Search

 

Cablegate: Frustrated Soldiers Attack Money Changers

VZCZCXRO6988
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #1060 3380558
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 030558Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3761
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2466
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2591
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1084
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1860
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2215
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2640
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5068
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1732
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS HARARE 001060

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B.WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ASEC PHUM ZI
SUBJECT: FRUSTRATED SOLDIERS ATTACK MONEY CHANGERS

1. (SBU) Soldiers frustrated by inadequate wages and
inability to withdraw money from their bank accounts sparked
a riot in central Harare on Monday, December 1. About 100
unarmed, uniformed soldiers attacked money changers (and
indiscriminately nearby civilians) in an attempt to get cash
that had been denied them at banks. Bystanders threw rocks
and bottles at the soldiers; soldiers and bystanders looted
several shops. Riot police using tear gas broke up the melee
and arrested a number of the soldiers.

2. (SBU) On Thursday, November 27 we received reports of
about 200 soldiers rioting in a bank after being unable to
withdraw money. This incident reportedly occurred after a
mobile teller brought to the soldiers' base ran out of money.
The soldiers were told they could withdraw 10 million
Zimbabwe dollars at the bank. (The official withdrawal limit
was 500,000 Zimbabwe dollars; at the time the unofficial
street exchange rate was about 2 million Zimbabwe dollars to
the U.S. dollar.) At the bank, they learned the withdrawal
would not be permitted and became disorderly. The bank
summoned military police who arrived with AK-47 rifles.
Soldiers and police fought and bank windows were broken. On
Friday, November 28, we received reports of soldiers
assaulting money changers at a Harare market.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: The soldiers' actions are a result of
frustration both because of their own circumstances and also
their knowledge that military with the rank of colonel and
above are now being paid in U.S. dollars. The soldiers also
know that money changers often work on behalf of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe which buys forex for the benefit of regime
insiders.

4. (SBU) COMMENT CONTINUED: These incidents are potentially
significant because they reveal splits within the military
(between high-level officers and others), and because they
resulted in a clash of security forces (army and police). An
increase in the withdrawal limit to 100 million Zimbabwe
dollars should temporarily reduce pressure, but the
government is ultimately incapable of satisfying the economic
demands of the soldiers. It remains to be seen whether these
incidents will spread or whether the government, using riot
police, will be able to keep the lid on. Post will keep a
close eye on the situation and report as necessary. END
COMMENT.

McGee

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: