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Bush left Tsvangirai in the open

United States President George Bush’s backing of South African President Thabo Mbeki as an honest broker who could handle the Zimbabwe crisis left Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the open.

The local media had a field day with even the Daily News, normally supportive of Tsvangirai carrying a story asking: “Where will Tsvangirai turn to now?”

The story said Bush’s endorsement of Mbeki had sent a clear message that Zimbabweans must solve their own problems.

Ed: Zimbabweans do not seem to have learnt the lesson that no one can solve their problems. They entered into an inclusive government largely because of their own making but still continue to want the Southern African Development Community to solve their problems which it has failed to do over the past decade. The question that seems to elude Zimbabwe’s political leaders is: who is really interested in a stable Zimbabwe with its highly educated people and its vast natural resources?

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 03HARARE1419, MEDIA REACTION PRESIDENT BUSH’S VISIT TO AFRICA;

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1419

2003-07-11 09:43

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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

 

110943Z Jul 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001419

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION PRESIDENT BUSH’S VISIT TO AFRICA;

HARARE

 

 

1.   There has been an outpouring of articles, op-ed and

opinion pieces in the mainstream newspapers

following talks on Zimbabwe between President George

W. Bush and his South African counterpart Thabo

Mbeki, including President Bush’s visit to Botswana,

in the leading newspapers published on July 11.

Excerpts of the articles follow:

 

2.   Under headline “Bush’s statement a shift in U. S.

policy? the government-controlled daily “Chronicle”

(07/11) carried the following op-ed by Kennedy

Mavhumasha on page 4:

 

“United States President, George W. Bush this week

performed a quick climb-down from his earlier anti-

Zimbabwe rhetoric, but analysts say he must now

match his public statements with practical measures

to normalize diplomatic relations with Harare. .

.But political analysts interviewed. . .yesterday

were quick to point out that the government should

give it time, as the U. S. President’s words might

fail to translate into a shift in his country’s

policy towards Zimbabwe. . .Dr. Godfrey Chikowore, a

University of Zimbabwe international relations

lecturer said: `The change is welcome but we want to

see if the statement was one of principle and not

just a matter of buying time. . .It will be unwise

for us to bank on statements and promises. Let us

give him time. . .’ A lecturer at the National

University of Science and Technology, Dr. Lawton

Hikwa, said: `It is difficult to say at the moment

but there is a significant appreciation that

whatever Mr. Bush has heard about the situation here

was exaggerated. Perhaps as time goes on, we could

see some objectivity. . . .'”

 

3.   Under headline “Visit gives Bush rude awakening” the

government-controlled daily “The Herald” (07/11)

carried the following analysis by Lovemore Mataire

on page 9:

 

“United States President Mr. George W. Bush’s image

making visit to Africa suffered a major setback when

he openly expressed confidence in South African

President Mr. Thabo Mbeki’s mediation in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Bush’s statements were in sharp contrast to his

and that of his Secretary of State Mr. Collin (sic)

Powell’s earlier statements urging South Africa to

exert more pressure on Zimbabwe to have a

transitional arrangement in place. . .Mr. Bush’s

endorsement of Mr. Mbeki as an `honest broker’ in

Zimbabwe fell short of admitting that he had been

misled about the real situation prevailing in the

country. . .Cautious of not treading on unpopular

track, Mr. Bush found himself with no option but to

back down from his previous hard-line stance towards

President Mugabe. . .But Mr. Bush’s public support

for Mbeki’s Zimbabwe policy appeared to mark a

personal defeat for (Morgan) Tsvangirai (MDC

leader), who has criticized the South African leader

for `choosing to be in solidarity with a

dictator. . . .'”

 

4.   Under headline “Where will Tsvangirai turn to now?”

the independent daily “The Daily News” (07/11) carried the

following opinion piece by Kuthula Matshazi, who is based

in Toronto, Canada, on page 10:

 

“South African President Thabo Mbeki’s words are

coming back to haunt us. The resolution of

Zimbabwe’s problems lies squarely with Zimbabweans.

United States President George W. Bush implicitly

endorsed this view when he met with Mbeki on

Wednesday in South Africa. . .Where will Tsvangirai

turn to now that Bush has embraced Mbeki’s position?

In other words, Bush has told Tsvangirai to deal

with Mbeki. . . .”

 

5.   Under headline “MDC leader bows to Uncle Sam’s might”

the government-controlled daily “Chronicle” (07/11) carried

the following article on page one:

 

“Opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was

yesterday forced to withdraw `angry’ remarks he made

against President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa after

the United States endorsed Pretoria’s quiet

diplomacy on Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai. . .back-tracked

on his earlier outburst in which he accused Mbeki of

being `mischievous’ and trying to `buy time’ for the

Zimbabwe government. His climb-down came following

the announcement by President George W. Bush that

the U. S. was now of `one mind’ with South Africa

and would leave Mbeki the task of helping resolve

Zimbabwe’s challenges. . . .”

 

6.   Under headline “Botswana backs Zim: `. . .no need for

outsiders to interfere in Zimbabwe’s problem’s'” the lead

article in the government-controlled daily “The Herald”

(07.11) reads:

 

“Botswana sees no need for outsiders to interfere in

the problems affecting Zimbabwe. Minister of

Foreign Affairs Mr. Mombati Merafe said soon after

the meeting between President George Bush. . .and

President Festus Mogae of Botswana that Zimbabwe was

a sovereign state with a government which came into

place through a legitimate process adding that the

situation in the country required persuasion and

that no one should dictate what should be done. Mr.

Merafe stressed that the position of Zimbabwe has

not changed and the visit by the U. S. President to

Botswana and the region in general would not change,

alter or influence the cordial bilateral relations

between Zimbabwe and Botswana. The U. S. President

yesterday expressed satisfaction and concurred with

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa’s policy of

quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe. . . .”

 

SULLIVAN

 

(11 VIEWS)

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