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Biti the only MDC leader who has the respect of SADC chiefs

Movement for Democratic Change secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti was the only MDC leader who had the respect of the Southern African Development Community chiefs, Democratic Republic of Congo ambassador Bene M’Poko said.

SADC leaders saw MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the instrument of the United Kingdom. They believed that former UK Prime Minister Tonty Blair had convinced Tsvangirai to support the UK position on land reform in Zimbabwe.

The leaders also understood that Mugabe would die before returning any land to dispossessed white farmers or compensating them.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 10PRETORIA231, DRC AMBASSADOR TOUR D’HORIZON WITH AMBASSADOR

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Reference ID 

Created 

Released

Classification

Origin

10PRETORIA231

2010-02-03 15:47

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO5326
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #0231/01 0341547
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031547Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA PRIORITY 0002
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1104
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000231 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/S AND AF/C 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2020 
TAGS: PREL PINR SF MASS CG
SUBJECT: DRC AMBASSADOR TOUR D'HORIZON WITH AMBASSADOR 
 
Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Donald M. Gips for Reasons 1.4 
b and d. 
 
1. (C) Summary: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) 
Ambassador Bene M'Poko, during a January 24 luncheon 
discussion with the Ambassador, offered his thoughts on a 
range of issues. M'Poko is planning to retire from 
diplomatic service and return to Congo in the near future, 
and he told us his recent efforts have been focused on 
guiding the year-long DRC presidency of the Southern African 
Development Community (SADC).  Having attended the SADC 
Summit in Maputo, M'Poko discussed SADC leaders' views on the 
Zimbabwe leadership crisis. Speaking on the challenges of 
promoting DRC, M'Poko complained about the corruption within 
various government ministries while calling for more American 
investment to balance the growing influence of China. M'Poko 
was, however, optimistic that the DRC had turned the corner 
from civil war to development, but he cautioned that 
political obstacles continue to block security sector reform. 
 End summary 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
Bio Note: Background on Ambassador Bene L. M'Poko 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
2. (C) Before his appointment as Ambassador, Bene M'Poko 
headed the UNDP office in South Africa for 15 years.   M'poko 
said he did not meet President Joseph Kabila until after 
Kabila became president, when M'Poko's name was put forward 
as a candidate for foreign minister. M'Poko said he is 
planning to retire from public service soon and will return 
to the DRC to go into business, probably mining, but his 
family is planning to stay in South Africa. M'Poko is 
married to an AMCIT. 
 
----------------------------------- 
A View from the DRC SADC Presidency 
----------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) M'Poko said he considers his major current role to 
have been in preparing for and guiding the GDRC's year-long 
presidency of SADC. M'Poko attended SADC's recent summit in 
Mozambique on leadership crises in Madagascar and Zimbabwe. 
Commenting on the situation in Zimbabwe, M'Poko described 
Kabila's relationship with Mugabe as "long-standing and 
complicated," commenting that Mugabe treats Kabila like a 
"little son," but adding that Kabila pushes back when 
pressed. M'Poko's understanding from Maputo is that Mugabe 
will move forward on the GPA only in so far as it is 
consistent with his reading of the constitution. Mugabe 
reportedly claimed that the Attorney General could not be 
dismissed without the concurrence of five judges. (Comment: 
This issue was apparently separate from the question of 
legality involving the initial appointment. End comment). 
According to M'Poko, Mugabe also told the SADC summit leaders 
that if governors were to be dismissed, they would need to be 
compensated. M'Poko's impression was that the SADC leaders 
were generally sympathetic to Mugabe's complaints about the 
"sacrifices" he was being asked to make. 
 
4. (C) In M'Poko's opinion, SADC leaders are still inclined 
to see MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as the instrument of the 
UK, believing that former UK PM Blair convinced Tsvangirai to 
support the UK position on land reform in Zimbabwe. M'poko 
said that SADC leaders understand Mugabe would die before 
returning any land to dispossessed white farmers or 
compensating them. M'Poko commented that the only MDC leader 
who has the respect of the SADC chiefs is the MDC Treasury 
Minister Tendai Biti. 
QMinister Tendai Biti. 
 
---------------------------------- 
The Challenges of Representing DRC 
---------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) M'Poko complained that he had grown tired of trying to 
convince South African companies to invest in his country 
because those companies he persuaded to go into DRC 
complained that Congolese ministers demanded bribes. 
According to M'Poko, Kabila is frustrated with DRC's endemic 
corruption, even from within his own party, and had asked 
M'Poko whether he should start executing people who were 
corrupt to send a message. 
 
6. (C) M'Poko cited DRC's lack of infrastructure as another 
major area of frustration. He lamented that DRC has the 
potential to power and feed the region but lacks investors to 
develop its natural resources. He complained that "America 
is nowhere and the Chinese are everywhere." He claimed that 
Kabila is trying to balance the growing Chinese influence in 
 
PRETORIA 00000231 002 OF 002 
 
 
DRC but has no viable alternatives to China for partnership 
in development. 
 
7. (C) The Ambassador and M'Poko discussed the importance of 
building professional non-political security forces. M'Poko 
suggested that USG security sector assistance had been 
delayed due to obstructionism on the part of the Foreign 
Minister, who is not a political ally of Kabila. Commenting 
on the current security situation in DRC, M'Poko said that 
the civil war is over; what is left is conflict among illegal 
armed gangs. In M'Poko's view, DRC is stable enough to begin 
moving forward with development and economic growth. M'Poko 
expressed interest in meeting with Great Lakes Special 
Advisor Howard Wolpe the next time Wolpe is in Pretoria to 
discuss Great Lakes regional stability. 
 
------------------------------- 
Views on South African Politics 
------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) M'Poko predicted that President Zuma would run for a 
second term. M'Poko believed that Zuma is in the process of 
distancing himself for all those who appear to campaign for 
his job. M'Poko said Zuma, true to his background in 
intelligence, never relies on one opinion, but balances all 
the views he hears, a trait which can slow decision-making. 
 
GIPS

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