- Category: Stories
- Published on Sunday, 15 July 2012 18:01
- Written by Charles Rukuni
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Half of the money would be spent on activities that would restore economic activity, while the other half would be directed towards restoring basic services such as health and education.
Education Minister David Coltart estimated that he needed US$483 million to resurrect the education.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who had been on a fund-raising trip had said the new government needed US$5 billion to rebuild the country.
Viewing cable 09HARARE163, ZIM NOTES 02-27-2009
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SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 02-27-2009
Topics of the week:
- MDC and ZANU-PF Going Head to Head in Government...
- SADC Looking to Raise US$2 Billion for Zimbabwe...
- Roy Bennett Granted Bail, but Still in Jail...
- Tsvangirai to Attend Bob's Birthday Bash? ...
- USAID Employee Released...
- WOZA Women Beaten-Again...
- Commodity Prices Keep Falling...
- Policy Tug of War on Dual-Listed Stocks...
- Platinum and Diamond Companies Buck Gono Directive...
- ZESA Told to Reconnect Customers...
- Zimbabwe has Trade Surplus with U.S...
- IMF Coming to Zimbabwe...
On the Political/Social Front
¶2. MDC and ZANU-PF Going Head to Head in Government...On February
24, President Mugabe unilaterally appointed a new slate of permanent
secretaries-the third-ranking official in each ministry-without the
"consultation and agreement" of the senior members of government
(including the Prime Minister) as stipulated in the Interparty
Political Agreement signed last September and in Amendment 19 to the
Constitution. Tsvangirai immediately held a press conference and
declared their appointments "null and void." He also said the
appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General
Johannes Tomana, and of provincial governors should be dealt with
immediately, that Mugabe had agreed to the release of political
detainees but this had not happened, and condemned the recent spate
of farm seizures. See Harare 149. Mugabe publicly responded that the
appointments of Gono, Tomana, and the permanent secretaries had been
appropriately made. At week's end, government principals Mugabe,
Tsvangirai, and Arthur Mutambara met to discuss these issues.
¶3. SADC Looking to Raise US$2 Billion for Zimbabwe... On the heels
of Prime Minister Tsvangirai's fund-raising trip last week to South
Africa, and after a meeting of SADC finance ministers including
Zimbabwe's Tendai Biti, South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel
told the media on February 26 that SADC would seek to raise US$2
billion in funds for Zimbabwe's recovery. The figure is less than
the US$5 billion Tsvangirai said was necessary to rebuild the
country. Half of the money would be spent on activities that would
restore economic activity, while the other half would be directed
towards restoring basic services such as health and education.
Meanwhile, several of the new MDC ministers have been appealing for
financial support, including new Education Minister David Coltart
who estimated he needed US$483 million to resurrect the education
sector. See Harare 156.
¶4. Roy Bennett Granted Bail, but Still in Jail... The incarcerated
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Roy Bennett, was granted bail by
Zimbabwe's High Court. Zimbabwean law grants the State seven days in
which to decide whether to appeal the bail decision and, pursuant to
law, Bennett remains in custody for this period. Bennett's lawyers
are optimistic that the State will not appeal and that Bennett will
Qare optimistic that the State will not appeal and that Bennett will
then be released.
¶5. Tsvangirai to Attend Bob's Birthday Bash? ... A spokesperson for
Tsvangirai informed the press that the Prime Minister planned to
attend Mugabe's lavish 85th birthday party this weekend. While his
presence is certainly intended to strengthen their long-frayed
relationship, Tsvangirai's attendance has drawn criticism at a time
of great economic hardship for most Zimbabweans. The menu for the
event purportedly includes 2,000 bottles of champagne, 8,000
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lobsters, 200 pounds of shrimp, 4,000 portions of caviar, 8,000
boxes of Ferrero Rocha chocolates, and 500 bottles of high-end
liquor. Perhaps most offensive to hungry Zimbabweans was the boast
that "no mealie meal or beef!" would be served.
¶6. USAID Employee Released... USAID employee Frank Muchirahondo was
released from prison on February 24, after the State failed to make
the case that he was involved in the alleged attempted assassination
of Air Marshal Perence Shiri. Muchirahondo had been held in police
custody since January 22.
¶7. WOZA Women Beaten-Again... At least nine members of Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were treated for injuries inflicted by police
and five were arrested on Wednesday when 450 members attempted to
deliver a petition to Education Minister David Coltart. The
petition, signed by 25,000, called on government to cancel the 2008
school year and allow children to repeat the year at no charge. As
of Friday morning, the five in custody had not yet been charged.
Riot police indiscriminately beat protesters and chanted, "today we
are going to beat you" and "why are your husbands allowing you to
protest?" The arrested women sang "we want education for our
children" as they were hauled off to jail. One woman sustained
serious injuries and is unable to walk; another's toe was fractured
when a policeman stomped on her foot.
On the Economic and Business Front
¶8. Commodity Prices Keep Falling... A quick survey of six different
shops in Harare on February 26 showed that prices of most basic
commodities continued to fall during the week under review. The
decline in prices ranged from as low as 4 percent for maize meal to
as high as 30 percent for salt and sugar. Despite the recent
declines, most prices are still above regional averages and are
expected to fall further in the short term.
¶9. Policy Tug of War on Dual-Listed Stocks... Boding ill for the
promotion of foreign investment, and hardly a week after Finance
Minister Biti had restored trading of dual-listed shares offshore
(i.e. their fungibility), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor
Gono issued a directive on February 23 reversing the practice. The
RBZ also reiterated its claim to 5 percent of hard currency sales of
shops for "monitoring and administration" purposes.
¶10. Platinum and Diamond Companies Buck Gono Directive...
Zimbabwe's established platinum and diamond mining companies are not
complying with RBZ Governor Gono's directive to localize their
foreign currency accounts and submit to greater RBZ control. See
¶11. ZESA Told to Reconnect Customers... The new Minister of Energy
and Power Development has ordered Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) to reconnect consumers who had failed to pay its
new forex rates until "appropriate tariffs" have been set. Following
years of under-pricing, ZESA appeared to have set rates designed to
Qyears of under-pricing, ZESA appeared to have set rates designed to
recoup all its losses in the shortest time possible. With many
people still being paid the bulk of their salaries in worthless
local currency, the move drew the public's ire.
¶12. Zimbabwe has Trade Surplus with U.S... Interestingly, despite
the U.S. targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe that have been blamed by
ZANU-PF stalwarts for the country's economic decline, Zimbabwe
posted a trade surplus in 2008 with the United States. In 2008,
Zimbabwe exported US$112 million worth of goods to the U.S.,
dominated by minerals exports, and imported US$92.9 million worth,
predominantly food, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
¶13. IMF Coming to Zimbabwe... The IMF expects to arrive on March 8
for a mission to Zimbabwe to assess the economic health of the
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country and forestall future financial problems.
Quotes of the Week
¶14. "Therefore the announcement of the permanent secretaries has no
force of law and is therefore null and void." -- Morgan Tsvangirai
in reference to the unilateral nomination by Mugabe of permanent
¶15. "I do not see any reason why those people should go and they
will not go." -- Robert Mugabe's response to calls to dismiss Gono,
Tomana, and the permanent secretaries.