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Cablegate: Zim Notes 10-23-2009

VZCZCXRO1315
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0851/01 3001456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271456Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5059
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3112
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3225
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1652
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2486
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2855
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3273
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5721
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2405
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000851

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

SIPDIS

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 10-23-2009

-----------
1. SUMMARY
-----------

Topics of the week:

- Tsvangirai Lobbies Key SADC Members
- As Mugabe Holds Cabinet Meeting in his Absence
- Rural Residents Fear Renewed Violence
- Cholera Season Begins in Zimbabwe
- AG Tomana Takes Over Bennett's Case
- Manufacturing Sector Improving but Problems Remain
- Companies Consolidate as Cash Crunch Bites
- Biti's Budget Woes

---------------------------------
On the Political and Social Front
----------------------------------

2. Tsvangirai Lobbies Key SADC Members...After "disengaging" from
ZANU-PF, PM Morgan Tsvangirai this week met with South African
President Jacob Zuma, Mozambican President Armando Guebuzza,
Congolese President Joseph Kabila, and planned to meet with
President Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola on Friday. The whirlwind
tour is an effort to lobby SADC to to pressure President Robert
Mugabe and SADC to comply with the Global Political Agreement.
Specifically, the MDC wants Mugabe to appoint MDC governors, rescind
the appointments of RBZ governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana, and to swear in Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of
Agriculture. Tsvangirai is expected to return to Harare today and
to meet with Mugabe on Monday. The SADC Troika heads of state, as
well as well as a representative of South Africa, the GPA
facilitator, will meet with principals (Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and
Arthur Mutambara) and GPA negotiators on October 29 in Harare. See
Harare 843.

3. As Mugabe Holds Cabinet Meeting in his Absence... On October 20,
President Robert Mugabe chaired a cabinet meeting attended by his
party and MDC-M ministers. MDC boycotted and held its own "cabinet"
meeting at MDC-T party headquarters.

4. Rural Residents Fear Renewed Violence... Post conducted site
visits to rural communities across five different provinces and
determined that though current levels of non-farm related political
violence are low, residents still live in fear of ZANU-PF directed
violence. That fear stems from concerns that ZANU-PF has maintained
its capacity to deliver a campaign of violence through ZANU-PF
youth, war veterans and the military. Elements of these
organizations continue to circulate in rural communities, and in
some instances have increased their activities. See Harare 839.
Government officials have told us that as many as 25,000 youths are
on the payroll without specific jobs; many are engaged in
intimidation of MDC supporters.

5. Cholera Season Begins in Zimbabwe... According to the World
Health Organization, as of October 17, 2009, 72 cases of cholera and
3 deaths have been verified nationwide. About half of the cases are
in Chipinge District in Manicaland province, but there are also a
few cases in Harare (5 cases from Mabvuku), Midlands (19),
Mashonaland Central (1), and Mashonaland West (18). The cholera
season in Zimbabwe runs roughly from October to April, and more
cases are expected once the seasonal rains begin in late November or
Qcases are expected once the seasonal rains begin in late November or
December. The incidence to date is not above the norm and is not
expected to be as high as last year because of the intensity with
which the donor community has supported hygiene education.

6. AG Tomana Takes Over Bennett's Case... On October 19, Attorney
General Johannes Tomana personally took over prosecution of Roy
Bennett from the two senior officers who had been handling the case.

HARARE 00000851 002.2 OF 002


Tomana, who has made no secret of his ZANU-PF partisanship,
defended the move by saying Bennett was a "national security threat"
and that he had intervened to expedite the trial. Bennett's trial
on banditry, sabotage and terrorism charges is expected to begin in
Harare's High Court on November 9. In the meantime, he remains out
on bail.

-----------------------------------
On the Economic and Business Front
----------------------------------

7. Manufacturing Sector Improving but Problems Remain... According
to the 2009 manufacturing sector survey, firms have started to
increase capacity utilization from around 10 percent in the first
six months of 2007 to over 30 percent during the corresponding
period of 2009. However, constraints such as a shortage of imported
inputs, lack of credit, and high production costs continue to limit
the pace of recovery. Although most firms recorded increases in
output, only 9.5 percent of respondents were optimistic about the
future.

8. Companies Consolidate as Cash Crunch Bites... Cash-rich beverage
manufacturer, DELTA Corporation, is increasing its stake in wines
and spirits producer, African Distillers, from about 30 percent to
just over 50 percent. According to an October 22 report in the
Financial Gazette, the move is part of Delta's strategy to
reconfigure its strategic model and concentrate on its core
business. Separately, Kingdom Meikles subsidiary Cotton Printers
filed for voluntary liquidation due to bankruptcy brought about by
insufficient capitalization. This follows hard on the heels of a
similar move by Zimbabwean textile manufacturer, David Whitehead.

9. Biti's Budget Woes... Finance Minister Tendai Biti briefed
diplomats this week and said revenue was still flat at about $90
million per month. While this is about 20 times more than the
Ministry of Finance was taking in at the beginning of the year, it
still falls far short of what Biti thinks the GOZ should be
spending. For instance, Biti would like to raise monthly
civil-service wages from $155 to $200, but this would eat up two
thirds of the budget. Under the tight constraints of his cash
budget, Biti has reluctantly agreed to use $200 million of
Zimbabwe's new allocation of IMF special drawing rights to fund
infrastructure projects, renovation of public utilities, and lines
of credit for the private sector. A further $140 million in SDRs
would be set aside to clear Zimbabwe's arrears with the IMF.

-----------------
Quote of the Week
-----------------

10. "If this Global Political Agreement is to collapse I would say
to Robert Mugabe, you are not the President of Zimbabwe. You are an
illegitimate leader." Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
(MDC-M), quoted in The Zimbabwe Times on October 20.

PETTERSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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