Did Mujuru back Makoni or not?


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When Simba Makoni announced his intention to stand for president in 2008, there was wide speculation that he was being backed by former army commander Solomon Mujuru. Now that Mujuru is late, this is a question Zimbabweans will never know.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks, even the United States embassy described Mujuru as one of Makoni’s presumed backers, but added that Makoni’s backers never came out publicly.

At the time it was felt that a Makoni-Morgan Tsvangirai united front would have an excellent chance of defeating Mugabe, but with no signs of such an alliance it was feared that Makoni and Tsvangirai could split the opposition vote.

The electorate read the situation differently.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE133, Zim Notes 2-15-2008

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE133

2008-02-15 10:54

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9307

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0133/01 0461054

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 151054Z FEB 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2488

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1846

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1774

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1900

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0483

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1177

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1534

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1956

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4385

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1027

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000133

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

TREASURY FOR J.RALYEA AND T.RAND

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E.LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: Zim Notes 2-15-2008

 

 

1. The Embassy Harare Political/Economic Section began producing

Zim Notes in July, 2007 to present a perspective on current events

in Zimbabwe. Suggestions are always welcome. If you would like to

receive Zim Notes by email, as well, please contact Frances Chisholm

at [email protected] Distribution is restricted to U.S.

government employees.

 

2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate and Selected products

Parallel rate for cash soared to ZW$8.5million:US$1; bank transfer

rate: Z$10million; official rate: ZW$$30,000:US$1

*Sugar shot to Z$15million/2kg vs. new controlled price of

Z$8million/2kg

*Cooking climbed to Z$20million/750ml vs. new controlled price of

Z$9.3million/750ml

Petrol rose to Z$11million/liter and Z$10 million/liter vs.

controlled price of Z$60,000/liter

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

1. Simba Makoni Speaks… Simba Makoni on February 13 held a press

conference and gave a diplomatic briefing. He stated he would run

as an independent candidate (ZANU-PF said his decision had resulted

in his automatic expulsion from the party), and that supporters from

all parties were welcome to endorse him. Short on specifics, Makoni

said he offered reengagement and renewal in a polarized country

riven by fear, disease, and poverty. Makoni’s presumed principal

backers such as Solomon Mujuru have not come out publicly. He

insists he has widespread backing throughout the country, although

without public polling this is certainly subject to dispute. While

most political observers believe a Makoni-Tsvangirai united front

would have an excellent chance of defeating Mugabe, there are no

signs at present of such an alliance, and the danger exists that

Makoni and Tsvangirai could split the opposition vote. See Harare

0130.

 

2. Street Protests As Elections Draw Near… About 100 students

took to the streets of Bulawayo on February 13 over the high cost

and declining quality of education and to demand a free and fair

election in March. Four students including the Zimbabwe National

Students Union President, Clever Bere, were detained and beaten.

Police assaults caused others to seek medical attention. Privilege

Mutanga, the Gender and Human Rights Secretary for ZINASU, who is

nine months pregnant, suffered a broken hand and a twisted ankle.

Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) also demonstrated in

Bulawayo and Harare on February 12 and 13 respectively. The aim of

these peaceful protests was to “encourage Zimbabweans to stand up

for their children in these times of extreme hardship and as an

election looms.” Eleven members of WOZA required medical attention

for injuries sustained from being beaten by baton sticks.

 

3. Challenges In Registering To Vote… Although the Zimbabwe

Electoral Commission (ZEC) extended voter registration from February

7 to February 13, many people, particularly in Harare, have found

the process cumbersome and full of hurdles. While evidence is

anecdotal, it is sufficient to indicate a pattern. Among Embassy

locally employed staff (LES), we’ve seen cases of names no longer

being on the voter rolls and failure on the part of officials to

confirm subsequent registration. In another case, names of family

members appeared on the rolls although the relatives had not lived

in or even visited Zimbabwe in a decade. An Embassy household staff

member who was born in Zimbabwe and has voted in previous elections

was told in attempting to verify registration that he was not a

citizen and could not register to vote without first applying for

citizenship because his parents were born in Mozambique.

 

4. Urban Water Woes continue… Although Bulawayo’s main supply dam

is at 100% and spilling, there remains a shortage of water treatment

 

HARARE 00000133 002 OF 003

 

 

chemicals. Residents are advised to boil tap water, and there is an

urgent need for water treatment tablets at the household level.

Harare’s high-density suburbs of Mabvuku and Tafara have received

technical and material support from UNICEF in the form of water

deliveries and borehole drilling. UNICEF is also coordinating

hygiene promotion, sanitation, and water services to the

high-density suburbs of Hopley, Hatcliffe Extension, and Epworth.

While the UN reports that cases of diarrhea-related illness remain,

at present, stable and manageable, the Herald quotes Ministry of

Health officials as reporting 7 deaths from cholera in one district

and four in another , all in February.

 

5. US$5 Million From CERF… The UN’s Central Emergency Response

Fund allotted US$5 million to Zimbabwe for under-funded emergencies.

Priority projects will be chosen by the Inter-Agency Standing

Committee (IASC) Country Team on a biannual basis – at the beginning

and middle of each year – and will be selected from the 2008

Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) activities.

 

6. Regional Flash Appeal For Flood Relief… This week OCHA issued

a Southern Africa Regional Preparedness and Response Plan to address

flooding in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The total

request was US$89 million, $15.8 million of which is requested for

Zimbabwe, where it is estimated that 15,000 people and 12,000

hectares have been affected since December.

 

————————–

Economic and Business News

————————–

 

7. *NIPC Approves Wave Of New Prices… The National Incomes and

Pricing Commission (NIPC) gave the green light to increase the

prices of numerous commodities dramatically. Mealie meal, for

example, went from Z$189,000 to Z$19.2 million/10 kg; international

phone call charges shot from Z$67,000 to Z$1.2 million/minute and

local calls went up from Z$43,000 to Z$300,000 – stil only 14 and 3

US cents respectively at the parallel rate. Responding to Reserve

Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gono’s recent advice to confine NIPC

activities to the three controlled and 16 monitored products, NIPC

chairman Masimirembwa was quoted in the press reminding Gono that

Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007 gave the NIPC authority to manage

pricing of every commodity and had been extended to June 30.

 

8. GOZ Releases Official Inflation Figures For December… The

year-on-year inflation rate rose to a record 66,212% in December, up

from 26,470% the previous month, according to the Central

Statistical Office (CSO). Month-on-month inflation nearly doubled

to 240% in December from 131% in November, by official reckoning.

The CSO uses the controlled prices of goods, regardless of their

availability, rather than purchase prices in calculating the

consumer price index. More reflective of actual spending, private

sector estimates of inflation in January for a broader consumer

basket are roughly triple the CSO December figure, with higher

school fees being the biggest inflation driver in January.

 

9. RBZ Ups Spending on “Logistical Preparedness” For Elections…

The RBZ has increased spending on fuel, motor vehicles, computers,

generators, food and other items intended exclusively for the March

29 elections to ensure “preparedness” for the polling day. See

Harare 0131.

 

10. And Perhaps Related, Foreign Exchange Woes Worsen…

Companies are finding it increasingly difficult, if not impossible,

to access foreign exchange held in their own Foreign Currency

Accounts (FCA) at the RBZ. Officials at the Confederation of

Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) told us the problem had worsened in the

last three weeks as the little amount of hard currency available has

been diverted, without the companies’ permission, to fund other GOZ

obligations, leaving companies short of key imported raw materials

 

HARARE 00000133 003 OF 003

 

 

for production.

 

11. In his October 2007 Monetary Policy Statement, RBZ Governor

Gono centralized the management of all corporate FCA at the RBZ

allegedly as a way of boosting exporter viability and improving the

country’s accountability for total export and other foreign currency

receipts. However, although exports grew in Q4 thanks to

concessionary funding, they have not kept pace with the GOZ’s

increasing demand for foreign exchange associated with the need to

import electric power, fuel, raw materials, agricultural chemicals,

and other key needs. In typical short-term thinking, the RBZ

appears to be “borrowing” from the increasingly strapped corporates

to meet its own deepening forex shortfalls.

 

 

MCGEE

 

(2 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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