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US embassy said MDC’s aid request was unrealistic

The United States embassy said the sum required by the Movement for Democratic Change for the transition period, which exceeded US$1 billion, was unrealistic but at least it showed that the party was aware of the enormity of the challenges that it faced.

MDC shadow Minister for Agriculture Renson Gasela had told diplomats that Zimbabwe would only have a harvest of 600 000 tonnes of maize when the national requirements were 1.8 million tonnes.

It would therefore have to import 100 0000 tonnes of maize a month for the next 12 months.

The country also had to import 15 000 tonnes of wheat, 5 000 tonnes soyabeans and 2 500 tonnes of vegetable oils every month.

It would also have to import US$6 million worth of essential medical supplies as well as fuel and electricity.

Gasela said the country would need just over US$500 million for land reform over a period of three years.

The meeting was stopped by security officials after 45 minutes. They said it was illegal under the terms of the Public Order and Security Act.

The United States embassy said if its maths were correct, the MDC required more than US$1 billion in donor support.

“While this sum is clearly unrealistic, at least it shows that the MDC leadership is aware of the enormity of the challenges it faces,” but the embassy added, “the reaction of the participating diplomats to the one-billion figure was much less than their reaction to the abrupt closure of the meeting.”

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE561, MDC DIPLOMATIC CORPS BRIEFING ON TRANSITION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE561

2002-03-04 13:34

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0888

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00561 01 OF 02 041339Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00 COME-00

CTME-00 INL-00   DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EAP-00

EB-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00

MED-07   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00

PC-01   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 ECA-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00

PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /020W

——————6F038D 041339Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1080

INFO OAU COLLECTIVE

EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA

NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000561

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR PDAS BELLAMY

 

DEPARTMENT PASS USAID

 

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRASIER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/03/07

TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC DIPLOMATIC CORPS BRIEFING ON TRANSITION

PROGRAMS SHUT DOWN AS “ILLEGAL MEETING”

 

CLASSIFIED BY POL TDY AARON TARVER, REASON: 1.5 (B) AND

(D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. GOZ SECURITY OFFICIALS CUT SHORT A

MARCH 4 MDC BRIEFING FOR THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY ON THE

GROUNDS THAT THIS WAS AN “ILLEGAL MEETING” UNDER THE

PUBLIC ORDER AND SECURITY ACT (POSA). BEFORE THIS

OCCURRED, MDC OFFICIALS HAD EXPRESSED A NEED FOR MASSIVE

FOOD ASSISTANCE MAIZE AND AN ADDITIONAL $500 MILLION IN

GRANT AID OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS TO IMPLEMENT A MORE

RATIONAL AND SUSTAINABLE LAND REFORM PROGRAM. WHILE THE

MDC’S FIGURES FOR DONOR ASSISTANCE LEVELS ARE

UNREALISTIC, AT LEAST IT SHOWS A FOCUS ON LONGER-TERM

PROBLEMS THAT WILL NOT GO AWAY IN THE POST-ELECTION

ENVIRONMENT. BY CLOSING DOWN THE MEETING, THE GOZ AGAIN

HAS THROWN DOWN THE GAUNTLET BEFORE THE WEST. END

SUMMARY.

 

GOZ SHUTS DOWN MEETING

———————–

 

2. (U) APPROXIMATELY 45 MINUTES INTO A MARCH 4 MEETING

OUTLINING THE MDC’S TRANSITION PROGRAM FOR ZIMBABWE, MDC

LEADER MORGAN TSVANGIRAI INFORMED INVITED MEMBERS OF THE

DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY THAT THE GOZ HAD ORDERED HIM TO

SHUT DOWN THE “ILLEGAL” GATHERING UNDER POSA. THE GOZ

ALSO REQUESTED THE MDC TO PRODUCE THE NAMES OF ALL THOSE

WHO ATTENDED — OR WERE INVITED. MOST OF THE EUROPEAN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00561 01 OF 02 041339Z

UNION, INCLUDING THE UK HIGH COMMISSION AND DFID WERE

REPRESENTED, WITH DENMARK, BELGIUM, SPAIN, AND NORWAY

REPRESENTED BY THEIR AMBASSADORS. (NOTE: THE ONLY

AFRICAN DIPLOMAT PRESENT WAS A THIRD SECRETARY FROM THE

BOTSWANA HIGH COMMISSION.) TSVANGIRAI ANGRILY DENOUNCED

THE ACTION, LABELING IT AS MORE “POLITICAL HARASSMENT,”

AND VOWED THAT NO NAMES WOULD BE FORTHCOMING. MR. NGOWU

WAS NAMED AS THE GOZ OFFICIAL WHO ORDERED THE CLOSURE.

 

MDC STARTS TO BRIEF DIP CORPS ON TRANSITION PROGRAM

——————————————— ——-

 

3. (U) TSVANGIRAI, FLANKED BY VICE PRESIDENT GIBSON

SIBANDA, TSVANGIRAI OPENED THE ABORTIVE BRIEFING BY

NOTING THAT REGARDLESS OF THE ELECTION’S OUTCOME, THE

COMBINATION OF DROUGHT AND LACK OF FOOD PRODUCTION WOULD

FORCE MANY ZIMBABWEANS TO RELY ON FOOD AID UNTIL LATE

2003. TO ADDRESS THIS AND OTHER PRESSING ISSUES,

TSVANGIRAI ASKED IAN MAKONE (A CONSULTANT AND MDC

 

SIPDIS

COMMITTEE MEMBER), RENSON GASELA (MDC MP AND SHADOW

AGRICULTURE MINISTER), AND PETER ROBINSON TO FLESH OUT

THE MDC STRATEGY FOR RETURNING ZIMBABWE TO PRODUCTIVITY

AND PROSPERITY.

 

FOOD SECURITY

————–

 

4. (U) SHADOW AGRICULTURE MINISTER RENSON GASELA GAVE

THE MDC’S ASSESSMENT OF FOOD ASSISTANCE NEEDS. ZIMBABWE

CONSUMES 1.8 MILLION TONS OF MAIZE MEAL PER ANNUM, BUT

THIS YEAR WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO PRODUCE 600 THOUSAND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00561 01 OF 02 041339Z

TONS, HE SAID (THE LOWEST FIGURE WE HAVE HEARD TO DATE);

CURRENT MAIZE MEAL IMPORTATION IS SUFFICIENT TO KEEP

PEOPLE FED FOR ONLY 2.5 DAYS PER WEEK. ZIMBABWE WILL

NEED TO IMPORT 100 THOUSAND TONS/MONTH OF MAIZE MEAL

UNTIL AT LEAST JUNE 2003. ZIMBABWE WILL ALSO NEED 15

THOUSAND, 5 THOUSAND, AND 2.5 THOUSAND TONS PER MONTH OF

WHEAT, SOYBEANS AND VEGETABLE OIL, RESPECTIVELY, TO

PREVENT MALNOURISHMENT. ZIMBABWE WOULD ALSO NEED TO

IMPORT $6 MILLION IN ESSENTIAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND

LIQUID FUEL/ELECTRICITY ABOVE AND BEYOND THAT CURRENTLY

BUDGETED, SAID GASELA.

 

5. (U) THE MDC’S MEDIUM-TERM FOOD PRODUCTION STRATEGY

INTENDS EXPLICIT SUBSIDIES OF MAIZE MEAL IMPORTS UNTIL

PRODUCTION LEVELS INCREASE. (COMMENT: AND, ALTHOUGH HE

DID NOT SAY IT, UNTIL THE ZIMBABWE DOLLAR STABILIZES.

END COMMENT.) AN MDC GOVERNMENT WOULD MOVE TO ABANDON

PRICE CONTROLS ALTOGETHER, AND WOULD ALLOW DIRECT

PURCHASING FROM THE GRAIN MARKETING BOARD TO LOWER THE

BASE PRICE (WISHFUL THINKING, WE FEAR). THE HAMMERMILL

MEAL PRICE SHOULD REMAIN LOWER THAN THE IMPORT PRICE, HE

SAID, THUS ENCOURAGING DOMESTIC PRODUCTION.

 

LAND REFORM: MDC LOOKS TO DONORS

———————————

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0889

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00561 02 OF 02 041339Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00 COME-00

CTME-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EAP-00   EB-00

EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00

INR-00   IO-00   ITC-01   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01

DCP-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PC-01

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 EPAE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /014W

——————6F0390 041339Z /38

R 041334Z MAR 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1081

INFO OAU COLLECTIVE

EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA

NSC WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000561

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR PDAS BELLAMY

 

DEPARTMENT PASS USAID

 

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRASIER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/03/07

TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON PHUM ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00561 02 OF 02 041339Z

SUBJECT: MDC DIPLOMATIC CORPS BRIEFING ON TRANSITION

PROGRAMS SHUT DOWN AS “ILLEGAL MEETING”

 

6. (U) GASELA EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUE TO

ALL ZIMBABWEANS, SAYING, “LAND REFORM IS NOT A POLITICAL

PARTY ISSUE.” HE WAS QUICK TO POINT OUT, HOWEVER, THAT

THE GOZ’S PROGRAM HAS NOT LED TO THE DESIRED RESULTS;

EVEN SHOULD THE GOZ COMPLETE ITS RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM, A

MAJORITY OF RURAL HOUSEHOLDS WOULD STILL BE IN COMMUNAL

AREAS, HE SAID. ONCE RESETTLED, THE NEW FARMERS ARE

LEFT ON THEIR OWN TO FARM THE LAND, LEADING TO UNDER-

PRODUCTIVE SUBSISTENCE FARMING.   THUS, 90 MILLION

HECTARES OF COMMUNAL AREA FARMLAND ARE UNDERDEVELOPED,

HE SAID.

 

7. (U) GASELA ADDED THAT THE MDC INTENDS TO CREATE AN

IMPARTIAL LAND COMMISSION, WHICH WILL COORDINATE LAND

REFORM (WITH INPUT FROM THE MINISTRIES OF LOCAL

GOVERNMENT & ENVIRONMENT AND AGRICULTURE &

INFRASTRUCTURE), AFTER RECEIVING ITS MARCHING ORDERS

FROM A LAND INDABA (CONCLAVE) TO BE CONVENED AFTER THE

ELECTION. HE CONCLUDED THAT THE MDC INTENDS TO CREATE A

RURAL DEVELOPMENT FUND THAT WOULD COST $33 MILLION FOR

2002, $200 MILLION FOR 2003, AND $300 MILLION FOR 2004.

THIS PROGRAM WOULD REQUIRE SUBSTANTIAL DONOR GRANT

ASSISTANCE, HE NOTED.

 

COMMENT

——–

 

8. (C) IF OUR MATH IS CORRECT, THE MDC TRANSITION

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00561 02 OF 02 041339Z

STRATEGY IS POSITED ON USD ONE BILLION PLUS IN DONOR

SUPPORT FOR EMERGENCY FOOD AID AND LAND REFORM IN THE

2002-2004 PERIOD. THIS DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT FUEL

AND ELECTRICITY SUPPLIES AND A NUMBER OF OTHER NECESSARY

EXPENDITURES. WHILE THIS SUM IS CLEARLY UNREALISTIC, AT

LEAST IT SHOWS THAT THE MDC LEADERSHIP IS AWARE OF THE

ENORMITY OF THE CHALLENGES IT FACES. THE REACTION OF

THE PARTICIPATING DIPLOMATS TO THE ONE-BILLION FIGURE

WAS MUCH LESS THAN THEIR REACTION TO THE ABRUPT CLOSURE

OF THE MEETING. INITIAL DISBELIEF GAVE WAY TO AMUSEMENT

AND WAS CRYSTALLIZING INTO ANGER BY THE TIME THE

DIPLOMATS WERE FILING OUT OF THE MEIKLES HOTEL, WHERE

THE BRIEFING TOOK PLACE. THE GOZ IS DOING ITS BEST TO

BURN BRIDGES TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT IT IS UNLIKELY THAT

THEY CAN BE REBUILT EVEN IF ZANU-PF MANAGES BY HOOK OR

CROOK TO HOLD ON TO POWER.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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