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Batswana were now asking why they should pay for Zimbabwe’s mess

Botswana’s ambassador to the United Nations Charles Ntwaagae said he was concerned about Zimbabwe’s fragile power-sharing agreement because President Robert Mugabe remained in the driver’s seat despite President Ian Khama’s continued call for new elections.

Ntwaagae said that with increasing rates of crime related to illegal immigration from Zimbabwe into Botswana, his people were now asking the question: “Why should we pay for Zimbabwe’s mess?”

He also regretted the death of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, under what he termed “such suspicious circumstances”, but, when pressed, he was unable to defend his suspicion or provide further insight into Mrs Tsvangirai’s death.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09USUNNEWYORK354, AMB. RICE MEETS WITH BOTSWANA PERM. REP. TO THE UN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09USUNNEWYORK354

2009-04-06 15:45

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

USUN New York

VZCZCXRO0704

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUCNDT #0354 0961545

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 061545Z APR 09

FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6270

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1364

C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 000354

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/2019

TAGS: BC UNGA

SUBJECT: AMB. RICE MEETS WITH BOTSWANA PERM. REP. TO THE UN

 

Classified By: ECOSOC M/C Robert Hagen for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (C) Summary – In an April 02 meeting between Ambassador

Rice and Botswana’s Ambassador to the UN Charles T. Ntwaagae,

Ambassador Rice expressed her appreciation for Botswana’s

friendship and leadership in Southern Africa, and inquired

about recent political developments in both South Africa and

Zimbabwe. Ambassador Ntwaagae expressed concern over

deteriorating political stability in Southern Africa, but

voiced confidence in the ‘strong relationship’ between

Botswana and the United States. End Summary

 

2. (C) Although Ambassador Ntwaagae said that Botswana’s

attention remained focused on national elections in October

09, he expressed concern over Zimbabwe’s continually fragile

power-sharing agreement. Ntwaagae gloomily submitted that

‘Mugabe remains in the driver’s seat’ despite President

Khama’s continued call for new elections in Zimbabwe. With

increasing rates of crime related to illegal immigration from

Zimbabwe into Botswana, Ntwaagae said that his people were

now asking the question: ‘why should we pay for Zimbabwe’s

mess’?

 

3. (C) Ambassador Ntwaagae said he regretted the untimely

death of Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife under ‘such suspicious

circumstances’, but, when pressed, was unable to defend his

suspicion or provide further insight into Mrs. Tsvangirai’s

death. Ntwaagae did, however, respond to Ambassador Rice’s

request for suggestions to mitigate the suffering of the

people of Zimbabwe, saying that targeted contributions to

health and education would be most beneficial.

 

4. (C) In response to Ambassador Rice’s inquiry about

upcoming elections in South Africa, Ambassador Ntwaagae said

that while he expected ANC leader Jacob Zuma to be elected

President in the April 22 elections, political wildcards such

as the Congress of the People (Cope), Desmond Tutu, and

Winnie Mandela could all influence election outcomes. Those

outcomes are of particular interest to Botswana, with impacts

on tourism and trade chief among concerns.

 

5. (C) Ambassador Ntwaagae volunteered his concern to

Ambassador Rice that former Namibian Foreign Minister Hidipo

Hamutenya and his RDP party were mounting increasing pressure

to unseat the current Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Were this to happen, Ntwaagae suggested that Hamutenya would

likely install a deeply partisan government drawn along

tribal lines, leaving Botswana politically isolated in a

deteriorating region of the world.

 

6. (C) Lastly, Ambassador Ntwaagae expressed his pleasure in

hearing that the United States would be running for election

to the UN Human Rights Council, and said that the United

States Government could count on Botswana’s full support.

Rice

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