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Obama calls Mugabe a dictator

United States President Barack Obama referred to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a dictator when he presented a human rights award to a Zimbabwean woman and her rights group.

Obama presented the Robert F. Kennedy human rights award to Magodonga Mahlangu and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

The award came with a $30 000 grant and technical and legal support.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE924, ZIM NOTES 11-30-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE924

2009-11-30 06:53

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5162

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3180

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3290

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1717

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2551

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2920

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPAL 3338

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5786

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2470

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000924

 

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 11-30-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

Zuma Sending Negotiating Team to Harare…

South African Investment Treaty Signing Today…

Bennett Trial Limps on as Gwezere Languishes in Prison…

Gono Not Formally Joining ZANU-PF…

Prosecutor Gets Promotion Instead of Jail Time…

Obama Honors WOZA…

2010 Budget to be Presented on December 2…

BP & Shell Deal Stopped on Account of Indigenization Law…

Tourism Up in Zimbabwe?

 

———————————

On the Political and Social Front

———————————-

 

2. Zuma Sending Negotiating Team to Harare… South African

President and SADC-appointed facilitator, Jacob Zuma, is sending a

three-person negotiating team to Harare on November 27 to further

negotiations on outstanding political issues between the three GPA

party signatories. The team is led by Charles Nqacula, a political

adviser to Zuma and a former defense minister. It also includes Mac

Maharaj, a former minister of transport and hero of South Africa’s

anti-Apartheid struggle, and former ambassador and presidential

foreign policy adviser Lindiwe Zulu. Negotiators for the three

parties began meeting this week, but the late start and the fact

that ZANU-PF is unlikely to agree to concessions until after the

ZANU-PF Congress, set to conclude on December 18, make it highly

doubtful that negotiations will conclude within the 30 days set by

SADC at the Troika Summit in Maputo.

 

3. South African Investment Treaty Signing Today… Zimbabwe and

South Africa plan to sign a Bilateral Investment Promotion and

Protection Agreement on November 27 that the GOZ sees as a step

toward rebuilding investor confidence with its large southern

neighbor. However, the BIPPA is contentious because it fails to

offer any redress to nearly 250 South African farmers whose land was

expropriated under land reform, and therefore, according to the

Commercial Farmers Union, would contravene the SADC Tribunal ruling

invalidating Zimbabwean farm seizures as discriminatory. In an

effort to stave off or influence the signing, resident South African

farmer Louis Fick brought an urgent order to court in South Africa

on November 26 seeking that South Africa honor its SADC ruling

obligations. The North Gauteng High Court issued a ruling ordering

the South African government to honor the SADC ruling that upheld

the rights of a group of Zimbabwean farmers.

 

4. Bennett Trial Limps on as Gwezere Languishes in Prison… The

trial of MDC-T Treasurer General and Deputy Agriculture

Minister-designate Roy Bennett limped on this week as the first

three witnesses failed to produce any evidence linking him to

terrorism, insurrection and insurgency charges. However, the

prosecution is undeterred and intends on calling ten more witnesses.

Meanwhile, MDC Transport Manager Pascal Gwezere is languishing in

remand prison as prosecutors decide whether to appeal the bail

granted him on November 20. Gwezere was abducted by state security

Qgranted him on November 20. Gwezere was abducted by state security

agents on October 27 and is charged with stealing arms from an

armory in Harare. The prison authorities continue to deny him

medical treatment for injuries he allegedly suffered from torture by

state security agents.

 

 

5. Gono Not Formally Joining ZANU-PF… Reserve Bank Governor

Gideon Gono will not be adding the title of ZANU-PF Manicaland

Provincial Finance Secretary to his resume, according to the State

press. Gono was put forward as a nominee for the position, but

 

HARARE 00000924 002 OF 003

 

 

apparently turned down the nomination as it would contradict the

apolitical nature of his RBZ role and because of his “enormous

national commitments.” Gono has long maintained the fiction that he

is not a ZANU-PF political supporter. Rumors that Gono had accepted

the party position fueled speculation that he might step down as

governor to focus on a political career.

Prosecutor Gets Promotion Instead of Jail Time… State prosecutor

Andrew Kumire was recently promoted to area public prosecutor

despite his conviction for contempt of court last month by

magistrate Chiwoniso Mutongi. Kumire was sentenced to five days in

prison for his disrespectful behavior during the trial of human

rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama in October, but managed to avoid

serving any time. Mutongi — one of few female magistrates — has

since resigned from the bench, citing interference, harassment, and

abuse by prosecutors.

 

6. Obama Honors WOZA… President Obama hosted the awards ceremony

for the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation’s annual Human Rights Award at

the White House on Monday. In his remarks, the President referred to

Robert Mugabe as a “dictator” — a point many here immediately

noticed. The RFK award to Magodonga Mahlangu and Women of Zimbabwe

Arise (WOZA) comes with a $30,000 grant and technical and legal

support. Since WOZA’s founding in 2003, 3,000 of it’s 75,000 members

have been arrested while conducting peaceful protests across

Zimbabwe. See President Obama’s remarks online at: www.youtube.com

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

7. 2010 Budget to be Presented on December 2… Finance Minister

Tendai Biti will present the 2010 budget in Parliament on December

2, according to Ministry of Finance officials. We have not had many

reliable indications of what the new budget will bring. The main

question is how well Biti will control growth of the public-sector

wage bill. We will also look for moves to simplify taxes on mining,

with a view to raising more revenue from the sector.

 

8. BP & Shell Deal Stopped on Account of Indigenization Law…

According to a report in Business Day (November 24), Zimbabwean

authorities have thwarted Engen’s and KenolKobil’s bid to acquire BP

and Shell’s fuel assets in Zimbabwe on account of the Indigenization

Act which prescribes that black Zimbabweans own at least 51 percent

of all businesses in the country. While BP and Shell’s

Communications and External Affairs Manager admitted that

stakeholders held high level meetings recently, he professed

ignorance about what was discussed.

 

9. Tourism Up in Zimbabwe? According to figures released at a South

African tourism conference this week, visits to Zimbabwe have

bounced back sharply as 362,000 tourists visited the country since

the launch of the unity government in February, compared with

100,000 for all of last year. Those visits translated into 2009

Q100,000 for all of last year. Those visits translated into 2009

tourism revenue of US$100 million. Zimbabwe Council of Tourism

President Emmanuel Fundira attributed the bounce in revenues to the

country’s relative stability since the launch of the inclusive

government in February. Shingi Munyenza, the CEO of leading local

hotelier African Sun, told the conference that Zimbabwean hotels

have been running at 70% of capacity lately.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

10. “Ladies and gentlemen let me categorically state that the AG’s

office is highly competent, independent and shall continue to uphold

and apply the laws of the country without fear or favour.” —

Attorney General Johannes Tomana’s public remarks as the guest of

honor at a police parade on November 26.

 

 

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RAY

 

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