Chombo among those enriching themselves


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Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is named as one of the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front hardliners who were either enriching themselves from the government’s interventionist policies way back in 2003 or were unwilling to put pressure on Mugabe to make a change.

Chombo was named together with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo by Standard Chartered Bank chief executive, Washington Matsaira, who was also president of the Zimbabwe Bankers’ Association. Chombo was Minister of Public Works.

Matsaira told United States ambassador Joseph Sullivan that the hardliners- or President Robert Mugabe’s inner-circle “hawks”- were refusing to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar because they were enriching themselves by accessing the US dollars at the official exchange rate.

He said their unwillingness to press Mugabe for change was very frustrating and had led to decision-making paralysis.

“The banker sees unmotivated teachers and bribe-hungry policemen with an audacity unthinkable just 5 years ago,” embassy officials say in a cable released by Wikileaks on 19 February 2003.

“The brain-drain is so severe that it is no longer possible to fill certain professional positions at Standard Chartered in spite of the country’s high unemployment.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE337, Leading Banker Fears Decision Paralysis

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE337

2003-02-19 07:43

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 000337

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

STATE FOR AF/S AND AF/EX

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND

PASS USTR ROSA WHITAKER

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND C WILKINSON

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

 

E. O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON ETRD EFIN ZI

SUBJECT: Leading Banker Fears Decision Paralysis

 

Ref: a) Harare 111 b) Harare 244

 

1. (SBU) Summary: Unless the GOZ modifies its economic

policies, the Bankers’ Association President believes its

once-formidable infrastructure will be irreparably

damaged. End summary.

 

2. (SBU) Standard Chartered Chief Executive and Zimbabwe

Bankers’ Association President Washington Matsaira told

Ambassador Sullivan that President Mugabe’s inner-circle

“hawks” are subverting the Tripartite Agreement (septel)

as well as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries’

(CZI) proposal to devalue the Zimdollar for exporters

(ref a). Hardliners — Justice Minister Patrick

Chinamasa, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Information

Minister Jonathan Moyo and Public Works Minister Ignatius

Chombo — are either still enriching themselves from the

GOZ’s interventionist policies (often accessing U.S.

dollars at the official rate) or unwilling to press

Mugabe to make a change. This has led to decision-making

paralysis, particularly frustrating because CZI’s

leadership believed it had convinced all the key players

of the need to devalue. Matsaira said a group of

exporters even persuaded the GOZ to allow a one-time

parallel market exchange US$ 25 million last month,

seeming admission that the official rate is untenable.

There has been no further positive sign from government.

 

3. (SBU) Matsaira notices increasing infrastructure and

even moral decay in Zimbabwe, symptoms of the economic

crisis that may become permanent by the year’s end. An

every-man-for-himself dictum is taking grip of a society

that once exalted community. The banker sees unmotivated

teachers and bribe-hungry policemen with an audacity

unthinkable just 5 years ago. The brain-drain is so

severe that it is no longer possible to fill certain

professional positions at Standard Chartered (in spite of

the country’s high unemployment). Indigenous fuel

companies clandestinely send their supply of heavily-

subsidized fuel to neighboring countries. In sum,

Matsaira thinks Zimbabwe is gradually being “Zaire-ized,”

a reference to Mobutu Sese Seko’s misrule in today’s

Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Comment

——-

4. (SBU) Matasaira’s somber observations parallel those

that lower-grade local employees shared with us a few

weeks ago (ref b). Zimbabweans surprise themselves with

their own growing contempt for laws and social-norms, one

step in the country’s rapid metamorphism.

 

Sullivan

(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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