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Botswana official said Tsvangirai could not lead MDC

A senior Botswana Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said Morgan Tsvangirai was not capable of effectively leading the Movement for Democratic Change.

Manyepedza Lesetedi, Director of the Africa and Asia Division, was commenting on the MDC’s performance in the 2005 elections which he said had been less flawed than previous elections.

He said the MDC’s poor showing undermined its credibility and boosted that of President Robert Mugabe.

Lesetedi also dismissed as unrealistic the MDC’s rebuff of the government of South Africa as a mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, claiming that no other government could possibly play that role.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05GABORONE651, MOYO’S DEPARTURE CHEERS GOB

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05GABORONE651

2005-05-13 05:43

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Gaborone

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L GABORONE 000651

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S DIFFILY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2015

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI BC

SUBJECT: MOYO’S DEPARTURE CHEERS GOB

 

REF: 04 GABORONE 676

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOSEPH HUGGINS FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Botswana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and

International Cooperation hopes that the appointment of

Tichaona Jokonya as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information and

Publicity will calm the stormy relations between the two

nations. In a May 9 conversation with PolOff, Mr. Manyepedza

Lesetedi, Director of the MFA’s Africa and Asia Division,

indicated to PolOff that Jonathan Moyo’s manipulation of the

Zimbabwe media to attack Botswana had caused bilateral ties

to become “unfriendly.” In contrast, the MFA feels that it

knows Jokonya and expects him to handle differences more

discreetly, thereby easing tensions between Zimbabwe and

Botswana. END SUMMARY

 

———————————-

GOB WELCOMES JOKONYA’S APPOINTMENT

———————————-

 

2. (C) In a May 9 conversation with PolOff, Mr. Manyepedza

Lesetedi, the Director of the Africa and Asia Division of

Botswana’s MFA, forecast smoother sailing in

Botswana-Zimbabwe relations. Thanks to former Minister for

Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo’s tendency to deal

with differences “through the media,” bilateral relations

“had been unfriendly” (reftel). He complained that, under

Moyo, any Zimbabwean with a complaint against Botswana spoke

freely about it. While Lesetedi wondered whether this was

deliberate or simply the result of inept management, the GOB

found this exasperating, particularly because it exercised

careful discipline regarding which government officials spoke

and what they said about Zimbabwe.

 

3. (C) Lesetedi predicted that as a career diplomat,

Tichaona Jokonya is more likely to address bilateral disputes

through “proper channels.” He asserted that the MFA knows

Jokonya well and feels that with his cooperation tensions

between Zimbabwe and Botswana can begin to subside. Lesetedi

reminded PolOff that Botswana faces constant criticism from

Zimbabwe over its closeness with the US. That criticism, he

indicated, is likely to continue irrespective of Jokonya’s

role as Minister of Information and Publicity.

 

——————-

MFA CRITICAL OF MDC

——————-

 

4. (C) Commenting on Zimbabwe’s March 31 elections, Lesetedi

described them as less flawed than the previous elections

there. As a consequence, he opined, the Movement for

Democratic Change’s (MDC) poor showing undermined its

credibility in capitals around the continent and boosted that

of President Mugabe. Offering his personal assessment,

Lesetedi argued that Morgan Tsvangirai is not capable of

effectively leading the MDC. He dismissed as unrealistic the

Movement’s recent rebuff of the Government of South Africa as

a mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, claiming that no other

government could possibly play that role.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

5. (C) The hope sparked within the GOB that Jokonya’s

appointment could help repair damage to Botswana-Zimbabwe

relations is symptomatic of the GOB’s reluctance to speak

frankly to the GOZ in support of a democratic solution to the

crisis there.

HUGGINS

 

(5 VIEWS)

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