Biti told: “prepare your will”


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Finance Minister Tendai Biti on 27 July 2009 received an envelope with a 9mm bullet and a note advising him to “prepare his will”.

He handed the evidence over to the police for forensic analysis.

Though shaken Biti said he was committed to continuing his efforts to rebuild the economy and reform the country’s previous ruinous fiscal policies.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE630, ZIM NOTES 07-31-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE630

2009-08-03 07:51

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2880

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0630/01 2150751

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 030751Z AUG 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4779

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2361

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2969

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3086

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1515

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2349

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2716

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3134

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5577

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2264

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000630

 

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 07-31-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– Media Freedoms on the Horizon?

– NCA Calls for Halt to Constitutional Process…

– Biti Receives Death Threat…

– MDC-T MP Arrested for Stealing a Cell Phone…

– Anglicans Defy Court Order and Ordain New Bishop…

– Tribal Chief Evicted for KP Involvement…

– MDC to Fill Ambassadorial Slots…

– Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Liberalizes Currency and Export

Controls Further…

– Zimbabwean Businesses Form Council…

– Government Urged to Set Up a Revolving Fund…

– Inflation Down, But Downside Risks Remain…

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

2. Media Freedoms on the Horizon? After an eight-year ban, the BBC

and CNN have been invited back into Zimbabwe. The BBC has had a

team in country since July 25 reporting on a variety of issues

including the inclusive government, rule of law, and land reform.

Though both press outlets were invited by the Ministry of Media,

Information and Publicity (MMIP), BBC’s activities have been closely

monitored by State agents. Additionally, the government may permit

the production of an independent newspaper as a registration

application by the producers of the former Daily News –shut down

since 2003– was accepted and the MMIP has encouraged the producers

of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard to establish a

separate daily newspaper. Journalists and civic groups are highly

sceptical that the government is truly committed to promoting

freedom of the press. See Harare 626.

 

3. NCA Calls for Halt to Constitutional Process… Following the

National Constitutional Assembly’s one day “people’s constitutional

convention” in Chitungwiza on July 27, the several thousand NCA

members present called on government to abandon the ongoing

Parliament-led constitutional process. The NCA –a coalition of

several civic society groups and smaller opposition political

parties- – intends on shadowing the official constitutional process

and will hold its own countrywide consultations in the next four

months before the findings are consolidated into a “peoples” draft

constitution.

 

4. Biti Receives Death Threat… On July 27, Finance Minister

Tendai Biti (MDC-T) received an envelope containing a 9mm bullet and

a note advising him to “prepare your will.” Biti has handed the

evidence over to the police for forensic analysis. Though shaken

up, Biti is committed to continuing his efforts to rebuild the

economy and reform the government’s past ruinous fiscal policies.

See Harare 622.

 

5. MDC-T MP Arrested for Stealing a Cell Phone… The Deputy

Minister of Youth, Tamsanqa Mahlangu of the MDC-T, was arrested on

July 28 and imprisoned for allegedly stealing a cell phone belonging

to war veteran leader Joseph Chinotimba two weeks ago. Mahlangu has

spent several nights in prison after the attorney general’s office

refused to take him to court; the police have 48 hours in which to

Qrefused to take him to court; the police have 48 hours in which to

take an accused person to court. In an additional twist of

absurdity, Chinotimba is suing Mahlangu for US$19 million on grounds

of “loss of business.”

 

6. Anglicans Defy Court Order and Ordain New Bishop… Chad

Gandiya was ordained as bishop of the Archdiocese of Harare on July

26 before a crowd of 4 to 5,000 people that included senior church

 

HARARE 00000630 002 OF 003

 

 

officials from the U.S., UK, and the regional body, the Church of

the Province of Central Africa (CPCA). Two days earlier, the

excommunicated ZANU-PF-aligned, ex-bishop Norbert Kunonga won a

court settlement granting contested church property to his small

splinter faction; the magistrate also ruled that Kunonga was

improperly deposed and decreed that the Church could not ordain a

new bishop. The CPCA is appealing the ruling.

 

7. Tribal Chief Evicted for KP Involvement… The family of the

tribal chief in Chiadzwa who led members of the Kimberley Process

team to illegal mining sites was forcibly evicted from its rural

home on Monday. A team of police and soldiers arrived at the rural

home and ransacked it, declaring that Chief Chiadzwa needed to leave

because he told his villagers to refuse to move and for taking the

KP team members to unauthorized areas. His family fled before

soldiers arrived. No one was injured.

 

 

8. MDC to Fill Ambassadorial Slots… The MDC-T has negotiated the

right to fill ambassadorial vacancies in Australia, Germany, Nigeria

and Sudan, while the MDC-M will fill the position of ambassador to

Senegal. The appointments will set to rest one of the handful of

outstanding issues arising from the incomplete and contested

implementation of last year’s Global Political Agreement.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

9. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Liberalizes Currency and Export

Controls Further… In a mid-year monetary policy statement

presented to bank chief executives on July 30, 2009, the RBZ

re-introduced currency exchange houses that were suspended during

the height of foreign currency trading irregularities. The public

can now buy and sell foreign exchange in these institutions using

international rates. Separately, the reporting threshold for

documenting exports with the RBZ was raised from US$1,000 to

US$5,000 to encourage small-scale producers to expand exports by

reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

 

10. Zimbabwean Businesses Form Council… Zimbabwean business

associations completed the formation of a business council by

signing the constitution of the new body on July 29, 2009.

According to the current president of the Council, Kumbirai

Katsande, the organization will hold an inaugural meeting in Nyanga

in October 2009 to discuss issues affecting the business sector and

to identify common positions it can take to government.

 

11. Government Urged to Set Up a Revolving Fund… The President

of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has urged

government to set up a revolving fund to enable industry to raise

the capital required to increase capacity utilization to the 60

percent targeted for year’s end. The industrial body bemoaned the

lack of credit availability due to the low liquidity of domestic

financial markets. The CZI also highlighted short repayment

periods, power cuts and raw material shortages as constraints on

Qperiods, power cuts and raw material shortages as constraints on

industry.

 

12. Inflation Down, But Downside Risks Remain… Although the RBZ

applauded the gains achieved in killing hyperinflation through

dollarization, it warned that profiteering by traders, poor

preparation for the 2009/10 agricultural season, intermittent power

supply and high utility rates threatened to reverse gains.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

13. “Violence is the language of the intellectually defeated. I am

undeterred.” – Finance Minister Tendai Biti after receiving a bullet

 

HARARE 00000630 003 OF 003

 

 

and note threatening his life.

 

 

DHANANI

(52 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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