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.
Viewing cable 05GABORONE651, MOYO’S DEPARTURE CHEERS GOB
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
DEPT FOR AF/S DIFFILY
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/12/2015
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.
¶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