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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE1275
2001-04-09 12:30:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

ZANU-PF INSIDER: THE COUNTRY IS UNDER

Tags:  PGOV ECON EFIN PREL PINR ZI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

091230Z Apr 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1541

PAGE 01        HARARE  01275  01 OF 03  091226Z 
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      PMB-00   DSCC-00  DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00     /009W
                  ------------------DD19FA  091226Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8610
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001275 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR A.AA/AFR V. DICKSON-HORTON AND
AFR/SA C. PALMA
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01275 01 OF 03 091226Z

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/11
TAGS: PGOV ECON EFIN PREL PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF INSIDER: THE COUNTRY IS UNDER
INFORMAL SANCTIONS


CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR
REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) AN ACADEMIC WITH VERY CLOSE TIES TO ZANU-PF
LEADERSHIP CIRCLES, CLEVER MUMBENGEGWI, TOLD US APRIL 2
THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT BELIEVES IT IS OPERATING
UNDER AN INFORMAL INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS REGIME. THE
GOVERNMENT PERCEIVES THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AS
BEING BIASED IN FAVOR OF THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR
DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), A PARTY HE DISMISSED AS
INEFFECTIVE AND BOUND FOR OBLIVION. HE BELIEVED THE
WEST WAS WILLING TO ENGAGE MEANINGFULLY WITH ZIMBABWE
ONLY WHEN PRESIDENT MUGABE IS OFF THE SCENE. HE
CONFIRMED TENSIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE WHITE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY, ATTRIBUTING THEM TO AN AGENDA OF
WRECKING THE ECONOMY TO THE LATTER. HE DEFENDED THE
GOVERNMENT'S POLICY OF NOT DEVALUING THE CURRENCY,
SAYING THAT TO DO SO WOULD HURT THE MAJORITY OF
ZIMBABWEANS WHO ARE DEPENDENT ON CHEAP IMPORTS. HE SAW
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01275 01 OF 03 091226Z
RESOLUTION OF THE LAND REFORM PROBLEM AS THE PANACEA FOR
ZIMBABWE'S POLITICAL TROUBLES, NOTING THAT THE
GOVERNMENT COULD SORT OUT QUICKLY ANCILLARY DIFFICULTIES
ASSOCIATED WITH THE FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT EFFORT. HE
THOUGHT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS A KEY ROLE TO
PLAY IN RESTORING ZIMBABWE TO ECONOMIC HEALTH, BUT
DOUBTED IT WOULD MAKE ANY MOVE TO HELP PRIOR TO THE
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SCHEDULED FOR 2002. WE BELIEVE
MUMBENGEGWI'S COMMENTS REFLECT THE MAINSTREAM THINKING
OF ZANU-PF -- PARANOID, ISOLATIONIST, ECONOMICALLY
UNSOUND AND MARKED BY CONSPIRACY THEORIES. IF THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WANTS TO REVERSE ZIMBABWE'S
RAPID ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DECLINE, IT MUST DO A
BETTER JOB OF GETTING AND SUSTAINING THE GOVERNMENT'S
ATTENTION. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


US VERSUS THEM


--------------------------





2. (C) ZANU-PF INSIDER AND DEAN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
ZIMBABWE'S FACULTY OF SOCIAL STUDIES CLEVER MUMBENGEGWI
(HIS BROTHER SAMUEL IS THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SPORT
AND CULTURE, AND HIS BROTHER SIMBARASHE IS THE
ZIMBABWEAN HIGH COMMISSIONER IN LONDON) TOLD US APRIL 2
THAT IT WAS THE GOVERNMENT'S WIDELY-HELD PERCEPTION THAT
ZIMBABWE WAS UNDER UNOFFICIAL SANCTIONS, WITH THE
PROSPECT OF THEIR BEING LIFTED SOON CLOSE TO NIL. HE
THOUGHT THAT FOREIGN INVESTORS AND THE INTERNATIONAL
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS WERE ON THE SIDELINES AND WAITING
FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TO TAKE PLACE BEFORE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 01275 01 OF 03 091226Z
ENGAGING ZIMBABWE MEANINGFULLY ONCE AGAIN.



3. (C) THE PERCEPTION IS THAT THE INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY WAS SITTING WITH ITS ARMS CROSSED WATCHING
ZIMBABWE COLLAPSE, ASSUMING THAT IT IS A BASKET CASE
LIKE OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES. THE POSITION OF THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO FOSTER THE DOWNFALL AND
REMOVAL OF THE RULING PARTY IMPINGES ON ZIMBABWE'S
ECONOMIC HEALTH; IT IS NOT SOLELY A DOMESTIC ISSUE. THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S FOCUS ON A PERSONALITY, AND
ITS WITHHOLDING OF ASSISTANCE UNTIL THAT PERSONALITY IS
CHANGED ONLY GETS US INTO A POLITICAL PROBLEM, HE
AVERRED.



4. (C) MUMBENGEGWI CONTINUED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTED
TO USE THE ISSUE OF LAND REFORM TO BEGIN SOLVING
DOMESTIC PROBLEMS ONCE AND FOR ALL, AS IT WAS AN ISSUE
AROUND WHICH MOST ZIMBABWEANS COULD RALLY. ONCE
COMPENSATION FOR LAND COULD BE ARRANGED, THE GOVERNMENT
COULD QUICKLY TAKE CARE OF THE OTHER THINGS, SUCH AS
FARM INVASIONS, IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. THE REASON
WHY THERE IS NO GOING BACK ON THE LAND ISSUE IS THAT
POLITICIANS HAVE SOLD THE PROGRAM TO THE NATION.
ALTHOUGH HE AGREED THAT THEY OUGHT TO HAVE SOMETHING
ELSE TO OFFER, IT WOULD COST ZANU-PF POLITICALLY IF IT

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1542

PAGE 01 HARARE 01275 02 OF 03 091226Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00
EUR-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 FRB-00
H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01
NSAE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00
P-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 FMP-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /009W


--------------------------

DD1A08 091226Z /38
P 091230Z APR 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8611
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 001275

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR A.AA/AFR V. DICKSON-HORTON AND
AFR/SA C. PALMA
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01275 02 OF 03 091226Z

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/11
TAGS: PGOV ECON EFIN PREL PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF INSIDER: THE COUNTRY IS UNDER
INFORMAL SANCTIONS

WERE TO RETRACT THE FAST-TRACK RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM.
THAT THE GOVERNMENT ALONE SHOULD PAY FOR THE LAND
RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE WAS ABSURD, MUMBENGEGWI STATED,
AVERRING THAT AT NO TIME IN HISTORY HAS THIS OCCURRED.
HE DISMISSED ANY GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE
IMPENDING MAIZE SHORTAGE, ASSIGNING BLAME FOR IT TO THE
MID-SEASON DROUGHT, WHICH KILLED OFF MOST OF THE EARLY
CROP, AND THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE LATE CROP BY RECENT,
EXCEEDINGLY HEAVY RAINS.



--------------------------


THE RHODESIAN LEGACY LIVES ON


--------------------------





5. (C) THE SOCIAL STUDIES DEAN STATED THAT THERE WAS A
LACK OF TRUST BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE WHITE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY BECAUSE THAT COMMUNITY WAS DOING ITS
BEST IT COULD TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY'S ECONOMY IN ORDER
TO BRING DOWN THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT. WHITE
BUSINESSMEN, HE ALLEGED, ARE DIRECTING SUBSTANTIAL
PORTIONS OF THEIR FOREIGN EXCHANGE INFLOWS "THROUGH
OTHER CHANNELS," BRINGING ONLY A SMALL FRACTION OF THEIR
EARNINGS VIA OFFICIAL CHANNELS INTO ZIMBABWE. THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01275 02 OF 03 091226Z
PRIVATE SECTOR WAS MYOPIC AS TO WHERE ITS INTERESTS LIE
AND SHORT-TERM IN ITS OUTLOOK, NOT INTERESTED IN THE
GOOD OF THE COUNTRY, ITS GOVERNMENT OR ITS BLACK
CITIZENS. THIS VIEW IS WIDELY HELD AND ACCEPTED AS TRUE
BY THE GOVERNMENT AND ITS LEADERSHIP, HE STATED.



6. (C) HE LECTURED US WITH A STRAIGHT FACE THAT FOR
YEARS BUSINESSPERSONS HAVE LIVED OFF THE TAXPAYER
(NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT BUSINESSES, VIA COMPANY
AND PERSONAL INCOME TAXES, PAY OVER HALF THE NATIONAL
TAX BILL), BUYING UP GOVERNMENT PAPER AND DRIVING UP
INTEREST RATES, SO THAT THEY AND THE BANKS CAN GET THE
HIGH YIELDS, THEREBY PLACING THE GOVERNMENT IN ITS
CURRENT DEBT TRAP. THERE'S A SHORT-TERM PRICE TO BE
BORNE IN TURNING AROUND THE ECONOMY, HE OFFERED, AND THE
COST SHOULD BE BORNE BY THE POPULATION IN GENERAL, AND
NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT. "WE HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE,"
HE SHRUGGED; "SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS CALL FOUL." HE SAID
THAT THE NATION IS IN CRISIS AND IT IS TIME TO STAND
TOGETHER AND NOT TRY TO SPLIT THE NATION, SOMETHING THE
DONOR COMMUNITY IS CLEARLY TRYING TO DO. THE WHITE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS OF THE VIEW
THAT "YOU CAUSED THIS MESS, YOU GET OUT OF POWER."



7. (C) TURNING TO THE REASON WHY THE GOVERNMENT STUCK
TO A DYSFUNCTIONAL A FIXED EXCHANGE RATE, MUMBENGEGWI
EXPLAINED THAT ZIMBABWE IS EXTREMELY IMPORT DEPENDENT;
EVEN MANY OF ITS EXPORTS CONTAIN A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF
IMPORTED CONTENT. ALLOWING THE ZIMBABWE DOLLAR TO FLOAT
TO ITS MARKET VALUE WOULD INCREASE THE PRICE OF INPUTS.
EXPORTERS, WHO HAVE ACCESS TO FOREIGN CURRENCY, FAVOR
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 01275 02 OF 03 091226Z
DEVALUATION. HOWEVER, BECAUSE THEY ARE A MINORITY OF
THE POPULATION (WHEREAS IMPORTS IMPACT A MAJORITY OF THE
POPULATION), THE POLITICAL PRESSURE THEY BRING TO BEAR
TO DEVALUE IS NOT AS INTENSE. IT IS THE GOVERNMENT'S
SINCERE VIEW THAT COUNTRIES THAT HAVE DEVALUED THEIR
CURRENCIES OR IMPLEMENTED STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT HAVE NOT
DONE BETTER THAN THOSE THAT HAVE NOT DONE SO, HE
CLAIMED. HE COMPLAINED THAT THE LAST TIME THE
GOVERNMENT DEVALUED THE CURRENCY FOR 38.5 TO 55 TO THE
U.S. DOLLAR, THERE WAS NO COMMENSURATE IMPROVEMENT IN
EXPORT SECTOR PERFORMANCE. THE GOVERNMENT, HE HELD,
COULD DEVALUE THE CURRENCY BY 1000 PERCENT -- A MOVE
THAT WOULD WRECK THE IMPORT SECTOR -- AND STILL GET NO
RESPONSE. EXPORTERS ARE SIMPLY SEEKING WINDFALL GAINS,
HE ALLEGED, WHICH THEY ARE GETTING IN THE FOREIGN
EXCHANGE BLACK MARKET.



--------------------------


BUT WE SHALL PREVAIL


--------------------------





8. (C) WHILE MUMBENGEGWI BELIEVED THAT THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FAVORED THE OPPOSITION MDC, HE
PREDICTED THAT IF IT WERE TO LOSE THE PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION IT WOULD SUFFER THE FATE OF ALL AFRICAN ALSO-

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1543

PAGE 01 HARARE 01275 03 OF 03 091227Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 ACQ-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00 COME-00
CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00
EUR-00 EXIM-01 E-00 FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 FRB-00
H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 ITC-01 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01
NSAE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00
P-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 FMP-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /009W


--------------------------

DD1A13 091227Z /38
P 091230Z APR 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8612
INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 001275

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR A.AA/AFR V. DICKSON-HORTON AND
AFR/SA C. PALMA
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01275 03 OF 03 091227Z

PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/11
TAGS: PGOV ECON EFIN PREL PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF INSIDER: THE COUNTRY IS UNDER
INFORMAL SANCTIONS

RANS: DISINTEGRATION. "IF THEY WIN," HE OBSERVED
IRONICALLY, "THEN WE WILL HAVE VERY EXCITING TIMES." HE
WAVED AWAY THE CONSTITUTION THAT THE NATIONAL
CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY IS PREPARING, CALLING IT A
CAMPAIGN DOCUMENT TO BE USED AS A RALLYING POINT. HE
THOUGHT THAT THE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION, INSTEAD OF
WORKING TO DEFEAT A FLAWED CONSTITUTION IN THE FEBRUARY
2000 REFERENDUM, SHOULD INSTEAD HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE
DRAFTING PROCESS AND NEGOTIATED ON THE PORTIONS WITH
WHICH IT DISAGREED. HE CLAIMED THAT THE OPPOSITION,
WHICH HAD GROWN FROM THE PRESIDENT AND THE GOVERNMENT'S
ECONOMIC MISMANAGEMENT OF THE COUNTRY, HAD NOT COME UP
WITH AN ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM TO PULL THE COUNTRY OUT OF
ITS CURRENT PREDICAMENT. FURTHERMORE, IT HAD NOT
ARTICULATED HOW IT PLANNED TO BRING THE DONORS BACK.
INDEED, THE OPPOSITION HAS FAILED TO CAPTURE THE
IMAGINATION OF THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE, HE DECLARED. HE
CLAIMED THAT THE FEELING IN THE COUNTRY WAS THAT THE
RULING PARTY HAD GAINED GROUND OVER THE OPPOSITION IN
THE LAST FEW MONTHS. HE ALSO WINKED THAT THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S PUTTING PRESIDENT MUGABE IN A
CORNER SERVED TO BOLSTER HIS DOMESTIC POPULARITY.

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01275 03 OF 03 091227Z


--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





9. (C) IF WE PART FROM THE PREMISE THAT PERCEPTION IS
REALITY, THEN THE U.S.-EDUCATED MUMBENGEGWI GIVES A
DISTRESSING ACCOUNT OF HIS COUNTRY'S GOVERNANCE: THE
MINDS OF ITS LEADERSHIP ARE IN A PRISON OF ECONOMIC
OBSCURANTISM AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES. WE HAVE NO DOUBT
THAT THE SOCIAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR'S EPISTEMOLOGY
REPRESENTS THE MAINSTREAM THINKING OF THE RULING PARTY.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE CHASM BETWEEN THIS PERCEPTION AND
REALITY IS WIDE, AND CORRECTIVE ACTION WITH ANY HOPE OF
DOING GOOD IS THUS FAR OUT OF GRASP. BETWEEN NOW AND
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, REAL DAMAGE TO ZIMBABWE WILL
CONTINUE TO OCCUR AT AN UNSUSTAINABLE RATE, AS THE PARTY
FAITHFUL IGNORE THE CARNAGE AND PLAY FOLLOW-THE-LEADER
TO NEVER-NEVER LAND. IF THE WEST OR THE DONORS WANT TO
CHANGE THIS PATTERN THEY MUST DO A BETTER JOB OF GETTING
-- AND SUSTAINING -- THE GOVERNMENT'S ATTENTION. WE ARE
CONVINCED NOW THAT ONLY STEPS WHICH AFFECT PRESIDENT
MUGABE AND HIS CRONIES PERSONALLY -- SUCH AS RESTRICTING
THEIR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AND FREEZING THEIR ASSETS --
CAN HALT ZIMBABWE'S SLIDE TOWARD ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL
COLLAPSE. END COMMENT.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

>