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

 


UN: Pope's Visit To Iraq "A Symbol Of Hope"

The visit by Pope Francis to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul at the weekend will be a symbol of hope and an opportunity to join forces for peace and unity, the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, said on Thursday, ahead of his touchdown in the capital, Baghdad... More>>

Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... 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>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


Podcast: A UN Top Official’s Inspiring Journey To Leadership

UN Under-Secretary for Global Communications Melissa Fleming speaks to Agnes Kalibata, the Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit, about her journey as a woman leader – from growing up as a Rwandan refugee in Uganda to becoming Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and now a top official at the United Nations... More>>

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>>