Media conference confusion


0

The all-stakeholders media conference that deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Jameson Timba had announced had been postponed was actually held with his boss Webster Shamu opening the conference.

Timba had announced that the conference was being postponed because civic media organisations had said they could not attend because of the harassment of journalists Jestina Mukoko and Andrisson Manyere.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE390, ZIM NOTES 05-08-09

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

Classification

Origin

09HARARE390

2009-05-11 18:14

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1422

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0390/01 1311814

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 111814Z MAY 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4461

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2278

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2809

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2929

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1372

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2192

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2557

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2977

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5418

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2101

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000390

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

TREASURY FOR D. PETERS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LDOBBINS AND JHARMON

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON EFIN ZI

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 05-08-09

 

—————————-

SUMMARY – Topics of the week

—————————-

 

– MDC Takes on Outstanding Issues

– Abductees Jailed, then Released

– Media Conference Confusion

– Schools Avert Strike

– South Africa Scraps Visas Requirement

– Anglican Church Elects New Bishop

– Reconciliation Slow in Rural Zimbabwe

– IMF Re-Engages

– Four Hwange Power Station Generators Down

– South African Mobile Operator MTN Expresses Interest in Zim

– Cost of Family Basket Rises

– Tobacco Marketing Season Starts

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

—————————–

 

1. MDC Takes on Outstanding Issues…Tendai Biti, in his capacity

as MDC Secretary-General, held a press conference on Wednesday to

demand that outstanding issues be resolved. Noting that the

principals Q Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Mutambara Q had had a series of

meetings on these issues, he said that next MondayQs principals

meeting should be the last. If the MDC did not receive

satisfaction, its National Council would consider next steps at its

meeting on May 17. Biti and other high-level MDC officials have

apparently concluded that TsvangiraiQs low-key approach with Mugabe

has run its course and a high-profile, direct approach is now called

for. See Harare 372.

 

 

2. Abductees Jailed, then Released… After being formally indicted

on May 4, Human Rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and 15 others were

ordered into state custody on May 5. 13, including Mukoko, spent

one night at Chikurubi Maximum Security prison before their

surprising release on May 6. Three others Q Ghandi Mudzingwa, Chris

Dhlamini, and Shadreck Manyere Q remain in Avenues Clinic under

guard pending a separate May 8 bail hearing. Indictment documents

reveal that the Assistant Director External in the Central

Intelligence Office and several high-level police officers directed

investigations against the abductees, including their videotaped

confessions that were recorded while they were still missing. At

the time, police denied any knowledge of the abducteesQ whereabouts

and claimed to be investigating their kidnappings. See Harare 367

and 372.

 

3. Media Conference Confusion… After civic media groups

representing the majority of journalists in Zimbabwe announced they

would boycott the May 6-9 All-Stakeholders Media Conference, the

Deputy Minister of Information, Jameson Timba (MDC-T) announced

Thursday that the conference would be delayed until May 8, but only

after Qthe outcome of a court bail hearing involving a journalist

(photo-journalist Shadreck Manyere). Timba said the conference had

Qbeen delayed by matters extraneous to it but important to some of

the stakeholders.Q He continued, QWe are hopeful that it (the

hearing) will be dispensed with early to enable the other

stakeholders to join their colleagues in Kariba.Q Despite TimbaQs

postponement, government papers reported that Minister of

Qpostponement, government papers reported that Minister of

Information Webster Shamu opened the conference on May 7 with a

lengthy speech. Local journalists tell us that only a handful of

journalists are at the conference site in Kariba, several hours

drive from Harare.

 

4. Schools Avert Strike…The second school term started on May 5

after the Ministry of Education dramatically slashed school fees,

narrowly averting a teachersQ strike. Although teachers are still

 

HARARE 00000390 002 OF 003

 

 

waiting for a raise, they welcomed the move that also exempted them

from paying fees for their own children. Fees are now US$5, US$10,

or US$20 per term. Some teachers, however, are complaining the low

fees will reduce schoolsQ ability to purchase supplies such as

textbooks and chalk. In one rural school we visited this week, not

a single student had paid any portion of the $5 fee for rural

schools. See Harare 379.

 

5. South Africa Scraps Visas Requirement… Zimbabweans traveling

to South Africa no longer have to apply for visas and may now apply

for a 90-day visitor permit at the border. The visitor permit also

allows Zimbabweans to perform QcasualQ work in South Africa.

 

6. Anglican Church Elects New Bishop… The Elective Committee of

the Anglican Church in Harare met on May 2 and elected Dr. Chad

Gandiya to replace Bishop Sebastian Bakare. Dr. Gandiya, who did

his graduate work at Michigan State University and was favored for

the position by Bishop Bakare, will be enthroned on July 25. When

he assumes leadership of the Harare Archdiocese, Dr. Gandiya will

continue the legal battle against excommunicated former bishop,

Norbert Kunonga, who continues to use his ZANU-PF contacts and the

police to attempt to seize Anglican property.

 

7. Reconciliation Slow in Rural Zimbabwe… This week we visited

the rural constituency of Gutu South in Masvingo province where

villagers told us of their slow progress towards reconciliation

after violence devastated their communities in 2008. They remain

fearful of potential violence in future elections. See Harare 379.

 

————————–

Economic and Business News

————————–

 

8. IMF Re-Engages… The International Monetary Fund partially

lifted its suspension of technical assistance to Zimbabwe on May 4.

The IMF Executive Board made the decision based on Qsignificant

improvement in ZimbabweQs cooperation on economic policies to

address its arrears problems.Q The IMF can now provide technical

assistance in tax policy, administration, payment systems,

lender-of-last-resort operations and banking supervision, and

central banking governance and accounting — core areas of IMF

expertise in which ZimbabweQs severe capacity constraints represent

a major risk to macroeconomic stabilization.

 

9. Four Hwange Power Station Generators Down… The Minister of

Industry and Commerce said that four out of six generators at Hwange

Power Station are down and in dire need of a major service in South

Africa. The problems at Hwange have been compounded by the

breakdown of the coal dragline; its repair will cost US$2 million.

These developments indicate that Zimbabwe is headed for more and

longer power outages over the winter months. See Harare 361.

 

10. South African Mobile Operator MTN Expresses Interest in

Zimbabwe… South AfricaQs mobile operator MTN has declared its

interest in either buying an existing mobile operator, or by

Qinterest in either buying an existing mobile operator, or by

obtaining its own license in Zimbabwe. Richard Hurst of IDCNews

research in South Africa believes that MTNQs obvious route is to buy

60 percent of the local mobile operator Telecel, owned by the

Egyptian operator Orascom, which has hinted that it wants to

concentrate on North Africa.

 

11. Cost of Family Basket Rises… According to the Consumer

Council of Zimbabwe, the cost of a consumer basket for a family of

six rose by 7.8 percent from US$396.22 in March to US$427.11 in

April primarily due to increases in transport cost, electricity,

health, education, clothing and footwear. Prices of food and

detergents actually fell by 6.9 percent during the same period.

 

12. Tobacco Marketing Season Starts… The tobacco selling season

 

HARARE 00000390 003 OF 003

 

 

officially started on May 7 and is expected to run for 80 days.

About 75 percent of this yearQs sales at the floors will come from

contract farming. It is estimated that tobacco output declined 16

percent on the year to 42 million kg. Production peaked in 2000 at

over 200 million kg.

 

 

13. Quote of the Week:

 

QWe (the media) could not meet because we were divided, too

polarized and too fractured to even qualify to be regarded as an

industry. …With this negative background, the world will ask: were

they able to meet and confer productively? Did they agree on

anything? …Or are they still in deep trenches, trading projectiles

and seeking annihilation of one another in a mutually ruinous

fashion?

 

— Minister of Information, Webster Shamu, speaking to a nearly

empty hall at the All Stakeholder Media Conference on May 7. Most

media stakeholders are boycotting the conference pending the outcome

of a bail hearing for photojournalist Shadreck Manyere on May 8.

Manyere was abducted in mid-December 2008 and is accused of bombing

police stations.

 

MCGEE

 

(3 VIEWS)

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

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *