Moyo’s primary aim was deZANUfication of society


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The Speaker of Parliament and Movement for Democratic Change chairman Lovemore Moyo said his primary goal was institutional reform and deZANUfication of society including a cleansing of the police and military.

He was, however, told that for the West the priority was the reform of restrictive pieces of legislation like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Moyo said AIPPA and POSA were not immediate priorities.

With regard to POSA, he said that the problem was not so much with the Act, which was superior to the South African equivalent, but with arbitrary and unlawful enforcement by police.

As to AIPPA, it could be improved with amendment. A complete rewrite wasn’t necessary.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE264, ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT’S PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE264

2009-03-27 09:03

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0004

OO RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0264/01 0860903

ZNY CCCCC ZZH (CCY ADX484115 MSI0137 540A)

O 270903Z MAR 09 ZDS

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4291

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2732

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2854

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1302

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2119

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2475

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2902

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5341

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2021

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000264

 

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED CLASS MARKING PAR 4)

 

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: 03/27/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT’S PRIORITIES AND NEXT STEPS

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo met

with polecon chief and poloff on March 25, 2009 and discussed

Parliament’s next steps, legislative priorities, and role in

promoting reform. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur

Mutambara addressed Parliament for the first time and

candidly discussed his views of the new government,

Zimbabwe’s plight, and domestic and international

responsibilities to achieve recovery.

 

2. (SBU) Parliament is also beginning to assume its role in

evaluating government policy as cabinet ministers responded

to public questions, including several on recent human rights

abuses. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————-

Parliament Building Capacity

—————————-

 

3. (C) Moyo told us that Parliament was moving forward with

establishing all the necessary legislative structures that

would enable the House of Assembly (HOA) to carry out its

legislative agenda. Most importantly, the instrumental

Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) was established on

March 18. The SROC is responsible for formulating policies

regarding the administration of Parliament, approving

Parliament’s budget, and, in conjunction with the Speaker,

establishing the portfolio committees that shadow and monitor

the performance of governmental ministries. The SROC and

Speaker will also set up the powerful Parliamentary Legal

Committee that evaluates the constitutionality of any bill

introduced into Parliament.

 

4. (C) Moyo said that he planned to establish a Select Committee

on the Constitution by mid April that will be charged with

initiating the process of creating a new constitution. With

respect to Commissions, and as prescribed by Amendment 19, he

said he was working with the SROC to establish the functions

of and provide for the appointments to the Zimbabwe Media

Commission; to provide for the appointment of a chair of the

Electoral Commission; and to provide for appointments of

members of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

 

——————————–

New Constitution is Top Priority

——————————–

 

5. (C) Speaker Moyo made clear that his top priority was

putting into motion the legislative process that would lead

to a new constitution. While the Inter-Party Political

Agreement signed in September 2008 laid out an 18-month

timeline, Moyo suspected the process would take longer. The

delay would be the result of lack of resources and the need

to ensure that all stakeholders were included in a

“people-driven Constitution.”

 

6. (C) Potential delays in establishing a new constitution

would likely push back elections, as the State would be

unable to finance an election immediately after holding a

nationwide constitutional referendum. Additionally, an audit

of the voters roll in conformance with the new constitution

Qof the voters roll in conformance with the new constitution

would be necessary.

 

7. (C) Moyo emphasized that his primary goal was

institutional reform and “deZANUfication” of society,

including a cleansing of the police and military, which would

take time. He believed that a period of peace and stability

to accomplish this was more important than holding elections

in the near term.

————————

Parliament’s Reform Role

————————

 

8. (C) When pressed that the international community was

looking to Parliament to generally promote reform and

specifically repeal restrictive pieces of legislation such as

the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

(AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Moyo

replied that his priority was beginning the constitutional

review process and then standing up the Commissions. AIPPA

and POSA were not immediate priorities. With regard to POSA,

he said that the problem was not so much with the Act, which

was superior to the South African equivalent, but with

arbitrary and unlawful enforcement by police. As to AIPPA,

it could be improved with amendment; a complete rewrite

wasn’t necessary. He went on to explain that legislative

reforms would have to come from Cabinet.

 

9. (U) Under Zimbabwe’s government, in order to introduce a

“public bill” )- a bill that affects the interests of

Zimbabweans at large — the appropriate government ministry

typically raises the bill for discussion in Cabinet. Upon

gaining assent in Cabinet, the bill is drafted and introduced

into Parliament. Parliament then evaluates the legality of

the bill, makes any necessary amendments, and votes on it in

both the HOA and Senate. Upon achieving a simple majority in

both houses, it is then returned to the President for his

signature. Once signed it becomes an “Act,” is published,

and enters into law.

 

10. (C) Moyo conceded that parliamentarians could

independently introduce a private member’s bill reforming or

repealing AIPPA and POSA, but this held several

disadvantages. Foremost, if passed by Parliament it would

risk not being signed by President Mugabe because it would

not have had the benefit of consensus building within the

executive. Secondarily, the cost of the bill (primarily

printing) would have to be borne by an individual MP rather

than the government.

 

—————————-

Ministers Discuss Hot Topics

—————————-

 

11. (C) Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara gave his

first speech to Parliament as an ex officio member of the

HOA. His speech was characteristically blunt and forthright

as he discussed a range of issues including last year’s

elections, the new government, Zimbabwe’s plight, the need

for assistance and sanctions. He referred to the March 2008

presidential election as being inconclusive and dismissed the

June 2008 run-off as “not anelection, but a farce.” He

called for multi-party solutions that reflected the new

reality of an inclusive government, and said that reform of

AIPPA and POSA was a priority. Mutambara also stressed that

Zimbabwe must rebrand itself as a country, after forming an

Zimbabwe must rebrand itself as a country, after forming an

international reputation for violence, corruption, and

suffering. Farm invasions must stop because they deterred

donor nations from assisting Zimbabwe.

 

12. (C) While the state media highlighted that Mutambara

called for the lifting of restrictive measures and referred

to U.S. President Obama’s extension of sanctions for an

additional year as based on “ignorance and arrogance,” in

reality his comments were more tempered. Mutambara first

said there were two types of sanctions: Those imposed on

Zimbabwe by itself and those imposed by others. The first

type included disregard for the rule of law, violence against

fellow Zimbabweans, corruption, and failed policies.

Zimbabweans had the authority to lift these sanctions

themselves; then the international community would lift

external sanctions.

 

13. (C) The March 25 plenary session of Parliament’s HOA

also marked the reintroduction of question time, where MPs

ask policy questions of ministers. For some of the

questions, ministers are given advance notice and read

prepared statements. Several of the questions referred to

human rights abuses including violence in the Chiadzwa

diamond fields and inhumane conditions in Zimbabwe’s prisons.

 

 

14. (C) Obert Mpofu, the minister of Mines and Mining

Development and a ZANU-PF and Mugabe loyalist, in response to

a question on Chiadzwa, stated that neither the police nor

the military had been responsible for any deaths in the

diamond fields. While Mpofu acknowledged that a military

operation had cleared the area of panners, he refuted that

violence had been used. The MDC half of Parliament responded

that his argument was ludicrous as both the independent press

and NGO groups have reported that the police and military are

behind the deaths of several hundred panners.

 

15. (C) Mpofu’s assertion was undermined by Home Affairs

Minister Giles Mutsekwa of the MDC-T who was asked why it had

taken five days to remove dead bodies from the cells of

Mutare Remand Prison — a situation that had come to light

from statements by formerly incarcerated MDC official, Roy

Bennett. Mutsekwa responded that the city morgues had

refused to accept any more bodies from the prison because

they were full. Unstated was that this was likely due to the

violence in nearby Chiadzwa.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

16. (C) It appears likely that international community

expectations for swift action by Parliament on specific

measures will not be met. Parliament has its own priorities,

chiefly constitutional reform, and this will be a lengthy

process. High-profile issues such as POSA and AIPPA are of

lesser priority and will be dependent upon consensus within

Cabinet. Nevertheless, Parliament will play an ongoing role

in holding government accountable through oversight by

portfolio committees and through questioning of ministers in

Parliament.

 

17. (C) Of crucial importance in the short term is the

establishment of the Media Commission to open up media space

by allowing the introduction, for example, of independent

weekly newspapers and the legal presence of international

journalists. Moyo indicated he would move forward with this

in April; we will follow this issue closely. In the

meantime, however, international journalists accompanying

Ministers from Norway and Denmark had no difficulty obtaining

visas and accreditation–once they paid the steep $1,500

visas and accreditation–once they paid the steep $1,500

temporary accreditation fee. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

 

(7 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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