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ZANU-PF moved cabinet meet to prevent Tsvangirai from chairing

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leaders moved the weekly cabinet meeting from Tuesday to Monday to prevent Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from chairing the meeting.

The meeting was switched to allow President Robert Mugabe to chair it before leaving for the African Union summit in Libya.

Tsvangirai was out of the country but was due to return and would have chaired the meeting in the absence of Mugabe.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe seized on the issue to issue a strongly-worded statement criticising ZANU-PF’s refusal to finalise long outstanding issues, unilateral decision making, continued manipulation of the media, and overall disrespect for the MDC.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE554, ZIM NOTES 07-02-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE554

2009-07-06 07:03

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6402

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0554/01 1870703

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 060703Z JUL 09 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4689

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2339

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2931

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3049

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1478

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2312

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2679

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3097

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5540

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2227

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000554

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND J. HARMON

COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 07-02-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– MDC Boycotts Cabinet…

– Makoni Launches Opposition Party…

– Chiadzwa Abuses Exposed…

– …As KP Visit Begins…

– Bennett Trial Set for October…

– No UZ Grads in 2009?

– The End of School Fees?

– Senator Offers $30 Child Support…

– MP Mudiwa Sentenced to Seven Years…

– Expand VOA? Not Yet…

– Biti to Present Mid-term Fiscal Review…

– Crops Shortfalls Projected…

– Recovery Threatened by High Wage Demands…

– Wheat Farmers Allocated Electricity…

– Olivine Receives Soya from China…

– Government Secures US$60 Million For Tobacco…

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

2. MDC Boycotts Cabinet… MDC Ministers staged a boycott of this

week’s Cabinet meeting after ZANU-PF leaders moved it up a day from

Tuesday to Monday. According to Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani

Khupe, the change was made to prevent Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who

had not yet returned to Zimbabwe, from chairing Cabinet on Tuesday

while President Mugabe was attending the AU Summit in Libya. Khupe

seized on the issue to issue a strongly-worded statement criticizing

ZANU-PF’s refusal to finalize long outstanding issues, unilateral

decision making, continued manipulation of the media, and overall

disrespect for the MDC. In a noted departure from Tsvangirai’s

repeated assurances that the MDC-T would stick it out, Khupe

reserved her party’s right to disengage from the government. Upon

his return, Tsvangirai issued his own statement endorsing Khupe’s

statement, criticizing obstructionists in government, and calling

for resolution of Global Political Agreement outstanding issues.

 

3. Makoni Launches Opposition Party… Former ZANU-PF finance

minister and 2008 independent presidential candidate, Simba Makoni,

launched his opposition party Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) on June 30

in Harare. The event drew several hundred people consisting

primarily of university students. Makoni justified the formation of

another political party in Zimbabwe as an opportunity to “open up

more political space in Zimbabwe.” Makoni criticized the

performance of the inclusive government thus far, and referred to

the MDC as part of the ruling party. The MKD got off to a rocky

start last month when several senior officials of the then

“movement” left the MKD after accusing Makoni of abuse of election

funds and donated vehicles.

 

4. Chiadzwa Abuses Exposed… Human Rights Watch published a

damning report, “Diamonds in the Rough: Human Rights Abuses in the

Marange Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe,” detailing smuggling and human

rights abuses perpetrated by the Zimbabwean military and other

government officials. The report calls on the Kimberley Process

(KP) to revoke Zimbabwe’s KP certification. Although Zimbabwean

officials deny the abuses, this week the MDC called for an

investigation into the allegations. See: http://www.hrw.org/en

Qinvestigation into the allegations. See: http://www.hrw.org/en

/reports/2009/06/26/diamonds-rough-0.

 

5. …As KP Visit Begins… A delegation from the Kimberley

Process is in Zimbabwe this week to examine Zimbabwe’s compliance

with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. The delegation,

led by the Liberian Deputy Minister of Planning and Development

 

HARARE 00000554 002 OF 003

 

 

Kpandel Fayia, has met with officials from the national and local

governments, traditional leaders, NGOs, and private mining

executives and toured diamond mining facilities at Chiadzwa.

 

6. Bennett Trial Set for October… Senior MDC-T official and

Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett appeared in court

for a routine hearing on July 1. Prosecutor Michael Mugabe set

October 13 as the trial date for Bennett to face charges of

terrorism, banditry, and illegally possessing firearms.

 

7. No UZ Grads in 2009?   Zimbabwe’s flagship public university,

the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), will not be graduating any students

in 2009. Except for a few weeks in February, UZ has not opened for

undergraduate studies this year, citing lack of water and

sanitation. However, a protracted political and policy battle

between Vice Chancellor Nyagura and Minister of Higher Education

Mudenge over the lack of a UZ budget or mechanism to pay the faculty

is a primary reason the UZ’s doors remain closed. For an overview

of education in Zimbabwe, see a new report by the Institute for

Democracy in Africa: http://www.idasa.org.za/index.asp

?page=output_details.asp%3FRID

%3D1839%26OTID%3D2%26PID%3D54.

 

8. The End of School Fees? In a policy reversal this week,

Minister of Education Coltart announced that the government will

waive schools fees for all primary and secondary students attending

government schools. Since the main expense for parents remains

school-determined levies as opposed to the centralized school fees,

it remains unclear how this policy will affect students’ ability to

attend school and whether it will equally apply to students

attending low-density, high-density and rural schools.

 

9. Senator Offers $30 Child Support… Murehwa Senator Tendai

Makunde (ZANU-PF) appeared in a civil court case this week brought

by a 20-year-old woman seeking financial maintenance for their

four-year-old child. According to local press reports, Makunde (in

his 60s) fathered the child with Cynthia Mateyu when she was just

16. Although Makunde initially offered Mateyu $30, the presiding

magistrate ordered him to pay $350 per month, noting that Makunde

also owns a farm and earns more than his $100 senatorial allowance.

During the hearing, Mateyu told the court that Makunde had “too many

girlfriends.”

 

10. MP Mudiwa Sentenced to Seven Years… Mutare West MP Shua

Mudiwa was ordered to spend four and a half years in prison for

allegedly kidnapping a 12-year-old girl in late 2007; two and a half

years of his seven-year sentence were suspended. Mudiwa remains in

jail pending appeal. Mudiwa is the MP for the area that includes

the Chiadzwa diamond fields. See Harare 522.

 

11. Expand VOA? Not Yet… Representatives from the Broadcast

Board of Governors (BBG) visited Zimbabwe and met with numerous

officials, although they were rebuffed by Minister of Information

Webster Shamu. ZANU-PF figures including Shamu continue to

QWebster Shamu. ZANU-PF figures including Shamu continue to

criticize current Voice of America programming. Accordingly,

prospective license holders fear that public connections to USG

programs could jeopardize their chances of getting licenses. See

Harare 549.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

12. Biti to Present Mid-term Fiscal Review… Finance Minister Biti

says he will present the mid-term fiscal review on July 16, 2009.

The minister hinted that there will be a review of taxes; industry

has expressed its desire to see a simplification of the process of

issuing export permits and a review of the timeframe for remitting

value added taxes from mid-month to end of month in order to improve

market liquidity.

 

HARARE 00000554 003 OF 003

 

 

 

13. Crops Shortfalls Projected… Based on several crop

projections, 1.4 million people to 2.8 million Zimbabweans will

require food assistance during the 2009/10 consumption period. See

Harare 530.

 

 

14. Recovery Threatened by High Wage Demands… Although

manufacturing firms want to reinstate efficiency in operations,

worker demands for higher wages is becoming a critical challenge.

The hyperinflationary mindset remains among workers despite price

stability brought about by dollarization. See Harare 531.

 

15. Wheat Farmers Allocated Electricity… The Zimbabwe Electricity

Supply Authority (ZESA) has allocated 300 mega watts to this year’s

wheat growers to enable them to irrigate their crops without

interruptions caused by power cuts. Farmers will pay a tariff of

7.53 US cents per kilowatt which will enable both farmers and ZESA

to remain viable.

 

16. Olivine Receives Soya from China… China donated 4,000 tons of

soya bean seed worth US$500,000 to Zimbabwe which will be processed

by Olivine Industries. The managing director of Olivine Industries

said the donation, which is equivalent to a month’s supply of seed

to the company, will yield 500 tons of oil, or half the national

requirement per month.

 

17. Government Secures US$60 Million For Tobacco… Government

secured US$60 million from the African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank

to boost tobacco production. Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the

amount will be disbursed through a consortium of local banks.

However, the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association says the industry requires

US$120 million to increase output from the expected 42 million kgs

in 2009 to 75 million kgs in 2010.

 

——————

Quotes of the Week

——————

 

18. “It is time that for Christ’s sake toxicity and insanity are

removed from the GPA.” — Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe,

explaining the MDC boycott of parliament on June 29, 2009.

 

19. “The new government could generate significant amounts of

revenue from the diamonds, perhaps as much as US$200 million per

month, if Marange and other mining centers were managed in a

transparent and accountable manner. This revenue could fund a

significant portion of the new government’s economic recovery

program, which would benefit ordinary villagers like the residents

of Marange.” — Human Rights Watch Report, “Diamonds in the Rough:

Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe” June

26, 2009.

 

 

MCGEE

 

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