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Dealing with Mugabe the consummate survivor

Although presidential elections were just a year away, the United States embassy in Harare was so convinced that President Robert Mugabe would not just go away and mapped out strategies to deal with him and recommended action that the new United States government under George Bush should take.

“Mugabe will not go gently into that good night of retirement,” the embassy said in a cable dispatched in January 2001. “We seriously doubt that it is possible to convince him to do so. Even if we were able to scrape together the considerable amount of money to finance a generous ‘golden parachute’ for him to leave the scene, we do not think Mugabe would fulfil the terms of the bargain.”

The embassy said the US government must help contain and reverse the further erosion of democratic institutions, and avoid a social explosion or humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe.

Working with the business community, civil society, and the opposition would be crucial to fulfilling its goals.

The US government should fight for the restoration of the rule of law and continue to condemn the breakdown of law and order, the attacks on the judiciary and the partisan use of the security forces.

It had to send an unequivocal message that it believed a more level playing field was needed for the presidential campaign.

Though the US wanted to continue to remain impartial in assessing what was happening in Zimbabwe, the embassy said impartiality should not be confused with neutrality.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE524, DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE524

2001-01-26 09:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

260903Z Jan 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO5169

 

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8088

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) OVER THE NEXT YEAR, PRESIDENT MUGABE WILL FACE

HIS GREATEST CHALLENGE IN 20 YEARS TO STAYING IN POWER.

A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IN WHICH MUGABE INTENDS TO RUN,

IS SLATED FOR EARLY 2002. HE MUST CONTEND WITH A

SIZABLE AND RELATIVELY UNIFIED POLITICAL OPPOSITION, A

COSTLY AND UNPOPULAR INTERVENTION IN THE CONGO,

MALCONTENTS IN HIS RULING PARTY, AND HIS OWN PLUMMETING

POPULARITY ACROSS ZIMBABWE. MUGABE IS INTRANSIGENT,

HOWEVER, AND WILL USE ALMOST ANY MEANS NECESSARY,

INCLUDING WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE, TO ENSURE HIS CONTINUED

GRIP ON THE COUNTRY. THE PRESIDENT APPEARS WILLING TO

SACRIFICE THE ECONOMY IN ORDER TO PURSUE HIS LAND

RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM — THE ONLY CREDIBLE PLATFORM THE

RULING PARTY HAS LEFT — AND PUNISH HIS ENEMIES,

PARTICULARLY WHITE FARMERS. THE PRESIDENT’S HENCHMEN

HAVE ATTACKED AND ATTEMPTED TO UNDERMINE EVERY SEGMENT

OF SOCIETY, INCLUDING THE INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY AND THE

MEDIA, THAT APPEARS OPPOSED TO HIS POLICIES. THE

PRESIDENT DOES NOT REACT WELL TO INTERNATIONAL

CRITICISM, SO ANY ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE OR MODERATE HIS

THINKING SHOULD BE PUT IN TERMS OF BENEFITS TO HIS

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PAGE 03       HARARE 00524 01 OF 07 260906Z

CONTINUED RULE AND SHOULD INVOLVE THE REGIONAL LEADERS

TO WHOM HE STILL LISTENS. U.S. INTERESTS LIE IN

BOLSTERING THE DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE UNDER

SIEGE AND PREVENTING BOTH A SOCIAL EXPLOSION AND

ECONOMIC IMPLOSION THAT WOULD HAVE SERIOUS REGIONAL

IMPLICATIONS. ZIMBABWE, WITH ITS DEMOCRATIC

INSTITUTIONS, RESILIENT MARKET ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIAL

BASE, RESPECTED JUDICIARY, AND THE BEST-EDUCATED WORK

FORCE IN AFRICA, MATTERS AND MERITS OUR TIMELY AND

CREATIVE INTERVENTION IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THESE. END

SUMMARY.

 

—————-

A PITCHED BATTLE

—————-

 

2. (C) 2001 WILL BE A CRITICAL YEAR FOR ZIMBABWE AS THE

COUNTRY’S TWO POLITICAL PARTIES SQUARE OFF TO WAGE WHAT

PROMISES TO BE A PITCHED BATTLE TO SECURE THE PRESIDENCY

IN 2002. ALTHOUGH NOT FORMALLY CONFIRMED, ROBERT MUGABE

ALMOST CERTAINLY WILL BE THE CANDIDATE FOR THE RULING

ZANU-PF AND MORGAN TSVANGIRAI WILL HEAD UP THE

OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) TICKET.

AT THIS WRITING THERE IS ONE TRUISM IN ZIMBABWEAN

POLITICS: ZANU-PF CANNOT WIN ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.

A HELEN SUZMAN FOUNDATION POLL RELEASED IN OCTOBER 2000

SHOWED SUPPORT FOR MUGABE AT ITS LOWEST POST-

INDEPENDENCE EBB, PROVIDING A NATIONAL SUPPORT RATING OF

ONLY 13 PERCENT, WITH A 6 PERCENT URBAN AND 17 PERCENT

RURAL SPLIT.

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00524 01 OF 07 260906Z

3. (C) THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT IS SUSPICIOUS OF AND

DOES NOT FULLY EMBRACE THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS,

PARTICULARLY AS IT RELATES TO THE TRANSFER OF POWER. HE

IS A VENGEFUL SURVIVOR, HAVING MANAGED TO GET THROUGH A

PROTRACTED LIBERATION STRUGGLE DURING THE 1960S AND

1970S, A CIVIL WAR IN THE EARLY 1980S AND TWO MAJOR

POLITICAL DEFEATS IN THE LAST YEAR. AT THE DECEMBER 2000

ZANU-PF CONGRESS, HE NEUTRALIZED ANY OPPOSITION TO HIS

CONTINUED ROLE AS LEADER OF THE PARTY, AND THOSE

OPPONENTS WHOM HE WAS UNABLE TO CO-OPT (SUCH AS FORMER

MINISTER EDDISON ZVOBGO) WERE RELEGATED TO THE POLITICAL

WILDERNESS. WE CREDIT THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT,

EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, WHO WAS PROMOTED TO THE FOURTH-

HIGHEST POST IN THE RULING PARTY AFTER MUGABE, HIS TWO

VICE PRESIDENTS (BOTH CO-EQUALS) AND PARTY CHAIRMAN JOHN

NKOMO WITH CONDUCTING THE PARTY PURGES. IN THE OFFING

MUGABE SUCCEEDED IN CONSOLIDATING HIS BASES, PLACING

LOYAL SUPPORTERS IN KEY POSITIONS, IN ANTICIPATION OF AN

EVENTUAL TAKEOVER. MUGABE AND MNANGAGWA’S FATES ARE

INTERTWINED AND, FOR THE TIME BEING, THE PRESIDENT IS

ENSURED UNSWERVING SUPPORT OF HIS POLITICAL PROGRAM AND

AGENDA REGARDLESS OF ITS MERITS, VICIOUSNESS OR

 

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R 260903Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8089

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00524 02 OF 07 260906Z

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

ANCILLARY CONSEQUENCES. MUGABE’S CABINET IS ALSO

COMPLETELY EMASCULATED. THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO OFFER

THOUGHTS CONTRARY TO THE PRESIDENT’S PLANS HAVE BEEN

OVERRULED OR BANISHED. THERE IS NO “MODERATE WING” OR

“INTELLECTUAL WING” OF ZANU-PF THAT IS IN A POSITION TO

CHECK THE PRESIDENT’S BEHAVIOR.

 

4. (C) EDDISON ZVOBGO, RECENTLY DEPOSED FROM ZANU-PF’S

POLITBURO, TOLD US JANUARY 4 THAT HE SEES NO WAY THAT

HIS PARTY CAN WIN WITH MUGABE AS ITS STANDARD BEARER IN

THE FEBRUARY OR MARCH 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

MATABELELAND IS “IRRETRIEVABLY LOST” TO THE MDC, AND THE

HEAVILY POPULATED MAJOR URBAN AREAS, WHERE HE EXPECTS A

MASSIVE TURNOUT OF VOTERS, ALMOST CERTAINLY WILL GO TO

THE MDC AS WELL. HE THINKS MANICALAND AND EVEN

MASVINGO, HIS OWN PROVINCE, WILL GO TO THE MDC. AN

ELECTION HELD DURING THE RAINY SEASON IN THE RURAL AREAS

OF MASHONALAND — ZANU-PF’S CORE AREA OF SUPPORT — WILL

BE MARKED BY A LOW TURNOUT, BECAUSE THE INFRASTRUCTURE

WILL HAVE BEEN FLOODED OR WASHED OUT. INTERESTINGLY,

ZVOBGO THOUGHT THAT THE LEVELS OF VIOLENCE THAT ZANU-PF

WOULD HAVE TO DEPLOY IN ORDER TO COW THE POPULATION INTO

VOTING OVERWHELMINGLY FOR ZANU-PF WOULD HAVE TO BE SO

GREAT AS TO BE UNACCEPTABLE.

 

5. (C) WE HAVE BEEN PICKING UP RUMORS THAT THE

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS MAY BE HELD SOONER, POSSIBLY AS

EARLY AS AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER, AS A SNAP ELECTION THAT

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PAGE 03       HARARE 00524 02 OF 07 260906Z

CATCHES THE MDC OFF GUARD INCREASES THE CHANCES OF A

ZANU-PF VICTORY. THAT THIS MAY BE ILLEGAL UNDER THE

CONSTITUTION WILL, IN OUR OPINION, NOT DETER MUGABE FROM

SUCH AN ACT IF HE SEES THE EARLIER TIMING AS TO HIS

ADVANTAGE. ZVOBGO ORIGINALLY SUGGESTED — AND WAS

OVERRULED — THAT MUGABE RESIGN AND CALL A SNAP ELECTION

IN OCTOBER TO HEAD OFF THE OBSTACLE OF LIKELY FOOD

SHORTAGES AND THROW THE OPPOSITION OFF BALANCE. (NOTE:

MDC PARLIAMENTARIAN DAVID COLTART, WHO IS ALSO A

PROMINENT ATTORNEY, TOLD US ON JANUARY 24 THAT THE

ELECTION MUST BE HELD BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND MARCH 31,

2002. END NOTE). OBSERVERS HERE PREDICT SHORTAGES OF

STAPLES SUCH AS MAIZE AND WHEAT BY YEAR’S END. WITH ALL

ALLOWANCES FOR MUDDLED MAOIST MINDS, IT SHOULD BE

GRANTED THAT THE MEN LEADING ZANU-PF ARE NOT FOOLS: THEY

WOULD NOT WANT MUGABE TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT DURING WHAT

COULD BE THE EARLY STAGES OF A POSSIBLE FOOD SECURITY

CRISIS.

 

6. (C) THE RULING PARTY’S BRUTAL MACHINATIONS IN THE

RUN-UP TO THE BY-ELECTIONS IN BIKITA AND MARONDERA

DEMONSTRATE THAT RETAINING CONTROL BY ANY MEANS IS A

STANDING ORDER. VIOLENCE, INTIMIDATION AND BLATANT

BRIBERY AND COERCION OF THE ELECTORATE ARE OCCURRING

WITH LITTLE ATTENTION PAID TO APPEARANCES. WRESTING THE

BIKITA SEAT AWAY FROM THE MDC WAS ALL THAT MATTERED, AND

IF THOSE IN CABINET FELT ANY REMORSE, WE SAW NO EVIDENCE

OF IT. THIS INCREASINGLY FREQUENT SUSPENSION OF THE

RULE OF LAW IS A PARTICULARLY WORRISOME TREND AS IT

WEAKENS THE VERY FOUNDATIONS OF THE NATION. WE FEAR

THAT THIS GROWING CULTURE OF VIOLENCE IS BEGINNING TO

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PAGE 04       HARARE 00524 02 OF 07 260906Z

INFECT THE OPPOSITION, WHICH, UNTIL NOW, HAS MAINTAINED

THE MORAL HIGH GROUND AND BACKED AWAY FROM

CONFRONTATION.

 

——————-

THE ECONOMY SUFFERS

——————-

 

7. (C) IT IS ALSO DIFFICULT TO SEE HOW MUGABE CAN

ARREST THE COUNTRY’S WORSENING ECONOMY GIVEN HIS NON-

NEGOTIABLE POLITICAL GOALS OF GIVING LAND TO THE PEOPLE

AND STAYING IN POWER. IN THIS AREA ZVOBGO FRANKLY

ADMITTED THAT THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP HAS ITS PRIORITIES

ALL WRONG, CITING THE POLITBURO’S LOW RANKING ON ITS

PRIORITY LIST OF RENEWED TIES WITH THE MULTILATERAL

LENDERS. WE MUST NOT FORGET THAT MUGABE ONCE REFERRED

TO THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND AS A “MONSTER.”

MUGABE APPEARS PERFECTLY WILLING TO SINK THE ECONOMY IN

ORDER TO BRING HIS LAND PROGRAM TO PASS. IT APPEARS

THAT NO AMOUNT OF REASONING OR STRENGTH OF ARGUMENT WILL

DISSUADE HIM FROM PURSUING THE CURRENT “ACCELERATED”

LAND RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE, FROM WHICH VIRTUALLY ALL THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO5171

 

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R 260903Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8090

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00524 03 OF 07 260907Z

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

PRINCIPAL DONORS HAVE WITHDRAWN FINANCIAL SUPPORT. THE

PRESIDENT’S APPROACH HAS BEEN TO RESETTLE POOR,

UNTRAINED AND UNEQUIPPED SUBSISTENCE FARMERS ON

COMMERCIAL FARMS WITH A SELECTIVE REGARD FOR LEGALITIES.

EXPLORATORY EFFORTS LED BY UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR, MARK MALLOCH-BROWN, TO BRIDGE THE

GAP BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT’S POSITION AND THAT OF THE

DONORS HAVE BORNE LITTLE FRUIT TO DATE.

 

8. (C) MUGABE HAS BEEN THE MAIN BENEFICIARY OF THE LAND

RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE, BECAUSE IT HAS GIVEN HIM THE

PRETEXT TO PUNISH HIS ENEMIES, NAMELY THE WHITE

COMMERCIAL FARMERS WHOM HE PERCEIVES AS BANKROLLING THE

OPPOSITION MDC. LAST YEAR BEFORE THE PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTIONS, HE LABELED ZIMBABWE’S WHITES — LESS THAN ONE

HALF PERCENT OF THE POPULATION — AS “ENEMIES OF THE

STATE.” HIS TACTICS INCLUDE USING TARGETED, LOW-

INTENSITY VIOLENCE AGAINST THE COMMERCIAL FARMING SECTOR

IN ORDER TO FORCE THE MEMBERS OF THIS HERETOFORE

PRIVILEGED AND WEALTHY GROUP TO ABANDON THEIR ASSETS AND

NATIONALITY. OBSERVERS HERE TELL US THAT THE COMMERCIAL

FARMERS BROKE THE GENTLEMEN’S AGREEMENT IN WHICH ZANU-PF

WOULD ALLOW THEM TO PROSPER AND FEED THE COUNTRY IN

EXCHANGE FOR THEIR STAYING OUT OF POLITICS, WHEN MEMBERS

OF THE COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION WERE FILMED SIGNING

CHECKS FOR THE MDC’S WAR CHEST. NOW ANYTHING GOES, AND

MUGABE AND THE RULING PARTY WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP UP THE

PRESSURE AND DEMONIZE THE FARMERS UNTIL HIS BID FOR A

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PAGE 03       HARARE 00524 03 OF 07 260907Z

RENEWED LEADERSHIP MANDATE IS SUCCESSFUL.

 

9. (C) THE FATE OF ETHNIC MINORITIES, URBAN DWELLERS

AND THE FORMAL ECONOMY DO NOT APPEAR TO BE CONCERNS OF

MUGABE’S NUMINOUS VISION FOR THE COUNTRY. CAPITALISTS

HAVE RESPONDED TO THIS DISREGARD, IF NOT OUTRIGHT

HOSTILITY, EITHER BY MOTHBALLING THEIR FIRMS OR

DISINVESTING OUTRIGHT. IF THE ZIMBABWEAN ECONOMY

CONTINUES TO DETERIORATE AT ITS CURRENT RAPID PACE, THE

CONSEQUENCES FOR THIS COUNTRY AND THE REGION WILL BE

DEVASTATING.

 

—————————————

MUGABE WILL NOT BE PUSHED OFF THE SCENE

—————————————

 

10. (C) MUGABE WILL NOT GO GENTLY INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT

OF RETIREMENT. WE SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO

CONVINCE HIM TO DO SO. EVEN IF WE WERE ABLE TO SCRAPE

TOGETHER THE CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF MONEY TO FINANCE A

GENEROUS “GOLDEN PARACHUTE” FOR HIM TO LEAVE THE SCENE,

WE DO NOT THINK MUGABE WOULD FULFILL THE TERMS OF THE

BARGAIN. NOR, IN OUR OPINION, IN HIS TIME LEFT ON STAGE

WILL HE LISTEN TO OR HEED WELL-INTENTIONED ADVICE COMING

FROM THOSE HE DOES NOT CONSIDER ABSOLUTE BACKERS. FOR

THOSE WITH LESS THAN WHOLEHEARTED SUPPORT, THE BEST WAY

TO MAKE MUGABE LISTEN IS TO APPEAL TO HIS DESIRE TO STAY

IN POWER. HE WILL AT LEAST CONSIDER ANY PROPOSAL THAT

IS COUCHED IN TERMS OF PROLONGING HIS POLITICAL

SURVIVAL. TRUE TO THEIR SELF-INTEREST, THE DEFENSE

FORCES WILL CONTINUE THEIR UNWAVERING AND OBSEQUIOUS

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ALLEGIANCE TO MUGABE. OFFERING STRATEGIES GROUNDED IN

MAINTAINING REGIME SECURITY, THE SENIOR MILITARY

LEADERSHIP REMAINS FOCUSED ON PERSONAL ECONOMIC

ENRICHMENT RATHER THAN A PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUE OF THE

DOMESTIC CONSEQUENCES OF FOREIGN ADVENTURISM. APPEALS

TO HIS VANITY WILL ALSO MAKE HIM TAKE NOTICE.

MOREOVER, WE SEE INDICATION THAT MEMBERS OF MUGABE’S

INNER CIRCLE, WHO HAVE STOLEN AND COMMITTED ATROCITIES,

ARE WORRIED THAT NOT ONLY WOULD MUGABE NOT TAKE CARE OF

THEM BUT ACTUALLY WOULD MAKE THEM THE FALL GUYS.

WILFRED MHANDA OF THE ZIMBABWE LIBERATORS PLATFORM — A

SMALL OFFSHOOT OF THE WAR VETERANS’ ASSOCIATION THAT

OPPOSES ZANU-PF’S POLITICIZATION OF THE EX-COMBATANTS —

TOLD US RECENTLY THAT AIR FORCE COMMANDER PERENCE SHIRI

HAS MET TWICE WITH HIM TO EXPRESS EXACTLY THOSE FEARS.

WE ARE INCREASINGLY CONVINCED THAT PEACE IN ZIMBABWE

WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE WITH ZANU-PF IN ITS CURRENT

ITERATION.

 

11. (C) HAVING NEUTRALIZED DISSENT WITHIN HIS PARTY,

MUGABE TAKES COMFORT FROM THE SUPPORT OF HIS NEIGHBORS.

ALTHOUGH PRIVATELY SOME MAY HAVE SPOKEN BLUNTLY TO THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO5174

 

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R 260903Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8091

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00524 04 OF 07 260907Z

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT, PUBLICLY THE CHORUS HAS BEEN ONE

OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ALBEIT A LUKEWARM ONE, THAT MUGABE IS

EMBARKED ON A RIGHTEOUS CRUSADE. SOUTH AFRICA, THE MOST

POWERFUL OF THESE IN THE SUB-CONTINENT AND THE ONE TO BE

MOST SERIOUSLY AFFECTED BY ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC COLLAPSE,

HAS TAKEN A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO ENGAGE MUGABE WITH

FREQUENT MINISTERIAL AND SUMMIT GATHERINGS.

NEVERTHELESS, THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT HAS BEEN

RELUCTANT TO REMONSTRATE PUBLICLY WITH OR EXACT BEHAVIOR

MODIFICATION FROM HIS ZIMBABWEAN SENIOR. RATHER, MBEKI

HAS EXTENDED TO ZIMBABWE CREDITS FOR FUEL AND

ELECTRICITY, IN ORDER NOT TO ACCELERATE THE ZIMBABWEAN

ECONOMY’S COLLAPSE AND PROVOKE A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

THAT WOULD SPILL OVER THE LIMPOPO. ONLY THOSE HEADS OF

STATE WHOSE COUNTRIES ARE FAR AWAY FROM HIS, SUCH AS

NIGERIA’S OBASANJO, HAVE COME CLOSE TO EXPOSING THE

EMPEROR’S NAKEDNESS.

 

12. (C) IN ANY POLICY INITIATIVE TO CONTAIN SOME OF

MUGABE’S EXCESSES WE SHOULD VIEW ZIMBABWE’S NEIGHBORS,

SUCH AS SOUTH AFRICA, MOZAMBIQUE AND ZAMBIA, AS OUR

ALLIES. ALTHOUGH MUGABE CARES LITTLE WHAT THE WEST

THINKS OF HIS POLICIES, HE DOES WISH TO BE SEEN AS A

DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE WORLD CLUB. HE WISHES TO AVOID

THE OPPROBRIUM OF HIS FELLOW AFRICAN HEADS OF STATE, AS

HE HAS STAKED HIS CREDIBILITY WITH THEM ON THE

QUINTESSENTIALLY AFRICAN, ANTI-COLONIAL CHARACTER OF THE

ZIMBABWEAN LAND REFORM EXERCISE. THEIR EFFORTS TO

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ADDRESS MUGABE’S ABUSES OF POWER, PARTICULARLY IN THE

CONTEXT OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

(SADC), MERIT OUR STRONG BACKING, ALTHOUGH WE MUST BEAR

IN MIND THAT IN THE END THESE MAY AMOUNT TO LITTLE MORE

THAN SYMBOLIC MEASURES.

 

13. (C) PRESIDENT MUGABE ATTEMPTED TO PROJECT STRENGTH

IN THE CONGO AT LEAST PARTIALLY IN ORDER TO THRUST

HIMSELF ONTO THE WORLD STAGE AND UPSTAGE THE MUCH-

ADULATED NELSON MANDELA — THE THEN CHAIRMAN OF SADC —

WHO OPPOSED THE INTERVENTION. HIS LACK OF AN EXIT

STRATEGY, THE TOLL IN HUMAN LIVES AND TO THE NATIONAL

TREASURY OF THE CONTINUING QUAGMIRE, AND HIS LIMITED

ABILITY TO INFLUENCE THE UNPREDICTABLE BEHAVIOR OF HIS

LATE ALLY, LAURENT KABILA, ARE FACTS THAT SUGGEST THAT

HE LAID AN EGG. CONSEQUENTLY, IN SEEMINGLY DESPERATE

ATTEMPTS TO CREATE A PALATABLE SOUFFLQ, MUGABE’S SENIOR

MILITARY LEADERSHIP GROWS INCREASINGLY ISOLATED FROM ITS

REGIONAL COLLEAGUES. CIVIL SOCIETY VIEWS ITS POLICE AS

ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN VOTER INTIMIDATION TACTICS AND

CIVIL DISTURBANCE BRUTALITY. ZIMBABWE IS NOT A MILITARY

DANGER TO ITS NEIGHBORS AND DOES NOT PURSUE A WAR-LIKE

FOREIGN POLICY.

 

14. (C) WE HAVE HEARD THAT THE NEW CONGRESS MAY REVIVE

THE ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT (ZDA) TO CONDEMN THE MUGABE

GOVERNMENT. THE 2000 BILL MANDATED A “NO” VOTE BY THE

USG IN THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND

RULED OUT ANY FURTHER GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT

ASSISTANCE OR DEBT RELIEF, BUT OFFERED CARROTS IN THE

FORM OF MONEY FOR LAND REFORM. WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL NOT

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00524 04 OF 07 260907Z

TO SINGLE OUT MUGABE FOR SANCTIONS OR ANY POLICY ACTION

THAT COULD BE CONSTRUED AS SUCH AND MAKE HIM A MARTYR.

MUGABE WOULD USE ENACTMENT OF THE ZDA TO DIVERT

RESPONSIBILITY FROM HIMSELF AND BLAME THE USG FOR ALL OF

ZIMBABWE’S MISHAPS AND WOES, A ROLE THE BRITISH NOW

HAVE. FOREIGN MINISTER MUDENGE TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD

ON JULY 3, 2000 THAT PASSAGE OF THE ACT WOULD PUT

ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY ON A WAR FOOTING, AND THAT ZIMBABWE

WOULD LASH OUT AT THE U.S. ANY WAY IT COULD. ALTHOUGH WE

WOULD NOT SHRINK FROM CRITICISM, WE MUST BE PREPARED FOR

A BACKLASH AND WEIGH THE POSSIBILITY THAT MUGABE COULD

BE STRENGTHENED DOMESTICALLY BY OUR ACTIONS.

 

———-

NEXT STEPS

———-

 

15. (C) OUR INTERESTS HERE LIE IN HELPING CONTAIN AND

REVERSE THE FURTHER EROSION OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS,

AND AVOID A SOCIAL EXPLOSION OR HUMANITARIAN DISASTER.

ZIMBABWEANS AND OTHER CITIZENS OF THE SUB-CONTINENT LOOK

TO THE UNITED STATES, AS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT AND

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO5177

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00524 05 OF 07 260908Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 USNW-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00 SS-00   TRSE-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00     /002W

——————BBDB90 260908Z /38

R 260903Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8092

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 05 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00524 05 OF 07 260908Z

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

COHERENT PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, TO USE ITS

INFLUENCE AND EXERCISE LEADERSHIP IN ORDER TO HALT AND

EVEN REVERSE THE CURRENT TREND. OUR INFLUENCE IS

LIMITED TO THE USE OF SUASION WITH THIS AND OTHER

COUNTRIES’ GOVERNMENTS AND IMPLEMENTING PROGRAMS

DESIGNED TO MITIGATE CONFLICT AND WEAKEN THE GRIP OF

TYRANNY. WORKING WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, CIVIL

SOCIETY, AND THE OPPOSITION WILL BE CRUCIAL TO

FULFILLING OUR GOALS. THE RESOURCES WE APPORTION TO

THESE WILL SUBSTANTIATE OUR LEADERSHIP.

 

16. (C) IN OUR OPINION THE USG’S PRINCIPAL BILATERAL

POLICY ISSUE WITH ZIMBABWE IS RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF

LAW. WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO CONDEMN THE BREAKDOWN OF LAW

AND ORDER, THE ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY AND THE PARTISAN

USE OF THE SECURITY FORCES. WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO

STRESS THAT WE THINK THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT IS

ACCOUNTABLE FOR VIOLENCE PERPETRATED DURING THE LAND

INVASIONS AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS BY THE MILITARY,

INTELLIGENCE AND POLICE SERVICES. WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO

MAKE THE POINT THAT THE AMNESTY ISSUED TO THOSE WHO

COMMITTED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DURING THIS PERIOD IS,

AT A MINIMUM, MORALLY REPUGNANT TO US.

 

17. (C) WE SHOULD SEND AN UNEQUIVOCAL MESSAGE THAT WE

BELIEVE A MORE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD IS NEEDED FOR THE

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. WE SHOULD SIGNAL OUR EXPECTATION

OF A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION AND PUT THE ZIMBABWEAN

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PAGE 03       HARARE 00524 05 OF 07 260908Z

GOVERNMENT ON NOTICE THAT THE USG AND, INDEED THE WORLD,

WILL WATCH, DOCUMENT, AND EXPOSE AND REJECT AN UNFAIR

ELECTION. IT MAY NOT BE TOO BOLD TO SAY THAT IF THE

NEXT PRESIDENT IS ELECTED THROUGH VIOLENCE AND

INTIMIDATION IT WILL HAVE SERIOUS DIPLOMATIC AND

ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES.

 

18. (C) WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO REMAIN IMPARTIAL IN

ASSESSING WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE. IMPARTIALITY SHOULD

NOT BE CONFUSED WITH NEUTRALITY. WE SHOULD EMPHASIZE TO

THE OPPOSITION AS WELL THAT VIOLENCE IS NOT AN

ACCEPTABLE MEANS TO OBTAINING POWER.

 

——————-

POSSIBLE STRATEGIES

——————-

 

19. (C) HOW DO WE BEGIN? WHILE WE KNOW THE NEW

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS WILL BE

EXTREMELY BUSY, WE RECOMMEND AN EARLY VISIT TO ZIMBABWE

AMONG OTHER COUNTRIES S/HE MIGHT WISH TO VISIT IN THE

REGION. IT WOULD SIGNAL TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC AND

AFRICA THAT THE CONTINENT WILL BE A FOREIGN POLICY

PRIORITY AND SEND AN UNEQUIVOCAL MESSAGE THAT THE NEW

ADMINISTRATION WILL HAVE TOUGH HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOOD

GOVERNANCE STANDARDS WITHOUT WHICH ALL ELSE FAILS. THE

ASSISTANT SECRETARY WOULD DELIVER THE MESSAGE THAT WE

KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON, WE ARE CONCERNED BY IT AND WE ARE

MONITORING CLOSELY THE MUGABE-MADE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

IN THE MAKING. SHE/HE ALSO WOULD ASK HOW MUGABE PLANS

TO REINSTATE THE RULE OF LAW WHILE AVOIDING HIS

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PAGE 04       HARARE 00524 05 OF 07 260908Z

SOPHISTIC REASONING THAT IT REALLY DID NOT BREAK DOWN.

 

20. (C) WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO WORK WITH WESTERN AND

FRIENDLY COUNTRIES TO EXPAND THE ISOLATION OF MUGABE AND

HIS TOP HENCHMEN. WE SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR THROUGH

DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS THAT IF GOVERNMENT-DIRECTED VIOLENCE

CONTINUES, THERE WILL BE NO REFUGE FOR THESE MEN. WE

COULD PLACE VISA AND OTHER TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON SENIOR

ZANU-PF MEMBERS TOGETHER WITH OTHER NATIONS, ESPECIALLY

THE EC. IF WE REALLY WANT TO GO AFTER MUGABE HIMSELF WE

COULD ASCERTAIN WHERE HIS ASSETS ARE LOCATED ABROAD AND

ASK THOSE COUNTRIES TO FREEZE THEM. THESE MEASURES

WOULD PLACE ADDITIONAL PRESSURE ON THE MUGABE

GOVERNMENT, HELP SHRINK ITS BASE OF SUPPORT AND SIGNAL

INTERNATIONALLY THAT THERE ARE RULES TO THE GAME, THE

FLOUTING OF WHICH RESULTS IN PENALTIES.

 

21. (C) MEASURED ENGAGEMENT WITH THE MILITARY. WE MUST

CONTINUE TO BE COGENT IN OUR SELECTION OF TOOLS WITH

WHICH TO ENGAGE THE ZIMBABWE DEFENSE FORCES. WHILE WE

OUGHT TO REMAIN ENGAGED IN IMET, WE MUST QUESTION THE

NEED FOR ANY INITIATIVE, WHICH OFFERS US LIMITED DEGREES

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9929

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00524 06 OF 07 260908Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 USNW-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00 SS-00   TRSE-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00     /002W

——————BBDB9B 260908Z /38

R 260903Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8093

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 06 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00524 06 OF 07 260908Z

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

OF ACCESS AND INFLUENCE, PARTICULARLY IN THE MEDIUM AND

LONG TERMS. SHOULD WE DECIDE TO WITHDRAW INCREMENTALLY

OUR SECURITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, THE IMET AND DEMINING

PROGRAM SHOULD BE AMONG OUR FINAL ENGAGEMENT

INITIATIVES. MOREOVER, LITTLE BENEFIT HAS RESULTED FROM

RECENT GENERAL OFFICER VISITS BY MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED

FORCES. IN PARALLEL WITH OUR REGIONAL POLITICAL

STRATEGY, WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE CIVILIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS

AND SENIOR MILITARY OFFICERS FROM OUR CLOSEST REGIONAL

ALLIES WITHIN SADC TO PERSONALLY ADDRESS THE SECURITY

CONCERNS OF THE REGION TO ZIMBABWE’S SENIOR CIVILIAN AND

MILITARY LEADERSHIP.

 

22. (C) VIEW ZIMBABWE AS A REGIONAL ISSUE. WE SHOULD

CONTINUE TO RAISE THROUGH DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS THE ISSUE

OF VIOLENCE AND GOOD GOVERNANCE WITH THE SADC

GOVERNMENTS, AND URGE THEM TO EXERT GREATER PRESSURE ON

MUGABE TO ALTER HIS RENEGADE POLICIES. THIS DIALOGUE IN

PARTICULAR SHOULD BE GEARED TO GETTING SOUTH AFRICA OFF

THE FENCE. WE SHOULD ENGAGE NIGERIAN PRESIDENT OBASANJO

— ONE OF THE FEW HEADS OF STATE WITH REAL INFLUENCE ON

MUGABE — TO PRESS MUGABE ON HONORING THE DEMOCRATIC

PROCESS AND THE RULE OF LAW. MUGABE MAY ALSO RESPOND TO

PRIVATE URGINGS FROM UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANAN, A

FELLOW AFRICAN.

 

23. (C) ALTHOUGH NOT ALWAYS ON FIRM GROUND, THE UNITED

NATIONS PROVIDES ANOTHER PLATFORM FROM WHICH TO SEEK

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00524 06 OF 07 260908Z

BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION FROM MUGABE. THE UN IS THE MOST

VISIBLE INSTITUTION IN WHICH TO CONDEMN HUMAN RIGHTS AND

RULE OF LAW ABUSES. WE MIGHT SUGGEST THE UN INVESTIGATE

WHO ARE THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE FAST TRACK LAND

RESETTLEMENT PROCESS, IF NECESSARY USING THE RUSE OF “SO

WE CAN ATTRACT MONEY FROM THE DONORS.” UN COMMISSIONER

FOR HUMAN RIGHTS MARY ROBINSON IS DIALOGUING WITH

ZIMBABWE’S HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM, AN INITIATIVE THAT MERITS

OUR FULL SUPPORT. IN ADDITION, WE COULD ASK THE UN OR

THE SECURITY COUNCIL TO CONDEMN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE

RULE OF LAW AND IMPOSE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON ZIMBABWEAN

OFFICIALS. SIMPLY CALLING FOR A UN SESSION TO EXAMINE

THE ZIMBABWE PROBLEM WOULD EXERT SOME PRESSURE ON

MUGABE.

 

24. (C) THE COMMONWEALTH HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN HOLDING

ZIMBABWE TO CERTAIN STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR. MUGABE

RECENTLY APPOINTED FOUR JUDGES WHO, THOUGH COMPETENT

PROFESSIONALS ARE CLOSELY IDENTIFIED WITH AND PERSONALLY

OWING TO ZANU-PF. MEMBERS OF THE BENCH WHO VALUE THEIR

PRESTIGE COME UNDER SCRUTINY BY THEIR RESPECTED

COMMONWEALTH PEERS AND WOULD NOT WANT TO RISK OPPROBRIUM

FROM THIS CLUB. WE SHOULD SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE

COMMONWEALTH INVOLVEMENT IN THIS REGARD.

 

25. (C) SUPPORT THE JUDICIARY. THE CANADIAN

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY HAS TAKEN THE LEAD IN

PROVIDING ASSISTANCE FOR ZIMBABWE’S EMBATTLED JUDICIARY.

USAID’S OFFICE OF TRANSITION INITIATIVES HAS ASSISTED IN

COURT CHALLENGES TO ELECTION RESULTS ACHIEVED THROUGH

VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION. SEEKING REMEDIES IN THE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00524 06 OF 07 260908Z

COURTS IS ONE OF THE FEW TOOLS AVAILABLE TO CIVIL

SOCIETY AND THE OPPOSITION TO HIT BACK. WHILE THE

GOVERNMENT HAS CHOSEN TO IGNORE COURT RULINGS WITH

IMPUNITY, THE INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT SHOULD GROW

BRIGHTER EACH TIME A RULING IS IGNORED. ESF RESOURCES,

WHICH WE HAVE REQUESTED SEPTEL, SHOULD BE ALLOCATED FOR

THIS PURPOSE.

 

26. (C) CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. CIVIL SOCIETY BELIEVES

A NEW CONSTITUTION IS THE ONLY WAY TO GUARANTEE FAIR

COMPETITIVE POLITICS, SAFEGUARD DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS,

BALANCE POWER BETWEEN THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT,

AND ENSURE THE PARTICIPATION OF CITIZENS IN DECISION

MAKING. AGREEMENT ON A NEW CONSTITUTION, TO REPLACE

BEFORE THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THE LANCASTER

HOUSE DOCUMENT SIGNED AT INDEPENDENCE, IS SEEN AS

CRUCIAL TO ENSURING A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR THE

OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES. WE SHOULD SUPPORT THE

NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY AND OTHER CIVIL SOCIETY

GROUPS IN THEIR EFFORT TO ORGANIZE A NATIONAL

STAKEHOLDERS CONFERENCE THIS YEAR FOCUSED ON DRAFTING A

NEW CONSTITUTION, AND BE PREPARED TO ASSIST IN RELATED

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO5181

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00524 07 OF 07 260908Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 COME-00 USNW-00

DODE-00 DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   FAAE-00 FBIE-00

VC-00   TEDE-00 INR-00   VCE-00   NSAE-00 SS-00   TRSE-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   NFAT-00 SAS-00     /002W

——————BBDBA4 260908Z /38

R 260903Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8094

INFO NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 07 OF 07 HARARE 000524

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

PASS USAID FOR A/A/AID D. PRESSLEY, A/AA/AFR V. DICKSON-

HORTON, AND AFR/SA C. PALMA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2011

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ECON PINR ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00524 07 OF 07 260908Z

SUBJECT: DEALING WITH ROBERT MUGABE, THE CONSUMMATE

SURVIVOR

 

FOLLOW-ON EFFORTS. WE HAVE REQUESTED ESF FOR THIS

CRITICALLY IMPORTANT ACTIVITY.

 

27. (C) RADIO FREE ZIMBABWE. THERE IS BROAD AGREEMENT

AMONG MEMBERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY HERE THAT GOVERNMENT

CONTROL OF THE AIRWAVES IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSTRAINT

TO BROAD-BASED DEMOCRACY. THAT CONTROL IS BEING

CHALLENGED IN COURT, BUT THE CONSENSUS IS THAT EVEN IF

IT LOSES THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ALLOW ALTERNATIVE RADIO

TO HAPPEN BEFORE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. WHILE THERE

ARE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS, MOST OF ZIMBABWE’S

POPULATION DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THEM OR CANNOT AFFORD

THEM. WE MAY WANT TO EXPLORE INTEREST WITHIN THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FOR FUNDING A RADIO OPERATION

THAT WOULD CONTINUOUSLY BROADCAST FACTUAL NEWS, DEBATE

AND ALTERNATIVE VIEWS IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGES.

 

———————-

DON’T LEAVE THEM ALONE

———————-

 

28. (C) ZIMBABWE MATTERS, AND IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE

TRY TO PRESERVE THE CORNERSTONES OF ITS SOCIETY, WHICH

INCLUDE A FUNCTIONING PRO-CAPITALIST ECONOMY SUPPORTED

BY DECENT INFRASTRUCTURE, AN INDEPENDENT AND WELL-

RESPECTED JUDICIARY, AND THE BEST EDUCATED WORK FORCE IN

AFRICA. ALTHOUGH OUR LEVERAGE TO INFLUENCE EVENTS HERE

IS CONSTRAINED, WE HAVE DESCRIBED A NUMBER OF TIMELY AND

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00524 07 OF 07 260908Z

CREATIVE STEPS THAT WILL SUPPORT THE FORCES OF GOOD

GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY, WHOSE VOICES ARE

INCREASINGLY MUFFLED, AND STRENGTHEN DEMOCRATIC

INSTITUTIONS. IT IS CRUCIAL THAT WE ACT QUICKLY, AS THE

CONSEQUENCES OF ZIMBABWE’S CONTINUED ECONOMIC DECLINE

AND ABUSE OF THE RULE OF LAW COULD BE DEVASTATING, BOTH

FOR THIS “JEWEL OF AFRICA,” AS JULIUS NYERERE CALLED IT,

AND THE SURROUNDING REGION.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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