INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Zim Notes 02-19-2010

Published: Tue 23 Feb 2010 08:57 AM
VZCZCXRO0706
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0152/01 0540858
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230857Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0076
INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0037
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0037
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0037
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000152
SIPDIS
AF/S FOR B. WALSH
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
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI
SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 02-19-2010
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1. SUMMARY
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Mugabe Welcomes Codel Meeks/Watt...
Journalist thrown out of Mugabe/Codel meeting...
Diamond Drama Continues...
Zim Agrees to KP Monitor...
Court Orders Mining at Chiadzwa to Stop...
EU Extends Targeted Sanctions on Zimbabwe...
ZANU-PF Hijacks Civil Servants' Strike...
Police Arrest WOZA Members...
Mexican Journalist Arrested...
HRW Calls Gov't a "Failure"...
Rising Cost of Living Fuels Wage Demands...
Tobacco Selling Season Starts on High Note...
Companies Resort to Rights Issues...
---------------------------------
On the Political and Social Front
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2. Congressmen Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Melvin Watt (D-NC), Jack
Kingston (R-GA), and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) visited Harare this week
and had a nearly two-hour long meeting with President Mugabe at
State House. The delegation also met with Finance Minister Tendai
Biti and visited a USAID-funded livelihoods project. Friday's
Herald featured a large photo of Congressman Meeks and Mugabe
shaking hands next to the headline "US pledges dialogue."
3. Freelance journalist (and correspondent of the Zimbabwe Times)
Nkosana Moyo was escorted by the CIO out of a meeting between
President Robert Mugabe and the visiting Congressional Delegation.
Moyo tried to record the proceedings of the meeting when the CIO
accosted him and took him out of State House. He told PAS that they
gave him a 20- 30 minute lecture about patriotism. "They told me I
should not be used by the Americans to demonize Zimbabwe, and took
all my details- address, phone numbers, next of kin, rural home-
and let me go," said Moyo. Moyo said he could not go back to State
house to cover meeting because "I was no longer a in a state of
mind to do anything."
4. Transcripts of closed-door hearings led by the parliamentary
committee on mines and energy have revealed probable corruption and
a lack of oversight in the troubled Chiadzwa diamond fields. The
committee, led by the ZANU-PF former Mining Minister Edward
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Chindori-Chininga, has grilled senior leadership from the
parastatals Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) on their lack of
oversight of the two joint ventures operating in Chiadzwa, Mbada
Diamonds and Canadile Miners in several hearings this month. Mining
Minister Obert Mpofu is allegedly due to testify soon as well.
5. This week Zimbabwe agreed to allow a South African
industrialist with extensive diamond mining experience, Abbey
Chikane, to serve as the resident monitor for the Kimberley Process
Certification Scheme (KPCS) after several other potential monitors
were rejected. Chikane's appointment is the result of the KP work
plan developed in October 2009 at the KP Plenary in Namibia.
Chikane is to have "unfettered" access to Chiadzwa is will need to
approve of diamond shipments before they can be granted a KP
certificate.
6. The Supreme Court has ruled that ZMDC and the MMCZ must stop
mining operations at Chiadzwa pending finalization of the ownership
dispute with African Consolidated Resources (ACR). Although ZMDC's
two partners, Mbada and Canadile, may remain on site, they have
been ordered to stop operations. In the meantime, the GOZ has
reportedly cancelled ACR's license to mine the Chiadzwa fields,
giving it up to March 10 to lodge an appeal. ACR contends the
cancellation is unlawful.
7. On February 16, the EU extended targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe
for another year and also removed six individuals (mostly deceased)
and nine companies from the list. Of note, sanctions were lifted on
Dumiso Dabengwa, a former ZANU-PF Minister of Home Affairs, who
left ZANU-PF two years ago to reform ZAPU. The EU justified the
extension on the lack of progress in the implementation of the GPA.
Although ZANU-PF dismissed the extension of the sanctions as a
non-event, it has nevertheless said it will not make any
concessions in the GPA talks until all the sanctions are removed.
8. Striking civil servants have said that ZANU-PF has hijacked the
strike for political reasons. Civil servants' representatives
reported that ZANU-PF was forcing teachers to join the strike. They
reported that in Masvingo province in southern Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF
and the CIO forced Victoria High School to close at gun point and
ordered the teachers to join the strike. The civil servants are
pressing the government to increase their $150 monthly wages to a
minimum of $630. The government has said it can only increase the
paltry wages by a further $16 because it has no money.
9. On February 17 the police arrested two members of Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) in the eastern city of Mutare. One of the
women, Rose Rukwewo, is an elderly woman who suffers from hyper
tension. The police arrested the women at their homes for no
apparent reason other than to harass them after they had
participated in a WOZA protest march on February 16. Although the
police admitted they have no evidence to charge the women, they
insisted on detaining them for 48 hours--the maximum period the
police can hold a suspect in detention before they must appear in
court. The women were initially denied access to their lawyer for
several hours.
10. In Masvingo on February 12, police arrested a Mexican
journalist who was filming potential tourist sites. The journalist,
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who was in a vehicle belonging to Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi
(ZANU-PF) and who had a letter of authorization signed by Mzembi,
was held for several hours before being released after Mzembi's
personal intervention. Mzembi later fumed, "We cannot attract
tourists if we do not look at our law and order. [The journalist]
wanted to film for Mexican tourists ahead of the World Cup in South
Africa, but the first call I received once he got there was he was
at a police station. He has understood that we are in a transition
and we have said it will not happen again."
11. Human Rights Watch issued a harsh statement this week, calling
the inclusive government a "failure." According to HRW's Director,
Georgette Gagnon, "The transitional power-sharing government is a
sham. From a human rights perspective, nothing has changed for the
better. Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF are still fully in control." HRW
went on to call for the government to begin preparations for
holding internationally supervised free, fair, and credible
elections that will lead to a legitimate and democratic government
with the political will to bring about change. An article in The
Economist this week also suggested early elections wouldn't be a
bad idea:
http://www.economist.com/world/middleeast-afr ica/displayStory.cfm?s
tory_id=15549373
-----------------------------------
On the Economic and Business Front
----------------------------------
12. According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), the
average cost of a basket of goods for a family of six rose by about
seven percent from $488.11 in December 2009 to $520.53 in January
2010. The jump was attributed to an anticipated increase in civil
servants' salaries and high utility tariffs. To the extent that CCZ
figures are now the basis for determining minimum wages in the
public and private sectors, there will be more pressure for a
general rise in wages.
13. The opening of this year's tobacco selling season started on
February 9 amidst expecations of substantial growth in the quantity
sold. The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) projects sales
this year of 77 million kilograms, up from 56 million in 2009. The
TIMB cites favorable prices and an increase in the number of
farmers growing the crop as the main factors behind the increase.
The use of the out-grower schemes has attracted a lot of farmers
since they are well supported by tobacco merchants when compared to
other commercial crops.
14. Liquidity constraints in banks and the high cost of borrowing
have forced most companies to go for rights issues and private
placements to raise money for expansion projects. During the week
under review, for example, two publicly listed companies proposed
to raise a total of $40 million through both rights issues and
private placements.
15. "We know their attitude. They do not want anyone, any country
in the developing world to make any meaningful development
strides." -- President Robert Mugabe, referring to the West's
alleged efforts to block development in Africa, at the opening of
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the Pan-African Tourism Investment Summit in Harare, February 17,
2010.
RAY
Dhanani
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