A group of African Americans who visited Zimbabwe in August 2002 came under fire from the Daily News which accused them of being used as a propaganda tool by President Robert Mugabe to demonstrate that his land reform programme had international support.
But worse, the paper claimed that they were doing it “for the money of course”.
In an editorial on 19 August, the paper said President Robert Mugabe had claimed while on a visit to the Far East that his government was leaving all white farmers with at least one farm each.
He had repeated the same false claim to a group of visiting black Americans, the paper said.
“President Mugabe clearly believes that those claims will successfully fool everyone. And that is extremely disconcerting, to say the least.. And yet some obscure American blacks appear only too happy to support the lie – for the money of course,” the paper said.
Viewing cable 02HARARE1879, MEDIA REPORT AFRICAN AMERICANS UNDER FIRE; HARARE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001879
DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT AFRICAN AMERICANS UNDER FIRE; HARARE
¶1. Under headline “African Americans betraying Zimbabwe”
the independent “Daily News” dedicated its August 19
editorial to criticizing a group of African Americans who
are currently in the country at the invitation of the
Zimbabwe government. The editorial accuses the group of
being used as a propaganda tool by the Zimbabwean
government as it attempts to demonstrate the “support of
the international community” for its controversial fast-
track land reform program. Excerpts:
¶2. “. . .During (Mr. Robert Mugabe’s) visit to the Far
East in the first week of August Mugabe, to the
utter disbelief of all diplomatic observers and the
world Press who knows what the true position is,
stunned everyone by claiming that his government was
leaving all white commercial farmers with at least
one farm each. Last week he repeated that false
claim when he told a group of `visiting’ black
Americans that his controversial land reform
program, a disguised, violent campaign launched to
destroy the MDC (Movement of Democratic Change),
would not leave white farmers landless. . .President
Mugabe clearly believes that those claims will
successfully fool everyone. And that is extremely
disconcerting, to say the least. . .And yet some
obscure American blacks appear only too happy to
support the lie – for the money of course. It is a
crying shame. The world’s moralists may not regard
the late former President of the United States, John
Fitzgerald Kennedy, as having been the best
qualified to lecture the international community on
matters of morality. Nevertheless, his
pronouncement: `The hottest places in hell are
reserved for those who, in times of crisis, maintain
their neutrality’ will stand forever as one of the
best moral teachings of all time. It’s much worse
for those who actively support injustice.”