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Dhlakama offered to ask Mugabe to step down

Mozambique opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama was against any power sharing agreement in Zimbabwe and offered to call President Robert Mugabe and encourage him to step down.

He made the offer when Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai visited Maputo.

Dhlakama’s party, RENAMO, was against power sharing because its position was that power-sharing agreements were no more than convenient means for solving electoral disputes, and did not necessarily promote multi-party democracies in Africa, particularly after electoral victories by opposition groups.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08MAPUTO929, QUIET DIPLOMACY ‘SUCCESS’ IN ZIMBABWE LAUDED, YET

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08MAPUTO929

2008-10-01 15:23

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Maputo

VZCZCXRO6060

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHTO #0929/01 2751523

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 011523Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9384

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0241

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 000929

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/29/2018

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI MZ

SUBJECT: QUIET DIPLOMACY ‘SUCCESS’ IN ZIMBABWE LAUDED, YET

CONCERNS REMAIN

 

REF: A. MAPUTO 857

B. MAPUTO 802

C. MAPUTO 709

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Matt Roth, Reasons 1.4(b+d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Mozambique’s public reaction to the

Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement remains positive, with

the Government of Mozambique (GRM) taking credit via its

efforts in the SADC Troika and the two countries’

historically strong relationship. The crisis in Zimbabwe

has done economic damage to Mozambique however, which acts

as Zimbabwe’s main port via the transportation corridor to

Beira in Sofala province. A recent visit by EmbOffs to the

Corridor revealed under-utilized infrastructure and a local

population that is becoming more and more dissatisfied with

Zimbabweans who they associate with crime and unemployment,

particularly in towns near the border. While resolution of

Zimbabwean political problems are important for the region,

Mozambicans look forward to a rapid economic recovery and

the positive spillover effects on Mozambique’s economy.

END SUMMARY.

 

—————————————

PRESIDENT GUEBUZA LAUDS QUIET DIPLOMACY

—————————————

 

2. (SBU) In a September 17 press interview, President

Guebuza described the Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement as

a triumph of “quiet diplomacy” pursued by the SADC Troika

and spearheaded by South African President Thabo Mbeki

(reftels). Guebuza added that in the course of the crisis,

many had grown impatient, including the Zimbabwean people,

some SADC members, and international partners (read: the

USG and HMG). Guebuza said that he was conscious of the

fact that the agreement was not a total solution, and that

implementation posed a major challenge, but that an

important step had already been taken.

 

——————————————— —-

MOZAMBIQUE-ZIMBABWE RELATIONS HISTORICALLY STRONG

——————————————— —-

 

3. (C) Relations between Zimbabwe and Mozambique have

been historically strong. ZANU-PF guerrillas were exiled

in Mozambique for many years during their own independence

struggle. While leading the guerrilla movement, Robert

Mugabe worked as a teacher of English in Quelimane,

Zembezia Province. In the later years of Mozambique’s

civil war, Zimbabwean soldiers fought alongside FRELIMO

forces against RENAMO guerrillas. Zimbabwean pilots flew

combat missions against RENAMO bases, and a contingent of

Zimbabwean soldiers was positioned along the Beira Corridor

to guard the railroad and the pipeline. Years of combat

fostered a strong bond between the ZANU-PF and FRELIMO

leadership.

 

——————————————— –

ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP IMPORTANT FOR MOZAMBIQUE

——————————————— –

 

4. (C)   Antonio Gaspar, political commentator from the

Center for Strategic Studies told Emboffs on September 19

that he believed the power-sharing deal signalled the end

of the cycle of violence in the region–not only in

Zimbabwe but also xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Gaspar added that the agreement reconciled not only SADC,

which was divided on Zimbabwe, but also members of the

international community, which, he said, now needed to work

towards lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe, restoring

humanitarian aid flows, and supporting Zimbabwe’s attempts

to rebuild itself. Minister of Foreign Affairs Oldemiro

Baloi, speaking to the press on the eve of the

power-sharing agreement signing ceremony, said that

stabilization of Zimbabwe was important for Mozambique, not

only because of political ties between the two countries

but also because of the profound economic

relationship–most notably the Beira Corridor, including

the port of Beira, railroads, highways, and an oil

pipeline.

 

——————————————-

CORRIDOR RESIDENTS IDENTIFY ZIMS AS PROBLEM

——————————————-

 

5. (C) EmbOffs who recently visited the Beira Corridor

noted that a lack of dredging at the port means that it has

become increasingly dangerous for some deep-drafted vessels

to dock at Beira, rail traffic between Beira and Zimbabwe

 

MAPUTO 00000929 002 OF 002

 

 

is now down to one freight train in each direction per day

(with several recent derailments), and according to locals

in Chimoio in Manhica province, the oil pipeline is not

functioning. The most consistent traffic is a long line of

fuel trucks traveling from Beira to Zimbabwe. While along

the Beira Corridor, EmbOffs also confirmed suspicions that

a large number of Zimbabweans were seeking to purchase

products, trade for hard currency, and procure jobs in

Manica province, where a shared local dialect allows them

to blend in without drawing suspicion.

 

6. (C) Residents of Chimoio raised concerns with Emboffs

about increasing numbers of desperate Zimbabweans

generating income by means of prostitution and petty crime,

while Mayor Manuel Alberto Sarande downplayed the impact of

Zimbabweans on his city. Locals explained that relatively

better-trained Zimbabwean skilled workers were undercutting

locals by offering to work at cut rates in order to earn

currency stronger than Zim dollars. While xenophobic

attacks against Zimbabweans appear unlikely at this point,

Mozambican public sentiment along the Beira Corridor is

becoming increasingly negative, particularly after a recent

shooting at a Shoprite grocery store in broad daylight,

perpetrated by Zimbabwean youths. Some Zimbabweans living

and working as teachers in Mozambique have publicly

expressed hopes of returning to a stabilized Zimbabwe;

however, most Zimbabweans encountered in Chimoio and Manica

did not express to EmbOffs any hope of a return to

normalcy.

 

——————————————— —

OPPOSITION RENAMO AGAINST IDEA OF POWER-SHARING

——————————————— —

 

7. (C) Opposition party RENAMO has not yet publicly

commented on the developments in Zimbabwe, but party

contacts have indicated to Pol Specialist that RENAMO

privately continues to hold its long-standing position

against power-sharing deals. RENAMO’s position is that

power-sharing agreements are no more than convenient means

for solving electoral disputes, and do not necessarily

promote multi-party democracies in Africa, particularly

after electoral victories by opposition groups. (Note:

RENAMO still contends it won Mozambique’s 1999 national

elections. End note.) When Tsvangirai visited Maputo

several months ago, RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama made it

clear that he was against power-sharing, offering to call

Mugabe and encourage him to step down following MDC and

Tsvangirai’s electoral victory.

 

——————————————— ————-

QUIET DIPLOMACY RESULT UNCLEAR, ECONOMIC IMPACTS STILL KEY

——————————————— ————-

 

8. (C) COMMENT: While the extent of the GRM’s involvement

via the SADC Troika in brokering an agreement between

ZANU-PF and the MDC is difficult to ascertain objectively,

it is clear that Guebuza is proud of the ultimate result.

Even so, many Mozambicans have continuing concerns about

Zimbabwe’s economic collapse–as alluded to by FM

Baloi–and potential effects such a failure can still have

on the Beira Corridor and the Mozambican economy as a

whole. END COMMENT.

 

Chapman

 

(5028 VIEWS)

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