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ZANU-PF resorted to brute force to perpetuate its rule

President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front resorted to brute force to perpetuate his rule, United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell said.

The opposition and civil society operated in an environment of state-sponsored intimidation and violence with the government banning all rallies and demonstrations in contravention of the country’s constitution.

The government had stolen elections because of its total control of theelectoral machinery and had tilted the playing field against the opposition by closing independent news media and by manipulating the distribution of food assistance.

Though he had announced plans to retire in 2008, President Robert Mugabe and his loyalists had proposed amending the constitution to extend his term until 2010.

Opposition to the extension, including within the ruling party, was widespread.

In response, Mugabe had threatened to run again for a full presidential term in the 2008 elections.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE217, ZIMBABWE – INPUT FOR 2007 PRESIDENT’S REPORT ON

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

07HARARE217

2007-03-16 09:37

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7361

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0217/01 0750937

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 160937Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1252

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1518

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1376

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1522

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0784

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1148

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1577

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3981

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1345

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2005

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0658

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1739

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000217

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

AF/EPS FOR J. POTASH

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR M. COPSON AND E.LOKEN

TREASURY FOR J. RALYEA AND T.RAND

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ETRD ELAB PHUM PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE – INPUT FOR 2007 PRESIDENT’S REPORT ON

AGOA

 

REF: STATE 22438

 

1. Zimbabwe continues to fall far short of AGOA’s qualifying

criteria. Post’s input for the 2007 President’s Report on

AGOA (reftel) follows:

 

——————————

Market Economy/Economic Reform

——————————

 

2. The Zimbabwean Government (GOZ) pays lip service to

Marxist economic principles. Over the past 10 years the GOZ

has increasingly used ideology to mask growing official

corruption. Zimbabwe has become a forbidding place to invest

for foreigners and Zimbabweans. Private sector confidence

has collapsed as property rights have been seriously eroded

and the rule of law ignored. The government has sanctioned

seizures of privately owned agricultural land without

compensation, and changed the constitution in 2005 to

transfer ownership of expropriated agricultural land to the

government without recourse to the courts.

 

3. The GOZ’s disastrous fiscal and monetary policies have

also contributed to the country’s economic collapse. The IMF

estimates the government’s budget deficit at more than 50

percent of GDP. The A major part of the deficit is the

result of off-budget subsidies provided by the Reserve Bank

of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to corrupt and mismanaged parastatals. The

main driver of inflation, which surpassed 1700 percent

officially in February 2007 (private sector calculations are

nearly double that rate) is the government’s profligate

monetary policy, which is the government’s only means of

covering the deficit. Inflation appears poised to increase

exponentially. The IMF predicted that inflation would hit

5000 percent by the end of 2007, however, it may reach that

mark before the year’s mid-point.

 

4. The RBZ has kept the foreign exchange rate fixed since

July 31, 2006 despite the country’s hyperinflation,

undermining what is left of the country’s export sector. The

scarcity of forex has fueled a parallel foreign exchange

market in which the RBZ is the main actor. RBZ purchases of

forex with local currency are the main factor driving the

accelerating fall in value of the Zimbabwean dollar, which

also appears poised to depreciate exponentially.

 

5. Zimbabwe’s IMF voting rights remain suspended and the GOZ

has shown no political will to implement the comprehensive

package of macroeconomic policies and structural reforms

required for their restoration and to regain eligibility for

IMF lending. The country has stopped servicing its large

external debt and is falling ever further into arrears.

 

——————————————— —

Political Pluralism/Rule of Law/Anti-Corruption

——————————————— —

 

6. The government, dominated by President Robert Mugabe and

the ruling ZANU-PF party since independence, has resorted to

 

HARARE 00000217 002 OF 003

 

 

brute force to perpetuate its rule. The opposition and civil

society operate in an environment of state-sponsored

intimidation and violence. In March, 2007 the government

moved to ban all rallies and demonstrations in contravention

of Zimbabwe’s constitution. The government used deadly force

to break up an opposition prayer meeting subsequently

arresting 50 opposition leaders, who were then beaten while

in custody.

 

7. Presidential elections are scheduled for 2008. Recent

elections have been stolen by the government and the ruling

ZANU-PF party, which has relied on its total control of the

electoral machinery to perpetrate fraud. In addition, the

government and ruling party have heavily tilted the playing

field against the opposition by closing independent news

media and by manipulating the distribution of food

assistance.

 

8. Following the parliamentary election in March 2005, which

international observers deemed neither free nor fair, the

ruling party now controls enough seats to change the

country’s constitution at will. Despite announcing plans to

leave office in 2008, Mugabe and his loyalists have proposed

amending the constitution to extend his current term until

2010. Opposition to the extension has been widespread,

including within the ruling party. In response, Mugabe has

threatened to run again for a full presidential term in the

2008 elections.

 

9. Government efforts to influence and intimidate the

judiciary have seriously eroded independence and undermined

the rule of law. The government and ruling elite have

ignored numerous adverse judgments, including those related

to the taking of private property. Additionally, senior

government officials and police have willfully defied court

orders that are not politically acceptable to the ruling

party.

 

10. The corruption in government has become endemic,

including the redistribution of expropriated commercial farms

to the ruling party elite, privileged access to foreign

exchange and fuel, and the distribution of new housing plots

primarily to civil servants, security forces, and ruling

party supporters. The government-appointed Anti-Corruption

Commission includes no members from civil society or the

private sector and it has yet to register any notable

accomplishments. The Ministry of State Enterprises,

Anti-Monopolies, and Anti-Corruption lacks sufficient

political backing to carry out its anti-corruption mandate.

Instead the government prosecutes individuals selectively,

focusing on those who have fallen out of favor with the

ruling party and ignoring transgressions by favored elite.

 

—————–

Poverty Reduction

—————–

 

11. The government maintains several programs that ostensibly

provide food or basic services to the poor. However, the

 

HARARE 00000217 003 OF 003

 

 

programs are grossly under funded and their implementation is

often influenced by politics, with areas represented by the

opposition disadvantaged. Moreover, the government’s

economic policies have caused most Zimbabweans to grow

progressively poorer over the past seven years. Human

development indicators that were once among the best in

sub-Saharan Africa have deteriorated sharply. Zimbabweans,

for example, now have the world’s lowest life expectancy and

face acute food shortages this year. Zimbabwe has not

finalized a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.

 

—————–

Labor/Child Labor

—————–

 

12. Zimbabwe has ratified all eight of the ILO core

Conventions, including ILO Convention 183 on the minimum age

and ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor.

The government, however, lacks the commitment and resources

necessary to effectively enforce labor standards. Moreover,

it frequently uses repressive laws and intimidation to limit

workers’ right to organize and hold labor union meetings.

 

13. The government has stepped-up harassment of the Zimbabwe

Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and its leadership. In

September 2006, for example, police arrested and severely

beat several senior leaders of ZCTU for their role in

planning a peaceful demonstration for better wages and

working conditions. The government also has taken steps to

marginalize the traditional unions and the formal labor

dispute resolution mechanism.

 

14. The ongoing economic crisis severely impedes the

government’s ability to address its child labor problems.

Several international donors have committed multi-year

funding to support social programs aimed at orphans and other

vulnerable children but the scale the assistance is

insufficient to alleviate the problem. Zimbabwe has, for

instance, the highest percentage of orphans in the world.

 

15. The growing rate of unemployment has reduced the number

of children employed in the formal sector, but informal child

employment has increased as more children work to fill the

income gap left by ill, unemployed, or deceased relatives.

The minimum age for light work, other than apprenticeship or

work associated with vocational education, is 15 years.

Children work in agriculture, street vending, and as domestic

servants. There are reports that an increasing number of

girls are involved in prostitution, especially in border

towns. Primary education is compulsory, however, it is not

free and an increasing number of Zimbabwean children have

fallen out of the education system. The government’s

commitment to children’s rights and welfare remains weak.

DELL

 

(11 VIEWS)

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