Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his delegation had to meet with Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister Archibald Lehohla after Prime Minister Pakalita Mosisili fell ill before the meeting raising questions as to whether the Lesotho leader was trying to avoid Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai was touring the region to appraise regional leaders on the 29 March elections which he had won but reportedly not by an outright majority.
The release of the presidential elections results had been delayed by more than a month.
Mosisili was generally regarded, like South African President Thabo Mbeki, to be more sympathetic to President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Viewing cable 08MASERU135, LESOTHO: ZIMBABWEAN OPPOSITION LEADER CALLS ON GOL
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SUBJECT: LESOTHO: ZIMBABWEAN OPPOSITION LEADER CALLS ON GOL
¶1. (SBU) Summary: Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai arrived in Maseru aboard a private plane on May 13
for an afternoon of meetings with senior GOL officials. The
Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that said the
visit “follows the announcement of presidential elections in
Zimbabwe… in which there did not emerge a winner with
sufficient majority to lead the government.” Tsvangirai was
scheduled to depart Lesotho immediately following his afternoon
meetings, but no further details on his discussions with the GOL
were available by COB May 13. End Summary.
¶2. (U) Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwean presidential candidate and
leader of primary opposition party Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), landed at Moshoeshoe International Airport at
approximately 3:00 pm on May 13 aboard a private aircraft,
accompanied by four MDC officials. Tsvangirai and his
delegation, in an official GOL motorcade, proceeded to Maseru’s
Qhobosheaneng Government complex for a meeting with senior GOL
¶3. (U) After Tsvangirai’s arrival, the MFA announced the visit
with a brief statement: “The leader of the Zimbabwe Opposition
MDC, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, is scheduled to arrive at Moshoeshoe
I Airport at 2 p.m. today to have a consultative meeting with
The Right Honorable the Prime Minister, Mr. Pakalitha B.
Mosisili, on 13 May, 2008. The visit follows the announcement
of presidential elections in Zimbabwe on Friday 2 May, 2008 in
which there did not emerge a winner with sufficient majority to
lead the government.” According to GOL contacts, however,
Deputy Prime Minister Archibald Lehohla stood in for PM
Mosisili, who apparently fell ill prior to the meeting.
¶4. (SBU) Comment: MFA contacts told Emboffs that Tsvangirai
intended to depart Lesotho immediately following his afternoon
meetings with the GOL. Although no details on the discussions
were available by COB May 13, we will use imminent opportunities
with local participants in the visit to assess the GOL’s
reaction to MDC’s regional campaign to garner support for
Zimbabwe’s political opposition. End Comment.