Bloch says Gono is naïve and impetuous


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Bulawayo business consultant Eric Bloch who was reported to be close to central bank governor Gideon Gono said Gono was naïve and impetuous.

He had been asked by United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell if Gono was deliberately making mistakes to influence economic policy. Bloch attributed Gono’s blunders to naiveté and impetuousness.

Someone who is impetuous does things quickly without thinking about what will happen as a result while being naïve means lacking experience of life and tending to trust other people and believing things too easily.

Gono had told Dell that he was deliberately making mistakes to effect a change in leadership but those in the succession battle were too busy squabbling with each other to exploit the opportunities.

Bloch said Gono had made enemies of several powerful figures in the ruling party and was only saved by his strong support from President Robert Mugabe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE553, ZIMBABWEANS ON THE EDGE OF A BREAKDOWN: THE VIEW

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE553

2006-05-11 18:06

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1669

RR RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0553/01 1311806

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 111806Z MAY 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9993

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1202

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1038

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1205

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0832

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1259

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3622

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1031

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1665

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0466

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1417

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000553

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

USAID/AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2016

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEANS ON THE EDGE OF A BREAKDOWN: THE VIEW

FROM BULAWAYO

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) During a May 2-3 visit to Bulawayo, Ambassador Dell

met with both factions of the MDC, an activist

organization, and a local economist. MDC anti-Senate

faction Vice-President Thokozani Khupe argued that

Zimbambweans were ready for mass peaceful action but needed

to see the opposition taking the lead. By contrast,

pro-Senate MDC official Abednico Bhebhe said the public’s

mood was not yet right for mass demonstrations. Women of

Zimbabwe Arise! (WOZA) representatives said they were

planning a series of demonstrations to protest increased

school fees. Economic observer Eric Bloch predicted that

Zimbabweans’ restlessness over their economic struggles

would lead President Mugabe to step down sooner rather than

later. End summary.

 

——————————————— —

Anti-Senate Faction MDC: We Must Lead the People

——————————————— —

 

2. (C) On May 3, anti-Senate faction Vice President

Thokozani Khupe said Zimbabweans had reached the boiling

point, especially in the rural areas, and would participate

in civic action if led properly. If they saw the

anti-Senate faction’s leaders taking to the streets

themselves, the people would be emboldened to act. She

said people stopped her in the streets daily and asked when

the faction was going to begin the peaceful resistance

discussed at the faction’s Congress. Khupe emphasized that

lack of resources was an obstacle to the faction’s plans

but noted that if the MDC failed to act, spontaneous

protests could erupt instead that would bring pressure on

the GOZ.

 

3. (C) Khupe maintained that many in the security forces

were tired of the system and secretly supported the

opposition. They had told the faction’s leaders that they

were forced to take action against small demonstrations.

However, if thousands or hundreds of thousands appeared at

a demonstration the security forces could tell their

superiors that they had been overwhelmed and there would be

no arrests or beatings of demonstrators.

 

4. (C) Khupe added that supporters of the pro-Senate MDC

faction were coming back to the anti-Senate MDC faction

slowly. Some were embarrassed to switch positions. Others

were intimidated by Welshman Ncube or felt they owed him

their allegiance. However, bit-by-bit, the pro-Senate

faction was being hollowed out. Civil society, too, was

wholeheartedly embracing the anti-Senate faction, including

groups that had experience with civil action, such as the

National Constitutional Assembly and WOZA, churches, and

labor.

 

——————————————— —–

Pro-Senate Faction MDC: We Must Educate the People

——————————————— —–

 

5. (C) On May 3, Abednico Bhebhe, MP for Nkayi and Shadow

Minister for Transport and Communications of the pro-Senate

faction of the MDC, told the Ambassador that times were

worsening for people but they were still unwilling to stand

up for themselves. He said the mood of the people was not

yet ripe for mass demonstrations. It was the role of his

faction to educate the people in their civic rights so that

they could take the lead in protesting the current regime.

 

 

HARARE 00000553 002 OF 003

 

 

6. (C) The Ambassador asked how the faction planned on

conducting this civic education. Bhebhe said that public

elected officials should use their positions and the

party’s political structures in their constituencies to spread

information about civic rights. This, rather than the

anti-Senate MDC’s announcement of its intention to conduct

mass action at public rallies, was the way to convince the

people to take the initiative.

 

——————-

The Activists’ Take

——————-

 

7. (C) On May 3, the Ambassador met with members of WOZA,

an activist group primarily composed of women, which holds

regular demonstrations on a range of issues affecting

ordinary Zimbabweans. WOZA leader Jenni Williams and

several of WOZA’s members agreed that Zimbabweans,

especially those in the rural areas, were at the breaking

point. Uniformed soldiers were moving into the rural areas

and running their own agricultural areas, making life very

difficult for the residents in the area. Rural people were

finding it increasingly difficult to get food.

 

8. (C) The group described planned marches in Bulawayo and

Harare to protest increased fees at government schools.

Williams said she did not expect interference from

Bulawayo’s security forces, which were also unhappy about

the fee increases. (N.B. In the event, police did arrest

demonstrators in Bulawayo but not in Harare). The women

also noted an increasing number of men attending WOZA

meetings and wanting to participate in its activities.

 

9. (C) The Ambassador asked about WOZA’s interactions with

the MDC factions. Williams responded that WOZA supported

the opposition but had a specific aim, to empower women and

to enable the position of ordinary women on issues

affecting their daily survival to be heard. Therefore,

WOZA would continue to do its own work, independent of

other organizations.

 

———————–

Economist’s Perspective

———————–

 

10. (C) On May 2, respected local economic commentator Eric

Bloch told the Ambassador the country’s economic meltdown

was reaching a critical point. The Ambassador asked Bloch

if RBZ President Gideon Gono (whom Bloch knows well) had

been deliberately making mistakes in his attempts to

influence economic policy. Bloch attributed Gono’s

blunders to naivete and impetuousness. He said Gono had

made enemies of several powerful figures in the ruling

party and was only saved by his strong support from

President Mugabe.

 

11. (C) The Ambassador asked Bloch how long the economy

could last under such mismanagement and if it could ever

recover. Bloch replied that Zimbabweans had been willing

to put up with lack of fuel and long lines for food but

were now seeing their children go hungry, a situation that

was likely to prod them into action. Longer-term, however,

Bloch expressed optimism noting that mineral wealth, good

industrial infrastructure, a desirable geographic position,

and the possible revitalization of tourism and commercial

agriculture all provided hope that the economy could

recover given the right policies.

 

12. (C) Bloch added, however, that the current regime was

likely incapable of adopting the right economic policies.

In that regard, he claimed to have heard that Mugabe was

planning his exit from the Presidency. Bloch speculated

 

HARARE 00000553 003 OF 003

 

 

that Mugabe would explain his retirement to the public by

saying that he had completed his work for the people of

Zimbabwe and would now need time to work on his other

goals, such as writing his memoirs. However, the reality

was that Mugabe could not bring himself to make policy

changes and feared the possibility of mass uprisings

brought on by economic decline.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

13. (C) Much is often made of differences between the

Ndebele minority-dominated Matabeleland and the rest of the

country, but all share at least one common denominator —

the extent to which they are fed up with the regime’s

mismanagement of the economy. Still, whether Zimbabweans

act on that growing disgust and resentment continues to

hinge in part on key variables referred to in the

Ambassador’s exchanges: opposition leadership, security

forces’ loyalties, and the pace of economic decline, among

other things. Unspoken by the interlocutors is the need

for a spark, some event to snap everybody here out of their

superhuman tolerance for long-worsening conditions with no

meaningful hope for respite.

DELL

(30 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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