Chombo protected “corrupt” MDC councillors


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Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo refused to fire Movement for Democratic Change councillors from Chitungwiza after the party had dismissed all 23 for corruption, breach of the party’s charter and insubordination.

Chombo said he was not going to dismiss them because he did not want to meddle in party affairs, but this was probably meant to spite the MDC.

Chombo’s reaction was exactly what the first MDC executive mayor Elias Mudzuri had alluded to five years earlier when he told United States embassy officials that Chombo was out to undermine the MDC so that he could seize control of the municipalities that his party could not win through the ballot.

 

Full cable:

  

Viewing cable 10HARARE132, ZIMNOTES 2/12/2010

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

10HARARE132

2010-02-16 07:52

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4120

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0132/01 0470753

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 160752Z FEB 10

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0056

INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

RHMCSUU/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0024

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0024

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0024

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000132

 

SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B. WALSH

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

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMNOTES 2/12/2010

 

———–

 

1. SUMMARY

 

———–

 

 

 

Civil Service Strike Hits Education Sector…

 

Commissioners to ZEC and HRC Selected…

 

No Progress on Talks…

 

MDC-T Expels 23 Councilors…

 

Diamond Firm Directors Arrested…

 

Newspaper Staff Charged…

 

No Birthday Cake for the Government…

 

“Indigenization” Rules Issued…

 

Resolve Outstanding Issues, Parties Told…

 

Energy Bill to Open up the Sector…

 

Central Bank Approves Credit Bureau…

 

 

 

———————————

 

On the Political and Social Front

 

———————————-

 

 

 

2. A government workers strike that began on February 5 led by

Zimbabwe’s two teachers’ unions — ZIMTA and PTUZ — resulted in

widespread school closures across Zimbabwe. The unions estimate

that over 70 percent of their combined membership of approximately

60,000 teachers have joined the labor action to demand higher wages

and reduced utility rates. Some government offices have been forced

to close as well, including a handful of ministries and the courts,

which has delayed several prominent cases including the Bennett

trial. Hospitals are functioning normally as doctors and nurses

reported to work. The state media has blamed the strike on an MDC

failure to meet the needs of workers. See Harare 110.

 

 

 

3. Following several weeks of rumors, President Mugabe and PM

Tsvangirai appear to have agreed upon chairs to the newly-created

Electoral and Human Rights Commissions. Though still not announced

by the state press or the government, former High Court Judge

Simpson Mtambanengwe (ZEC) and former University of Zimbabwe law

professor Reg Austin (HRC) have been offered the positions,

according to multiple independent press reports. Discussions with

our contacts indicate that both Mtambanengwe and Austin are well

regarded by their peers. Mtambanengwe served as a High Court judge

for 12 years and is now acting Chief Justice in Namibia and the

chair of Namibia’s electoral commission. Austin has served as the

UN Chief Electoral officer in Cambodia and Afghanistan.

 

 

 

4. Despite the return of South Africa’s facilitation team on

February 8, the resulting two days of talks produced no discernible

 

HARARE 00000132 002 OF 003

 

 

results. ZANU-PF appears determined not to give any ground until

sanctions are lifted, leaving the MDC with no maneuvering room. The

facilitators left on February 11 without making any public

statements or giving any indication when they might return. MDC

intends to declare a deadlock and appeal to SADC, but is waiting

for the Media, Electoral, and Human Rights commissions to be

announced before it does so.

 

 

 

5. In a move that deprives the party of control of the large town

of Chitungwiza, the MDC-T dismissed 23 councilors from the party

for corruption, breach of the party’s charter, and insubordination.

Spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told us that the party took the

decision after its investigations implicated the councilors on

serious, but unspecified, corruption charges. The councilors will

likely remain in office because Local Government Minister Ignatius

Chombo (ZANU-PF) said he would not call for an early election to

replace the councilors.

 

 

 

6. Two South African directors of Canadile Miners, one of two

firms extracting diamonds at the Chiadzwa fields, have been

arrested on allegations of illegally possessing the precious

stones. Komilan Packirisamy and Viyandrakumar Naidoo were arrested

in nearby Hot Springs on February 2 after company employees tipped

off police that the two had diamonds in their car. Police

discovered stones worth an estimated US$28,000 in the vehicle. The

other firm granted mining rights, Mbada Diamonds, has also been

mired in controversy for airlifting diamonds out of Zimbabwe and

for attempting to hold an auction that would have violated the

Kimberley Process plan agreed upon by the GOZ in November.

 

 

 

7. On February 11, two men were charged with writing and

publishing false statements in the January 10 edition of The

Zimbabwean under the headline “Mnangagwa plots fight back: talk of

new splinter group. ” Barnabas Madzimure and Fortune Mutandiro, who

work for The Zimbabwean’s local distributor, Adquest, were

initially arrested and released without charge on January 17 after

spending several hours answering questions and producing papers to

show that the newspaper had been legally imported. The Zimbabwean’s

editor, Wilf Mbanga, issued a statement accusing Jonathan Moyo of

orchestrating the harassment of the newspaper.

 

 

 

8. The inclusive government turned a year old on February 11 with

virtually no fanfare. News articles and reports from civil society

are evaluating the numerous shortcomings and still-to-be-fulfilled

promises of the inclusive government: a land audit; greater media

freedom; progress towards a new constitution; new media, human

rights, elections, and anti-corruption commissions. Although the

economy has improved in the last year, those accomplishments were

overshadowed this week by the widespread civil servant strike.

 

 

 

———————————–

 

On the Economic and Business Front

 

———————————-

 

 

 

9. The Minister of Youth Development, Indigenization, and Economic

Empowerment issued regulations this week governing redistribution

of business ownership under the 2007 indigenization law. By

mid-April businesses must submit plans on how they will transfer a

controlling interest to black Zimbabweans. Although Tsvangirai

 

HARARE 00000132 003 OF 003

 

 

described the regulations as “null and void”, their publication

will naturally frustrate efforts to attract foreign investment. See

Harare 116.

 

 

 

10. The Business Council of Zimbabwe (BCZ) has urged Mugabe,

Mutambara, and Tsvangirai to resolve outstanding issues under the

Global Political Agreement in order to encourage investment in the

country. The BCZ also called for the introduction of realistic and

pragmatic indigenization and economic empowerment policies in view

of the need to attract capital into the country. The business

community also expressed disappointment at the continuing farm

invasions.

 

 

 

11. The GOZ is drafting an energy bill with tax incentives to

attract private investment of over US$2.5 billion in the

electricity and fuel sectors. The move is designed to stabilize

electricity supply by increasing the country’s own internal power

generating capacity.

 

 

 

12. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has approved the setting up of a

Credit Reference Bureau to ease credit risk management. Due to its

liquidity constraints, the RBZ has urged banks to fund the bureau

themselves. Following the adoption of a multi-currency system in

February 2009, banks pressed for the setting up of a centralized

credit information center in order to promote the flow of

information among lenders.

 

 

 

13. Pedzisayi Ruhanya, program manager of the Crisis in Zimbabwe

Coalition, an NGO advocating human rights and democratization, told

IRIN: “As a transitional government we should have been moving

towards a new democratic culture with new institutions, but that

has not happened. The constitution-making process has been stalled

at each and every opportunity, media reforms have not been

undertaken … [and] the security forces continue to operate from

ZANU-PF’s armpit as a partisan force.”

 

 

 

RAY

RAY

(29 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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