Still no resolution


0

The case of Jestina Mukoko dragged on with her lawyers pushing for her release while they waited for a hearing in the Supreme Court on the legality of her abduction.

Matters were worsened by a strike by court clerks who had joined other civil servants in demanding a salary review.

Only two of the 21 people that had been abducted had been released. These were Tawanda Bvumo and two-year-old Nigel Mutemagau.

Fifteen said they were tortured.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE75, ZIM NOTES 01-30-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE75

2009-02-02 15:36

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0962

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0075/01 0331536

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 021536Z FEB 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3985

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2181

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2593

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2715

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1202

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1984

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2339

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2764

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5192

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1882

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000075

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

TREASURY FOR D. PETERS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND E.LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 01-30-2009

 

———–

¶1. SUMMARY

———–

Topics of the week:

 

– MDC-T to Vote Today on Whether to Join Government…

– EU Expands Sanctions List…

– Cholera Deaths Continue…

– Farm Invasions Continue Despite Tribunal Ruling and BIPPAs…

– Still No Resolution to Abduction Cases…

– Teachers Don’t Show…

– GOZ Introduces Wildly Optimistic Budget…

– Tobacco Output Well Below Target…

– More Strikes Looming as Collective Bargaining Period Approaches…

– Companies Devise Survival Strategies…

– Zimbabwe’s U.S. Dollar Inflation High But Falling…

– Economic Tidbit of the Week…

 

———————————

¶2. Price Movements-Exchange Rate

and Selected products

———————————

 

Note: The near universal dollarization of the Zimbabwean economy has

obviated the need and relevancy of tracking prices in local currency.

In the absence of reliable government-provided economic data, Post is

currently evaluating more useful methods of gaining economic insights

into Zimbabwe.

 

—————————–

On the Political/Social Front

——————————

 

¶3. MDC-T to Vote Today on Whether to Join Government… Following

the recommendation by the SADC Extraordinary Summit on January 26

that ZANU-PF and te two MDC factions form a government as soon as

possible, the MDC-T National Council will meet on January 30 to

determine if they will endorse the SADC resolution. While the MDC-T

issued a statement following the Summit that the SADC recommendations

fell “far short” of their expectations, after gaining some

concessions on the appointment of governorships, the composition of

the proposed National Security Council, and promises to revisit the

issues of other senior appointments, political violence, and

ministerial allocations, prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai

appears to favor a deal. See Harare 70

 

¶4. EU Expands Sanctions List… The European Union stepped up

pressure on the Mugabe government on January 26 by adding the names

of 27 individuals and 36 companies to the list of persons and

entities that are banned from travelling to EU countries and whose

assets have been frozen by European financial institutions. Some of

the newly-named individuals with close ties to the government include

John Bredenkamp, “Billy” Rautenbach, and family members of ZANU-PF

regime members who had been previously named. The EU also declared

support for an investigation into illicit diamond sales in Zimbabwe.

 

¶5. Cholera deaths continue… As of January 29, the cholera outbreak

had caused 3,161 deaths, with 60,400 suspected cases reported,

according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO). For the week of

January 18 to 24, WHO noted that while cholera cases continued to

increase, cholera deaths and the overall case fatality rate (CFR)

decreased from the previous week. The institutional CFR, measuring

only cholera deaths in health facilities, declined to 1.3 percent for

Qonly cholera deaths in health facilities, declined to 1.3 percent for

the week, likely indicating further improvements in case management

at cholera treatment centers. Ambassador McGee visited the UN

Children’s Fund warehouse in Harare on January 29 to officially hand

over hygiene supplies funded by USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign

Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), including 400 metric tons of soap,

 

HARARE 00000075 002 OF 003

 

 

10 million water treatment tablets, 30,000 water containers, and

30,000 buckets.

 

¶6. Farm Invasions Continue Despite Tribunal Ruling and BIPPAs… The

few remaining commercial farmers in Zimbabwe continue to report

incidences of harassment and land invasions as the government

continues to implement the controversial land reform program first

begun in 2000. Neither a favorable ruling by a SADC Tribunal

declaring Zimbabwe’s actions in violation of its SADC treaty

obligations, nor Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection

Agreements between Zimbabwe and foreign nations have protected

commercial farmers. See Harare 072.

 

¶7. Still No Resolution to Abduction Cases… Human Rights crusader

Jestina Mukoko is due in the High Court on January 30 where lawyers

are pushing for her release on bail, pending a still unscheduled

hearing in the Supreme Court on the legality of her abduction.

Numerous court cases have been delayed, as court clerks join other

poorly paid civil servants in unofficial strikes. Of the 21 abductees

who have appeared in police custody, only two have been released to

date-Tawanda Bvumo and two-year-old Nigel Mutemagau. 15 have

testified that they were tortured in state custody. 11 are still

missing.

 

¶8. Teachers Don’t Show… Only a handful of government schools

admitted students this week despite the government’s mandate that

schools open on January 27. The closures were caused by a nationwide

boycott by the two major teachers unions, the Progressive Teachers

Union of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, who are

demanding that their members be paid in foreign currency. The few

government schools that did open had worked out arrangements with

parents who paid between US$100 and US$200 in tuition for the term.

The private trust schools-which charge far more-were all opened this

week.

 

———————————-

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

¶9. GOZ Introduces Wildly Optimistic Budget… Acting Minister of

Finance Patrick Chinamasa introduced a US$1.9 billion budget to

Parliament on January 29, amid jeering from opposition MPs. The

Minister proposed a range of market liberalization measures. He also

proposed the use of multiple currencies alongside the Zimbabwe dollar

as the solution to Zimbabwe’s runaway inflation. However, it is

unclear how the GOZ can raise enough foreign exchange in taxes to

achieve a balanced budget. Given that most companies have succumbed

to the harsh economic environment, and over 90 percent of production

is now done by the informal sector, it is difficult to see how the

dollarization will succeed. Much depends on donor support. Overall,

the budget is long on intentions but short on how to achieve the

targets. See Harare 061.

 

¶10. Tobacco Output Well Below Target… Chinamasa revealed in

yesterday’s budget that tobacco output for the 2007/08 season fell to

Qyesterday’s budget that tobacco output for the 2007/08 season fell to

a mere 45 million kg-well below the targeted 73 million kg, and down

from the 2000 peak of 237 million kg despite massive financial

support from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

 

¶11. More Strikes Looming as Collective Bargaining Period

Approaches… With the pervasive dollarization of the economy,

workers are demanding salary payments in foreign currency. A growing

number of employees have joined the strike bandwagon that started

with teachers and health workers. National Railways of Zimbabwe

employees began a “go slow” a month ago; they were joined by postal

service workers on January 21 and Zimbabwe National Water Authority

employees the following day. Workers from the Apex Council

representing public servants are considering taking industrial action

 

HARARE 00000075 003 OF 003

 

 

against government for failing to agree on payment of salaries in

foreign currency. Given the dire shortage of foreign exchane,

Zimbabwe is likely to witness widespread strikes in the short term.

 

¶12. Companies Devise Survival Strategies… In an effort to reduce

costs and remain viable, agricultural manufacturer, Chemco Holdings,

is rationalizing its business units and shutting down remote retail

outlets. Its latest financial results reflect a 40 percent real

decline in business activity in 2008. Meanwhile, Dunlop Zimbabwe

Limited and National Tyre Services, both owned by Apollo Tires of

India, have announced plans to merge as a way of hedging against the

negative operating environment and offering increased value to

shareholders.

 

¶13. Zimbabwe’s U.S. Dollar Inflation High But Falling… The use of

foreign currency alongside the Zimbabwe dollar improved the

availability of goods in recent months, but prices were sky high for

much of 2008. Private estimates put the U.S. dollar annual inflation

rate in Zimbabwe at between 60 and 100 percent. In recent weeks U.S.

dollar prices for goods have begun to fall as dollarization of the

economy introduced more competition.

 

¶14. Economic Tidbit of the Week: A mother of a student enrolled in

a government school reported that the full school uniform for her

primary school-aged child was US$250 this term. Last term the cost

was the equivalent of US$75.

 

—————–

Quote of the Week

—————–

 

¶15. “The time to go is now, we are ready to give you a golden

handshake if you will quit.” — Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga

speaking on January 29 about Mugabe, while at the World Economic

Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

 

 

MCGEE

 

(5 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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