MDC’s Majome said Chinamasa was frank and open but was undermining her


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Deputy Minister of Justice Jessie Majome described her job as a fight against “constant marginalisation” because her boss Patrick Chinamasa, attorney general Johannes Tomana and permanent secretary David Mangota were undermining her.

Chinamasa was, however, “frank and open” and was a proponent of professionalism but Tomana and Mangota were giving her a hard time.

She said when she assumed her position, Chinamasa directed the ministry’s 11 department heads to give her an in-briefing. Tomana and Mangota, however, refused to implement the directive.

Majome suspected that while Chinamasa carried himself professionally, he supported Mangota’s and Tomana’s efforts to undermine her.

This allowed him to stay above the fray, playing the “good cop” to Mangota’s and Tomana’s “bad cop.”

Tomana had openly told her that she was subordinate to him because he sat in cabinet while she did not.

Majome said that even if she was not allowed to execute any ministerial authority, her presence alone could served as a check on her colleagues’ activities and a means of gaining insights into ministerial policies.

She suspected this to be true with MDC deputies in other ZANU-PF ministries, such as Jameson Timba in the equally-hostile Media, Information, and Publicity ministry.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE890, MDC OFFICIAL DESCRIBES LIFE IN CHINAMASA’S

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

09HARARE890

2009-11-09 16:52

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0890/01 3131652

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 091652Z NOV 09 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5124

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3165

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3277

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1704

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2538

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2907

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3325

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5773

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2457

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000890

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2019

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MDC OFFICIAL DESCRIBES LIFE IN CHINAMASA’S

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

 

Classified By: Ambassador Charles Ray for reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Poloff met with Deputy Minister of Justice Jessie

Majome (MDC-T) on November 5 to discuss her experiences

working in a ministry led by ZANU-PF stalwarts Patrick

Chinamasa and Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana. Majome

described her position as a constant “fight against

marginalization” as she was persistently undermined by

Chinamasa, Tomana, and Permanent Secretary David Mangota.

Despite QQ$6Q|d, Majome described

her experiences working in the Ministry of Justice. In spite

of a hostile work environment, Majome holds a measure of

respect for Minister of Justice Chinamasa, describing him as

“frank and open” and a proponent of professionalism. When

she assumed her position, Chinamasa directed the Ministry’s

11 department heads to give her an in-briefing. Tellingly,

Tomana )- who is housed within the Ministry, but also serves

as the government’s chief legal advisor -) refused the

directive, as did Mangota. She also told us that Chinamasa

held Tomana in low regard because of the clumsy manner and

legal incompetence his office often demonstrated. (NOTE:

Chinamasa previously served as the AG and was regarded as a

technically competent bureaucrat. END NOTE.)

 

3. (C) Majome suspected that while Chinamasa carried himself

professionally, he supported Mangota’s and Tomana’s efforts

to undermine her. This posture allowed him to stay above the

fray, playing the “good cop” to Mangota’s and Tomana’s “bad

cop.” Mangota and Tomana are blatant in their disrespect for

Majome’s position, according to Majome. One illustrative

example occurred in a conversation between Majome and Mangota

which began with Mangota accusing Majome of abusing

government funds and ended with him screaming accusations at

her. He later called back, not to apologize, but to concede

that she was innocent of the offense.

 

4. (C) Similarly, Attorney General Tomana has openly told

her that she is subordinate to him within the Ministry

because he sits in Cabinet and she does not. Tomana,

according to Majome, is arrogant, has a Mercedes and a

driver, travels in a two car convoy, and moves on foot with a

four-person security detail. (NOTE: Tomana sits in Cabinet as

an “ex officio” member which means he does not vote and is

there only in his capacity as legal advisor to government.

Within the Ministry, Majome is bureaucratically superior to

both Tomana and Mangota. END NOTE.)

 

———————-

Q———————-

What Press Conference?

———————-

 

5. (C) Permanent Secretary Mangota also circumvents Majome

at every opportunity, typically failing to copy her on

correspondence or notify her of press conferences. Each

morning there is an 8:30 briefing attended by Chinamasa,

Majome, Tomana, Mangota, and Prisons Commissioner Paradzai

Zimondi. Majome said that she often had little understanding

 

HARARE 00000890 002 OF 003

 

 

of what they were discussing because they failed to include

her on preparatory materials. A press conference was held in

early September at which Mangota and Zimondi announced a

general amnesty to cover a thousand prisoners. Majome was

not aware of it until reading an article in “The Herald”

newspaper.

 

—————————–

Part Administrator, Part Mole

—————————–

 

6. (C) Despite her difficult position, Majome has relished

the opportunity to gather information within the

controversial ministry. One arena on which she has focused

her attention is the prisons system, where she informed us

that the service had become militarized with retiring

soldiers assuming jobs intended to be filled by the civilian

prison service. This has also occurred in the AG’s office

where soldiers have replaced technicians and legal aides.

She said that Tomana had chased away professional

prosecutors, citing the charges of criminal abuse of office

being leveled against one senior prosecutor who once refused

to invoke a controversial measure challenging a defendant’s

bail.

 

7. (C) Majome also learned that Mangota had denied repeated

requests by the International Committee of the Red Cross

(ICRC) to inspect prisons. In that instance, Majome worked

around Mangota, met with the ICRC and designed a visitation

strategy to pitch to Chinamasa. At the presentation, Majome

had to pretend that she did not know her ICRC counterpart.

Occasionally, Chinamasa will slip up in her presence, such as

when he mentioned that Tomana had attended a ZANU-PF caucus

in his official capacity. She said it was a mistake as

constitutionally the AG was supposed to be a non-political

actor.

 

8. (C) Majome said that even if she is not allowed to

execute any ministerial authority, her presence alone could

serve as a check on her colleagues’ activities and a means of

gaining insights into ministerial policies. She suspected

this to be true with MDC deputies in other ZANU-PF

ministries, such as Jameson Timba in the equally-hostile

Media, Information, and Publicity ministry.

 

9. (C) Though effective as an informant, Majome is trying to

have a direct impact on ministerial operations as well. She

referred to the abductions in December 2008 of MDC Security

Chief Chris Dhlamini and Tsvangirai assistant Gandhi

Mudzingwa. When they were finally released on bail in April

and were receiving medical treatment at Avenues Hospital in

Harare, they were under close prison guard. Majome argued to

Prisons Commissioner Zimondi that they had been granted bail

and that the Ministry was exposing itself to litigation by

continuing to guard a free citizen. Within 20 minutes his

guard detail was dismissed.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) Majome’s experience highlights the lack of

cooperation occurring at the ministerial level in what

Qcooperation occurring at the ministerial level in what

purports to be an inclusive government. Even in instances

where the ministry is led by an MDC minister, such as David

Coltart’s Ministry of Education, there is often a struggle

between the minister and his Mugabe-appointed permanent

secretary. This reality presents a tremendous hurdle in

implementing policy changes that are opposed by ZANU-PF

loyalists. With no capacity to replace ministers, deputies,

 

HARARE 00000890 003 OF 003

 

 

or permanent secretaries, the balance of power within

ministries )- with the exception of the Finance ministry

where Tendai Biti has seized the reins — favors ZANU-PF.

END COMMENT.

 

RAY

(25 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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