Makoni says judge Zimbabwe on its deeds not its rhetoric


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Finance Minister Simba Makoni told United States ambassador Tom McDonald that the new cabinet had been given a clear mandate by President Robert Mugabe to get Zimbabwe to work again.

It was therefore critical to judge the new government by its deeds and not by its words.

Makoni, who had been in office for four weeks, said he had since learnt that this job was less about finance than it was about politics.

“We will start the change,” he said, “and you can judge us by our deeds and not our words. However, we need a soft belly to land on, and ask for any help you can provide.”

He reiterated that Mugabe had given him a clear mandate to get the country working, stating: “If I cannot do that job, I will not blame it on the President, because it will be my fault or the fault of the team.”

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE4692, AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW FINANCE MINISTER

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE4692

2000-08-24 14:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

241452Z Aug 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2693

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04692 01 OF 02 241454Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00    FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00

SS-00   STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00

DRL-02   G-00     FDIC-01 NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————7D974C 241455Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6921

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 004692

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04692 01 OF 02 241454Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/05

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW FINANCE MINISTER

SIMBA MAKONI

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), (D)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: THE AMBASSADOR, ECON AND NEW POL

OFFICER MADE AN INTRODUCTORY CALL ON SIMBA MAKONI, THE

RECENTLY APPOINTED FINANCE MINISTER ON AUGUST 22.

MAKONI (WHOM THE EMBASSY KNOWS WELL) SHARED WITH US

HIS DETERMINATION TO BE A FORCE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE

AND PAINTED A NEW PICTURE OF THE POST-ELECTION CABINET

AS A TEAM GIVEN THE BRIEF BY PRESIDENT MUGABE TO “GET

ZIMBABWE WORKING AGAIN.” ON THE LAND ISSUE HE TOLD US

“TO ONLY BELIEVE WHAT WE SEE.” THE NEW MINISTER

EXPRESSED SERIOUS INTEREST IN THE STATUS AND OUTLOOK

OF THE ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT, AND PLEADED FOR

IMMEDIATE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND CLEAR USG SUPPORT

GOING AHEAD. HIS MESSAGE WAS STAND BY US, AND JUDGE

ZIMBABWE ON ITS DEEDS, NOT ITS RHETORIC. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) IN AN AUGUST 22 INTRODUCTORY CALL ON NEW

FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI, ACCOMPANIED BY ECON AND

POL OFFICERS, THE AMBASSADOR DISCUSSED THE TOUGH

PORTFOLIO AND CHALLENGES FACING THE NEW CABINET

MEMBER, AND CRITICAL ISSUES ON THE PATH AHEAD. THE

COM AND OTHER SENIOR EMBASSY STAFF KNOW MAKONI WELL

FROM HIS PRIOR PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND INTERESTS

OVER THE YEARS, AND IN THE MEETING MAKONI WAS WARM AND

STRAIGHTFORWARD WITH US.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04692 01 OF 02 241454Z

 

——————————–

THE WAY AHEAD WITH A NEW CABINET

——————————–

 

3. (C) WHEN ASKED HOW HE VIEWED THE WAY FORWARD,

MAKONI DECLARED THAT DETERMINING WHAT TO DO WAS NOT

THE CHALLENGE, BUT RATHER WHEN, HOW AND WHETHER TO

CARRY OUT THE HARD STEPS NECESSARY TO TURN AROUND THE

DECLINE. HOW FAR TO PUSH WAS A DELICATE ISSUE, THE

MINSTER TOLD US, AND HE HAD SPENT MUCH OF THE LAST FEW

WEEKS (MAKONI HAD BEEN SWORN IN 4 WEEKS PRIOR TO THE

DAY OF OUR CALL) BEING BREIFED BY SENIOR MINISTRY

STAFF AND LEARNING IN THE PROCESS THAT THE “JOB IS

LESS ABOUT FINANCE, THAN IT IS ABOUT POLITICS.”   THE

NEW CABINET, IN MAKONI’S VIEW, CONSTITUTES A TEAM THAT

HAS BEEN TASKED BY THE PRESIDENT TO GET RESULTS. HE

IS DEDICATED TO THIS GOAL, AND TOLD US THAT ZIMBABWE

IS IN THE TOUGH SPOT OF NEEDING FOREIGN HELP TO GET

OUT OF ITS PREDICAMENT; BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE KNEW

THAT HELP WOULD ONLY COME WHEN CLEAR PROGRESS HAD BEEN

MADE. “WE WILL START THE CHANGE,” HE STATED, “AND YOU

CAN JUDGE US BY OUR DEEDS AND NOT OUR WORDS. HOWEVER,

WE NEED A SOFT BELLY TO LAND ON, AND ASK FOR ANY HELP

YOU CAN PROVIDE.”

 

4. (C) CONTINUING IN THIS SAME VEIN THE MINISTER

STATED THAT THE CRITICAL ISSUE FACING THE GOVERNMENT

IS TO REIN IN AND ELIMINATE LAWLESSNESS, AND THEREBY

WIN BACK THE CONFIDENCE AND TRUST OF THE PEOPLE, AS

WELL AS THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. ONLY IF THIS IS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 04692 01 OF 02 241454Z

DONE CAN NORMALCY RETURN, AND EFFORTS CAN THEN BE MADE

TO STEM THE ECONOMIC DECLINE. MAKONI EMPHASIZED THAT

THERE WERE NO SACRED COWS IN THIS EFFORT. THE

DEVALUATION SHOWED THIS AND THE SPENDING CUTS THAT ARE

TO ENSUE WILL ALSO DEMONSTRATE THIS BY DEED. MAKONI

STATED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS FORMULATING A PLAN TO

ADDRESS THE RUNAWAY INFLATION RATE, WHICH HE HOPED TO

HAVE FINALIZED BEFORE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NEW

BUDGET LATER THIS YEAR. HE TOLD US BLUNTLY THAT

ZIMBABWE WANTED OUT OF THE CONGO, AND THE AMBASSADOR

ASSURED HIM THAT THE U.S. FULLY SUPPORTED WITHDRAWAL

AND WAS DOING ALL IT COULD TO ACHIEVE THIS.

 

————–

THE LAND ISSUE

————–

 

5. (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED THE NEW MINISTER IF THE

GOZ WOULD GO AHEAD WITH ITS ANNOUNCED PLANS TO SEIZE

3,000 COMMERCIAL FARMS BEFORE THE START OF THE RAINY

SEASON. MAKONI POINTEDLY REPLIED THAT WE SHOULD “ONLY

BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE,” CLEARLY IMPLYING THAT THE

SEIZURES AND RESETTLEMENT MAY WELL FALL SHORT OF THE

3,000 MARK. MAKONI FURTHER REMARKED THAT CLARITY WILL

COME TO THE LAND ISSUE, AS IT IS SOMETHING ALL IN THE

NATION NEED. IN A FURTHER ATTEMPT AT REASSURING US,

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ2694

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 04692 02 OF 02 241454Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AGRE-00 AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00

SMEC-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00

DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   ITC-01   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   SS-00

STR-00   T-00     USIE-00 FMP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

G-00     FDIC-01 NFAT-00 SAS-00     /011W

——————7D9751 241455Z /38

P 241452Z AUG 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6922

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY LONDON

USDOC WASHDC

NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 004692

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS, EB/IFD/ODF, EB/TPP/ODC

TREASURY FOR ED BARBER, GRACE SONE AND HOFFMAN BARAK

USDOC FOR 2037/ERIC HENDERSON

STATE PASS USTR/RWHITTAKER

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 04692 02 OF 02 241454Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/05

TAGS: ECON EFIN PREL EAGR PINR ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW FINANCE MINISTER

SIMBA MAKONI

 

MAKONI AGAIN EMPHASIZED THAT THE PRESIDENT’S BRIEF TO

BOTH HIM AND THE ENTIRE CABINET WAS TO “GET ZIMBABWE

WORKING AGAIN.” “IF I CANNOT DO THAT JOB, I WILL NOT

BLAME IT ON THE PRESIDENT, BECAUSE IT WILL BE MY FAULT

OR THE FAULT OF THE TEAM,” HE PASSIONATELY STATED.

“WE WILL SINK OR SWIM TOGETHER, AND I THINK THIS IS

STARTING TO BE REALIZED,” MAKONI ASSURED US.

 

6. (C) IN CLOSING, THE MINISTER ASKED US WITH NOTABLE

CONCERN ABOUT THE STATUS, IMPACT AND OUTLOOK FOR THE

ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT. THE AMBASSADOR EXPLAINED OUR

PRESENT DOMESTIC POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT, AND PROVIDED

AN ASSESSMENT OF WHAT ACTION COULD TAKE PLACE, HOW AND

WHY. HE STATED THAT THE EMBASSY SHARED CONGRESS’

CONCERN ABOUT THE STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ZIMBABWE. WE

EXPLAINED TO THE FINANCE MINISTER THE KEY ROLE THE

FOREIGN MINISTER’S UPCOMING VISIT TO WASHINGTON COULD

PLAY, AND INFORMED HIM THAT WE WERE WILLING TO BRIEF

THE FOREIGN MINSTER AND OTHER GOZ OFFICIALS BEFORE

THEIR TRIP. IN HIS FINAL WORDS THE NEW FINANCE CHIEF

ASKED IF THERE WAS ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE THE UNITED

STATES COULD PROVIDE ZIMBABWE TO HELP IT THROUGH ITS

PRESENT DIFFICULT TIMES. FOREIGN EXCHANGE IS SO

SHORT, HE EXPLAINED, THAT IT IS A STRUGGLE TO EVEN

COME UP WITH USD 2 MILLION TO GET SMALL AMOUNTS OF

FUEL IMPORTED. ANYTHING WE COULD PROVIDE “THAT’S NOT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 04692 02 OF 02 241454Z

TIED TO THE BIG PICTURE” WOULD BE VERY MUCH

APPRECIATED. THE AMBASSADOR EXPLAINED THE NATURE,

AMOUNTS AND LIMITS ON OUR AID TO ZIMBABWE AND LET THE

NEW MINISTER DOWN GENTLY.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) THOUGH WE KNOW MAKONI FAIRLY WELL, THIS

INITIAL MEETING IN HIS NEW OFFICES WAS DIFFERENT THAN

OUR PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS WHEN HE WAS BUSINESSMAN

BECAUSE OF THE IMPORTANT POST THE MINISTER HOLDS.

WHILE MAKONI WAS SCANT ON DETAILS OF THE MINISTRY’S

POLICIES GOING FORWARD (A FAULT SHARED BY THE

MILLENIUM ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN), HE WAS HONEST,

LISTENED CAREFULLY AND MADE HIS PITCH FOR ZIMBABWE

WITHOUT SUSPENDING CRITICISM OR IGNORING REALITY. WE

LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH HIM AND HOPE THAT HIS

WORDS AND VISION ARE MADE REAL. THE EMBASSY DOES WANT

TO HELP THIS MINISTER. END COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

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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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