Search

 

Cablegate: Business and the Stayaway

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

UNCLAS HARARE 000619

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND
PASS USTR ROSA WHITAKER
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND C WILKINSON
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EINV ETRD ZI
SUBJECT: Business and the Stayaway

1. Summary: Zimbabwe's business sector remained mostly
neutral during the opposition-led stayaway March 19-20.
Most companies sympathize with many opposition aims, but
are unwilling to test the wrath of the GOZ. End summary.

2. We have spoken to over a dozen multinational and local
company heads about the stayaway. These firms paid
employees who were prevented from working during the
stayaway. Company reps acknowledged their operations
suffered losses but none seemed overtly hostile to the
opposition tactic. However, several businessmen were
uncomfortable with the prospect of further stayaways,
arguing that industry could not sustain additional
hardship.

Cost of Stayaways
-----------------
3. Local economists agree that the cost of stayaways is
formidable. Using very crude data of 70 percent
production stoppage for two of 250 annual workdays, an
industry economist suggested the stayaway may have shaved
as much as .4 percent from 2003 GDP. Since many
companies are already operating at less than full
capacity, however, they may be able to recoup production
losses over the next weeks, mitigating any negative
impact on national output.

The Discomfort of Taking Sides
------------------------------
4. A senior Barclays executive received a phone call from
a high MDC official urging that Barclays not open on the
strike's second day. In part due to its British origins,
this made Barclays extremely uncomfortable, although the
bank was largely closed on the second day anyway.
Another businessman, Anthony Mandiwanza, head of the
Dairiboard as well as the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries, said the stayaway was not relevant for
businesses the day before the strike. He took heavy
criticism in the independent press for this remark.

Comment
-------
5. Contending with a government that intuitively
distrusts the private sector, companies are loath to
publicly support stayaways or other political protest.
White commercial farmers paid dearly for backing the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in last year's
elections. GOZ officials have already argued that pro-
MDC firms "shut out" employees from work. Where
possible, we expect the private sector will continue to
steer clear of open political engagement.

Sullivan

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Euro Med Monitor: Syria Cross-border Aid Mechanism Extension Is Necessary For The Survival Of Millions

Permanent members of the UN Security Council should extend the cross-border aid to northwestern Syria, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said Tuesday in a statement...
More>>


Commonwealth Secretariat: Island Nations Urge Commonwealth Leaders To Bolster Ocean Climate Action
Small island nations are calling for strengthened global support for ocean and climate change action, just days before Commonwealth leaders convene in Kigali, Rwanda... More>>



Climate: ‘Surprise’ Early Heatwave In Europe, Harbinger Of Things To Come

Sweltering conditions in Europe have come earlier than expected this year but the bad news is, they’re the shape of things to come... More>>


World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>



Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>


Ukraine: Bachelet Briefs Human Rights Council On Mariupol
Excellencies, Further to Human Rights Council resolution S-34/1 adopted at its 34th Special Session, I present you with an oral update on the grave human rights and humanitarian situation... More>>