Mpofu says only three people died at Chiadzwa


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Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGhee that only three people had died at Chiadzwa and their deaths were the result of internal disputes not involving the military or the police.

He said the ambassador was welcome to visit Chiadzwa and see for himself because Chiadzwa was now under control and the ambassador would see for himself that there was no longer any illegal activity.

The ambassador had paid a courtesy call on the minister to press on two issues: the importance of boosting electrical supplies to support renewed economic activity and ongoing US concern about violence in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Mpofu said there was renewed investor interest in the mining sector and South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation would be stepping in to help boost power supplies at Kariba.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE392, AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH ZIM MINING MINISTER

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

09HARARE392

2009-05-12 15:28

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3891

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0392/01 1321528

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 121528Z MAY 09 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4465

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2812

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2932

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1375

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2195

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2560

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2980

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5421

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2104

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000392

 

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: 05/12/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH ZIM MINING MINISTER

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) On May 11, the Ambassador paid a courtesy call on

Zimbabwe’s new Minister of Mines and Mining Development,

Obert Mpofu. The Ambassador pressed the ZANU-PF minister on

the importance of boosting electrical supplies to support

renewed economic activity and ongoing U.S. concern about

violence in the Chiadzwa diamond fields. Mpofu was eager to

court U.S. and western investment in the sector and disputed

that there was, or had ever been, any violence in Chiadzwa.

The meeting was brief and cordial, and was also attended by a

representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. END

SUMMARY.

 

————————————

Minister Courting Foreign Investment

————————————

 

2. (SBU) Ambassador McGee began by explaining his efforts to

meet with ministers of the new government and his belief that

resurrecting the mining sector was critical to turning around

the Zimbabwean economy. He noted that two areas within the

mining sector were of primary concern to the U.S.: Resumption

of coal deliveries to the 750 MW hydro-electric plant at

Kariba that is currently operating at only 50 percent

capacity, and ensuring an end to violence in and around the

Chiadzwa diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe.

 

3. (SBU) Mpofu agreed on the importance of increasing mining

productivity and touted Zimbabwe’s rich mineral deposits in

over 40 different minerals including gold, platinum, and

diamonds. He cited renewed interest by foreign mining firms

to invest in Zimbabwe and, without naming individual firms,

broadly referred to Australian, British, and Canadian

interest. According to Mpofu, the Industrial Development

Corporation — a state-owned South African development

finance institution — was investing in boosting capacity at

the Kariba plant. Mpofu had also been invited to attend the

International Mining in Africa conference in London on June

23. While banned from travel within the EU, Mpofu had been

approved for a visa for the trip.

 

4. (SBU) In response to a question about local and state

ownership requirements that might deter foreign investment,

Mpofu said that the 51 percent local ownership requirement

regarding key industries, such as mining, was “negotiable.”

He recognized that it was irrational to expect large foreign

firms to surrender majority control and possibly even assets

for little or no return.

 

5. (SBU) While discussing Chiadzwa, Mpofu maintained that

only three people had died in the region. Their deaths were

a result of internal disputes not involving the military or

police. (NOTE: This has been the ZANU-PF position and it

has been widely discredited by numerous reports from

residents, NGOs, and independent press that cite the deaths

of several hundred panners at the hands of state agents. END

Qof several hundred panners at the hands of state agents. END

NOTE.) The Ambassador challenged Mpofu to allow Embassy

officials to tour the controlled-access area and Mpofu agreed

to the request. Mpofu said that Chiadzwa was now under

control and upon our visit we would not see any “illegal”

activity there.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

 

HARARE 00000392 002 OF 002

 

 

6. (C) Mpofu is eager to bring in foreign investment and

likely sees a resurrection of the mining sector as key to

reviving both the economy as well as his party. With

agriculture on its knees, mining is by far the largest

component of national GDP and a large income generator for

Zimbabwe’s unity government.

 

7. (C) Mpofu’s willingness to liberalize investment

restrictions is encouraging. However, Mpofu is also a

staunch Mugabe loyalist who benefited from war veteran and

youth-directed violence and intimidation in his home district

that helped him retain his seat in Parliament. It is far

from clear that he would agree to genuine liberalization at

the expense of ZANU-PF insiders who continue to benefit from

their privileged status. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

(4 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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