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Did West pour billions into MDC protest?

The State-owned Herald claimed on 4 June 2003, two days after the start of a week-long protest called by the Movement for Democratic Change to topple President Robert Mugabe, that the West had poured billions of dollars into the protest but was now “red in the face” because the exercise had been futile.

The paper said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had overestimated his popularity and had now been left with egg in the face.

The United States embassy sent a cable to Washington the same day with recommendations of what to do after Mugabe’s departure.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1133, MEDIA REACTION MASS ACTION IN ZIM; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1133

2003-06-04 12:55

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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

 

041255Z Jun 03

UNCLAS HARARE 001133

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS AND AF/S RAYNOR

 

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION MASS ACTION IN ZIM; HARARE

 

 

1.   Editorials in the June 4 editions of the two national

dailies – the independent “Daily News” and the government-

controlled “Herald,” continue to focus on the on-going

nationwide anti-government protests that are expected to

end on Friday, June 6. The demonstrations, organized by

the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have

kept the country at a standstill since Monday. Excerpts:

 

2.   Under headline “Crushing protests not the solution”

the independent daily “The Daily News” (06/04) comments:

 

“In forcefully crushing the street protests of the

opposition MDC this week, President Robert Mugabe’s

government also unwittingly tied a burdensome and

tricky knot around its neck. By authorizing the

deployment of thousands of army troops and police to

snuff out the protests just as they were being

launched, the government could find itself facing a

dilemma of when to pull out these forces from the

streets, if at all. . .Indeed, can the use of

military might alone buy the government more time in

power, in the face of overwhelming public discontent

with its rule. . .? Unfortunately, the hardening

positions of both the government and the MDC, let

alone the poisoned timing, do not favor meaningful

inter-party talks that must necessarily focus on

governance issues that have triggered Zimbabwe’s

collapse. . .A harsh military clampdown on protests

by concerned citizens certainly does not offer a

lasting solution.”

 

3.   Under headline “Tsvangirai overestimating popularity”

the government-controlled daily “The Herald” (06/04)

comments:

 

“Monday marked the beginning of what MDC leader

Morgan Tsvangirai and his Western handlers hoped

would be a week of mass demonstrations tailored to

topple the democratically elected government of

President Robert Mugabe. Well, that did not happen

and once again Tsvangirai was left with egg in the

face. His Western handlers, who we understand

poured billions of dollars into the futile exercise,

must be particularly red in the face. . .No,

Tsvangirai, Zimbabweans don’t need your

sacrifice. . .We think Tsvangirai is overestimating

his popularity and fear that he will get a nasty

jolt come presidential polls in 2008. We join other

peace-loving Zimbabweans in congratulating our

security forces for rising to the occasion and

ensuring that misguided elements do not rampage

through our cities, destroying property and looting,

as is their wont.”

 

SULLIVAN

(50 VIEWS)

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