Democratic Republic of Congo Minister for International and Regional Cooperation Raymond Tshibanda told a United States embassy official that although the problems facing Zimbabwe’s two major political players in the inclusive government were complex, neither side wanted the process to fail.
The DRC had just assumed the post of chair of the Southern African Development Community.
Tshibanda said the DRC would pursue active but low profile “consultative engagement” with the parties to the Global Political Agreement, with the major goal of that policy being to see that sanctions on Zimbabwe were eventually lifted so that its people could benefit.
The United States embassy, however, felt that the DRC was not likely to change its policy towards Zimbabwe because of the strong ties between President Robert Mugabe and the Kabilas, both current president Joseph and his late father Laurent.
Viewing cable 09KINSHASA664, DEMARCHE DELIVERED: SADC ATTENTION TO ZIMBABWE
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0664 1911208
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 101208Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9892
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
C O N F I D E N T I A L KINSHASA 000664
DEPT FOR AF/S – BRIAN WALCH
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/10/2019
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: SADC ATTENTION TO ZIMBABWE
GLOBAL POLITICAL AGREEMENT
REF: STATE 70664
Classified By: Ambassador William J. Garvelink for reasons 1.4 (b) and
¶1. (C) On July 9 DCM and acting polcouns delivered demarche
per instructions reftel to Raymond Tshibanda, Minister of
International and Regional Cooperation. Tshibanda
acknowledged USG concerns over SADC’s role in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), noting that the GPA had already
produced results and that although the problem facing the two
sides was “complex” neither side wanted the process to fail.
He said the DRC had been engaged on this issue as vice
president of SADC and, after its assumption of the SADC
Presidency, would remain seized and would, consistent with
its role as president, become more active. Tshibanda said
the DRC will pursue active if low profile “consultative
engagement” between the GPA parties. He added that a major
goal of the process should be the eventual lifting of
sanctions to benefit the Zimbabwean people.
¶2. (C) Comment: Tshibanda confirmed that his office will
have lead responsibility for coordination on SADC issues once
the DRC assumes SADC’s rotational presidency in September at
the body’s Ordinary Summit in Kinshasa and noted that
planning is underway for that event. His familiarity with
and engagement on SADC questions was apparent, as was a
recognition of USG concern on the GPA implementation status.
His focused and measured responses augur well for an active
DRC presidency of SADC, not only because of mastery of SADC
issues but also because, as President Joseph Kabila’s former
chief of staff, he probably has the president’s confidence
(Note: not only was Tshibanda Kabila’s chief of staff, he is
the president’s choice to chair the GDRC commission
negotiating domestic armed groups’ integration into the
national army. End note). We do not, however, believe
Tshibanda or the GDRC will change the substance of its
Zimbabwe policy, which is to refrain from criticizing Robert
Mugabe, an African liberation leader who also supported
Kabila’s father, Laurent Kabila, in the war against Rwanda
and Uganda. End comment.