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State media toned down hate speech against Tsvangirai

State media toned down its hate speech against Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the leaders of the key political parties in Zimbabwe and even referred to him for the first time as opposition leader.

A senior journalist at The Herald told the United States embassy that the paper had edited out a diatribe by First Lady Grace Mugabe against Tsvangirai and the MDC at the launch of an orphans project.

The state media however continued with its attacks on the United States and the European Union for their targetted sanctions.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE637, ZIM NOTES 7-25-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE637

2008-07-28 06:16

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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DE RUEHSB #0637/01 2100616

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 280616Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3221

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2026

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2177

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2296

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0828

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1573

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1931

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2352

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4783

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1442

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000637

 

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 7-25-2008

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– MOU Signed, Talks Started…

– Over a Quarter of MDC MPs Targeted…

– EU Expands Sanctions List…

– SADC Tribunal Rules Against Zimbabwe on Land…

– State Media Tone Down Rhetoric…

– Zim Journalist Wins CNN Award…

– Holding Mugabe Accountable…

– Looming Cash Shortage…

– Cargill’s Cotton Caught in Cash Crunch…

– Another EU Company under Boycott Pressure…

– Nickel Production Down…

– Zimbabwe International Book Fair Cancelled…

 

——————————————— ———-

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate and Selected Products

——————————————— ———-

 

Parallel rate for cash inched up to Z$110 billion:US$1 against

inter-bank average of Z$49 billion:US$1

 

Bank transfer rate shot to Z$780 billion:US$1; official rate:

Z$$30,000:US$1

 

Bread on the parallel market Z$150 billion vs. controlled price of

Z$400 million

 

Sugar steady at Z$300 billion/2kg vs. controlled price of Z$8

million/2kg

 

Cooking oil rose to Z$180 billion/750ml vs. controlled price of

Z$9.3 million/750ml

 

Petrol and diesel shot to Z$190 billion/liter vs. controlled price

of Z$60,000/liter

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

3. MOU Signed, Talks Started – Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai,

and Arthur Mutambara signed a Memorandum of Understanding on July 21

laying out a framework for inter-party negotiations that started in

South Africa on July 24. Reaction to the MOU has varied. While it

has generated significant buzz, some actors in the MDC and

Zimbabwean civil society remain deeply pessimistic. See Harare 625

and 628.

 

4. Over a Quarter of MDC MPs Targeted – Since March 29, a dozen MDC

legislators have been charged with crimes; others were on police

“wanted lists” or held without charge. Since signing of the MOU, it

appears the MP hunt has been called off, but many MPs-elect still

fear returning home/facing trial. See Harare 622.

 

5. EU Expands Sanctions List – The European Union this week added

37 people and entities to its targeted sanctions list. While most

of the new names are members of the military involved in

election-related violence, the list also includes Peter Chingoka,

the Chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, and two hate-mongering journalists

associated with the state-sponsored newspaper The Herald.

 

6. SADC Tribunal Rules Against Zimbabwe on Land – On July 18, the

SADC Tribunal in Namibia ruled that the GOZ had violated the body’s

 

HARARE 00000637 002 OF 003

 

 

December 2007 injunction against the harassment or eviction of

several dozen white farmers. The farmers are contesting the seizure

of their property under fast-track land reform. Prosecutions of

farmers for contravening eviction orders slowed down starting in

mid-May, but there has been no letup in disruptions on the ground.

The Tribunal’s authorizing legislation provides that once its orders

have been breached the matter is turned over to the SADC Secretariat

for appropriate action. The next SADC Summit, at which action could

be taken, will be on August 15 under South Africa’s chairmanship.

See Septel.

 

7. State Media Tone Down Rhetoric – State media rolled back hate

speech against Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC this week; they even

referred to Tsvangirai for the first time as “the opposition

leader.” A senior journalist at The Herald told us the paper had

edited out a diatribe against Tsvangirai and the MDC by the First

Lady at the launch of an orphans project this week. Attacks,

however, on the U.S./EU for their targeted sanctions persisted.

 

8. Zim Journalist Wins CNN Award – Despite the GOZ’s refusal to

grant him a license to cover news, Hopewell Rugoh Chin’ono last week

won the prestigious CNN-sponsored African Journalist of the Year

competition for an uncompromising documentary on Zimbabwe’s struggle

against HIV-AIDS: “Pain in My Heart.” The documentary beat 1911

entries from across Africa. Chin’ono has been filing news footage,

including a recent interview with Ambassador McGee, undercover to

international news agencies.

 

9. Holding Mugabe Accountable – !Enough and Impunity Watch issued a

discussion paper this week that highlights the legal options

available to hold President Robert Mugabe accountable for various

international crimes.

www.enoughproject.org/files/reports/july_zim_ 2.pdf.

 

10. Readings on Transitional Governments – The Center for

Contemporary Conflict’s January 2006 “Strategic Insights” focused on

transitional governments. It looked at variety of experiences,

including from Kosovo, Liberia, East Timor, and El Salvador. See

www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/archiveDate.asp#vol5i ssue1.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

11. Looming Cash Shortage – Hyperinflation is driving demand for

cash as problems of bank connectivity, the quadrillions and

quintillions, and transaction lag discourage the use of debit cards,

checks and bank transfers. Barter is on the rise, along with price

indexing to a stable currency, or outright dollarization. Banks are

still getting their daily cash requirement from the Reserve Bank,

but the disruption in the supply of banknote paper combined with

hyperinflation presage an imminent shortage. The GOZ has responded

with some unsustainable stopgap measures, including introduction of

a new Z$100 billion note this week. See Harare 627.

 

12. Cargill’s Cotton Caught in Cash Crunch – Cargill has been

unable to access enough cash to buy up its contracted cotton crop

for the past three weeks. In the meantime, better connected

competitors are moving in to exploit the company’s distress in a

sector notorious for side-marketing.

 

13. Another EU Company under Boycott Pressure – Media pressure is

mounting on the small Austrian security software company Jura JSP to

suspend the provision of security software to Zimbabwe’s banknote

printer. Similar pressure compelled Germany’s Giesecke & Devrient

to end delivery of banknote paper earlier this month.

 

14. Nickel Production Down – Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC)

 

HARARE 00000637 003 OF 003

 

 

reported production down 37% in the year ending March 31. Weaker

nickel prices, the RBZ’s stranglehold on earned foreign exchange,

skills flight, and aged equipment dampened results. The unviable

inter-bank exchange rate and spiraling inflation will likely

continue to hurt performance, although BNC is opening a new mine

this year. Nickel was Zimbabwe’s fourth largest mineral export last

year. US$30.8 million worth of Zimbabwe nickel went to the U.S. in

2007, according to TradStats Express. That amount is over 40% of

Zimbabwe’s US$71.8 million in exports to the U.S. in 2007.

 

15. Zimbabwe International Book Fair Cancelled – Economic

conditions and the loss of support from international sponsors have

forced cancellation of this year’s ZIBF. A major publishing event

in Africa since 1983, its demise is a significant blow to the

African publishing industry, not to mention one more sign of

Zimbabwe’s decline.

 

 

MCGEE

 

(5 VIEWS)

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