Cablegate: Zim Notes 11-02-2009
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0868/01 3060805
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 020805Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5093
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3143
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3255
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1682
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2516
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2885
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3303
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5751
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2435
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000868
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 11-02-2009
Topics of the week:
- SADC Troika Visits Zimbabwe...
- NGO Arrests and Abductions Return to Zimbabwe...
- UN Envoy Deported...
- Teachers Report Mounting Harassment, Militarization...
- MDC to Push for Reform in Parliament...
- Farm Violence Increases, Targets Black Workers...
- Judicial Reform Conference Cancelled...
- Amnesty International Wants SADC Action...
- Human Rights Watch Repeats Calls to Suspend Zim from KP...
- IMF Highlights Risks to Recovery...
- Gono's Cover Story...
- Dust Settling over Kingdom Meikles...
On the Political and Social Front
2. SADC Troika Visits Zimbabwe...The foreign ministers of
Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zambia; representing the SADC Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security; and SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz
Salamao arrived in Harare on October 28 to review the implementation
of the Global Political Agreement and to address the political
impasse between ZANU-PF and MDC-T. SADC chairman, DRC President
Joseph Kabila, is expected to join them. MDC-T is skeptical this
visit will accomplish much and wants SADC involvement bumped up to
Troika heads of state and possibly an extraordinary summit of all
SADC heads of state.
3. NGO Arrests and Abductions Return to Zimbabwe... A number of
events in the last week are raising concerns that ZANU-PF is ramping
up efforts to intimidate civil society and the MDC through its usual
techniques of politically-motivated arrests, abductions, and
intimidation. For instance, Bindura council employees loyal to
ZANU-PF burned 10,000 copies of the MDC's newsletter The Changing
Times. One MDC employee was abducted and another was nearly abducted
on October 27. Earlier in the week, police in Victoria Falls
arrested the two leaders of the National Association of NGOs (NANGO)
and charged the activists for organizing a political meeting without
police clearance in violation of the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA). The court granted them bail and released them on October 27.
Two members of another NGO, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN) were also arrested under POSA on October 28. See Harare 867
4. UN Envoy Deported... UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, Manfred Nowak, himself became
the victim of degrading treatment when Zimbabwean security officers
refused to grant him entry on October 28. Nowak was already in South
Africa when he learned on October 27 that the government had
rescinded its invitation for his fact-finding mission scheduled to
begin on October 28. Prime Minister Tsvangirai then invited him for
a meeting on October 29. When Nowak arrived in Harare, security
officials said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hadn't granted
clearance for the meeting and refused him entry. Nowak spent the
night at the airport before being deported on October 29. See Harare
Qnight at the airport before being deported on October 29. See Harare
5. Teachers Report Mounting Harassment, Militarization... The
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told us that fears are
mounting in rural areas of renewed harassment of teachers. Teachers
at the Maungwa Secondary School in Gutu North report that the local
militia is forcing children from age 14 and up to participate in
daily military drills. In the Mberengwa area of Midlands, the
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District Education Officer in the Ministry of Education has demanded
teachers "donate" 50 cents to the December ZANU-PF conference. At
Chaona Primary School in Mashonaland Central, teachers fled two
weeks ago fearing mounting anti-MDC rhetoric would lead to renewed
violence. Four of the teachers who spent several weeks in the
hospital as a result of 2008 violence in Chaona came to Harare to
seek protection and transfer from the school.
6. MDC to Push for Reform in Parliament... Next week, the MDC-T
caucus in Parliament intends on pushing forward a private member's
bill which would amend the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that
has been abused by State security agents to limit public dissent.
While insiders are not optimistic of the amendment's chances because
of the MDC's reduced numbers in Parliament, they view it as an
opportunity to highlight the need for legislative reform and force
ZANU-PF and President Mugabe into rejecting it. They may make
similar efforts to amend other abused pieces of legislation such as
the Access to Information and Protection of Information Act (AIPPA),
the Broadcasting Services Act, and Section 121 of the Criminal
Procedures and Evidence Act. See Harare 862
7. Farm Violence Increases, Targets Black Workers... During a visit
to central Zimbabwe last week, we witnessed the growing crisis
facing unemployed and evicted farm workers who are increasingly the
victims of Zimbabwe's chaotic land reform. See Harare 856. We also
met a white farmer the day before a group of drunken ZANU-PF thugs
began a two-day sit-in on his property that eventually resulted in
his eviction from his home of 19 years. When the farmer, one of the
plaintiffs in the SADC Tribunal Campbell case, confronted Defense
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to seek a reprieve, Mnangagwa told him
that he had brought the invasion on himself because he had taken the
government to court to keep his property. See Harare 857
8. Judicial Reform Conference Cancelled... An all-stakeholders
conference to discuss reform of the Zimbabwean justice system was
cancelled after civil society organizations pulled out, citing
repression of their members, particularly the arrests of NANGO
officials. The conference was organized by the ZANU-PF-led Ministry
of Justice and Legal Affairs and was to be attended by government
departments, civil society organizations, and donors. Civil Society
organizations vowed not to participate in the process as long as
government continued to crack down on their members.
9. Amnesty International Wants SADC Action... This week Amnesty
International issued a statement lamenting recent arrests,
abductions, and harassment in Zimbabwe and called on SADC to
"recognize this recent deterioration in the human rights situation
and tackle it immediately - before it degenerates further."
10. Human Rights Watch Repeats Calls to Suspend Zim from KP... In
anticipation of the Kimberley Process plenary session next week in
Qanticipation of the Kimberley Process plenary session next week in
Namibia, Human Rights Watch has called for Zimbabwe's full
suspension from the international body responsible for monitoring
rough diamond trade.
On the Economic and Business Front
11. IMF Highlights Risks to Recovery... IMF officials briefed
diplomats in Harare on October 27 at the end of a two-week visit.
While the economy is set to record real growth for the first time in
over a decade, they said important risks threaten Zimbabwe's
economic recovery. With a widening trade deficit and faltering
capital inflows, instability in the balance of payments could
undermine growth. The IMF remains concerned about weak governance at
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which has imprudently tapped into the
banks' reserve deposits in order to meet some of its own
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obligations. See Harare 863
12. Gono's Cover Story... In The Herald, ZANU-PF's idea of a daily
newspaper, RBZ Governor Gideon Gono explained on October 30 that he
was forced to make irregular use of banks' reserve funds because the
Ministry of Finance provided no financial support. Gono reportedly
claimed that he needed the money to keep Zimbabwe's electronic
payments system running. While clearly absurd, Gono's cover story is
par for the course and might even be good enough to let him keep his
job. See Harare 865
13. Dust Settling over Kingdom Meikles... An end is in sight to the
months-long public controversy in which Kingdom Meikles Africa
Limited (KMAL), once a blue-chip local conglomerate, saw its
executives accused of corruption and its share price collapse. The
press has reported that rival KMAL executives have reached an
agreement that will split up the company and possibly lead to the
GOZ dropping criminal charges. This is good news for KMAL's
shareholders, but the GOZ's heavy-handed intervention has already
done permanent damage to Zimbabwe's investment climate.
Quote of the Week
14. "What we are seeing now was exactly how the violence began in
the campaign for the presidential run-off elections between March
and June last year. We are beginning to see the formation of another
storm of violence." MDC-T Spokesman Nelson Chamisa on surging
tensions in Zimbabwe