor in Psychology. From 1976-1980 she attended the

University of Massachusetts and earned a Master degree in

Educational Psychology. Born on July 11, 1945 in Zvimba

(President Mugabe’s home town), Madzongwe is widowed and has

three sons. Madzongwe maintains a blood relation to

President Mugabe. Her mother is from the Samkange family,

widely regard as a part of Zimbabwe,s &struggle

aristocracy8 because of their prominence in colonial era

nationalist politics.

 

————————————-

Senate Deputy President Naison Ndlovu

————————————-

 

5. (C) Naison Ndlovu,s elevation to Deputy President

appears to be calculated to bolster ZANU-PF,s hand in

Matabeleland South, where the ruling party swept all the

Senatorial seats. Also the ZANU-PF Secretary for Production

and Labor, Ndlovu was elected as the upper house

representative for Insiza. Ndlovu served as Deputy Speaker

of Parliament between 1990 and 1995. Makamure described

Ndlovu as an average parliamentarian and, like Madzongwe,

unlikely to push for reform. He noted, however, that Ndlovu

had often been at odds with other ZANU-PF MPS. A former

leader in ZAPU, the Ndebele-based rival to Robert Mugabe’s

ZANU, he served as its national chairman between 1980 and

1987, when the two parties merged to form ZANU-PF. He also

served as Bulawayo,s first black mayor. During the war for

independence he was twice jailed for his activities, the

first between 1965 and 1968, and again from 1973 to 1975.

Ndlovu was born in 1930.

 

———————————–

Senator Dzikamai Mavhaire, Masvingo

———————————–

 

6. (C) Mavhaire,s nomination ) and subsequent victory – on

the ruling party ticket for the Masvingo Senate seat marked

this maverick,s political rehabilitation following his

suspension from the party leadership when he called for

Mugabe’s resignation in 1998. An ally of the Zvogbo family

in the factional politics of ZANU-PF in Masvingo province,

Mavhaire has been in the doldrums, outside mainstream

politics for years. Mavhaire commends a large following in

Karanga-dominated Masvingo province. By nominating him for

Senate, Mugabe was probably attempting to divide Karanga

support for Emmerson Mnangagwa, the political rival of his

heir-apparent, Vice President Mujuru. Historically open to

Embassy contact, Mavhaire is an independent voice that has

been highly critical of flawed government policies. SUNY

interlocutors expect him to provide a voice of reason in the

upper house and to contribute to the reform process.

 

7. (U) Before his suspension from the party, Mavhaire was

the ZANU-PF Provincial Chairman for Masvingo. He served as

Governor of Masvingo Pronvince from 1984 to 1989. Prior to

that, he was Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy

Development (1982-1983).

 

——————————————— ———–

Senator Aguy Clement Georgias, Non-Constituent Appointee

——————————————— ———–

 

8. (C) Georgias,s deep pockets and showy praise for Mugabe

and ZANU-PF probably secured him his seat in the Senate. The

owner of Trinity Engineering, Georgias, however, has a

reputation for being outspoken regarding the state of the

economy. SUNY reports that he has contributed to budget

seminars and monetary policy statements. A prominent

industrialist from Chihvu, Georgias has helped develop the

legal code governing businesses by bringing questions before

the courts regarding interest rates and lending contracts.

Despite his party ties, this young, vibrant, results-oriented

businessman could prove to be a young turk. Georgias,

however, fits the profile of past business executives that

ZANU-PF has brought into the fold in a mutually exploitive

relationship as long as it suited the party elite’s interests.

 

9. (C) Mugabe likely also intended Georgias,s appointment

as a nod to the country,s colored community. Georgias,

however, is actually a black Zimbabwean, hailing from the

Zezuru subgroup of the dominate Shona ethnicity, just like

Mugabe. During the colonial era, Georgias, like many other

lighter-skinned blacks, adopted a European name ) in Aguy,s

case the family name of the white man who taught him to be a

welder ) to gain higher social and legal standing.

Georgias, true ethnic background is reportedly known only to

a few ruling party insiders. He is married to a woman of

mixed race. Fellow Senator Mahere told Post that Georgias

likes to flirt with women by saying that his name is

&Gorgeous.8

 

——————————————— —

Senator Sheila Mahere, Non-Constituent Appointee

——————————————— —

 

10. (C) The most surprising addition to the Senate, Sheila

Mahere is a long-time Embassy contact and the director of

Musasa Project, a Democracy and Human Rights Fund grant

recipient that works with battered women. She has been a

vocal regime critic on gender issues and professed surprise

to Post when Mugabe asked her take a seat in the upper house.

Mahere told us that Vice President Mujuru and Minister of

Women,s Affairs Muchinguri suggested her nomination and that

she intended to place women,s rights at the forefront of the

Senate,s agenda. She nonetheless expressed concern that her

appointment would be ill received by other civil society

leaders and the donor community and, in fact, several of

Post,s NGO contacts have expressed fears that she has been

co-opted.

 

11. (C) Mahere is the daughter of liberation war leader and

former Cabinet member Morris Nyagumbo, who committed suicide

in 1989 after being implemented in the famous &Willowgate8

scandal. Although divorced, Mahere said she retains her

married name so as not to ride on her father,s coattails.

Growing up during the liberation struggle, Mahere spent most

of her childhood going between the camps in Zambia and school

in the UK; she told Post that she rarely saw her father. She

received a degree with honors in law from Leicester

University (UK) in 1988. Returning to Zimbabwe only after

her father,s death, she earned a second law degree (in 1991)

and her MBA (in 2000) from the University of Zimbabwe. She

has extensive legal experience, including stints as a public

prosecutor (1990-1993), magistrate (1993-1995), and senior

magistrate (1995-1997). Born on April 27, 1958, she enjoys

reading, cooking, and gardening. She has three children.

DELL

 

(52 VIEWS)

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