Gono pleaded with Dell for 90 minutes


Central bank governor Gideon Gono, claiming to be a messenger of President Robert Mugabe, pleaded with United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell for 90 minutes that Zimbabwe wanted better relations with the United States.

Dell said the United States was open to better relations but Zimbabwe needed to first move beyond rhetoric and take concrete steps that demonstrated that real change was under way.

He said Zimbabwe could start by allowing the Daily News to resume publication, revoke – or at least not enforce – the NGO law and invite impartial international observers to oversee the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Gono admitted that he had failed to convince Mugabe to kill the NGO legislation, which he estimated could cost the economy 10 000 jobs.

He said Mugabe was very upset by US criticism of the bill and now felt he had no choice but to sign it since to do otherwise would be seen to be caving in to external pressure.

Dell said Mugabe could return the bill to Parliament on a technicality and blame it all on its author Patrick Chinamasa who was already in trouble over the Tsholotsho meeting that had opposed Mugabe’s choice of Joice Mujuru as vice-president.


Full cable:



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






2004-12-17 10:20

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Harare

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002052










E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2014




Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Christopher

W. Dell under Section 1.5 b/d


1. (C) Reserve Bank (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono, claiming to

be speaking on behalf of President Mugabe, told the

Ambassador that Mugabe wanted better relations with the U.S.

The Ambassador responded that the U.S. welcomed these

overtures, but that we needed to see real changes that

matched the rhetoric. On the economy, Gono shared a copy of

the letter the GOZ had sent to the IMF (faxed to AF/S) and

implored the U.S. to support another six-month reprieve when

the International Monetary Fund (IMF),s Executive Directors

vote on Zimbabwe,s compulsory withdrawal in late-January.

The Ambassador responded that the GOZ would again need to

demonstrate real commitment to improved economic management

and as a first step should make an authoritative public

statement along the lines of the letter. Gono also took

credit for the demise of Information and Publicity Minister

Jonathan Moyo and claimed that due to his influence with

Mugabe, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa might also soon be

fired. End summary.


——————————————— —-

Mugabe’s Messenger

——————————————— —-

2. (C)   In a 90-minute session with the Ambassador, Gono

claimed to have been sent to see the Ambassador as

“messenger” from Mugabe. He insisted Mugabe sought

rapprochement with the U.S.   The Ambassador responded that

we were open to better relations but that the GOZ needed to

first move beyond rhetoric and take concrete steps that

demonstrated real change was underway. As specific areas

where the GOZ could take immediate action, the Ambassador

cited allowing the banned Daily News to resume publication,

revoking – or at least not enforcing – the NGO law and

inviting impartial international observers to oversee

March,s parliamentary elections.


3. (C) Gono admitted he had failed to convince Mugabe to kill

the NGO legislation, which the RBZ had estimated could cost

the economy 10,000 jobs and several hundred million U.S.

dollars of inflows. He said Mugabe had been very upset by

U.S. criticism of the bill and now felt he had no choice but

to sign it since to do otherwise would be seen to be caving

in to external pressure. The Ambassador responded that

Mugabe could always return it to Parliament on a technicality

and then, if it were true that its author Chinamasa was in

trouble and possibly losing both his job and his place with

the Politburo, use it as a reason to fire Chinamasa thus

disposing of two problems at one time. While not responding

directly, Gono showed marked interest in this idea.


——————————————— ——

Gono pleads for another six months at IMF

——————————————— ——

4. (C) Gono urged the U.S. to support a further six-month

deferral on Zimbabwe,s compulsory withdrawal from the IMF

when it comes before the Executive Directors in late-January.

He dismissed as &misunderstandings8 the IMF,s and GOZ,s

widely conflicting 2005 forecasts for the economy. In that

regard, he gave the Ambassador a Dec. 10 letter from acting

Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa to IMF Managing Director

Rodrigo Rato assuring more assertive action to repair the

economy. Reaching well beyond Gono,s Oct. 28 monetary

statement and Murerwa,s Nov. 25 budget speech, the letter

promises to reduce broad money (M3) growth from 220 to 80

percent by Dec 2005, eliminate the Z$824:US$ exchange rate

(largely a surrender requirement for exporters) and raise

quarterly IMF arrears payments to US$5 to 9 million in March.

In addition, Gono said he would also prevent a proposed 270

percent pay increase for civil servants and partly liberalize

currency auctions.


5. (C) The Ambassador responded that the U.S. was still

considering its stance on compulsory withdrawal, but said

Zimbabwe,s case would be strengthened if it took decisive

and unequivocal steps to begin implementing the commitments

in the letter. In view of the short time available before

the January board meeting, a possible first might be for the

GOZ to commit itself publicly at an authoritative level to

the sort of sound economic policies it had referenced in the




Conspiring against the conspirators


6. (C) Gono told the Ambassador that Mugabe had complained

that a banker close to Gono had acted disloyally and

bankrolled the Tsholotsho meeting.   Gono responded that the

unnamed banker had mistakenly believed that Mugabe’s close

assocations with Mnangagwa and Moyo meant that the President

supported their plans at Tsholotsho.   In this manner, Gono

said he told Mugabe that these politicians had taken

advantage of the President,s perceived support. &You are

not aware of the credibility that comes with association,8

Gono said he told Mugabe. By having spent four hours at the

wedding of Mnangagwa,s child, Mugabe conveyed the false

impression to the ZANU-PF faithful that the Speaker was his

&heir apparent.8 Likewise, Information Minister Moyo,s

frequent visits to the President had conveyed the false

impression that he was speaking on behalf of Mugabe,

including when he organized the Tsholotsho meeting.   Gono

predicted Mugabe would not include Moyo in the new Politburo,

which he expected the President to announce this Friday.

Without a Politburo seat, Gono speculated that Moyo could not

plausibly continue as the GOZ,s official spokesman. Gono

confirmed that many in ZANU-PF were &fed up with Jonathan

and his approach,8 and supported his ouster.   GOZ moderates

were increasingly supporting the Daily and Sunday Mirror,

which Gono claimed was open to all viewpoints (N.B. and in

which Gono reportedly has a large financial stake).


7. (C) Gono also postulated that Chinamasa,s influence was

waning and that Mugabe might exclude the Justice Minister

from the new Politburo, in part a result of Gono,s own

efforts to undermine Chinimasa. The RBZ Governor explained

he had &no sympathy8 for Chinamasa after he turned down the

UN Development Program,s election assistance offer. The

Ambassador noted that he had sought a meeting with Chinimasa

for several months and just last week, suddenly, had received

the meeting. Gono responded that it was sometimes a good

thing to see people like Chinimasa get &wounded.8 He added

that Mugabe also expressed displeasure with Local Governments

Minister Chombo and Foreign Minister Mudenge, and that both

of them could be on their way out as well.





8. (C) Gono’s considerable ego and ambition sometimes make

it difficult to distinguish the degree to which he is

speaking for Mugabe from the self-serving spin he puts on

events. Nonetheless, this is the latest and perhaps

strongest indication to date of the GOZ’s growing interest in

rapprochement with the United States and the Ambassador used

it to lay down a strong marker that we expect the GOZ to take

the first steps. With respect to Gono, he clearly has

designs on still higher office. The bulk of the conversation

was about politics regardless of the fact that as RBZ

Governor, Gono,s writ is confined largely to economics. In

fact, he works to protray himself as having a much larger

role and great sway over Mugabe, albeit on an informal basis.

It is hard to say just how far Gono,s ambitions go but he

certainly aims as far as Prime Minister should that position

be recreated.



Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Email this to someone
Print this page

Like it? Share with your friends!

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.


Your email address will not be published.