Mutambara said we are smarter than the Australians and Americans

The leader of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Arthur Mutambara said Zimbabwe’s opposition leaders were smarter than the Australians and the Americans.

He was responding to a question on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on 16 August 2008 and was asked if the proposed power sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and himself could be a trap.

"I have a question. Do you think I am stupid? When you ask that question you think we are foolish and we are very offended that you think we are that stupid.

“We are smarter than the Australians, we are smarter than the Americans, we went to better schools than most of these leaders in America, in Britain and in Australia.

“I am coming out of Oxford. None of your prime ministers can challenge me intellectually. So how do you patronize me and tell me that I'm going to be hoodwinked by Mugabe. You are doubting my intelligence. Shame on you."

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE715, ZIM NOTES 8-22-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE715

2008-08-25 13:02

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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DE RUEHSB #0715/01 2381302

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 251302Z AUG 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3327

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2044

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2224

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2345

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0875

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1622

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1978

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2399

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4831

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1494

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000715

 

AF/S FOR G. GARLAND

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 8-22-2008

 

-----------

1. SUMMARY

-----------

 

Topics of the week:

 

- Negotiations Stall Again...

- SADC Communiques...

- Parliament to Convene...

- Violence Continues...

- MDC and Donors Meet...

- Magistrate Court Dismisses Case Against MDC MP...

- WOZA Arrests...

- "Zim's inflation not that bad"...

- Exchange Rate Movements...

- The Herald price doubles...

- Mobile Phone Tariffs Up by over 1,000 Percent...

- Levy On Generators...

 

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

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate and Selected Products

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

 

Parallel rate for cash rose slightly to Z$1 trillion ($100

revalued): US$1.

 

Bank transfer soared to Z$5.5 trillion ($550 revalued): US$1.

 

Against inter-bank average of Z$22 (revalued): US$1.

 

Bread on the parallel market trebled to Z$2.5 trillion ($250

revalued).

 

Sugar more than doubled to Z$2.5 trillion (Z$250 revalued)/2kg.

 

Cooking oil more than doubled to Z$800 billion (Z$80

revalued)/750ml.

 

Petrol and diesel are steady at Z$2.2 trillion (Z$220

revalued)/liter.

 

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

On the Political/Social Front

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

 

3. Negotiations Stall Again... Continuing talks between MDC and

ZANU-PF on the margins of the SADC Summit in South Africa failed to

overcome the impasse over the allocation of executive power.

ZANU-PF insisted that Mugabe have a share of executive power,

including authority over the security forces, while the MDC and

Tsvangirai insisted that Tsvangirai be head of government with

Mugabe occupying a ceremonial role. South African president Thabo

Mbeki will continue as facilitator of negotiations, backed up by the

SADC Troika of Swaziland (chair), Angola, and Mozambique.   After

the summit, Tsvangirai went to Botswana and Kenya to rally support.

He is due back in Harare this weekend to prepare for the opening of

Parliament on August 25. See Harare 703

 

4. SADC Communiques... The SADC Summit issued two communiques at

the end of the Summit. The final communique of the Heads of State

and Government was signed by representatives of all SADC members

except Botswana, whose president Ian Khama boycotted the Summit in

protest against the presence of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

It dealt with a panoply of regional issues. With respect to

Zimbabwe, the communique "noted the outcomes of the Extraordinary

Summit of the Organ held during the course of the summit and

reaffirmed its commitment to work with the people of Zimbabwe in

order to overcome the challenges they are facing." The communique

 

HARARE 00000715 002 OF 004

 

 

of the Extraordinary Summit of the Organ of Heads of State and

Government focused exclusively on Zimbabwe and was signed by all

SADC countries, including Botswana. It commended Mbeki in his role

as facilitator of the ZANU-PF-MDC negotiations and encouraged him to

continue. It "expressed strong opinion that documents as contained

in the Facilitator's Report reflect the framework, spirit and

purpose of the SADC and AU Resolutions. In view of that, they are a

good basis for a global agreement." It "encouraged and appealed to

the parties to sign any outstanding agreements and conclude the

negotiations as a matter of urgency" and "recognized that while

negotiations are continuing, it may be necessary to convene

Parliament to give effect to the will of the people as expressed in

the Parliamentary elections held on 29 March 2008."

 

5. Parliament to Convene... Despite the continued lack of a

political settlement between MDC and ZANU-PF, Mugabe announced

Parliament would convene and select a Speaker and Deputy Speaker on

August 25, with Mugabe formally opening Parliament the next day.

The MDC has indicated it will be present on the 25th for the

swearing- in of parliamentarians and the election of a speaker. The

party has also indicated it will not attend the ceremonial convening

of parliament as it would view the convening as a violation of the

Memorandum of Understanding that forms the basis for negotiations

and as recognition of Mugabe. MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti

issued a statement saying that convening parliament was paramount to

"decapitating" the talks. See Harare 711

 

6. Violence Continues... There are credible reports of some

violence and intimidation in rural areas, Manicaland and Mashonaland

in particular. While there has been a notable reduction in beatings

and injuries since the June 27 election, and a further reduction

since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on July 21,

fear and intimidation continue in rural areas. Notably, food is

increasingly being used as a political tool as the ban on

non-governmental organizations and food distribution programs

continue. See Harare 712

 

7. MDC and Donors Meet... International donors and the World Bank

met with MDC leaders to discuss the most urgent needs to address the

humanitarian crisis and economic stabilization. Through donor

consultation and internal planning, the MDC is preparing the

groundwork to rapidly address Zimbabwe's development needs, should

it achieve power as a result of the ongoing negotiations. See

Harare 709

 

8. Magistrate Court Dismisses Case Against MDC MP... MDC MP-elect

for Marondera Central in Mashonaland East province, Ian Kay, is a

free man after a magistrate threw out state charges leveled against

him for allegedly inciting violence in his constituency. Kay was

arrested at the height of the State-sponsored violence against the

MDC in May and spent two weeks in police custody. He was

subsequently granted bail but has been on remand ever since. Human

Rights Watch issued a report this week highlighting political

persecution in Zimbabwe, including Kay's case.

 

9. WOZA Arrests... Nine members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

were arrested on August 13 and charged with malicious damage to

property for painting "love" and other slogans on roads near

Bulawayo. All were released on the 16th; two pleaded guilty to an

additional charge of being a public nuisance on the 19th. This week

WOZA also launched a report in South Africa, entitled 'Counting the

Cost of Courage: Trauma Experiences of Women Human Rights Defenders

in Zimbabwe'.

 

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

On the Economic and Business Front

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

 

 

HARARE 00000715 003 OF 004

 

 

10. "Zim's inflation not that bad"... trumpets the banner headline

of the Friday business section of the government mouthpiece The

Herald. The article goes on to say that "there is nothing wrong

with cutting of zeros from the local unit, as many times as possible

until the intended results are achieved." According to data from

the government's Central Statistical Office (CSO), the year-on-year

rate of inflation as measured by changes in the consumer price index

rose from 2.2 million percent in May to 11.2 million percent in June

2008; the month-on-month rate rose from 406 percent to 839 percent.

However, a leading private sector inflation study put the y-o-y

figure in June at 23 million percent and in the hundreds of millions

percent in July on the back of supply side rigidities and the

increase in money supply used to fund the Reserve Bank's

quasi-fiscal activities. In addition, rising costs from the

depreciating local unit are forcing retailers to increase prices

almost daily.

 

11. Exchange Rate Movements... During the week under review, the

Zimbabwe dollar stabilized somewhat on the parallel cash market but

continued to slide on the parallel bank transfer market. Cash

shortages resurfaced thanks to the low withdrawal limit of Z$300 per

day (roughly US$3). As a result, most transactions were channeled

to the parallel transfer market where the rate went from Z$200:US$1

to Z$550:US$1. We expect the margin between the parallel cash and

transfer rates to continue to widen as long as cash remains short in

the market and people resort to transfers to carry out transactions.

However, on Friday August 22, the Reserve Bank increased the daily

cash withdrawal limit to $500 from $300 with immediate effect for

both individuals and companies. This is the third time in a month

that the RBZ has reviewed the daily cash withdrawal limits.

 

12. The Herald price doubles... Zimpapers, publisher of The

Herald, increased the cover price by 100% to $100 from $50. Group

CEO Justin Mutasa said the company had no choice but to increase

prices to absorb the new prices of newsprint.

 

13. Mobile Phone Tariffs Up by over 1,000 Percent... Mobile

telecommunications companies increased tariffs by over 1,000 percent

this week; the last tariff increase occurred a month ago.

 

14. Levy On Generators... In a surprise move, the GOZ introduced a

levy on generators for domestic or industrial use. All generators

must now be inspected and approved by the Zimbabwe Electricity

Regulatory Commission for fees ranging from US$5 to US$100 depending

on their size. The introduction of the levy comes at a time of

frequent electric power outages due to coal supply shortages to the

Hwange thermal power plant.

 

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

Quotes of the Week

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

 

 

15. In The Herald, August 16: Zanu-PF Minister of State for

National Security Didymus Mutasa on MDC-T claims that Zanu-PF is

enticing its MPs with bribes:

 

"I do not think the party would stoop so low and do such things"

 

16. On Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National's

Saturday Extra, August 16: MDC-M leader Arthur Mutambara when asked

if the proposed power sharing agreement between Mugabe, Tsvangirai,

and himself could be a trap:

 

"I have a question. Do you think I am stupid? When you ask that

question you think we are foolish and we are very offended that you

think we are that stupid. We are smarter than the Australians, we

are smarter than the Americans, we went to better schools than most

 

HARARE 00000715 004 OF 004

 

 

of these leaders in America, in Britain and in Australia. I am

coming out of Oxford. None of your prime ministers can challenge me

intellectually. So how do you patronize me and tell me that I'm

going to be hoodwinked by Mugabe. You are doubting my intelligence.

Shame on you."

 

17. In the same interview, featured on the front page of The Herald

on August 21, Mutambara further commented:

 

"It (the West) can go to hell. Who are you? Do we judge your

elections in Australia? Do we judge your elections and your

agreements in America and Europe?"

 

 

MCGEE

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