Search

 

Cablegate: Asian/Indian Community has a Muted Reaction To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001137

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR 2037 JDIEMOND
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
RIO FOR WWEISSMAN
PASS USTR - ROSA WHITAKER
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND C WILKINSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN KCRM PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: ASIAN/INDIAN COMMUNITY HAS A MUTED REACTION TO
A ROGUE WAR VET'S THREAT OF ASSET SEIZURE

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.
NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.

1. (SBU) On April 24 the government press carried a
statement by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veteran's
Association Director for Projects, Andrew Ndlovu,
that attacked resident Indians and Asians, accusing
them of economic sabotage, looting, and non-support of
the Government's indigenization and redistribution
efforts. Ndlovu accused the long-resident communities
(which started after WW II and swelled in the 1960's
and 1970's) of buying large amounts of urban real
estate in the early 1980's when the majority of whites
left, and now charging exorbitant rents and operating
businesses that exploit blacks, through both high
prices and poor wages. He declared "Operation
Liberation," which ordered them to surrender "a certain
portion of their land, to desist from illegal currency
dealing on the parallel market, reduce exorbitant
rentals, bank their money in locally-owned banks, and
improve the wages and working conditions of their
workers. Nothing will stop us from reclaiming
commercial land which is also our birthright, and all
barriers of imperialism will be removed forcefully,"
Ndlovu proclaimed.

2. (SBU) Two days later on April 26, in an obvious
display of a lack of coordination and command, the
Association's Acting Chairman, Patrick Nyaruwata,
declared that members of the Asian and Indian community
should ignore Ndlovu's threats and ultimatums, and that
it was wrong for Ndlovu to assume that community
members were part of the colonialists. "The Asians
also suffered during the years of oppression as they
were treated like second-class citizens together with
blacks. The Indian community has been with us since
the early years of the struggle, and most of them
supported us during the formation of ZANU and ZAPU and
so it is not fair to condemn them when they have been
partners." Ndlovu's muttered response during a radio
interview later that day was that the Chairman had
apparently been bribed, and on April 29 the veterans
association held a meeting with representatives from
the Indian community to again reassure them of their
common cause and linked patriotism. Ndlovu, who was
directed to attend the pow-wow, only made utterances on
the war vets' role in the redistribution of farming
land, and withheld further comments on his thwarted
urban ambitions.

3. (SBU) Mission Econ and Commercial officers have
informally contacted representatives in the Asian and
Indian business communities and have been told that
their concern level is not particularly high. An
Indian who heads up the major Mitsubishi auto
dealership here said that he has too many ZANU-PF
customers to get concerned, and is much more worried
about inflation, the parallel market rate and the food
shortage. Most of the others we contacted view the
situation pragmatically, and one said that if it means
the handout of a couple of free cell phones a month -
well, it's just another cost of doing business.
Another said that they (the Indians) have friends and
contacts in many places and that Ndlovu is clearly in
over his head. "The troubles that we face in Zimbabwe
are much less so than in much of the rest of Africa,
and while the whites are still here we can carry on.
When they are all gone we may have to make different
arrangements, but for now we shall continue to operate
our businesses. Ndlovu has been told to drop the
matter, and if he has any brains will do as he is
told."

4. (SBU) Comment: Pragmatism and a degree of
plasticity regarding business and operating rules has
allowed both the Asian and Indian communities to sail
relatively unscathed to date through this latest, low-
level attempt at rolling out a variant of the ruling
party's indigenization program. Both communities have
been on the ground for a long time and seem to realize
when legal principles can be relied on and when other
operating methods may be more productive. For now at
least, it seems that someone in government has weighed
the costs and benefits of targeting Asian or Indian
assets, and decided to move on in search of an easier
score. In addition, the War Vets Association has been
beset by internal power squabbles, and Ndlovu was
probably trying to get his name in the papers and
burnish his "revolutionary" credentials ahead of the
war vets' congress later this year.

5. (SBU) It is noteworthy that the GOZ never took a
position on the war vet threat, but let the war vet
leader put down his subordinate. A different
interpretation of events would be that the Indian/Asian
community was warned to provide more "kickbacks" and
will duly comply or suffer the consequences.

6. (SBU) For what it's worth, the Indian High
Commissioner told the Ambassador that no one in the
Indian community here had raise the issue with him, nor
he with the GOZ, indicating that Ndlovu's bluster is
probably not a major preoccupation within Asian/Indian
circles. End Comment.

Sullivan

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>