Wednesday, 10 February 2010, 13:00
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000093
AF/S FOR BRIAN WALCH
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN
ADDIS FOR USAU
EO 12958 DECL: 2020/02/10
TAGS PREL, PGOV, ZI
SUBJECT: XXXXXXXXXXXX’s observations on the political landscape and
REF: HARARE 87; HARARE 36
CLASSIFIED BY: Charles A. Ray, Ambassador, STATE, EXEC; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)
1. (SBU) Pol/econ chief met February 9 with XXXXXXXXXXXX offered his observations on various topics including the state of ZANU-PF, indigenization, and elections.
2. (C) ZANU-PF. XXXXXXXXXXXX described the party as badly fractured. It was like a stick of TNT, susceptible to ignition and disintegration. ZANU-PF was holding together because of the threat of MDC-T and foreign pressure. He likened ZANU-PF to a troop of baboons incessantly fighting among themselves, but coming together to face an external threat. New leadership was essential and would emerge as some of the old timers, including Robert Mugabe, left the scene. XXXXXXXXXXXX opined that Vice President Joice Mujuru or S.K. Moyo (former ambassador to South African and now party chair) were possibilities, although Mujuru’s fear of Mugabe was affecting her ability to lead.
3. (C) MDC-T. According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, MDC-T is alienating supporters because of corruption. He pointed to the Harare suburb of Chitungwiza where MDC-T is investigating its councilors for being on the take. Residents of Chitungwiza blame the party. XXXXXXXXXXXX commented that part of the problem was that many MDC-T local councilors and parliamentarians elected in 2008 had no independent income. Unable to survive on their US$200/month salaries, they were now turning to graft. He also noted that the national party was not enabling parliamentarians to demonstrate, e.g. by bringing home pork, that they were working for their constituents.
4. (C) Elections. XXXXXXXXXXXX believed elections would take place in 2012 or 2013. Parliamentarians from all parties, particularly those who had no income before coming into office, had no interest in running again before necessary. They would try to stall the constitutional process.
5. (C) Global Political Agreement (GPA). XXXXXXXXXXXX thought there would be slow progress. In his opinion, the most important achievement of the GPA was the sidelining of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono.
6. (C) Indigenization. Taking an opposite view to Minister of Youth and Indigenization Saviour Kasukuwere (Ref A), XXXXXXXXXXXX said the government’s indigenization program benefitted nobody accept those who were already wealthy. It did nothing for his constituents, who couldn’t afford to buy into companies and were living hand-to-mouth.
7. (C) Economic Recovery. XXXXXXXXXXXX said a primary focus should be communal lands where 80 percent of Zimbabweans live. Before the economy collapsed, he said the communal areas produced 80 percent of farm output consumed in the country. (NOTE: These numbers are indicative but not accurate. More than 30 percent of Zimbabweans live in urban areas, so somewhat less than 80 percent live on communal lands. But communal lands have long been the main source of Zimbabwe’s domestic food supply. END NOTE.) Production dramatically decreased with the collapse of the economy as small farmers were no longer able to access inputs. Another factor was the Grain Marketing Board’s requirement that crops be sold to it. It then failed to pay farmers. XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that international assistance would be necessary to resuscitate the economy. But
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lesser steps were important. He volunteered that the Ambassador’s Self Help Program had once been present in communal areas. It was a powerful indication of U.S. interest in helping Zimbabweans, and was of tremendous assistance to those who benefitted from projects.
8. (C) Sanctions and ZDERA. XXXXXXXXXXXX said sanctions on individuals should remain if justified by the behavior of these individuals. Sanctions on parastatals that were contributing or could contribute to the economy should be lifted. With regard to ZDERA, XXXXXXXXXXXX acknowledged that the IMF and World Bank had ceased activities in Zimbabwe before ZDERA was enacted. The economy was already on a downhill trajectory because of misguided economic policies and the disastrous land reform policy. But the passage of ZDERA was like slashing an already deflating tire. Many Zimbabweans viewed ZDERA as an attempt to hurt them when they were already suffering. As such, said Mudarikwa, ZDERA has a large symbolic value and should be repealed.
9. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX
10. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX’s comments on ZANU-PF are representative of a large part of the party. There is little doubt that if a secret party election were held, Mugabe and his inner circle would lose their positions. But Mugabe, aided by the securocrats and through fear, still has control. On sanctions and ZDERA, most ZANU-PF members, even moderates, tell us they believe sanctions, especially on parastatals, and ZDERA have hurt the economy (though they cannot cite evidence for this claim). XXXXXXXXXXXX’s view is more nuanced than most. XXXXXXXXXXXX’s view on ZDERA is what many in the MDC-T have been telling us: It is serving no real purpose other than to provide a convenient whipping boy for ZANU-PF. END COMMENT RAY