Cablegate: Zim Notes 10-02-2009
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0809/01 2811158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081158Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4992
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3071
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3183
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1612
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2446
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2815
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3231
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5678
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2365
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000809
AF/S FOR B. WALCH
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND J. HARMON
COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI
SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 10-02-2009
Topics of the week:
- Supreme Court Rules in Human Rights Defender's Favor
- Shamu Fills Media Boards with ZANU-PF Sympathizers...
- Parliament Completes Electoral Commission Interviews...
- Brigadier General Ignores High Court Order...
- GOZ to Appeal Ruling on Diamond Fields...
- USAID Loan Guarantees for Agriculture...
- So That's Why the Lights Went Out...
- Banks Meet Capital Targets...
- Nestle's Dis-Grace...
On the Political and Social Front
2. Supreme Court Rules in Human Rights Defender's Favor... On
September 28 the Supreme Court granted Zimbabwe Peace Project
Director Jestina Mukoko a permanent stay of prosecution in the
terrorism case against her. The Court ruled that her constitutional
rights were violated when she was abducted, tortured, and illegally
detained in late 2008. Lawyers welcomed the ruling and on Thursday
called on Attorney General Johannes Tomana to accept responsibility
for his law officers' failure to protect the rights of Mukoko and
other abductees by resigning. Seven MDC activists abducted in late
2008 are still missing. See Harare 775.
3. Shamu Fills Media Boards with ZANU-PF Sympathizers... Webster
Shamu (ZANU-PF), the Media, Information and Publicity Minister,
announced on September 30 board appointments to the six
media-related parastatals including Zimpapers (the publisher of
State media), the Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe (regulatory agency
for broadcasters), Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBC TV station),
Transmedia (transmission equipment provider), Kingstons
(bookseller), and New Ziana (news outlet). Media watchdog groups
Media Institute of Southern Africa and the Media Monitoring Project
of Zimbabwe criticized the appointments noting that each board
contained at least one military official and prominent opponents of
media freedom including new BAZ chairman Tafataona Mahoso. Mahoso
is notorious for having banned the Daily News, the Times, and the
Tribune while he was chair of the Media Information Commission. He
was also the lowest-ranked candidate during parliamentary interviews
for the new Media Commission.
4. Parliament Completes Electoral Commission Interviews... A
bipartisan panel of MPs completed interviews of 25 candidates for
the new constitutionally-mandated Independent Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (IZEC) on September 28. The panel identified the top 12
candidates whose names will be forwarded to President Mugabe who
will constitute the commission's body by selecting eight of them.
He will separately nominate a chairperson put forward by the
Judicial Services Commission. University of Zimbabwe law professor
Geoff Feltoe was the top-ranked candidate, but the white professor
believes he is unlikely to make the cut given his outspoken
criticism of ZANU-PF and his race.
5. Brigadier General Ignores High Court Order... White farmer
Q5. Brigadier General Ignores High Court Order... White farmer
Charles Lock secured a High Court order from Justice Baharat Patel
on September 24 granting him "unfettered access" to his farm and
crop. The judge ordered police to help him gain access to the
property. Despite the order, men working for Brigadier General
Justin Mujaji, who continues to occupy the farm, threatened to shoot
Lock when he attempted to move 150 tons of tobacco and 500 tons of
maize valued at US$700,000 this week.
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6. GOZ to Appeal Ruling on Diamond Fields... Minister of Mines
Obert Mpofu (ZANU-PF) informed the press on October 1 that the State
planned on appealing last week's Supreme Court ruling upholding
private mining firm African Consolidated Resources' (ACR) claim to
the Chiadzwa diamond fields. In a statement following its court
victory last week, ACR said it was committed to "dialogue with the
Zimbabwe government." The comment may indicate ACR's willingness to
partner with the government.
On the Economic and Business Front
7. USAID Loan Guarantees for Agriculture... On September 30, USAID
Zimbabwe signed an agreement with Standard Chartered Bank for loan
guarantees to back agricultural lending of up to US$20 million over
five years. The program is supported by USAID's Development Credit
Authority. It allows Standard Chartered to make loans to farmers
and agricultural enterprises that will supply inputs and technical
assistance to smallholders. Read the press release at
/agric_support.html. Surprisingly, the government mouthpiece The
Herald covered the story and included a photo of the Charg and
USAID Director at the signing ceremony.
8. So That's Why the Lights Went Out... The Hwange Colliery
Company, which supplies the Hwange Power Station (HPS), recorded a
53 percent year-on-year decline in coal sales and a 79 percent fall
in coke sales during the first six months of the year. The main
reason was the constant breakdown of antiquated equipment. At the
same time HPS suffered interruptions of gas supplies because of a
major breakdown of a gas pipeline. With a capacity of 1200 MW, HPS
is Zimbabwe's largest power station. Hwange Colliery will require
substantial investment to meet an anticipated increase in demand for
coal driven by projected regional power shortages in the coming
9. Banks Meet Capital Targets... All of Zimbabwe's commercial
banks met the September 30 deadline for satisfying new minimum
capital requirements set by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). But
the RBZ had set the bar low by allowing banks to include fixed
assets in their reserve numbers. When the air goes out of Harare's
recently effervescent property market, some banks will need to raise
more capital. Minimum capital requirements are set to rise again in
March, and that may increase pressure on the weaker banks.
According to the President of the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe,
some banks had already met that higher standard. But it is clear
that many institutions will need much more time to recover from the
ravages of hyperinflation.
10. Nestle's Dis-Grace... Following news reports that Nestle's
local subsidiary had been doing business with a dairy farm
controlled by Grace Mugabe, the company announced that it would no
longer buy milk from Gushongo Dairy Estate near Mazowe. Gushongo
Qlonger buy milk from Gushongo Dairy Estate near Mazowe. Gushongo
had previously been operated as Foyle Farm, until the owner was
forced to sell it for a fraction of its value in 2003. The
2,400-acre farm is now managed by Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe's
son from her first marriage. Since February the Nestle factory on
the outskirts of Harare had reportedly been receiving milk from
Gushongo three times a week in "an unmarked tanker."
Quote of the Week
11. "We have always respected property rights. Except on land..."
-- Minister of Economic Planning Elton Mangoma (MDC-T), quoted in
The Independent on October 2.
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