Gono was aware Masamvu talked to US embassy officials


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Central Bank governor Gideon Gono was aware that International Crisis Group analyst Sydney Masamvu, who had worked as a journalist for the Financial Gazette and the Daily News, talked to United States embassy officials in Pretoria and may have misled him to fend off the International Monetary Fund from expelling Zimbabwe out of the organisation.

A diplomatic cable realised by Wikileaks and dispatched from the US embassy in Pretoria on 8 September 2005 acknowledges that Masamvu was indeed an embassy contact but this information should be strictly protected.

When Masamvu told the embassy that he had talked to Gono on 7 September and Gono had told him that Zimbabwe was going to make an additional payment of $50 million to the IMF, the embassy said that though Masamvu had passed on accurate information about Gono in the past, they believed that this time he might have been misled.

Zimbabwe had made a surprise payment of $120 million to the IMF and there were a lot of questions about where it had got the money.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 05PRETORIA3628, GONO SAYS NO ADDITIONAL IMF PAYMENT; SEEKS

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

05PRETORIA3628

2005-09-08 15:07

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

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 PRETORIA 003628

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S B. NEULING AND M. TABLER-STONE, EB/IFD, EB/OMA

LONDON, PARIS, BRUSSELS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2015

TAGS: PREL PHUM ECON EFIN KDEM ZI SF

SUBJECT: GONO SAYS NO ADDITIONAL IMF PAYMENT; SEEKS

WASHINGTON MEETING

 

REF: PRETORIA 3543 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Don Teitelbaum

Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Summary: Zimbabwe will not/not make an additional $50

million payment to the IMF before the September 9 Executive

Board meeting, according to Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor

Gideon Gono. Gono would like to meet with U.S. officials on

the margins of his IMF consultations in Washington, but

requested that any talks be “very discreet,” suggesting that

he does not have President Mugabe’s approval for the meeting.

South Africa Minister Erwin confirmed publicly September 9

that the “difficult discussions” with Zimbabwe on a potential

South African loan were continuing. Gono said the political

conditions were the sticking point and suggested that the

revival of the ZANU-PF-MDC “compromise constitution” was

Pretoria’s key political condition. Information received

through Embassy source has been accurate in the past, but we

cannot discount the possibility Gono misled source on this

occasion. End Summary.

 

————————-

No Additional IMF Payment

————————-

 

2. (C) Zimbabwe Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono told

Embassy contact Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis

Group (strictly protect) September 7 that despite press

reports Zimbabwe will not/not make an additional $50 million

payment to the IMF before the September 9 Executive Council

meeting. (Note: South African newspaper Business Day

reported September 7 and 8 that Gono and Finance Minister

Herbert Murerwa planned to “personally take the $50 million

cheque to the IMF,” a payment that would be in addition to

the $120 million Zimbabwe paid on August 29. The article

claimed that the GOZ raised the funds from the “local

exporters’ foreign currency account.” End Note.)

 

3. (C) IMF Resident Representative in South Africa Vivek

Arora (strictly protect), who was a member of the IMF team

that recently visited Zimbabwe, told EconOff September 7 that

he also was not aware of any additional planned payments to

Zimbabwe’s General Resources Account (GRA) at the IMF. Arora

observed that if Zimbabwe did pay all its arrears on its

General Resources Account (i.e., the remaining approximately

$50 million) there would be no legal basis for expelling

Zimbabwe from the IMF. Arora said that last week’s $120

million payment and accompanying macroeconomic policy changes

were probably sufficient to stave off expulsion, but that was

up to the Executive Board. Arora dismissed press speculation

that he took part in the recently-concluded IMF Mission to

Harare to coordinate the IMF and South African Government

plans for Zimbabwe. According to Arora, the IMF team simply

needed another senior official present. He also complained

that “about 70 percent of what appeared in local newspapers

about the IMF mission to Zimbabwe was rubbish.”

 

——————————

Gono Seeks Washington Meetings

——————————

 

4. (C) Gono told Masamvu that he would like to meet with

senior U.S. officials during his trip to Washington. (Note:

We understand that Gono departed Harare for Washington the

evening of September 7. End note.) Gono stressed that any

such meeting would have to be “very discreet.” He suggested

meeting the U.S. officials at the IMF, including perhaps the

U.S. Executive Director. Masamvu said that Gono was nervous

about meeting U.S. officials because he did not have the

consent of President Mugabe. Characterizing the Zimbabwean

Ambassador to Washington as a “Mugabe man,” Masamvu said that

Gono feared that the Ambassador might report any unauthorized

Gono meetings to Mugabe.

 

———————————-

South Africa Loan Talks Continuing

———————————-

 

5. (C) Gono confirmed to Masamvu that the Zimbabwe-South

Africa loan discussions were ongoing. He said that there was

agreement on the economic conditions, but the political

conditions remained the sticking point. Gono said that

Pretoria was pushing for a revival of the draft compromise

constitution that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and MDC

Secretary General Welshman Ncube negotiated last year.

 

SIPDIS

Mugabe will appoint a two-member team to negotiate the

political conditions; Finance Minister Murerwa (a “political

lightweight” according to Masamvu) would not be part of the

team.

 

6. (U) In September 7 parliamentary briefings, South African

Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin was quoted in the

press as having said that the “difficult discussions” with

the GOZ on the proposed South African loan were continuing.

Erwin said that Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel and Reserve

Bank Governor Tito Mboweni were taking the lead on the talks.

He suggested that the initiative for the loan now lies with

Harare; the loan “is not something South Africa has to

drive.” Erwin also said “if and when” an agreement is

reached, the SAG would reveal the basic conditions of the

loan, although some elements would be kept secret in the

interest of market security.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

7. (C) Information from Gono through ICG’s Masamvu has proven

accurate in the past. Gono knows that Masamvu talks to the

U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, and it is possible that Gono misled

Masamvu on the additional $50 million to enhance the “element

of surprise” when he announces the payment at the IMF Meeting

in Washington. Other possibilities are that GOZ officials

floated the $50 million story to undermine lobbying for

Zimbabwe’s expulsion at the IMF, or that Gono is being kept

in the dark about the rumored payment.

 

8. (C) Gono’s report that the South Africans are demanding

the revival of the “compromise constitution” as a political

condition of their loan rings true. Advocate Gumbi told

Ambassador Frazer August 19 that South Africa will push for

the GOZ to accept at least elements of the negotiated

constitution. President Mbeki said that demands are likely

to be couched as “voluntary” moves by the GOZ. The SAG is

painfully aware, however, that the $120 million IMF payment

undermines their leverage in the ongoing loan discussions.

TEITELBAUM

(11 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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