Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced on 21 May 2009 thatthe three political parties that formed the inclusive government had reached agreement on the contentious issues of division of governorships, appointment of permanent secretaries and ambassadors, and the delayed swearing in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
The portfolio responsibilities for communications in Zimbabwe were also resolved.
The Ministry of Information Communications Technology led by Nelson Chamisa of the MDC-T would retain control over Zimbabwe’s telecom and postal parastatals but would cede the responsibility for the Interception of Communications Act to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development led by Nicholas Goche of ZANU-PF.
The Ministry of Media Information and Publicity, led by Webster Shamu of ZANU-PF, would oversee the Broadcasting Act.
The three parties still disagreed on the appointments of central bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney general Johannes Tomana.
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SUBJECT: ZANU-PF AND MDC-T RESOLVE SOME OUTSTANDING ISSUES
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¶1. (SBU) Prime Minister Tsvangirai announced on May 21 that
the three political parties had reached agreement on the
contentious issues of division of governorships, appointment
of permanent secretaries and ambassadors, and the delayed
swearing in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
The portfolio responsibilities for communications in
Zimbabwe were also resolved. However, the three parties
still disagree on the appointments of RBZ Governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana. The announcements
break a deadlock that had forced the MDC-T to appeal to SADC
for resolution, though SADC will still be asked to review the
Gono and Tomana appointments. END SUMMARY.
Deal Reached on Long Contested Issues…
¶2. (C) Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s advisor, Ian
Makone, met with poloff on May 21 to clarify the terms of the
recent agreement between the three political parties on
outstanding issues including the appointment of permanent
secretaries, governors, ambassadors, Roy Bennett, and the
controversial appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
¶3. (SBU) On May 20, President Mugabe’s spokesperson, Misheck
Sibanda, announced that an agreement had been reached to
retain all of the permanent secretaries unilaterally
nominated by Mugabe in late February. The announcement
failed to mention that in exchange the MDC-T would receive
five out of ten governorships, four out of five vacant
ambassadorships, and Mugabe’s acquiescence on swearing
Bennett into his position as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
¶4. (C) On governors, Makone said that the provinces of
Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland North, and the two
municipal provinces — Bulawayo and Harare — would be filled
by MDC-T appointees. Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central,
Mashonaland East, and Midlands would be filled by ZANU-PF.
The MDC-M would receive Matabeleland South. Makone clarified
that the governorships would be filled in the next few weeks,
rather than waiting for their terms to expire later this
year. Five current ambassadorial vacancies would be filled
by four MDC-T nominees and one MDC-M nominee. Future
vacancies would be divided equitably.
¶5. (SBU) The ministerial responsibilities over
communications in Zimbabwe were also clarified. The Ministry
of Information Communications Technology led by Nelson
Chamisa of the MDC-T will retain control over Zimbabwe’s
telecom and postal parastatals (Telone, NetOne and Zim Post),
but will cede the responsibility for the Interception of
Communications Act to the Ministry of Transport and
Infrastructural Development led by Nicholas Goche of ZANU-PF.
The Ministry of Media Information and Publicity, led by
Q The Ministry of Media Information and Publicity, led by
Webster Shamu of ZANU-PF, will oversee the Broadcasting Act.
… Though Still Stuck on Gono and Tomana
¶6. (SBU) The long contentious issue of Bennett’s appointment
may also be resolved. Tsvangirai announced that Bennett
would be sworn in at the same time the governors assume their
posts. While Bennett will be allowed to take his deputy
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ministerial position, the charges against him of possessing
weapons to be used in banditry, sabotage, and terrorism will
not be dropped.
¶7. (C) One area where progress was not achieved was on the
status of Gono and Tomana. The Tsvangirai camp is holding
firm that Gono must be fired because as a matter of legality
his appointment was not in line with the Inter-party
Political Agreement that formed the unity government. Makone
believed that Mugabe had resisted his dismissal because “Gono
knows too much.” This was a reference to Gono’s central role
in maintaining the ZANU-PF patronage scheme. The MDC-T hoped
that they would be able to check Tomana for overstepping his
legal authority by personally ordering the arrest of
individuals, including two journalists last week.
¶8. (C) While ZANU-PF has yet to confirm this agreement, if
adopted, these announcements are positive indicators that
Tsvangirai and Mugabe are able to reach agreement when
absolutely necessary. In particular, the MDC’s receipt of
five governorships will be beneficial in curtailing the
specter of ZANU-PF-led violence and intimidation in these
provinces during the next electoral cycle. It may also prove
beneficial on rule of law issues in these provinces that
include some contentious farms and the Chiadzwa diamond
¶9. (C) However, the most important issues were not settled,
as Gono and Tomana remain despite Tsvangirai’s best efforts.
This is critical because international assistance may hinge
on Gono’s dismissal, and Tomana has been actively subverting
the judicial system and threatening press freedom. END