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Tsvangirai’s travels could land him in jail

The Zimbabwean government was reported to be furious that the South African government had allowed Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai to fly to Europe using an emergency travel document that was supposed to be valid for South Africa and Swaziland only.

There was media speculation that Tsvangirai might be arrested for violating Zimbabwean laws when he returned to the country.

Tsvangirai was using an ETD while waiting for his passport.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE1040, ZIM NOTES 11-21-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1040

2008-11-24 05:42

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7595

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1040/01 3290542

 

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 240542Z NOV 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3730

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2129

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2457

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2575

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1075

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1851

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2206

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2631

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5059

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1723

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001040

 

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 ZI

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 11-21-2008

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– Still No Political Progress

– Health System Collapses

– While Cholera Crisis Continues

– Over 700 Doctors and Nurses Protest

– Biti Still Faces Treason Charges

– Tsvangirai’s Travels Could Land Him in Jail

– Freedom Defenders win awards

– Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Reads Riot Act to Zimbabwe Stock

Exchange

– Dollarization Gathers Momentum

– Old Mutual Shares Used to Secure Electricity Imports

– Foreign Currency Shops Disappoint

– Quote of the Week

 

———————————

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate

and Selected products

———————————

 

Parallel rate for cash shot up to Z$1,000,000:US$1

 

Check rate is steady at Z$20 quadrillion:US$1 against inter-bank

average of Z$25,593:US$1 (NOTE: Due to the suspension of the

Real-Time Gross Settlement system by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on

October 3, Post will now be reporting on the unofficial check

transfer rate that individuals and entities are using to make

non-cash payments. END NOTE.)

 

Bread on the parallel market tripled to Z$1,500,000

 

Sugar rose to Z$3,000,000/2kg

 

Petrol and diesel rose slightly to Z$1,200,000/liter

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

3. Still No Political Progress… In the wake of the SADC summit

last week, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been visiting European

leaders to press his case and encourage humanitarian assistance.

Meanwhile, the GOZ has drafted Constitutional Amendment 19 that will

legally reflect the terms of the September 15 signed power-sharing

agreement. Press reports revealed that a draft of the amendment has

been provided to mediator Thabo Mbeki. The MDC-T has made clear

they will not join a new government until all their concerns – that

were not deliberated at the summit – are addressed. See Harare 1037

and Harare 1034.

 

4. Health System Collapses… Once a model for sub-Saharan Africa,

the Zimbabwean public health system has ceased to function. All

three of Harare’s public hospitals are closed, church-related

hospitals struggle to absorb patients fleeing Harare to seek care in

rural areas, and even private clinics struggle to maintain supplies

and staff. For a detailed description of the collapse, see Harare

1039.

 

5. While Cholera Crisis Continues… Outbreaks continue in two

Harare-area locations while a new upsurge with potentially

widespread consequences is occurring in Beitbridge, the border post

with South Africa. UNICEF reported 1,244 confirmed and 2,590

unconfirmed cases, with a total of 194 confirmed cholera deaths as

of November 18. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) estimated that up to

 

HARARE 00001040 002 OF 003

 

 

1.4 million people are at risk if cholera continues to spread

unchecked across Zimbabwe. The humanitarian community is responding

with water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives in outbreak areas,

but a collapsing healthcare system has lead to uncommonly high

case-fatality rates.

 

6. Over 700 Doctors and Nurses Protest… Hundreds of medical

professionals attempted to march from Parirenyatwa Hospital to the

Ministry of Health to present demands for medication and supplies in

hospitals and living wages for health workers on November 18.

Around 70 riot police armed with tear gas and batons arrived at the

hospital and prevented protesters from leaving the parking lot.

After several hours, riot police violently disrupted the protest,

beating some health workers; fortunately, no one was seriously

injured or arrested.

 

7. Biti Still Faces Treason Charges… On November 18, a court

dropped two of the four charges facing MDC Secretary General and MP

for Harare East Tendai Biti. Charges of Qinsulting the president

and Qcausing disaffection to the armed forcesQ were dropped. Biti

still faces treason charges and charges related to Qmaking

statements likely to cause public disorder.Q His next hearing will

be on December 4.

 

8. Tsvangirai’s Travels Could Land Him In Jail… Morgan Tsvangirai

continues to travel using an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) while

he awaits a passport. Although his current ETD limits his travel to

South Africa and Swaziland, Tsvangirai made arrangements with

European leaders to travel to the EU without a passport. Now, the

Zimbabwean government is reportedly furious that the South Africans

allowed him to fly to Europe. Local press speculation is that if he

violated Zimbabwean laws he will be arrested upon his return to

Zimbabwe.

 

 

9. Freedom Defenders win awards… Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human

Rights (ZLHR) is the winner of the Rights & Democracy 2008 John

Humphrey Freedom Award in recognition of its courageous pursuit of

justice for victims of human rights abuses inside Zimbabwe. Women

of Zimbabwe Arise won Amnesty International GermanyQs Human Rights

Award. Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, who are still on

bail, were granted permission to travel to Germany to receive the

award. In New York, Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa received the Committee to

Protect JournalistQs Lifetime Achievement Award. Mtetwa has

represented numerous journalists, including New York Times reporter

Barry Bearak when he was arrested in Zimbabwe earlier this year.

 

———————————-

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

10. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Reads Riot Act to Zimbabwe Stock

Exchange (ZSE)… The RBZ issued a stern warning to the ZSE for its

role in processing bad checks worth up to Z$40 sextillion (US$2

million at the current check rate). The RBZ directed that anyone who

failed to settle at the end of the day would have their accounts

closed and their trading privileges revoked. Consequently, activity

on the ZSE dropped dramatically with the industrial index falling by

58.2 percent on November 19.

 

11. Dollarization Gathers Momentum… One of the largest fast food

chains in the country is now accepting payment for meals in fuel

coupons which are convertible into foreign currency. The food chain

joins a growing list of companies and private schools that demand

payment for goods and services in coupons. In a related development,

the state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers Group no longer accepts personal

or bank checks for payment of subscriptions. Only bulk subscriptions

for companies are still payable in checks. However, ordinary

subscriptions are still open to those willing to pay US$10 per

 

HARARE 00001040 003 OF 003

 

 

month.

 

12. Old Mutual Shares Used to Secure Electricity Imports… The

local press reports that Old Mutual shares, which are registered on

the ZSE, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the London Stock

Exchange (LSE), are being used as collateral for South African

electricity imports. The RBZ buys shares on the ZSE and transfers

them to the JSE where they are held in the pension fund of South

African utility company Eskom.

 

13. Foreign Currency Shops Disappoint… Early signs indicate that

the forex licenses sold to some local shops have not generated

enough foreign currency income for retailers. Consequently,

manufacturers are still not generating enough forex to improve their

low capacity utilization rates. The prices of forex-priced goods

have not come down either, while shelves dedicated to selling basic

goods (such as bread) in local currency are empty, leaving the

majority of Zimbabweans without options.

 

MCGEE

 

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