Biti says he doesn’t know what Motlanthe is talking about

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe told a press conference on 17 December 2008, three months after the signing of the Global Political Agreement, that he hoped an inclusive government would be in place that week but Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti said he did not know what Motlanthe was talking about.

The government had just gazetted Constitutional Amendment 19 which was supposed to usher the inclusive government but the MDC-T vowed that it would not allow Parliament to vote on the amendment until outstanding issues, including the allocation of ministries and governorships, had been resolved.

Biti was vehemently opposed to any concessions and accused his party leader Morgan Tsvangirai of caving in to the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front.

He even told Unite4d States embassy officials that Tsvangirai’s idiocy was shocking.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1136, ZIM NOTES 12-19-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1136

2008-12-19 11:02

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0705

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1136/01 3541102

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 191102Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3848

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2147

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2508

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2631

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1124

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1900

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2255

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2680

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5108

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1781

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 001136

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

TREASURY FOR D. PETERS

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 12-19-2008

 

-----------

1. SUMMARY

-----------

 

This is the last edition of Zim Notes in 2008. We will resume

publication on January 2. Topics of the week:

 

- Constitutional Amendment 19 Gazetted...

- Allegations of MDC Paramilitary Camps in Botswana Refuted...

- PF ZAPU Reemerges...

- New Attorney General Appointed...

- Shiri Survives Alleged Assassination Attempt...

- Auto Accident Injures Prominent War Vet...

- Still No UNSC Response to Zim Crisis...

- Cholera continues to ravage communities...

- Aussies roll out new sanctions...

- More Abductions and Journalists Threatened...

- Tear Gas in the City...

- Passports Elusive, Pricey, Easy to Forge...

- Back to the Billions...

- Stockbrokers Get Ultimatum...

- $900 Million Ought to Do It...

- ZESA Exporting Electricity to Namibia?

- ZINWA to Start Billing Some Customers in Forex...

 

---------------------------------

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate

and Selected products

---------------------------------

 

Parallel rate for cash rose seven-fold for the second consecutive

week to Z$500,000,000:US$1.

 

Check rate is steady at Z$10 quadrillion:US$1 against inter-bank

average of Z$925,825:US$1.

 

Bread on the parallel market rose six-fold to Z$500,000,000.

 

Sugar rose fifteen-fold to Z$1,500,000/2kg.

 

Petrol and diesel rose six-fold to Z$100,000,000/liter.

 

-----------------------------

On the Political/Social Front

-----------------------------

 

3. Constitutional Amendment 19 Gazetted... On Saturday December

13, constitutional amendment 19 was gazetted (published officially,

beginning a 30-day period for public comment), without the consent

and agreement of the MDC. The MDC-T vowed to not allow Parliament

to vote on the amendment until outstanding issues, including the

allocation of ministries and governorships, are resolved.

Nonetheless, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe told a press

conference on December 17 that he hoped an inclusive government

would be in place "this week." MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti

responded that he didn't know what Motlanthe was talking about. See

Harare 1127.

 

4. Allegations of MDC Paramilitary Camps in Botswana Refuted...

SADC confirmed receiving a GOZ dossier on alleged paramilitary camps

in Botswana. The MDC has strongly denied the existence of such

camps and accused ZANU-PF of using the allegations as a trumped-up

pretext for initiating a new violence and intimidation campaign

against it. Botswana has also derided the GOZ claims. On

Wednesday, South African President Motlanthe told journalists he and

SADC disbelieved the allegations.

 

5. PF ZAPU Reemerges... PF ZAPU held a conference in Bulawayo last

 

HARARE 00001136 002 OF 004

 

 

weekend and announced the end of the 1987 Unity Accord. The party

elected one-time ZANU-PF Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa as

its interim president pending a congress next year. ZANU-PF, which

still maintains the allegiance of vice president Joseph Msika and

ZANU-PF chair John Nkomo, rejected the split and stated that the

ZANU-ZAPU alliance continues. Dabengwa has indicated that PF ZAPU

will support the MDC in its opposition to ZANU-PF. Ironically,

Zimbabweans will still "celebrate" National Unity Day on December

22; the holiday was established in 1997 to commemorate the 1987

accord. See Harare 1131.

 

6. New Attorney General Appointed... President Mugabe appointed

Johannes Tomana as Zimbabwe's new Attorney General. The MDC

immediately criticized the appointment as evidence of bad faith on

the part of ZANU-PF in implementing the September Global Political

Agreement. According to the Agreement, all senior government

appointments should be made as a result of agreement between the

President and Prime Minister. The new Attorney General replaces

acting AG Justice Bharat Patel who assumed his interim position

after the dismissal of Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, who reportedly performed

his job in an independent manner. Tomana has been a strong ZANU-PF

supporter. As deputy attorney general, he advised the government in

the run-up to the June election that it was legal to detain MDC

officials and supporters without trial, and he ordered magistrates

to deny bail in all political violence cases.

 

7. Shiri Survives Alleged Assassination Attempt... Air Force

Marshall Perence Shiri was reportedly shot in the arm when his

vehicle was attacked on December 13 near his farm in Shamva. The

Government described the alleged assassination attempt as evidence

of a "build-up of terror attacks targeting high-profile persons."

Three Bindura MDC councilors have allegedly been arrested in

connection with the shooting, although none have been charged or

granted access to legal council. See Harare 1128.

 

8. Auto Accident Injures Prominent War Vet... According to The

Herald, Vice President of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War

Veterans' Association, Joseph Chinotimba, was involved in a car

accident in Harare last week and is recovering at a private

hospital. Chinotimba helped orchestrate the infamous farm grabs

that began in 2001. Police are investigating the cause of the

accident.

 

9. Still No UNSC Response to Zim Crisis... In a UN Security

Council meeting on December 15, the UNSC reviewed a written report

by The Elders and heard from UNSG Ban Ki-Moon on the continuing

humanitarian crisis. South Africa and others blocked efforts by the

U.S. and UK to ramp-up the UN response to the Zimbabwe crisis.

 

10. Cholera continues to ravage communities... The USG has pledged

an additional US$6.2 million and sent a disaster response team to

Zimbabwe. Over three-quarters of the districts in the country are

now affected by cholera. The ongoing epidemic has resulted in 20,896

suspected cases and 1,123 deaths since August, according to the

United Nations. The World Health Organization continues to plan on

a worst-case scenario of 60,000 cases. To date, more than 5% of

those afflicted have died from the disease. See Harare 1129 and

1134.

 

11. Aussies roll out new sanctions... Australia added 75 new

Zimbabweans to its financial and travel sanctions list this week.

The list of names is not yet public. See Canberra 1285.

 

12. More Abductions and Journalists Threatened... Zimbabwean

journalist Shadrack Andrisson Manyere was abducted on December 13

and is still missing. Lawyers petitioned the high court to order

the police to investigate his whereabouts. Just hours after his

abduction, police went to his home and took his computer. Police

 

HARARE 00001136 003 OF 004

 

 

continue to deny holding him. The MDC published a list on Thursday

of 30 abductees since October 29, with the most recent picked up on

December 17. Post is working to confirm the details of these

abductions. In a column on December 13, Nathaniel Manheru (the pen

name of Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba) wrote a vitriolic

article that threatened to expel journalists and accused several by

name of working with an American "lady intelligence officer" -

evidence of an alleged spying plot. See Harare 1121.

 

13. Tear Gas in the City... Riot police used tear gas to break up

two protest marches this week in Harare. Tear gas was also used to

break up a brawl at ZANU-PF headquarters in the wee hours of

December 16 when a fight broke out between supporters of Mining

Minister Amos Midzi and Deputy Transportation Minister Hubert

Nyanhongo. The two were vying for ZANU-PF chairmanship for Harare

Province. Nyanhongo won the contested election. See Harare 1132.

 

14. Passports Elusive, Pricey, Easy to Forge... With Zimbabwean

passport fees skyrocketing (currently US $650 for urgent

processing), more and more are turning to illegal vendors to obtain

the valued documents. See Harare 1133.

 

----------------------------------

On the Economic and Business Front

----------------------------------

 

15. Back to the Billions... Approximately five months after the

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) lopped 10 zeroes off its currency,

the RBZ unveiled new one, five, and 10 billion Zimbabwean dollar

notes on December 19. The new denominations followed an increase in

cash withdrawal limits from Z$500 million once a week to Z$10

billion once a month when presenting a pay-slip. Economic analysts

estimate that due to the 27 new denominations introduced in 2008,

money supply growth could be nearing 500 million percent annually.

 

16. Stockbrokers Get Ultimatum... The Zimbabwean securities

commission gave stockbrokers until December 19 to provide the

government with audited statements of their net worth before

allowing them to resume trading activities. Defaulting stockbrokers

may be shut down or placed under judicial management. The Zimbabwe

Stock Exchange has been closed for nearly three weeks following

central bank allegations of rampant unfunded trading on the

exchange.

 

17. $900 Million Ought to Do It... Mishek Sibanda, chief secretary

to President Mugabe, announced on December 16 that it would cost US

$900 million to revive Zimbabwe's battered manufacturing sector.

The plan was crafted by a team of technocrats who estimated that

even as capacity has fallen, current manufacturing utilization rates

are only around 10 percent.

 

18. ZESA Exporting Electricity to Namibia? Namibian press reported

that as part of a deal between Namibia's state-owned energy utility

NamPower and Zimbabwean utility company ZESA, ZESA had increased its

electricity exports to Namibia in August from 120 to 150 megawatts.

The exports are in lieu of repaying a US $40 million loan from

NamPower to refurbish the Hwange plant.

 

19. ZINWA to Start Billing Some Customers in Forex... In a first

for a state-owned utility, the water utility company ZINWA has been

granted a license to bill export businesses and NGOs in foreign

currency. Bills to non-exporting corporations and the mass consumer

market will remain in Zimbabwe dollars. The license is intended to

allow ZINWA to purchase essential supplies such as water treatment

chemicals and repair pipes that leak as much as half of all pumped

water.

 

------------------

 

HARARE 00001136 004 OF 004

 

 

Quotes of the Week

------------------

 

20. "Just as I was being dragged to the UN Security Council to be

put on the sanctions list, I was offered a job by the World Bank as

senior vice president with the full blessings of none other than

George Bush himself" - Gideon Gono, claiming that Ambassador McGee

offered him the job during an August 2008 meeting, in his new book,

Zimbabwe's Casino Economy: Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary

Challenges (available locally for a mere US$42).

 

21. "The call for an election is an honest submission that ZANU-PF

is an illegal regime, [and] the June 27 election was illegal. For

the first time, we [applaud] ZANU-PF for acknowledging that they are

not legitimate." - MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti on December

17.

 

 

DHANANI

 

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