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Chikane said Mugabe was a madman

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s chief of Staff Frank Chikane told a Movement for Democratic Change delegation that the MDC should come up with a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis because the South African government was battling with President Robert Mugabe who was increasingly becoming a madman.

Chikane was part of a South African government delegation which also included Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi and Presidential Legal Advisor Mojanku Gumbi. The delegation met Tendai Biti who represented MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube who represented the Arthur Mutambara splinter MDC faction on 23 March 2007.

The South African Government asked the MDC to describe how it would like to see the situation in Zimbabwe evolve. Biti sketched the key elements of the MDC “roadmap” which were:

  • a transitional period with Mugabe out of power;
  • internationally-supervised elections in 2008;
  • installation of a new constitution; and
  • repeal of repressive legislation including POSA and AIPPA.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07PRETORIA1054, C) MDC HAS “CONSTRUCTIVE” MEETING WITH SOUTH

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA1054

2007-03-24 14:15

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO4622

PP RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1054/01 0831415

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 241415Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8873

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA PRIORITY 0952

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 2041

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1041

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0501

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1144

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1036

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0062

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0375

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001054

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2017

TAGS: PREL PHUM SF ZI

SUBJECT: (C) MDC HAS “CONSTRUCTIVE” MEETING WITH SOUTH

AFRICAN GOVERNMENT

 

REF: A. TRENKLE-TABLER-STONE EMAIL OF 3/23/07

B. DAR ES SALAAM 375

C. PRETORIA 957

D. HARARE 236

 

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Catherine Kay. Reasons 1.4(b

) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. Zimbabwean opposition MDC leaders met March

23 with senior South African Government (SAG) officials in

Pretoria. SAG officials sought the views of the MDC on the

situation in Zimbabwe and asked them to describe the MDC

“roadmap” for solving the crisis. Earlier that day,

DepForMin Pahad publicly defended the South African strategy

in Zimbabwe, claiming the SAG will not make “militant

statements” just to please Western governments. He insisted

on the importance of dialogue. Pahad also announced that the

upcoming SADC Organ meeting on Zimbabwe, planned for March

25-27, would be postponed. The SAG meeting with the MDC

tracks with the reported SADC strategy to deal with the

Zimbabwe crisis (ref B), with Pretoria taking the lead with

the opposition. If the goal of the SAG meeting was to

reestablish Pretoria’s credibility with the MDC, the South

Africans appear to be succeeding. END SUMMARY.

 

————————-

MDC Upbeat on SAG Meeting

————————-

 

2. (C) Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, the

Secretaries-General of the two Movement for Democratic Change

 

SIPDIS

(MDC) factions, met March 23 in Pretoria with senior SAG

officials, including Mbeki’s chief of staff Frank Chikane,

DepForMin Aziz Pahad, Minister of Provincial and Local

Government Sydney Mufamadi, Presidential Legal Advisor

Mojanku Gumbi, and one unidentified Department of Foreign

Affairs official. Biti represented MDC President Morgan

Tsvangirai and Ncube represented the Arthur Mutambara

 

SIPDIS

splinter MDC faction. The meeting, which took place at the

request of the SAG, lasted more than three hours.

 

3. (C) According to MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett, who spoke with

Biti following the meeting, the South Africans said they

wanted to hear how the MDC viewed the situation in Zimbabwe,

and asked a series of probing questions about the economic

and political crisis. Bennett told PolOff March 23 that

Tendai Biti was very positive about the discussion and

believed the meeting was “constructive.”

 

4. (C) The SAG asked the MDC to describe how it would like to

see the situation evolve. Bennett said that Biti sketched

the key elements of the MDC “roadmap”:

— a transitional period with Mugabe out of power;

— internationally-supervised elections in 2008;

— installation of a new constitution; and

— repeal of repressive legislation including POSA and AIPPA.

The South Africa representatives took note of the MDC

roadmap, but did not put forward any of their own ideas for

resolving the crisis, nor did they describe any of the

details from President Kikwete’s meeting with President

Mugabe (ref B).

 

5. (C) According to Bennett, Legal Advisor Gumbi pushed the

MDC to also show “goodwill” by scaling down protests. Ncube

rejected Gumbi’s request, arguing that South Africa had asked

the MDC to show patience in the past, and it never helped

their cause. Bennett commented that Biti was encouraged by

Ncube’s response, since Ncube had urged restraint in the past

within the MDC. Biti also said that Chief of Staff Chikane

commented on how South Africa was “battling” to deal with

Mugabe, who was increasingly a “madman.”

 

6. (C) Bennett said that the next step is for South Africa or

other SADC leaders to meet with Mugabe. In the meantime, the

MDC planned to continue, even intensify, its campaign of mass

action.

 

 

PRETORIA 00001054 002 OF 002

 

 

——————————————— –

Zimbabwean Vice President Also in South Africa

——————————————— –

 

7. (U) Zimbabwean Vice President Joyce Mujuru also visited

South Africa March 23, although Department of Foreign Affairs

spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the visit was “private.”

Several South African and international newspapers reported

that Mujuru met South African Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka

at the Westcliffe Hotel in Johannesburg.

 

——————————————— ———-

Pahad Concerned about “Meltdown”; Criticizes Media/West

——————————————— ———-

 

8. (U) At his regular biweekly March 23 press conference,

which was held before the MDC meeting, DepForMin Pahad warned

of a “meltdown” in Zimbabwe (“it is difficult to see how a

meltdown will not take place”), but also criticized the South

African media for “sensationalism” and the “outside

governments” for not playing a constructive role. Pahad said

that South Africa will not “make militant statements to make

us feel good, or to satisfy governments outside the African

continent.” Emphasizing the importance of dialogue between

the Zimbabwean government and opposition, Pahad said that

South Africa will try to “keep the dialogue open and to see

how we can influence each other.”

 

9. (U) According to press reports, Pahad also said that the

March 25-27 meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense

and Security on Zimbabwe would be postponed and could end up

as a presidential summit.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

10. (C) The South African outreach to the MDC tracks with ref

B, which outlined the Tanzanian/SADC plan for resolving the

Zimbabwean crisis, giving Pretoria the lead in working with

the Zimbabwean opposition. If the goal of the March 23 SAG

meeting was to reestablish Pretoria’s credibility with the

MDC — which had been badly damaged in recent years (ref D)

— Bennett’s readout indicates the South Africans are

succeeding.

BOST

(5 VIEWS)

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