Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell that the United States was exaggerating Zimbabwe’s democratic shortcomings and urged Washington to re-engage more with Harare.
Murerwa said the government was making a concerted effort to rebuild ties with the US.
“We want you to help us strengthen our democracy,” he said.
Dell said he was aware of President Robert Mugabe’s more restrained tone toward the US but was looking for concrete progress.
Viewing cable 04HARARE2012, GOZ CABINET OFFICIAL “TALKS” CLOSER TIES
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
140819Z Dec 04
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 002012
STATE FOR AF/S
USDOC FOR ROBERT TELCHIN
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2014
SUBJECT: GOZ CABINET OFFICIAL “TALKS” CLOSER TIES
REF: A. A) HARARE 2003
¶B. B) HARARE 1913
Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Secti
on 1.5 b/d
¶1. (C) Summary: Acting Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa told
the Ambassador he believes the U.S. has exaggerated the
GOZ,s democratic shortcomings and urged us to reengage more
with Zimbabwe. The Ambassador responded that the U.S. is
aware of recent GOZ overtures, but that reality on the ground
must match this new rhetoric. End summary.
¶2. (C) During the Ambassador,s Dec. 13 introductory courtesy
call on the acting Finance Minister, Murerwa suggested the
GOZ was making a concerted effort to rebuild ties with the
U.S. &We want you to help us strengthen our democracy,8
said Murerwa, a Harvard alumnus. The acting Finance Minister
complained that &little things8 were getting in the way of
U.S.-Zimbabwe relations, citing the GOZ,s Oct. 27
deportation of a Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) delegation. &Any country worth its salt would have
thrown them out,8 Murerwa insisted.
¶3. (C) The Ambassador said we were aware of President
Mugabe,s more restrained tone toward the U.S. but were
looking for concrete progress on issues of concern. The
Ambassador said a confident, democratic government would not
worry about thirteen trade unionists on a fact-finding
mission. He cited other recent GOZ actions that undermine
democracy and open debate, such as the NGO Bill, the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and its decision to
appeal the not guilty verdict in the treason trial of
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
¶4. (C) Murerwa defended each of these policies, but said he
would have applied them more narrowly. &We are not a normal
country. We are a country under siege,8 he said. In
justifying the NGO bill, Murerwa maintained &the evidence
was there8 that &the NGOs were being used for political
purposes8 (Ref a).
¶5. (C) Biographic Note: Murerwa studied for a BA, MA and PhD
at Harvard from 1972-79 through a Ford Foundation grant. He
returned to Zimbabwe at independence in 1979 and immediately
became one of the first four black permanent secretaries.
From 1984-90, he was Zimbabwe,s Ambassador to the UK and
Ireland. Murerwa is now on his third stint as Finance
Minister (acting this time), although he readily acknowledges
that education rather than economics is his forte. He has a
son at the University of Pennsylvania.
¶6. (C) Comment: Murerwa,s remarks provide additional
confirmation that the GOZ is softening its rhetoric toward
the U.S. in the hope it can lessen its isolation. While
making it clear in discussions with senior GOZ officials that
we would welcome an improved relationship, we have also
underscored that our views are based on principle, that the
GOZ’s rhetoric must be matched by concrete actions and the
first move has to come from Harare.