US embassy cable - 00HARARE4767

AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER FRANCIS NHEMA

Identifier: 00HARARE4767
Wikileaks: View 00HARARE4767 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2000-08-29 11:37:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINR SENV EIND EAID ZI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

291137Z Aug 00


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5875

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6951
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 004767 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/05 
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, SENV, EIND, EAID, ZI 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER 
FRANCIS NHEMA 
 
REF HARARE 4695 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD, REASON 1.5 (B), 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04767  01 OF 03  291137Z 
(D) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  ON AUGUST 24, AMBASSADOR MCDONALD PAID 
AN INTRODUCTORY VISIT TO NEW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT 
AND TOURISM FRANCIS NHEMA, WHO IS ONE OF THE YOUNGEST 
MEMBERS OF THE NEW CABINET.  HAVING SPENT MOST OF THE 
LAST 11 YEARS IN THE U.S. AND CANADA, NHEMA GENERALLY 
SEES THE U.S.-ZIMBABWE RELATIONSHIP IN A POSITIVE LIGHT. 
STILL LEARNING THE MINISTERIAL ROPES, HE ACKNOWLEDGED 
THE EFFECTS OF THIS YEAR'S POLITICAL VIOLENCE ON 
ZIMBABWE'S TOURISM INDUSTRY, BUT HAD ONLY THE GOVERNMENT 
LINE TO OFFER ON LAND REFORM.  ALTHOUGH ASSOCIATED WITH 
THE YOUNGER GENERATION, NHEMA DOES NOT YET APPEAR TO 
HAVE THE POLITICAL WHEREWITHAL OR PERSONALITY TO AFFECT 
ANY REAL CHANGE IN CABINET.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) THE AMBASSADOR, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFF AND 
USAIDOFF, PAID AN INTRODUCTORY VISIT TO NEW MINISTER FOR 
ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM FRANCIS NHEMA.  NHEMA IS ONE OF 
THE NEW YOUNG BLOODS IN CABINET, AND, AS HE TOLD US, IS 
THE SECOND-YOUNGEST MEMBER AFTER YOUTH DEVELOPMENT 
MINISTER BORDER GEZI.  THE SOFT-SPOKEN NHEMA INFORMED 
THE AMBASSADOR THAT THIS IS HIS SECOND POSTING IN THE 
ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY, WHERE HE WORKED IN THE 1980S AS A 
SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE VENERABLE VICTORIA CHITEPO (WIDOW 
OF LIBERATION WAR HERO HERBERT CHITEPO), THEN 
ENVIRONMENT MINISTER. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04767  01 OF 03  291137Z 
------------------------------------ 
U.S.-ZIMBABWE RELATIONSHIP UNCHANGED 
------------------------------------ 
 
3.  (C) THE AMBASSADOR BEGAN THE DISCUSSION BY ASKING 
NHEMA HOW HE ASSESSES THE U.S.-ZIMBABWE RELATIONSHIP. 
THE MINISTER CONSIDERS IT ESSENTIALLY UNCHANGED UNLESS 
ONE CONSIDERS THE SUSPENSION OF IMF AND WORLD BANK 
SUPPORT.  HE CHARACTERIZED IT AS BETTER THAN THE 
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.K.  WHEN ASKED TO EXPLAIN THE 
INCREASE IN ANTI-AMERICAN RHETORIC, NHEMA BLAMED MEDIA 
BIAS AND THE BRITISH FOR COMING BETWEEN ZIMBABWE AND THE 
U.S.  ZIMBABWEANS TEND TO LUMP THE U.S. AND U.K. 
TOGETHER AS "THE WEST," SO WHEN THE BRITISH RELATIONSHIP 
SUFFERS, THE AMERICAN ONE DOES AS WELL, NHEMA OFFERED. 
THE AMBASSADOR ENCOURAGED NHEMA AND OTHER OFFICIALS TO 
DISCUSS THEIR DIFFERENCES WITH THE U.S. PRIVATELY AND 
NOT IN THE PRESS, TO WHICH NHEMA AGREED. 
 
------------------ 
TOURISM SUFFERS... 
------------------ 
 
4.  (C) THE DISCUSSION TURNED TO TOURISM AND THE EFFECT 
THIS YEAR'S POLITICAL VIOLENCE HAS HAD ON THE INDUSTRY. 
THE AMBASSADOR STATED THAT DESPITE ZIMBABWE'S MANY 
PROBLEMS, AMERICAN VISITORS CONTINUE TO COME TO THE 
COUNTRY.  HOWEVER, AMERICANS ARE DIRECTED TO FOLLOW THE 
STATE DEPARTMENT'S TRAVEL ADVISORY BEFORE PLANNING THEIR 
TRIP.  THE AMBASSADOR SAID A PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN 
TO PROMOTE ZIMBABWE TOURISM WOULD NOT BE EFFECTIVE SO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04767  01 OF 03  291137Z 
LONG AS SQUATTERS CONTINUE TO ILLEGALLY OCCUPY FARMS AND 
INTIMIDATE THEIR OWNERS.   THE MINISTER ACKNOWLEDGED, 
SOMEWHAT GRUDGINGLY, THAT THERE IS LITTLE HE CAN DO TO 
IMPROVE ZIMBABWEAN TOURISM UNTIL THE LAND ISSUE IS 
SETTLED.  BEFORE THE PROBLEMS DEVELOPED EARLIER THIS 
YEAR, PROMOTING ZIMBABWE AS A TOURIST DESTINATION FOR 
AMERICANS WAS AN IMPORTANT UNDERTAKING BY THE EMBASSY. 
 
------------------------------ 
...WHILE LAND REFORM GRINDS ON 
------------------------------ 
 
5.  (C) PARROTING THE GOVERNMENT LINE, NHEMA REITERATED 
THAT THE FARM OCCUPIERS WERE TO BE OFF THE FARMS NOT 
IDENTIFIED FOR COMPULSORY ACQUISTION BY THE END OF 
SEPTEMBER AND THAT FIVE MILLION HECTARES WERE TO BE 
REDISTRIBUTED BY DECEMBER.  OCCUPIERS ALREADY ON FARMS 
DESIGNATED FOR REDISTRIBUTION WOULD BE ALLOWED TO 
REMAIN, HOWEVER.  ASKED ABOUT THE EVICTIONS OF THE WEEK 
OF AUGUST 21 (REFTEL), NHEMA SAID THE POLICE DID NOT 
FOLLOW GOVERNMENT POLICY AS THOSE EVICTED DID NOT HAVE 
OTHER LAND ON WHICH TO SETTLE.  THE AMBASSADOR POINTED 
OUT THAT THE GOZ DOES NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES TO RESETTLE 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5876 
 
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                  ------------------7F28FB  291138Z /38 
O 291137Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6952 
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 HARARE 004767 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/05 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, SENV, EIND, EAID, ZI 
 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER 
FRANCIS NHEMA 
 
SO MANY PEOPLE IN SUCH A SHORT TIME.  UPHOLDING THE 
PRINCIPLES OF THE OWNERSHIP OF PRIVATE PROPERTY AND RULE 
OF LAW, IN THE U.S. VIEW, IS ESSENTIAL TO RESTORING 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04767  02 OF 03  291138Z 
INTERNATIONAL DONOR SUPPORT, AND, THUS, ENSURING 
ZIMBABWE'S LAND REFORM PROGRAM IS A SUCCESS. 
 
6.  (C) WHEN ASKED WHY THE GOZ SHOULD NOT REDISTRIBUTE 
LAND GIVEN TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND CRONIES OVER THE 
YEARS, NHEMA FLATLY DENIED THAT ANY LAND HAD BEEN GIVEN 
TO GOVERNMENT MINISTERS, BUT DID NOT RULE OUT THAT 
LOWER-LEVEL OFFICIALS HAD RECEIVED FARMS.  MOST 
PROPERTIES WERE TOO SMALL FOR SENIOR GOVERNMENT 
OFFICIALS, NHEMA EXPLAINED, AND EVEN IF THEY DID RECEIVE 
FARMS, THEY WERE STILL LEASED FROM THE GOVERNMENT.  IF 
THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE INPUTS OR TRAINING TO 
NEW FARMERS, IS IT NOT SETTING THEM UP FOR FAILURE? 
SIDESTEPPING THE ISSUE, THE MINISTER RESPONSED THAT FOR 
THE COMMUNAL FARMER, RESETTLEMENT IS "HEAVEN."  ALL HE 
WANTS IS LAND.  WHAT ABOUT THE URBAN POOR WHO ARE MORE 
INTERESTED IN FINDING JOBS THAN OBTAINING LAND?  EVERY 
ZIMBABWEAN, ESPECIALLY URBAN DWELLERS, DREAM OF RETIRING 
TO THEIR HOME AREAS TO FARM THEIR NATIVE SOIL, ACCORDING 
TO NHEMA.  MORE AND MORE URBAN ZIMBABWEANS ARE APPLYING 
FOR COMMUNAL LAND, BUT CANNOT GET IT BECAUSE OF 
OVERCROWDED CONDITIONS IN THE COMMUNAL AREAS. 
 
-------------------------------- 
U.S. HELP ON WILDLIFE PROTECTION 
-------------------------------- 
 
7.  (U) USAIDOFF BRIEFED THE ENVIRONMENT AND TOURSIM 
MINISTER ON TWO PROGRAMS OF MUTUAL INTEREST.  THE 
CAMPFIRE (COMMUNAL AREAS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR 
INDIGENOUS RESOURCES) PROGRAM WAS STARTED IN 1989 TO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  04767  02 OF 03  291138Z 
HELP RURAL ZIMBABWEANS CONSERVE THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES 
AND ACQUIRE INCOME FROM PROPER GAME MANAGEMENT.  THE 
PROGRAM IS IN ITS FINAL TWO YEARS OF IMPLEMENTATON AND 
MAJOR EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY TO COMPLETE REMAINING 
ACTIVITIES AND OBJECTIVES.  THE U.S. HAS PROVIDED $13 
MILLION TO THE WIDELY EMULATED PROGRAM SINCE ITS 
INCEPTION, AND WILL BE LOOKING FOR CONTINUED GOZ 
SUPPORT.  REGARDING CITES (CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL 
TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF FAUNA AND FLORA), THE 
EMBASSY HAS SUPPORTED ZIMBABWE'S ELEPHANT AND IVORY 
POLICY.  IN ORDER TO CONTINUE THAT SUPPORT, IT IS 
IMPORTANT FOR ZIMBABWE TO CONTINUE TO MANAGE ITS 
WILDLIFE AND IVORY STOCKS IN A SUSTAINABLE MANNER. 
 
---------------- 
NOT A PLAYER YET 
---------------- 
 
8.  (C) COMMENT: STILL LEARNING THE MINISTERIAL ROPES, 
NHEMA STUCK CLOSELY TO THE GOVERNMENT SCRIPT ON LAND 
REFORM BUT DID ACCEPT, SOMEWHAT GRUDGINGLY, THAT THE 
TOURISM INDUSTRY WOULD CONTINUE TO SUFFER UNTIL THE LAND 
ISSUE IS RESOLVED.  NHEMA ASKED QUESTIONS AND APPEARED 
INTERESTED IN LEARNING THE U.S. POSITION ON A VARIETY OF 
ISSUES.  WE SUSPECT THAT WITH HIS RELATIVE YOUTH, 
WESTERN EDUCATION AND WORKING EXPERIENCE IN THE BANKING 
INDUSTRY, NHEMA IS FULLY AWARE OF THE LINKAGES BETWEEN 
GOVERNMENT-MOTIVATED POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND ECONOMIC 
DECLINE.  HOWEVER, HE IS STILL TOO NEW TO THE CURRENT 
GOVERNMENT TO GO OUT ON A LIMB.  IN ANY CASE, NHEMA DOES 
NOT APPEAR TO HAVE THE POLITICAL WHEREWITHAL OR 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  04767  02 OF 03  291138Z 
PERSONALITY TO AFFECT ANY REAL CHANGE IN CABINET, AND WE 
DO NOT EXPECT HIM TO WIELD MUCH INFLUENCE IN THE 
ZIMBABWE GOVERNMENT ANY TIME SOON. 
 
9.  (U) BIO NOTE: FRANCIS NHEMA IS APPROXIMATELY 45 
YEARS OLD AND HAILS FROM THE SHURUGWI DISTRICT OF 
MIDLANDS PROVINCE.  NHEMA WORKED IN THE ENVIRONMENT 
MINISTRY BETWEEN 1985 AND 1989 AS A SPECIAL TOURISM 
ADVISOR FOR VICTORIA CHITEPO, WHO WAS ENVIRONMENT 
MINISTER AT THE TIME.  HE THEN WORKED AS A PUBLICIST IN 
THE BANKING AND TOURISM INDUSTRIES IN NEW YORK, 
WASHINGTON, AND OTTAWA, CANADA UNTIL ABOUT 1996.  NHEMA 
RETURNED TO ZIMBABWE TO BECOME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE 
ZIMBABWE BUILDING SOCIETY (ZBS), THE FIRST INDIGENOUS 
FIRM TO PROVIDE MORTGAGES TO LOW-INCOME HOUSING BUYERS. 
ALLEGATIONS AROSE IN THE PRESS THAT NHEMA SIPHONED OFF 
MILLIONS OF U.S. DOLLARS FROM ZBS FOR HIS PERSONAL USE. 
CHARGES OF FRAUD WERE FILED, AND ALL BUT ONE WAS LATER 
DROPPED.  ONE IS APPARENTLY STILL PENDING.  IN 1999, THE 
GOVERNMENT BAILED ZBS OUT OF BANKRUPTCY, AND NHEMA LEFT 
THE ORGANIZATION.  NHEMA RETURNED TO GOVERNMENT IN 2000 
AFTER HIS ELECTION TO PARLIAMENT FROM HIS NATIVE 
MIDLANDS PROVINCE, AND WAS APPOINTED MINISTER IN JULY. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ5877 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  04767  03 OF 03  291138Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00 
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                  ------------------7F28FE  291138Z /38 
O 291137Z AUG 00 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6953 
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 HARARE 004767 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR AF, AF/S 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/05 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, SENV, EIND, EAID, ZI 
 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER 
FRANCIS NHEMA 
 
NHEMA IS MARRIED TO MATADI NHEMA, A DAUGHTER OF THE LATE 
VICE-PRESIDENT JOSHUA NKOMO, AND IS A MEMBER OF ZANU-PF. 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  04767  03 OF 03  291138Z 
 
MCDONALD 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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