Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa had tea and coffee with 14 chief executive officers without milk because his office could not find any milk.
The executives, who included Dairibord’s chief executive officer Anthony Mandiwanza, had come to see Murerwa to plead for an end to the government’s convoluted macro-economic policies.
Mandiwanza is said to have told Murerwa that the reason why the minister could not find milk was that it cost his company Z$120 a litre to buy milk from farmers, there were overheard costs of Z$200 a litre but the minister wanted Dairibord to sell the milk to consumers at a controlled price of Z$80 a litre.
Viewing cable 03HARARE448, Econ 101 for Mugabe’s Finance Minister
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 000448
STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND
PASS USTR ROSA WHITAKER
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND C WILKINSON
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON
¶E. O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Econ 101 for Mugabe’s Finance Minister
¶1. (SBU) We have learned of an exchange between Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa and Dairiboard CEO Anthony
Mandiwanza. 14 CEOs had recently called on Murerwa to
plead for an end to the GOZ’s convoluted macroeconomic
policies. The Finance Minister began the session by
apologizing that his office was unable to purchase milk
for the tea and coffee on the table. Dairiboard’s
Mandiwanza, who also heads the Confederation of
Industries, seized the moment and suggested that milkless
beverages should be the meeting’s first topic. He
explained that firms he represents pay farmers
Z$120/liter for milk. On average, each liter carries an
additional Z$200 of overhead by the time it reaches the
retail market. “That’s why, Mr. Minister,” he concluded,
“your staff can’t get a liter of milk at the controlled
price of Z$80.”
¶2. (U) Comment: It’s not rocket science.