Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano told the West that he supported the government of Zimbabwe because democracy forced from outside would fail while that developed from within would prevail.
Chissano was the guest speaker at the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Congress of 2004 at which he hailed the strong ties between Zimbabwe and Mozambique and his strong support for Zimbabwe’s land reform programme.
Although he had stepped down he said he did not believe in term limits. In an apparent reference to President Robert Mugabe he said nobody needed to follow his example in stepping down.
Ed: The same argument was used by South African President Thabo Mbeki who was criticised for his quiet diplomacy. Mbeki insisted that Zimbabweans had to find a solution to their problems and they did.
Viewing cable 04HARARE2009, CHISSANO BOOSTS MUGABE AT ZANU-PF PARTY CONGRESS
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 HARARE 002009
AF/S FOR BNEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2009
SUBJECT: CHISSANO BOOSTS MUGABE AT ZANU-PF PARTY CONGRESS
REF: (A) MAPUTO 1533 (B) MAPUTO 1520
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.5 b/d
¶1. (U) In an address to the ruling ZANU-PF,s Fourth Party
Congress that was broadcast live on Zimbabwe state radio on
December 3, Mozambican President Chissano recounted at length
the close historical ties between his Frelimo party and
ZANU-PF, and stressed in particular Mozambique’s support for
Zimbabwean land reform. He noted his imminent departure from
the Presidency but explicitly distinguished his situation
from President Mugabe’s. He said he did not believe in term
limits and that nobody need follow his example in stepping
down. He was leaving the political stage because Mozambique
was stable but Zimbabwe was “different,” he said without
elaborating. He noted that Western leaders often asked him
about why his government supported the GOZ but concluded that
“democracy forced from the outside will fail, democracy
developed from within will prevail.”
¶2. (C) At a state dinner for Chissano on December 3, the
Ambassador engaged Chissano Diplomatic Adviser and former
Mozambican Ambassador to the United Nations Carlos dos Santos
about the situation in Zimbabwe. While giving token
acknowledgement of Mugabe’s flaws, dos Santos hewed to the
line that Zimbabwe’s problems are largely due to outside
pressure on Mugabe and could easily be resolved if the West,
especially the UK and the United States, were willing to
compromise. The Ambassador replied that it was specious to
blame the outside world for Mugabe’s homegrown misgovernance,
and challenged dos Santos’ assertion that there was no
willingness on our side to be flexible toward Zimbabwe. On
the contrary, if Mugabe demonstrated real — as opposed to
rhetorical — commitment to reform and good governance, we
would be prepared to respond. The Ambassador urged that,
upon his departure from the presidency, Chissano use his
elder statesman status to influence Zimbabwean politics
constructively and to press Mugabe to take that first step.
Dos Santos undertook to raise the point with Chissano.
¶3. (C) COMMENT: The state media replayed Chissano’s public
solidarity with Mugabe and ZANU-PF repeatedly. His unalloyed
tribute underscored for domestic audiences the continued high
stature accorded Mugabe by the region’s leaders — a message
particularly important to a party leadership concerned by the
high level reception being given opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in Europe and Africa over the past two weeks.
(Note: Tsvangirai told the Ambassador December 8 that he
plans to visit Washington in late January or early February.)