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Cablegate: Public Blames Zanu-Pf and Sanctions for Dire State

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111145Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2771
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1919
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1915
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2038
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1315
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1672
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2094
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4525
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1170
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//
RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000324

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR S. HILL
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS 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: ECON PGOV ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: PUBLIC BLAMES ZANU-PF AND SANCTIONS FOR DIRE STATE
OF ECONOMY IN OPINION POLL


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) The presentation on April 8, 2007 of the results of
round two of the Mass Public Opinion Institute's (MPOI)
national survey on "The Zimbabwe Economy and People's
Survival Strategies," carried out in December 2007, revealed
greater pessimism over the state of the economy and personal
levels of economic well being than a year ago. There was a
marked increase in the number of respondents blaming ZANU-PF
for the economic conditions; the ruling party earned foremost
blame among rural respondents, whereas more urban respondents
blamed "sanctions" firstly. Remittances as a coping mechanism
played a significant role in helping people pay for food and
healthcare, especially among respondents over aged 50. The
survey found a dearth of support for the GOZ's price
crackdown of the past 10 months, but a slight majority of
respondents favored further indigenization of the economy.
END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------
The MPOI, Survey Methodology and Scope
--------------------------------------

2. (U) The MPOI is a non-profit, nongovernmental
organization established and registered in Zimbabwe in 1999.
Round one of its well regarded survey on "The Zimbabwe
Economy and People's Survival Methods" was carried out in
October 2006, followed by round two in December 2007. Econoff
attended presentation of the preliminary results of round two
on April 8, 2007. In the survey, MPOI staff interviewed a
randomly chosen sample of 1,200 people over the age of 18,
balanced by gender, and from all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.
Of the respondents, 68 percent were from rural settings and
32 percent from urban areas (22 percent of respondents were
from Harare or Bulawayo). The survey investigated attitudes
toward the country's economic condition and the respondents'
own economic situation. It also probed individual survival
strategies and attitudes toward the price control crackdown
of the past year and the government's proposed indigenization
policy. The results were graphed against findings from the
2006 survey to illustrate trends.

---------------------------------------
Pessimism Over the State of the Economy
---------------------------------------

3. (U) In both 2006 and 2007, 89 percent of the respondents
described Zimbabwe's economic condition as either very bad or
bad, but the "very bad" rating increased from 51 percent to
58 percent of those surveyed in the 2007 survey. Slightly
more women than men rated the condition as very bad, which
MPOI staff suggested was a reflection of more men than women
having entered and benefited from the informal economy.
Similarly, 86 percent of the respondents said that their own
economic situation was either very bad or bad in 2007 against
85 percent in 2006, but again from year to year the "very
bad" rating jumped from 41 percent to 52 percent. Broken
down by place of residence, the responses of urban and rural
dwellers hardly differed. Asked how economic conditions
compared to a year ago, 85 percent responded "much worse,"
compared to 78 percent in 2006. Perhaps expressing some
pre-election optimism, 54 percent expected to see the economy

HARARE 00000324 002 OF 003


worse or much worse one year from now, compared to 71 percent
of the respondents in 2006, and 35 percent thought the
government was capable of solving the most serious problems
in the next twelve months compared to only 28 percent in
2006.

4. (U) Illustrative of the dire effect of the price control
blitz begun in June 2007, 47 percent of respondents in
December 2007 listed shortages of basic commodities as the
most serious problem facing the country, whereas unemployment
ranked first in 2006 when only 8 percent of respondents
ranked commodity shortages high.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
ZANU-PF Held Responsible, Especially by Rural Dwellers
--------------------------------------------- ---------

5. (U) Asked what factor was most responsible for the state
of the economy, 25 percent put the blame on ZANU-PF/GOZ, 22
percent on "sanctions," and 21 percent on corruption. In
2006, 32 percent held ZANU-PF/GOZ responsible, 19 percent
didn't know, and 18 percent blamed corruption, while
"sanctions" came in only in fifth place at 12 percent. In
rural areas, 26 percent of respondents held the ZANU-PF/GOZ
foremost responsible for the state of the economy compared to
23 percent of urban respondents. For their part, 26 percent
of urban respondents blamed "sanctions" foremost, compared to
19 percent of rural respondents. Unsurprisingly, only 13
percent of ZANU-PF sympathizers held the ruling party chiefly
responsible, whereas 48 percent and 43 percent of
MDC-Tsvangirai and MDC-Mutambara sympathizers respectively
blamed ZANU-PF/GOZ. On government performance in creating
jobs and in keeping prices stable, over 80 percent of
respondents called it "bad."

-------------------
Survival Strategies
-------------------

6. (U) Asked how they sourced food, farming was the prime
source for 27 percent of respondents, followed by salaries
for 22 percent, "projects" (informal economic activity) for
18 percent, and remittances for 15 percent. Remittances were
the prime source of health care funding for 29 percent of
respondents over the age of 50 and the main source of cash
for 36 percent of people over 50.

-----------------------
Reaction to Price Blitz
-----------------------

7. (SBU) Overall, 79 percent of respondents said they were
adversely affected by the ongoing price blitz, but the share
fell to 65 percent among ruling party sympathizers.
Surprisingly, only 63 percent of respondents said they were
angry or very angry about the government's price policy, with
the proportion varying from 52 percent of ZANU-PF supporters
to 79 percent of MDC-Tsvangirai supporters and 84 percent of
MDC-Mutambara supporters. The MPOI presenters assumed, and
attendees at the presentation concurred, that more ruling
party supporters had benefited from the crackdown in its
earliest days through tip offs about raids on shops.

----------------------------------------

HARARE 00000324 003 OF 003


Positive Views on Further Indigenization
----------------------------------------

8. (U) Told that the government has proposed extending its
land reform policy to other sectors, such as mining and
manufacturing, and that it would require that 51 percent of
shareholders in companies in these sectors be black
Zimbabweans, 52 percent of respondents called it a good
policy and 39 percent were averse. Broken down by province,
70 percent of respondents in both Mashonaland East and West
supported the policy. By age group, indigenization enjoyed
the most support (56 percent) among 31-50 year olds.

-------
Comment
-------

9. (SBU) The high number of rural dwellers who blamed ZANU-PF
first and foremost for the dire state of the economy in
December presaged the ruling party's recent stunning loss of
support among the rural electorate. It is also noteworthy how
effective the GOZ has been in the past year, at least in
urban areas where media are available, in convincing people
that "sanctions" are at the root of Zimbabwe's economic
problems. Disconcerting in the survey results is the high
number of respondents who appeared to favor extending
fast-track land reform to the industrial and commercial
sectors.


MCGEE

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