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AU leaders were expected to tear Mugabe apart

African Union Commission deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha told United States diplomats that it was important to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis before the January 2009 AU summit in Addis Ababa because it would dominate the event and some AU leaders would tear President Robert Mugabe apart.

Mwencha said the AU wanted to play a bigger role in Zimbabwe, even though there was some trepidation about dealing with Mugabe, but it could not do so because the Southern African Development Community had the mandate for dealing with the impasse.

Mwencha said he was going to raise the issue with AU president Jakaya Kikwete who was also a SADC member.

The same sentiments were expressed by Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra who said there had been no positive developments as President Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai continued to bicker over the formation of a new government.

Lamamra said that the AU was limited by the fact that SADC had the mandate over the Zimbabwe crisis so it could not be the locomotive but the complimentary engine.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08ADDISABABA3108, USAU: AU UNVEILS STRATEGIC AND BUDGET PLANS TO

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08ADDISABABA3108

2008-11-14 10:36

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Addis Ababa

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RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUEHDS #3108/01 3191036

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 141036Z NOV 08

FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2745

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7594

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003108

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/FO AND AF/RSA FOR WHALDEMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2018

TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL AU

SUBJECT: USAU: AU UNVEILS STRATEGIC AND BUDGET PLANS TO

PARTNERS GROUP

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN A. SIMON, REASONS 1.4. (B) AND (D).

 

1. (U) Summary: Peace and Security will remain one of the

African Union’s (AU) top priorities in the coming years,

according to the proposed budget for 2009 that the

organization presented to its international partners group on

November 13. The AU’s other “pillars” upon which the budget,

as well as the 2009-12 strategic plan, will rest, consist of

Cooperation, Development, and Regional Integration, Shared

Values, and Institutional Capacity Building. Less than 40

percent of the previous four-year plan was implemented, a

result AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha

attributed to overly ambitious expectations and also a lack

of financial and human capacity.

 

2. (C) The AU Partners Group also exchanged information about

current developments around the African continent. Peace and

Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra reported that the

situation in eastern Congo is not improving despite the call

for a cease-fire, and he announced that he would be traveling

there next week. Lamamra also warned of a “serious

degradation” of the situation in Somalia due to the worsening

humanitarian aid situation, acts of piracy, and Al-Shabab’s

capture of the port city of Marka. Similarly, the AU had

little positive to report about political developments in

Zimbabwe, although Deputy Chairperson Mwencha told Ambassador

that the AU could eventually play a greater role in helping

resolve that crisis. End Summary.

 

——————

AU Budget for 2009

——————

 

3. (U) At the AU Partners Group meeting on November 13, the

AU presented its proposed $152.2 million draft budget for

2009 and the four pillars upon which the budget, and the

2009-12 strategic plan, will rest. Out of the total $152.2

million, $103.3 million would be for operational purposes

while the remaining $48.9 million would go to programs. The

operational budget is fully funded by member states and the

program budget is mainly funded by the AU’s development

partners, which have thus far committed to the AU $32.5

million. (FYI: Seventy-five percent of the member state

financing comes from four countries of which Libya, Nigeria,

and South Africa are the largest contributors. End FYI.)

 

4. (U) The program budget breaks down as follows: Peace and

Security, $5 million; Cooperation, Development, and Regional

Integration, $22.9 million; Shared Valued, $2.9 million; and

Institutional Capacity Building, $18.1 million.

 

5. (U) AUC Deputy Chairperson Mwencha previewed the 2009

budget by noting that the African continent, which had

experienced 5 percent growth rates at the start of the 21st

century, was now facing higher fuel prices, electricity

shortages, a food crisis, and a global financial crisis.

“Africa’s situation is looking extremely bleak. A number of

countries are recording very low growth rates,” he said. In

the midst of these shocks, the AU’s previous four-year

strategic plan lacked the financial and human resources to

fully implement what Mwencha admitted was an “ambitious”

plan. Implementation of the plan did not reach 40 percent.

 

6. (U) The AU achieved its strongest results (72 percent) in

the area of Peace and Security, Commissioner Lamamra said.

He said initiatives such as the African Standby Force would

get a greater push in 2009. In contrast, only 40 percent of

the Institutional Capacity Building portion of the plan has

been implemented, and the results for the other pillars are

likewise dismal, Mwencha said. He said the plan’s

Cooperation, Development, and Regional Integration objective

is “where the whole issue of unity and prosperity rests.”

The AU’s international partners concurred. “Without good

governance, peace and security are not possible. Wherever we

look we see proof of that,” the German Ambassador to the AU

said.

 

————————————

Current Developments in Crisis Areas

————————————

 

7. (U) Following the budget discussion, the international

partners received a series of updates from the AU about the

situation in a number of African countries:

 

— Sudan: Lamamra announced he was overjoyed by developments

 

ADDIS ABAB 00003108 002 OF 002

 

 

in Sudan. Chad and Sudan had agreed to return ambassadors

six months after diplomatic ties were ruptured, Sudanese

President Omar El-Bashir had called for an immediate

cease-fire in Darfur, and there is progress on UNAMID troop

deployment. He said UNAMID is over 50 percent deployed

today, would meet the 60 percent benchmark by January, and

the 80 percent benchmark by March. He hinted ICC action

could bring all of the progress to a halt.

 

— Somalia: Despite some positive trends and support for the

Djibouti Agreement, there remains “an extreme” humanitarian

situation in Somalia as well as acts of piracy off its coast,

Lamamra reported. Al-Shabab’s seizure of the port city of

Marka has raised fears that they are preparing for an attack

on Mogadishu. “In the days ahead, we fear a serious

degradation of the situation,” Lamamra said.

 

— Congo: The situation in eastern Congo is not improving,

said Lamamra, who announced that he will be traveling to the

embattled region next week. Despite calls in Nairobi last

week for a cease-fire and the opening of humanitarian

corridors, “the situation does not seem to be evolving in

that direction,” Lamamra said. “There is a continuing

escalation in the fighting,” he added. He also said that

Nigeria had called for an emergency meeting of the AU’s Peace

and Security Council to discuss the violence in eastern

Congo. Partners voiced support for Lamamra’s mission to

eastern Congo as well as for an AU emergency meeting.

 

— Zimbabwe: Lamamra said he had “no positive developments”

to report concerning Zimbabwe, where President Mugabe and

opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai are bickering over the

formation of a new inclusive government and the sharing of

key ministries. “We need the parties to make an additional

push,” Lamamra said.

 

8. (U) On Zimbabwe, the Ambassador asked if the AU saw the

deadlock at the SADC meeting as an opportunity and a

requirement for it to assume a larger role in helping resolve

the political crisis. Lamamra replied that the AU was in

contact with the key actors and will “bring its weight to

bear.” However, he noted that the AU is limited by the

parameters set at last July’s AU Summit, which gave the lead

role in the process to SADC. Therefore, the AU could not be

the “locomotive” but the “complementary engine” on the

Zimbabwe issue.

 

9. (C) After the Partners Group meeting, the Ambassador

sought Mwencha’s views on the AU role in Zimbabwe. Mwencha

said that the AU wants to play a larger role in resolving

Zimbabwe’s political crisis (even though there is some

trepidation about dealing with Mugabe), but it cannot do so

as long as the regional body, SADC, has the mandate for

dealing with the impasse. Mwencha said he would raise this

issue when AU President and SADC member Kikwete is in Addis

Ababa on November 20. He added that it was important that

this be resolved before the AU Summit in Addis in late

January, or it will dominate the event, where he expected

other AU leaders “to tear Mugabe apart.”

YAMAMOTO

 

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