Mutasa said SADC Tribunal was day dreaming

Security and Lands Minister Didymus Mutasa said the Southern African Development Community Tribunal, which had ruled in favour of compensation for white farmers whose land had been expropriated by the government, must have been daydreaming and Zimbabwe would not abide by the ruling.

The tribunal had ruled on 28 November 2008 that the government must provide fair compensation to 78 farmers including Michael Campbell who had their farms seized and were issued with eviction orders.

The ruling also said the government must desist from any further acquisitions.

According to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, United States embassy officials said Mutasa was apparently unfazed by the judgment and said the tribunal must have been daydreaming.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1080, ZIM NOTES 12/05-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1080

2008-12-05 11:33

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1080/01 3401133

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 051133Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3786

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2135

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2476

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2601

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1094

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1870

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2225

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2650

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5078

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1742

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 001080

 

SIPDIS

 

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

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON EFIN ZI

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 12/05-2008

 

-----------

1. SUMMARY

-----------

 

Topics of the week:

 

- A Week of Turmoil on HarareQs Streets

- Civic Leader Abducted

- MDC Denies Reports of a Deal within Days

- ZANU-PF Conference Not to Discuss Replacing Mugabe

- Odinga and Tutu Speak Out

- Cholera Crisis Continues

- Minister of Health Candid in Asking for Help

- SADC Tribunal Rules in Favor of White Farmers

- New Notes Unveiled and Cash Withdrawal Limits Upped

- Goods Immediately Repriced - Gono Condemns Basic Economics...

- ... While Siphoning Money from Share Transfers

- Gono Dismisses Senior Managers of Some Local Banks

- Government Removes Duty on Basic Commodities

- Quotes of the Week

 

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

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate

and Selected products

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

 

- Parallel rate for cash rose five-fold to Z$10,000,000:US$1

 

- Check rate shot up to Z$1quintillion:US$1 against inter-bank

average of Z$100,330:US$1

 

- Bread on the parallel market went up to Z$6,000,000

 

- Sugar rose to Z$45,000,000/2kg

 

- Petrol and diesel rose to Z$4,000,000/liter

 

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

On the Political/Social Front

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

 

3. A Week of Turmoil on HarareQs Streets... A surge of military

riots and civic protests unsettled Harare and other urban centers

this week as civil society groups demanded relaxed cash withdrawal

policies and political reform, while soldiers vented their

frustrations. On November 27 and 28 and Dec1, soldiers smashed

storefronts, beat-up bank employees, and clashed with police after

being denied cash withdrawals by downtown Harare banks. See Harare

1060. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)

staged peaceful protests in the low thousands throughout the

country, demanding that members be able to access their cash. Other

civil society organizations including the National Constitutional

Assembly collaborated with the ZCTU protest, in addition to staging

their own demonstration. Security forces responded by arresting and

beating numerous activists. More than 70 ZCTU members were arrested

throughout the country, with only about 20 released so far.

 

4. Civic Leader Abducted... Jestina Mukoko, director of the

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which monitors delivery of food

assistance and violence throughout the country, was seized from her

home at 5 AM on December 3 by armed men driving unmarked vehicles.

Her whereabouts are unknown. At weekQs end, a ZPP field officer was

arrested in Nyanga. The whereabouts of 14 MDC officials and a baby

abducted in Banket in Mashonaland West on October 30 are still

unknown.

 

5. MDC Denies Reports of a Deal within Days... South African

spokesman Themba Maseko announced yesterday that ZANU-PF and the MDC

would sign Amendment 19 within days, paving the way for a new

 

HARARE 00001080 002 OF 004

 

 

government. Our information is to the contrary. There are still

issues within the draft Amendment 19 agreed to by negotiators last

week in South Africa that need to be resolved by the

principalsQZimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, and MDC presidents

Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara. Tsvangirai is outside of

Zimbabwe with no planned return, so it is uncertain when these

discussions could take place. Furthermore, an MDC official told us

that the MDC would not agree to officially publish Amendment 19Qand

begin the 30 day public comment periodQuntil outstanding issues such

as the allocation of ministries had been resolved. See Harare

1073.

 

6. ZANU-PF Conference Not to Discuss Replacing Mugabe... Replacing

Mugabe is one issue that will not be discussed at ZANU-PFQs annual

conference scheduled for December 10-14. ZANU-PF spokesman and

political commissioner Elliot Manyika explained that only a full

ZANU-PF congress could discuss leadership changes under party rules.

The next full congress will be held at the end of 2009.

 

7. Odinga and Tutu Speak Out... After a meeting with MDC leader

Morgan Tsvangirai in Nairobi on Thursday, Kenyan foreign minister

Raila Odinga told the BBC that "Power-sharing is dead in Zimbabwe

and will not work with a dictator who does not really believe in

power sharing.Q Odinga added, QItQs time for African governments to

take decisive action to push him out of power." Also on Thursday,

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu told a Dutch television

station with regard to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, "I think

now that the world must say, QYou have been responsible with your

cohorts for gross violations, and you are going to face indictment

in the Hague unless you step down.Q Tutu went on to say that Mugabe

should be removed by military force if he did not step down.

 

8. Cholera Crisis Continues... On December 4, the UNQs Office for

the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that they had

conservatively identified 12,700 suspected cases of cholera leading

to 571 deaths since the outbreak of the disease. Other groups

suggest the fatality number likely exceeds 1,000. Currently, nine

out of 10 provinces have been affected, and outbreaks are still not

under control in multiple locations, including the Harare suburb of

Budiriro. The WHO-lead health cluster has been ill-equipped to

handle the magnitude of the outbreak, but donors and UN agency

efforts are ramping up. USAID is in the process of releasing

additional funding to help combat the cholera emergency in Zimbabwe.

These funds will supplement the ongoing US$4 million emergency

water, sanitation, and hygiene programs that USAID is already

implementing in Zimbabwe. USAID has also deployed a team of experts

to Zimbabwe to work alongside the international community.

 

9. Minister of Health Candid in Asking for Help... Minister of

Health David Parirenyatwa assembled an emergency meeting on December

3 of senior government officials, donorsQincluding UNICEF, WHO, and

UNDPQsome embassy officials, and NGOs to discuss the worsening water

delivery and cholera situation. Parirenyatwa was

uncharacteristically forthright in admitting the severity of the

problem and the need for external help. The minister also asked for

pledges and surprisingly said that he appreciated ongoing USAID and

DFID efforts. The spirit of inclusivity was marred when

Parirenyatwa asked MDC Secretary for Welfare Kerry Kay to leave.

The WHO recommended establishing a Qcommand and control center

involving donors and local officials.

 

10. SADC Tribunal Rules in Favor of White Farmers... On November

28, the SADC Tribunal meeting in Windhoek made its final ruling in

the case of Michael Campbell and 77 other white Zimbabweans who had

their farms seized or were issued eviction orders through the

governmentQs land reform program. The ruling stated that the GOZ

must provide fair compensation for the expropriated properties and

desist from any further acquisition efforts. Unfazed by the

judgment, security chief and land-reform architect Didymus Mutasa

 

HARARE 00001080 003 OF 004

 

 

said that the Tribunal must have been QdaydreamingQ and that

Zimbabwe would not abide by the ruling.

 

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

On the Economic and Business Front

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

 

11. New Notes Unveiled and Cash Withdrawal Limits Upped... The

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced new Z$10 million (US$1 at

todayQs cash rate of Z$10 million:US$1), Z$50 million (US$5) and

Z$100 million (US$10) notes on Thursday, December 4, and raised the

weekly cash withdrawal limits to Z$500 million beginning next

Friday. RBZ Governor Gono also declared that beginning December 18,

employees that produced a pay-slip would be able to withdraw Z$10

billion a month and after January 12, 2009, their entire paycheck.

The changes came in response to a petition by ZCTU leaders a day

after the trade union held protests throughout the country. The

upward revision amended GonoQs decision to raise withdrawal limits

to Z$100 million, which was insufficient to satisfy ZCTU.

 

12. Goods Immediately Repriced - Gono Condemns Basic Economics...

As the new notes circulated in large quantities throughout Harare

and other cities, many shopkeepers quickly closed their doors to

reprice their wares. The new denominations caused the parallel

market cash rate to collapse from around Z$2 million to between Z$7

million and Z$10 million. GonoQs response was to condemn businesses

for unjustifiably raising the prices of goods each time new currency

denominations are introduced.

 

13. Gono Dismisses Senior Managers of Some Local Banks... Gono

fired the CEOs and senior managers of CFX Bank, NMB Bank, and ZABG

for Qflouting bank regulationsQ by issuing new higher denominations

a day ahead of their officially scheduled release on December 4.

The RBZ issued a total of Z$80 trillion in new notes to banks on

December 3, and later that evening a significant portion was already

in the hands of street money dealers.

 

14. ... While Siphoning Money from Share Transfers. According to

online newspaper the Zimbabwe Times, Gono and a Harare businessman,

Mohammed I Mohammed, are using Remo Investment Brokers in Harare to

siphon millions of U.S. dollars through share transfers into

Ravenscourt CorporationQs account at Habib Bank in London. Although

Ravenscourt is reportedly registered in the UK, there are no records

of its operations in London. According to the report, Ravenscourt

won a lucrative contract to import fuel into Zimbabwe, alongside the

state-owned National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, even though other

private companies are barred from importing fuel directly.

 

 

15. Government Removes Duty on Basic Commodities... Gono told a

recent meeting of the National Economic Consultative ForumQa

consortium of government, the private sector and labor groupsQthat

he has scrapped import taxes on basic commodities to increase

supplies ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays. He told the

meeting that the surrender rate for sales of exported goods to the

RBZ would be reduced from 25 to 15 percent, and the exchange rate

shifted to the rate used by the United Nations.

 

16. Gono Quotes of the Week:

 

Gono's statements this week fluctuated from sympathetic to irate to

optimistic:

 

- "Please have a heart and protect the interest of consumers.

 

- QAny manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer or service provider caught

hiking prices without the approval of the commission will face the

full wrath of the law.

 

 

HARARE 00001080 004 OF 004

 

 

- QWe must not despair, good times are coming. No winter lasts

forever summer is coming.

 

DHANANI

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