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Ambassadors said Tsvangirai needed to defend his victory

Ambassadors from the Southern African Development Community told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai needed to defend the victory that he claimed in the 2008 elections.

To do this, they said, Tsvangirai had to be in Zimbabwe talking with SADC and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Tsvangirai had fled the country fearing his arrest following the government’s delay in releasing the results of the presidential elections which Tsvangirai claimed he had won.

The ambassadors said SAD would be glad to discuss Tsvangirai’s security with him.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE408, AMBASSADOR HOSTS MEETING ON VIOLENCE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE408

2008-05-07 14:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7533

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0408/01 1281430

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 071430Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2872

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1965

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2087

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0639

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1364

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1721

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2143

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4574

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1226

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000408

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

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

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/07/2018

TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR HOSTS MEETING ON VIOLENCE

 

REF: HARARE 395

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

———-

SUMMARY

———–

 

1. (C) The Ambassador hosted a meeting with SADC ambassadors

and representatives on May 7 to discuss the growing violence

in Zimbabwe. He showed a video prepared by the Solidarity

Peace Trust, which contains statements of violence victims

and graphic images. Members of a USAID team that had

traveled to Manicaland two weeks ago also shared their

experiences. The Ambassador then led a discussion on ending

the violence. The SADC invitees were appreciative of getting

first-hand information and accepted the Ambassador’s

invitation to accompany him to a local hospital to meet with

victims, and to a rural area that has witnessed extensive

violence. All voiced support for the democratic process and

said it was imperative that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai

return to Zimbabwe. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Ambassadors from the DRC, Namibia, Botswana,

Mozambique and Angola attended, as well as representatives

from the South African, Tanzanian and Malawian embassies. No

one from the Zambian embassy was able to attend.

 

3. (C) The Ambassador opened the meeting with a screening of

the Solidarity Peace Trust video, which includes

heart-rending interviews with victims of violence and graphic

images of their injuries. Two members of the USAID team then

recounted their trip of a couple of weeks ago to Nyanga,

Mutare, and Chipingi where they interviewed MDC victims of

violence and displaced persons (Ref). An LES member of the

team noted that violence had intensified since their trip,

and that ZANU-PF youth in many areas were now going door to

door in order to compile lists of MDC supporters.

 

4. (C) Kicking off a discussion, the Ambassador emphatically

averred that a crisis was occurring, violence was manifest,

and that the overriding issue was how to stop the violence.

He hoped to be able to work with SADC missions in Harare to

do this.

 

5. (C) The Botswanan, Namibian, and Angolan ambassadors said

they were following the situation closely. The Botswanan

ambassador noted that “nobody condones this barbarity,” the

Angolan ambassador stated that “nobody can say there’s no

crisis,” and the Namibian ambassador agreed that something

had to be done–the question was what. These ambassadors

agreed that information was key. The video was helpful and

they requested copies to forward to their capitals.

 

6. (C) On the issue of a way forward, the Angolan ambassador

said that SADC wanted to help Zimbabwe–not ZANU-PF or the

MDC. The SADC ministerial troika of the politics, security,

and defense organ (Angola, Swaziland, and Zambia) had met

with the Zimbabwean government and had also traveled to

Zambia and South Africa. The Angolan ambassador admitted it

was not easy to talk to the GOZ–it was stubborn and didn’t

want to discuss the issue of violence. Nevertheless, SADC

was committed to staying engaged. Complicating SADC’s

efforts was Tsvangirai’s absence from Zimbabwe.   The SADC

ambassadors were emphatic that Tsvangirai needed to be in

Zimbabwe to talk with SADC, with ZANU-PF, and to defend the

victory that he claimed. (NOTE: To the issue of

Tsvangirai’s fear for his life and concern that his passport

could be seized as it was in the past, the ambassadors said

SADC would be glad to discuss his security with him, and help

him address the passport issue. END NOTE.)

 

 

HARARE 00000408 002 OF 002

 

 

7. (C) The Angolan ambassador also stated SADC’s interest in

an “impartial, independent, free of corruption” election, and

added that SADC must demonstrate its own impartiality. He

said SADC was prepared to help Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe

Electoral Commission (ZEC) financially to hold a runoff

election.

 

8. (C) The only discordant note came from the DRC

ambassador, the dean of the diplomatic corps, who argued that

the MDC had instigated the current wave of violence and was

at least as responsible as ZANU-PF. He also opined that

Zimbabwe was a regional issue, and that SADC should handle it

without interference from the West.

 

9. (C) The Ambassador welcomed the cooperation of the SADC

representatives and their desires to be better informed about

the reign of violence. They readily accepted his invitation

to accompany him on a visit this week or early next week to

Avenues Hospital in Harare to interview victims of violence,

and on a subsequent trip to a rural area to examine violence.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) We continue to believe SADC has a potentially

important role to play in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.

This was a successful meeting in terms of letting the SADC

representatives know of our concern about the spiraling

violence, informing them about the extent of the violence,

and letting them know we consider SADC to be a key in ending

violence.

 

11. (C) Several of the ambassadors commented that while they

are trying to become better informed about the current

situation, policy is made in their capitals. In that regard,

we believe it critical for our embassies in these capitals to

continue to discuss in any way possible the ongoing violence,

and to disseminate the very effective Solidarity Peace Trust

video as widely as possible. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

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