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Tsvangirai put pressure on Mugabe to postpone elections

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai held a series of rallies in January 2008 in preparation for a “Freedom March” meant to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to postpone the March 2008 elections to implement a new constitution first.

He held rallies in Mbare, Dzivaresekwa and Glen View and was to hold a “star rally” to build support for the demonstration. The party had already talked to the police and hoped to receive permission to hold the demonstration.

Mugabe did not postpone the elections and held them under the existing constitution.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE40, Zim Notes January 18, 2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE40

2008-01-22 07:09

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7463

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0040/01 0220709

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 220709Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2400

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1818

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1724

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1850

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0448

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1127

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1484

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1906

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4334

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0977

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000040

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

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 January 18, 2008

 

1. The Embassy Harare Political/Economic Section began producing

Zim Notes in July, 2007 to present a perspective on current events

in Zimbabwe. Suggestions are always welcome. If you would like to

receive Zim Notes by email, as well, please contact Frances Chisholm

at chisholmfm@state.gov. Distribution is restricted to U.S.

government employees.

 

2. Parallel rate for cash: ZW$3.2 million:US$1; For bank transfers:

Z$5.2 million; Official rate: ZW$$30,000:US$1

Sugar on the parallel market rose to Z$3 million/2kg vs. controlled

price of Z$247,000/2kg

Cooking oil on the parallel market steady at Z$9 million/750ml vs.

controlled price of Z$440,000/750ml

*Petrol rose to Z$4.4 million/liter while diesel fell to Z$3.8

million/liter vs. Z$60,000/liter at the controlled price

 

——————————

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

3. No Apparent Progress Out Of Mbeki Meeting With Mugabe… The

press reports and Embassy contacts confirm that South African

president Thabo Mbeki was unable to make any progress with President

Mugabe on an agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC during his visit

to Harare this week. For details, see Harare 0038.

 

4. MDC Plans “Freedom March” To Pressure Mugabe For Later

Election… The Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC plans to stage

a demonstration on Wednesday, January 23 in Harare to put pressure

on the ruling party to postpone the election date and to implement a

new constitution before the elections. Tsvangirai’s faction held

three rallies last weekend in the high-density suburbs of Mbare,

Dzivarasekwa and Glen View, and will hold its “star rally” on Sunday

to build support for the demonstration. Tsvangirai faction

Information Director Luke Tamborenyika told embassy officials that

the MDC hopes to attract a crowd of more than 10,000 people. MDC

officials met with the police and believe they will receive written

permission to proceed. Police contacts confirm this.

 

5. Zimbabwe Police Raid Anglican Church Services In Political Row

Over Bishop… The Archbishop of Canterbury condemned the former

Anglican bishop of Harare after police used force to interrupt

official Anglican Church services. Police intervened because the

services were held without the authorization of the Zimbabwean

government. Truncheon wielding police dragged three priests and

several parishioners from a church where services were being

conducted last Sunday. The former bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, is an

ally of President Mugabe. The Anglican Province of Central Africa

removed his priestly license after he illegally separated from the

Church in December. Kunonga has claimed the conflict was based on

his alleged more conservative position on homosexuality. The

Church, on the other hand, has maintained that it revoked Kunonga’s

license because of his failure to exercise independence from the

Mugabe government.

 

6. Education System Failing… A new school term started on January

15, but many teachers failed to report to work despite receiving a

1,000% pay raise. Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)

told us many teachers left the country over the break for more

lucrative teaching positions in South Africa, Swaziland and Malawi.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) pointed out that the ongoing

cash shortage prevented many teachers from accessing enough money to

pay for transport. Steep inflation and the cash crisis also left

most parents struggling to pay for school fees, supplies, uniforms,

and food. One local embassy employee found that hard-to-find school

shoes had jumped from about US$10 equivalent in October to US$40

this month. Another colleague reported having to send his child off

to boarding school with a large cache of food and water because the

school could not afford to buy supplies in advance. PTUZ is

 

HARARE 00000040 002 OF 003

 

 

planning to mobilize civic groups to support a national strike in

the coming weeks to draw attention to the failing education system.

 

7. USG Recruits Secret Political Officers, According to The

Herald… In a front-page article on January 10, The Herald

reported that Embassy Harare has been secretly conducting interviews

with prospective political officers for deployment in the provinces

ahead of the elections as part of its anti-Zimbabwe campaign. The

government mouthpiece followed up soon after with the Zim Notes

cartoon of the week, shown below. The government press has focused

on race in several reports about Ambassador McGee; for example in

November a The Sunday Mail columnist opined that he was “likely to

turn out to be the ‘house negro’ Malcolm X wrote about.”

 

————————–

Economic and Business News

————————–

 

8. RBZ Governor Gono Relieves Cash Crisis – For Now – With New

Notes… After a series of policy flip-flops, RBZ Governor Gono

released new, much higher denominated notes into the cash-starved

market today. The largest new note – Z$10 million – is nominally

worth 50 times more than the largest note in circulation less than a

month ago, yet under hyperinflation it is still only about US$2 on

the parallel market for bank transfers. We expect hyperinflation to

quickly erode the benefit of this new infusion of cash as long as

the GOZ fails to address Zimbabwe’s underlying economic crisis.

 

9. Bill Extends Life of National Incomes And Prices Commission

(NIPC)… With the term of the NIPC due to expire next month, the

GOZ has gazetted the National Incomes and Prices Commission

Amendment Bill. Its effect is to extend the life of the Commission

which will continue to approve applications for increases in

remuneration, rentals and service charges. Extension of the tenure

of the NIPC implies that most manufacturers and retailers will

continue to find it difficult to cover their operating costs as

approval of price increases will continue to be based on an

arbitrary formula that has little or no bearing on actual costs

incurred. Consequently, we expect domestic production to contract

further, with imports taking more space in the markets, resulting in

more, not less, inflation.

 

10. Taps Run Dry In Harare For Lack of Electric Power… Water

supply to Harare and Chitungwiza has deteriorated sharply since the

Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) took over water

responsibility from these two City Councils two years ago. In recent

weeks service degenerated further, with some high-density suburbs

going without water for more than a week. A ZINWA official

attributed the problem to the intermittent supply of electric power

to Harare’s main waterworks. He told us that heightened power

shortfalls associated with ZESA’s nonpayment of power from

Mozambique had aggravated the situation. While the ZINWA official

maintained there would be improved pumping capacity in the next days

with renewed power supply from Mozambique, the state-owned The

Herald reported today that extensive vandalism on the 330 KVA power

lines in Mozambique has cut off power imports from Zimbabwe’s

eastern neighbor.

 

11. Flooding And More Rain Forecast… An assessment team from the

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

(OCHA) determined that more than 10,000 people have been displaced

from their homes in Zimbabwe due to heavy rainfall since early

December 2007. Thousands more have been affected, mainly through

the likely loss of their crops. The IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency

fund (DREF) has approved funding for the Southern Africa flood

operation and is currently mobilizing its emergency response team to

support the assessment process of the National Red Cross in the

worst affected countries-Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. Wet

conditions are forecast to persist over the northern areas of

 

HARARE 00000040 003 OF 003

 

 

Zimbabwe through late January with an increase in rainfall from

January 22.

 

12. *Distortion Of Week – The Diesel Discount… Chevron and BP

executives told us that the parallel market in fuel was flush with

diesel, driving down the price. The GOZ provides diesel to farmers

at Z$60,000/liter (just over a penny a liter on the parallel

market). But this year, yet again, farmers are finding it more

lucrative, easier, and commercially less risky to sell the fuel on

the black market – for 60 times and more as much – than pour it in

their tractors and farm.

 

(3 VIEWS)

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