Gono Profiteered – DRC Envoy

The DRC envoy made the remarks after the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray had paid a courtesy call at his offices in Harare in December 2010. Their discussion was intercepted and leaked by whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks. Mawapanga told Ray that the same could be said for many Zanu (PF) ministers who did not seem to have the country’s best interests at heart.

Mawapanga told Ray that the DRC had sent its central bank governor to Harare to spend the whole day with Gono but the visit was a total waste.

“The only thing that made sense, Mawapanga said, is that Gono was profiting from his actions – in fact, the term he used was profiteering,” Ray said.

The DRC ambassador said Gono had single-handedly destroyed the value of the national currency because instead of focusing on combating inflation and keeping the national currency strong, his actions had the opposite effect.

In a revealing disclosure, he said the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) which had its own problems, most significantly lack of experience and no apparent plan to govern was the best thing that could have happened to Zimbabwe.

The DRC is largely thought to be close to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) especially after the Zimbabwe Defence Forces were deployed to help then DRC leader Laurent Kabila repel an incursion by armed rebels, who were being propped up by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

The DRC ambassador also touched on the contentious succession issue in Zanu (PF) saying Mugabe was playing a waiting game as he attempted to identify an individual within his party would play a unifying role.

He said Mugabe’s physical frailty and advanced age could make it impossible for him to identify a successor.

“In such a case (either through his death or inability to physically function) the Zanu (PF) factions would go at each other,” said Mawapanga.

Mawapanga said Mugabe believed the military was professional and would tell the politicians to get their act together and serve whoever came out on top.

Ray described the meeting with the DRC ambassador as “an uncharacteristic session of candor” saying the envoy was critical of Zanu (PF) and indirectly President Mugabe. Mawapanga told Ray: “The parties here need to spend more time talking to each other to meet the needs of the people, and less time focusing on scoring political points.”

Land reform here was inevitable, but Zanu (PF) had handled it poorly, distributing land to cronies rather than to the small farmers who, with help, could revive agricultural production.

“Zanu (PF) needs to quit using western sanctions as an excuse not to improve conditions in the country, but the West (U.S. and EU) need to try and find positive things to focus on to help the process along.”

In his commentary Ray said further: “I met with DRC Ambassador Mawampanga Mwana Nanga on December 14 at the DRC Embassy. He has been in Harare for eight years, with his family remaining in the DRC, and he says that as soon as Kabila is no longer President of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) he plans to lobby to return home.

“Mawapanga, who served as DRC Finance Minister before Laurent Kabila’s assassination and was thought to have a role in designing the financial aspects of Zimbabwe’s then-military support for the DRC, has been a thorn in the side of many of the Western ambassadors here, most notably the U.S. and UK, who have often been accused of trying to overthrow the Mugabe regime.

“Surprisingly, during our meeting he was friendly and in his criticism of Mugabe and Zanu (PF)uncharacteristically candid and blunt.”

“As an example, he said he finds it strange that Zanu-PF will complain of the crippling effect of sanctions on the one hand, then spend millions on a large delegation going on a trip, or claim to have US$10 million for agricultural inputs,” Ray said. “Furthermore, he said, they will distribute this largesse to cronies rather than the small-holder farmers who could really revitalise the country’s agricultural production.”