The comment was made by United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray after he met the minister at his office on 4 February last year.
Ray said while Kasukuwere had in the past been allied to the Mujuru faction, an advisor to Vice-President Joice Mujuru had told him that Kasukuwere was “untrustworthy and a ‘thug’”.
Kasukuwere comes from Mt Darwin, the home of Vice-President Mujuru. The ambassador said that at 40, he was the youngest ZANU-PF minister.
Viewing cable 10HARARE87, Ambassador's meeting with Zim Minister of Youth,
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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
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RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000087
AF/S FOR BRIAN WALCH
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/08
SUBJECT: Ambassador's meeting with Zim Minister of Youth,
Indigenization and Empowerment
CLASSIFIED BY: Charles Ray, Ambassador, State, Exec; REASON: 1.4(B),
¶1. (SBU) Zimbabwe's Minister of Youth, Indigenization and
Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere suggested to the Ambassador that all
donor and NGO support for youth be channeled through the Zimbabwe
Youth Council. He defended indigenization as necessary to protect
Zimbabwe's resources, and said the policy would be applied
flexibly. Finally, he argued that Western-imposed sanctions were
the primary impediment to progress under the Global Political
Agreement (GPA). END SUMMARY.
¶2. (SBU) Kasukuwere sought the meeting with the Ambassador, which
took place at the Ministry on February 4 and was cordial. He said
his purpose was to build bridges, and find areas of cooperation.
Fundamental was assistance to youth. Zimbabwe youth were in a
desperate situation and were being manipulated by different groups.
He said he appreciated assistance to youths by the U.S. and NGOs,
but he was concerned that money was being given to run programs
without the knowledge of the government. He urged that any U.S.
funds be channeled through the Zimbabwe Youth Council which he said
had ZANU-PF, MDC, and civil society representation.
¶3. (SBU) The Ambassador posited that many youth were essentially
"ghost workers." They were on the civil service payroll, but were
not actually working. (NOTE: We have reports that many of these
individuals are involved in intimidation of MDC supporters in rural
areas. END NOTE.) Kasukuwere replied that many were actually
involved in productive activities but were getting bad publicity.
¶4. (SBU) Turning to indigenization, the Ambassador stated that the
uncertain investment climate was a deterrent to investment and the
recovery of the economy. Kasukuwere said that indigenization was
necessary so that resources could be protected and the Zimbabwean
people have a stake in the economy. He was in the process of
issuing regulations to support existing indigenization legislation.
In summary, businesses involved in divestments or mergers would
have to be 51 percent indigenous. Existing businesses would have
up to five years to reach the 51 percent. The percentage of
indigenization required for new investment would be determined by
Kasukuwere and the MDC-T Minister of Economic Development on a
case-by-case basis according to the sector involved. For example,
mining investment would have to immediately meet a minimum of 50
percent, but high tech investment might start at 30 percent.
¶5. (SBU) Kasukuwere said Zimbabwe and the U.S. should work toward
normalizing relations. But after viewing President Obama's
inauguration-and offer of an open hand-with hope, he was becoming
disappointed. Sanctions were still in place and were coming
between Zimbabweans seeking to find common ground with each other.
When the Ambassador told him he was willing to talk to anyone about
the issues that divide us, Kasukuwere responded that his (the
Ambassador's) fist was clenched too.
HARARE 00000087 002 OF 002
¶6. (C) Kasukuwere is young, smooth, and ambitious. He reportedly
orchestrated violence in Mashonaland East in the 2008 elections.
Realizing that the future may not lie exclusively with ZANU-PF, he
is on a charm offensive, reaching out to both MDC factions and to
Western diplomats. He is an important player given the political
importance of youth and the economic importance of investment.
¶7. (C) Kasukuwere is from Mt. Darwin in Mashonaland East Province,
also the home of Vice President Joice Mujuru. At 40, he is the
youngest ZANU-PF minister. While he has in the past been allied
with the Mujuru faction, an advisor to the vice president told us
he is untrustworthy and a "thug." END COMMENT.