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Simba Makoni or Jonathan Moyo-who was responsible for postponement of nomination date?

New theories are now being floated as to why the government postponed the nomination date and the voter registration for the 2008 elections by a week to 15 February.

The government said it postponed the nomination date to allow political parties to have more time to submit names of their candidates.

Former Information Minister Jonathan said the date was postponed because he had filed a lawsuit arguing that the government had set the nomination date before publication of the final “constitutional” boundaries as required by the constitution and wanted to avoid the embarrassment of an adverse court ruling.

Others believed that the government postponed the date because its former Finance Minister Simba Makoni had announced that he was contesting the elections as president. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, which was running the show, therefore wanted to vet its candidates to nominate those loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE134, Zim Notes 2-08-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE134

2008-02-15 10:55

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9312

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0134/01 0461055

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 151055Z FEB 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2491

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1849

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1777

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1903

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0486

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1180

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1537

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1959

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4388

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1030

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000134

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

TREASURY FOR J.RALYEA AND T.RAND

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E.LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: Zim Notes 2-08-2008

 

 

1. The Embassy Harare Political/Economic Section began producing

Zim Notes in July, 2007 to present a perspective on current events

in Zimbabwe. Suggestions are always welcome. If you would like to

receive Zim Notes by email, as well, please contact Frances Chisholm

at chisholmfm@state.gov. Distribution is restricted to U.S.

government employees.

 

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate and Selected products

Parallel rate for cash: ZW$6.4 million:US$1; Bank transfer rate:

Z$7million; Official rate: ZW$$30,000:US$1

Sugar steady at Z$5 million/2kg vs. controlled price of

Z$247,000/2kg

Cooking oil rose to Z$15.5 million/750ml vs. controlled price of

Z$440,000/750ml

Petrol and diesel steady at Z$10 and Z$9 million/liter respectively

vs. Z$60,000/liter at controlled price

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

3. Makoni Announces Candidacy… Simba Makoni stunned ZANU-PF this

week by announcing he would be a candidate for president. As a

rationale for his candidacy, he cited the desperate situation of the

Zimbabwean people and the failure of national leadership. Although

there had been speculation about a Makoni candidacy for weeks, he

had reportedly told President Mugabe in January that he would not

stand for the presidency. Makoni’s immediate backers claim he has

substantial support within ZANU-PF, particularly from the Mujuru

faction, but he has not yet announced his backing, or whether he

will run as an independent or as head of a new party. After the

announcement, ZANU-PF expelled him from the party and state media

lashed out at him as a tool of the West. While Makoni has offered a

ray of hope to many Zimbabweans who have despaired of the MDC,

particularly in light of its failure to reunify, it is too early to

judge Makoni’s strength or how the electorate will be split in a

three-person race between Makoni, Mugabe, and Morgan Tsvangirai. See

Harare 096.

 

4. MDC Reconciliation Fails… The long-anticipated MDC

reconciliation failed last weekend after the Tsvangirai-faction

national council refused to adopt an agreement reached by standing

committees of the two MDC factions on the allocation of

parliamentary seats. The sticking point was the Tsvangirai

faction’s demand for more seats in Bulawayo. Both factions are now

independently considering their next steps in the wake of Simba

Makoni’s announcement. See Harare 100.

 

5. GOZ Postpones Nomination Day And Extends Voter Registration

Period… The government postponed the nomination date (when

candidates must declare their intention to run and present requisite

documentation) by a week to February 15 and extended the voter

registration period to February 14. The government claims it

postponed the date in order to allow all political parties to have

more time to submit names of their candidates. Former Information

Minister and current legislator Jonathan Moyo had filed a lawsuit

against the GOZ on the basis that it had set the nomination date

before publication of the final constitutional boundaries as

required by the Constitution. Moyo told embassy officials he thinks

the GOZ rushed to extend the nomination date to avoid the

embarrassment of an adverse court ruling; others believe the GOZ

postponed the date in the wake of Simba Makoni’s announcement in

order to give ZANU-PF time to vet candidates and nominate

individuals supportive of Mugabe.

 

6. American Surgeons Coming Back To Perform More Cleft Palate

Surgeries… Operation of Hope surgeons will return to Harare on

their third visit in early April to perform free lip and cleft

palate surgery on children.

 

HARARE 00000134 002 OF 003

 

 

 

————————–

Economic and Business News

————————–

 

7. Liquidity Improves On The Back Of Monetary Policy Adjustments…

Bank liquidity has improved on the money market with a forecast of

about a Z$11 trillion (US$1,774,193 at Z$6.4 million:US$1) surplus

on February 7, 2008. A survey of most banks found them to be

benefiting significantly from the 10 percentage point reduction in

statutory reserve requirements and the reduction in duration from

270 to 7 days of the zero-coupon non-negotiable certificates of

deposit that mop up excess liquidity, announced by RBZ Governor Gono

in his Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) of January 31. Moreover, the

challenges bedeviling the electronic transfer of funds system (RTGS)

in recent weeks appear to have abated somewhat, possibly due to

volume relief from the twenty fold increase in allowed check

amounts, also announced in the MPS. As a result, the market has

been ending the day in balance and banks have not needed to resort

to the RBZ’s prohibitive accommodation rates of 1,200 and 1,650% for

secure and unsecured borrowing respectively.

 

8. Colgate-Palmolive Pulls Out Of Zimbabwe… Colgate-Palmolive

(Zimbabwe) is shutting down its laundry detergent and fabric

conditioner plant and pulling out of Zimbabwe. According to the

managing director, the past year’s price control assault was the

final blow following several downsizing exercises undertaken as the

business environment deteriorated.

 

9. January Food Inflation Figures In… A leading local

supermarket chain shared with us its food inflation study for

January. Contrary to our own observations of very sharply rising

prices, it showed the month-on-month rate of increase in prices

having roughly halved for the baskets of both high and low-income

earners. The annual rate of inflation remained at around 100,000%

across incomes.

 

10. Newspaper Prices Soar… In another blow to access to

information for making informed decisions ahead of the March 29

elections, Zimbabweans woke up to a quadrupling of newspaper prices

last week, only days after newspaper companies announced a reduction

in the print run due to newsprint shortages. The government’s

mouthpiece, The Herald, now costs Z$3 million, up from Z$900 000;

its weekly, The Sunday Mail, shot up to Z$4 million from Z$1.2

million. In the independent press, The Standard rose to Z$5.6

million from Z$I.2 million, while its sister paper The Zimbabwe

Independent, like the Financial Gazette, is now selling at Z$7.2

million, up from Z$1.8 million.

 

11. Tobacco Crop Forecast Dropping; Uncertain Outlook For Winter

Wheat… Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) President Trevor Gifford

told us this week, after completing a countrywide farm tour, that

under the most favorable circumstances, the tobacco crop would

probably only be about 55 million kg this year, down from 73 million

kg last year and well off the GOZ’s target of 120 million kg.

Tobacco production peaked at 236 million kg in 2000. On winter

wheat, only 60% of the farmers had been paid for last year’s crop

and the foreign exchange portion of payment, promised by RBZ

Governor Gono in his mid-term Monetary Policy Statement of October

1, 2007, was only beginning to trickle in. Gifford said the GOZ’s

payment track record and low controlled prices gave no confidence to

farmers to plant wheat this coming winter.

 

12. Falling Seed Maize Crop… The controlled price of seed maize

(only a fraction of the world price) and the inadequate availability

of inputs will result in a seed maize crop of about 20,000 MT this

year against a national requirement of 35,000 MT plus 25% carry-over

to cover re-planting, according to our contacts at the CFU and in

industry. Zimbabwe, once a major seed maize exporter, will

 

HARARE 00000134 003 OF 003

 

 

inevitably once again be forced to import seed maize in 2008–at

world market prices.

 

13. More Commercial Farms Gazetted For Acquisition… Thirty-one

commercial farms were listed for acquisition in a General Notice

signed by Didymus Mutasa, Minister of State for National Security,

Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President’s Office on

February 1, 2008.   The notice transfers ownership of the acquired

land with full title to the State with effect from the date of

publication of the notice.

 

14. Basal And Top Dressing Fertilizer In Short Supply… The FAO’s

Agriculture Coordination Working Group reported on January 31 that

total imports of urea stood at 45,452 MT against a requirement of

764,000 MT, and a total of 51,568 MT of basal fertilizers had been

imported as of 25 January 2008 against a requirement of 720,000 MT.

Fertilizer companies and primary raw material suppliers continue to

operate below capacity due to: prices lagging behind production

costs despite a price review in December 2007; foreign currency

shortages; phosphate shortages; power shortages; coal shortages;

skilled/unskilled manpower shortages; and poor and deteriorating

rail service.

 

15. Quote Of The Week From RBZ Governor Gono’s Monetary Policy

Statement of January 31, 2008:

“Some would want to simply look at our current high levels of

inflation, foreign exchange shortages and other constraints and bay

for the blood of the Central Bank Governor, but the substance of the

matter is that without innovativeness and thinking and acting

outside the box, things could have been worse under the decade-long

spell of sanctions.”

 

MCGEE

(12 VIEWS)

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