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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HARARE644 2001-02-05 15:49:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT HOUNDS SUPREME COURT CHIEF

Tags:   PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI 
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051549Z Feb 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ1790

PAGE 01        HARARE  00644  01 OF 02  051552Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00  DINT-00  
      DODE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  
      FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   
      L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  
      PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    IRM-00   
      SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00  
      PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   SWCI-00    /010W
                  ------------------C1060F  051552Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8172
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000644 

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/05/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT HOUNDS SUPREME COURT CHIEF
JUSTICE INTO RETIREMENT


CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL IRVING. REASONS: 1.5
(B) AND (D).

REF: A) HARARE 613 B) HARARE 538 C) HARARE 392
D) HARARE 354 E) HARARE 106



1. (U) JUSTICE MINISTER PATRICK CHINAMASA ANNOUNCED ON
FEBRUARY 2 THE EARLY RETIREMENT OF CHIEF JUSTICE ANTHONY
GUBBAY. SHORTLY AFTER MEETING WITH GUBBAY IN HIS SUPREME
COURT CHAMBERS, CHINAMASA ISSUED A STATEMENT ANNOUNCING
THAT THE CHIEF JUSTICE WOULD TAKE FOUR MONTHS OF LEAVE
BEGINNING ON MARCH 1, THEN WOULD RETIRE ON JUNE 30, NINE
MONTHS BEFORE HE REACHES HIS MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE OF


70. THE MEETING WITH CHINAMASA FOLLOWS A JANUARY 22
MEETING BETWEEN GUBBAY AND VICE-PRESIDENT MUZENDA (REF B),
DURING WHICH, ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, GUBBAY THREATENED
TO RESIGN AFTER MUZENDA DISMISSED HIS REQUEST FOR
PROTECTION AGAINST INCREASING HARASSMENT BY SO-CALLED WAR
VETERANS. CHINAMASA SUBSEQUENTLY INFORMED GUBBAY, IN THE
FEBRUARY 2 MEETING, THAT HE HAD BEEN SENT TO ACCEPT
GUBBAY'S RESIGNATION.



2. (C) WE WERE SURPRISED BY THE ABRUPTNESS OF GUBBAY'S
DEPARTURE, PARTICULARLY GIVEN THE CHIEF JUSTICE'S
ASSURANCES TO US ON JANUARY 26 (REF B) THAT HE INTENDED TO
REMAIN ON THE COURT UNTIL AT LEAST THE END OF THE YEAR.
THE CHARGE PHONED GUBBAY ON FEBRUARY 5 TO SOLICIT HIS
ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAD TRANSPIRED IN THE CHINAMASA MEETING.
WITHOUT ELABORATING, GUBBAY TOLD THE CHARGE THAT HE IS NOT
LEAVING OF HIS OWN FREE WILL. (NOTE: ONE INFORMED SOURCE
TOLD US THAT UPON READING THE TRANSCRIPT OF MUZENDA'S
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z
MEETING, MUGABE REPORTEDLY SAID "TELL HIM WE ACCEPT HIS
RESIGNATION." END NOTE.) THE CHIEF JUSTICE CONFIRMED THAT
HE WILL TAKE FOUR MONTHS OF ACCUMULATED LEAVE BEGINNING ON
MARCH 1 AND WILL RETIRE ON JUNE 30. PRESIDENT MUGABE,
ACCORDING TO GUBBAY, PLANS TO APPOINT JUDGE PRESIDENT OF
THE HIGH COURT GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU AS ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE
DURING THE FOUR-MONTH LEAVE AND, PRESUMABLY, AS HIS FORMAL
SUCCESSOR UPON GUBBAY'S OFFICIAL RETIREMENT. GUBBAY SAID
HE GREATLY APPRECIATED THE LARGE NUMBER OF MESSAGES OF
SUPPORT HE HAD RECEIVED DURING THE WEEKEND.



3. (C) IN A SEPARATE CONVERSATION WITH CHARGE DURING THE
FEBRUARY 3-4 WEEKEND, TOM WALTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF
MOBIL OIL ZIMBABWE AND AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, EXPRESSED ALARM
AT THE LIKELY DETRIMENTAL IMPACT OF GUBBAY'S EARLY
RETIREMENT ON BUSINESS CONFIDENCE, ALREADY AT AN ALL-TIME
LOW. THE CHIEF JUSTICE'S DEPARTURE PROMPTED WALTER TO
WRITE A LETTER TO HIS HEADQUARTERS RECOMMENDING A
REASSESSMENT OF MOBIL'S PRESENCE IN ZIMBABWE.

COMMENT


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





4. (C) CHINAMASA'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF GUBBAY'S EARLY
RETIREMENT FOLLOWED MONTHS OF GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED
HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION (REFTELS) OF THE WELL-RESPECTED
CHIEF JUSTICE AND -- TO A LESSER DEGREE -- HIS COLLEAGUES
ON THE COUNTRY'S HIGHEST BENCH. INDEED, GUBBAY'S DEPARTURE
CONCLUDED A WEEK-AND-A-HALF OF ESCALATING INTIMIDATION OF
THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA, THE JUDICIARY, TOWN COUNCILS AROUND
THE COUNTRY, AND MANY OTHER INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00644 01 OF 02 051552Z
WHICH HAVE EXPRESSED -- OR ARE SUSPECTED OF HARBORING --
VIEWS CONTRARY TO THOSE ESPOUSED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
GUBBAY'S COMMENT TO US THAT HE IS NOT LEAVING OF HIS OWN
FREE WILL CONFIRMED OUR SUSPICION THAT HIS DEPARTURE IS
UNDER DURESS.



5. (C) THE SHORT-TERM IMPACT OF THE EXPECTED PROMOTION OF
THE UNABASHEDLY PRO-ZANU-PF GODFREY CHIDYAUSIKU IS UNCLEAR,
AS THE CHIEF JUSTICE IS, IN PRACTICE, FIRST AMONG EQUALS
AND WILL BE UNABLE TO RUN ROUGHSHOD OVER HIS FOUR FELLOW
JUSTICES. HOWEVER, ONE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, WILSON
SANDURA, REPORTEDLY HAS COMMENTED PRIVATELY TO FRIENDS THAT
HE WOULD STEP DOWN IF CHIDYAUSIKU IS APPOINTED CHIEF
JUSTICE, AND WE EXPECT OTHERS WOULD BE INCLINED TO FOLLOW
SUIT. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NICHOLAS MCNALLY IS EXPECTED
TO REACHED THE MANDATORY RETIREMENT AGE IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
SUCH AN EXODUS WOULD PLAY INTO THE GOVERNMENT'S HANDS, PAVING
THE WAY FOR THE PRESIDENT TO APPOINT JURISTS WILLING TO TOE
THE ZANU-PF LINE, A DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD HAVE A CHILLING
EFFECT ON THE RULE OF LAW AND CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY.
INDEED, GUBBAY'S EARLY RETIREMENT -- AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES
SURROUNDING IT -- HAVE SENT MANY ZIMBABWEANS INTO A PANIC,
AS THEY HAVE RELIED ON THE SUPREME COURT TO BE THE LAST
LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST PRESIDENT MUGABE'S CONSOLIDATION OF
ABSOLUTE POWER.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ1791

PAGE 01 HARARE 00644 02 OF 02 051552Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 FAAE-00
FBIE-00 VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01
PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 IRM-00
SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /010W


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

C10612 051552Z /38
O 051549Z FEB 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8173
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000644

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL. 02/05/11
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINS PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT HOUNDS SUPREME COURT CHIEF
JUSTICE INTO RETIREMENT

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00644 02 OF 02 051552Z

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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