United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell said the United States should not support the candidacy of Simba Makoni to head the African Development Bank because that would send the wrong signal about the importance of sound economic policies.
He was commenting after the government had told local ambassadors that it was supporting Makoni for the post of African Development bank president to succeed Moroccan Omar Kabbaj.
Dell said Makoni was qualified and among the best of the ZANU-PF party members. Supporting his candidacy would be a way to signal the United States’ new policy of selective engagement.
“That said, he is the national candidate of a government that is hundreds of millions of dollars in arrears to the IFIS, including the ADB, and we think this would send the wrong signal about the importance of sound economic policies.”
Viewing cable 05HARARE128, ZIMBABWE NOMINATES SIMBA MAKONI FOR ADB PRESIDENT
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C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000128
INFO ALL EUROPEAN DIPLOMATIC POSTS
ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS
AF/S FOR BNEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE, D. TEITELBAUM
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW, STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2009
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE NOMINATES SIMBA MAKONI FOR ADB PRESIDENT
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reason 1.4 b/d
¶1. (SBU) The GOZ informed diplomatic representatives from
African Development Bank (ADB) shareholder countries that it
will nominate former Finance Minister Simba Makoni to succeed
Moroccan Omar Kabbaj as ADB President. Foreign Minister
Mudenge and acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa presented
Makoni’s candidacy to assembled diplomats from ADB countries
January 19. Mudenge said Makoni enjoyed the “full support of
the government and party” and that the GOZ had persuaded the
other 13 SADC countries to back Makoni (N.B., the election is
scheduled for May 18.) In his brief remarks, Makoni said he
would call on the ambassadors from ADB shareholder countries
in the coming months to lobby for his candidacy.
Biographical Background and Comment
¶2. (C) Makoni was Finance Minister from 2000-2002. After
Makoni called for devaluation of the zimdollar, President
Mugabe referred to him as a “traitor” and did not include him
in the August 2002 cabinet reshuffle. The 55-year old Makoni
was one of Zimbabwe,s youngest ministers in 1980s, serving
as Energy as well as Youth Minister while in his thirties.
He also served ten years as SADC’s executive secretary. An
UK-educated engineer and successful businessperson, Makoni
was often seen as a technocrat among ZANU-PF Marxists and
ideologues. One of the party’s few top leaders still
well-regarded in international circles, Makoni wass the only
serving GOZ cabinet minister against whom the U.S. did not
imposed travel sanctions.
¶3. (C) The decision by the politically ambitious Makoni to
accept the GOZ’s nomination for ADB President probably means
he has given up on returning to the political upper echelons
for now. Before he fell out of favor in 2002, Makoni was
often mentioned as a potential Mugabe successor, and a poll
conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute last year
showed him to be the only prospective ZANU-PF successor with
significant support in all provinces. He has been one of the
Embassy’s most accessible and candid interlocutors within the
¶4. (SBU) On balance, we would not recommend supporting
Makoni,s candidacy. He is qualified and among the best of
the ZANU-PF party members. In addition, supporting his
candidacy would be a way to signal our new policy of
selective engagement. That said, he is the national
candidate of a government that is hundreds of millions of
dollars in arrears to the IFIS, including the ADB, and we
think this would send the wrong signal about the importance
of sound economic policies.