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Frazer said Mugabe is testing us all

United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer told Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe that President Robert Mugabe was “testing us all” when he arrested Movement for Democratic Change leader Arthur Mutambara for writing an anti-Mugabe op-ed article in a privately-owned daily.

She said the arrest of Mutambara was unacceptable and could not be ignored, especially in the run-up the presidential elections run-off which she said was merely an attempt to steal the election.

She also accused then South African President Thabo Mbeki of protecting Mugabe and serving as his shield.

“The arrest of Mutambara crossed a line; our response needs to be coordinated and strong,” Frazer said.

She said the situation was compounded by the fact that Mugabe’s wife had made a statement that win or lose he would not leave and intended to be president for life.

“I am sure this accurately reflects the whims of Mugabe himself,” Frazer said.

Mugabe said Frazer was trotting around the globe like a prostitute.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08DARESSALAAM368, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRAZER DISCUSSES ANJOUAN AND

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08DARESSALAAM368

2008-06-17 16:15

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Dar Es Salaam

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7611

INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 3311

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1410

RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0012

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0387

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0296

RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 DAR ES SALAAM 000368

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR SHILL, AF/E FOR JLIDDLE

ALSO AF/RSA FOR MBITTRICK

ADDIS FOR AU MISSION

LONDON, PARIS, BRUSSELS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2018

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM AU ZI TZ

SUBJECT: ASSISTANT SECRETARY FRAZER DISCUSSES ANJOUAN AND

ZIMBABWE RUNOFF ELECTIONS WITH TANZANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

MEMBE

 

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, T. Mushingi

for reasons 1.4 (b,d).

 

SUMMARY

——–

1. (C) On June 3, Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and

International Cooperation, Bernard Membe, discussed with

Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, next

steps to hold accountable Comoran rebel Mohamed Bacar and

strategies to prepare for the June 27 runoff election in

Zimbabwe. Membe said President Kikwete is quietly exploring

if the African Union (AU) court would be willing to try Bacar

in Arusha. Membe relayed in detail a SADC meeting at the

TICAD in Japan, where President Mbeki of South Africa and

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minster succeeded to stall SADC’s plans to

deploy election monitors to Zimbabwe. A/S Frazer stated that

the June 2 arrest of Arthur Mutambara was an indication that

Mugabe and his forces have “crossed a line” and that the

conditions for free and fair elections are not in place. She

stressed that the U.S. has and will continue to make strong

statements, but the African Union (AU) must also stand up,

take a public stance and, most importantly, send as many

monitors as possible to oversee the June 27 runoff elections.

End summary.

 

Anjouan

——-

2. (C) While Minister Membe said Tanzania considers the

successful restoration of legitimate rule to Anjouan to be

“history,” the question of how to administer justice to Col.

Mohamed Bacar remains. President Kikwete has been quietly

exploring the possibility that Col. Bacar be brought to

Arusha and tried in the African Union (AU) court. Membe said

the French Ambassador to Tanzania told him all requests for

asylum in France or a French territory would be denied.

However, the French are resisting Bacar’s return to Comoros

because they do not believe he would get a fair trial in

Moroni. According to Membe, if the AU court would be willing

to take Bacar’s case, President Sambi of Comoros could agree.

However, Sambi in turn, does not trust the French

government. Thus, President Kikwete continues to explore the

possibility of a trial at the AU court.

 

3. (SBU) Membe confirmed June 15 is the date set for

elections in Anjouan and training of Comoran police and

military authorities continues. Membe raised a cautionary

note, namely that while the ballot boxes are ready, the

ballots need to be reprinted with the correct date. This

could delay the elections slightly, with June 30 as the

fall-back election date. A/S Frazer remarked that the U.S.

preferred that Anjouan elections to be held as soon as

possible so that Comoros can qualify for African Growth and

Opportunity Act (AGOA) eligibility.

 

Zimbabwe

——–

4. (C) Minister Membe said he and President Kikwete were

extremely concerned at the level of violence Mugabe has

unleashed against the opposition. South Africa and Zimbabwe

have succeeded thus far to divide and paralyze SADC so that

to date no decision has been made about deploying election

monitors. Membe said Tsvangirai and other MDC leaders have

no protection; there is ample evidence of the continuing

violence from witnesses, NGO groups, and injured persons in

hospitals. He noted the Tanzanian envoy to Harare had

visited hospitals and met victims along with U.S. and British

diplomats, thus provoking Mugabe to brand Tanzania as

“puppets of the Americans.” At the last SADC meeting in

Mauritius, the Zimbabwe representative refused to speak to

Kikwete.

 

“Chaotic” SADC meeting in Japan

——————————-

5. (C) Membe reported SADC is sharply divided over Zimbabwe.

In Japan on May 28 at the margins of the TICAD meeting, SADC

leaders tried to hold a strategy session on election monitor

preparation, but the meeting broke up in confusion with no

 

DAR ES SAL 00000368 002 OF 004

 

 

resolution, a rare occurrence in SADC. President Mwanawasa

of Zambia was the Chair, but President Mbeki and the Foreign

Minister of Zimbabwe constantly interrupted him and would not

let the discussion on election monitors proceed. Mbeki

insisted: “Why does this group need to see the report? This

matter should be handled by the SADC Organ on Defence, Peace

and Security.” The Organ is a troika of three countries:

Angola as chair, Tanzania and Swaziland. However, President

dos Santos of Angola, who is in poor health, Membe said, was

not in Tokyo. Mbeki kept asking for justification of why the

leaders needed to see the report. There was no cooperation

and Mbeki refused to let the Zimbabwe monitoring issue be

raised, Mwanawasa as Chair was harassed by Mbeki and unable

to make any progress.

 

6. (C) A/S Frazer emphasized to Minister Membe that well

before June 27, monitors should be in place so the SADC must

decide now how many monitors to send. Membe explained that

within SADC, South Africa and Namibia are solidly supporting

Zimbabwe’s position; Angola, Swaziland and Mozambique are

vacillating; while Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania solidly

support deploying monitors and creating the atmosphere for

free and fair election in Zimbabwe. The Congo DRC

representatives listen, but rarely take the floor, acting

more like observers.

 

7. (C) As a result of the nearly chaotic meeting in Tokyo,

Membe confided the SADC plan to send as many monitors as

possible is breaking down. A/S Frazer said in that case, the

African Union (AU) must assert itself, take action and send

monitors. Otherwise the outcome of this runoff election will

be determined by the violence and intimidation of Mugabe’s

forces. The victory will go to Mugabe, which could likely

trigger another crisis. A/S Frazer and Membe discussed that

unless a significant number of monitors are in place, Mugabe

would still have the upper hand. For example, if there are

only 200 observers inside the country, the Mugabe forces

could block them from deploying to key rural regions. Having

a large number of monitors is critical, A/S Frazer insisted,

and the AU nations need to step up to this task.

 

8. (C) A/S Frazer was emphatic that if there are no monitors

in Zimbabwe, the election cannot be free and fair. While

there has been some discussions about a coalition or unity

government with a first winner and a second winner, in truth,

there is no common agreement on a process for such a

government. Who would head it ? Who would control it ? How

could Zimbabwe be governed under such an agreement? A/S

Frazer told Minister Membe she is convinced the conditions

are not there to establish a unity government. Membe

commented that it appears all possible paths forward “are

leading to a quagmire.”

 

9. (C) A/S Frazer stressed that the arrest of Arthur

Mutambara on June 2 merely because he had placed an op-ed in

the newspaper criticizing Mugabe was unacceptable. Mugabe’s

forces are striking at the MDC party at every level and

appear not to be afraid of anyone or anything. Mutambara’s

arrest and detention is blatant and cannot be ignored. A/S

Frazer told Membe that in her view, the June 27 runoff is

merely an attempt to steal the election. In addition,

President Mbeki is protecting Mugabe, serving as his shield.

She also confirmed that Mugabe has threatened to expel our

U.S. envoy.

 

10. (C) A/S Frazer told Minister Membe that Mbeki had sent

President Bush and the British a ten-page letter, filled with

racial undertones, stating that the “West should stay out of

Zimbabwe’s affairs; it is none of your business.” Although

he wrote the letter as the President of South Africa, he

legitimizes his positions by speaking as the SADC

facilitator. She remarked: “How can he describe Zimbabwe as

a country where the West should not be allowed to help

Zimbabweans? When South Africa was under apartheid, it was

appealing to the entire world for help.”

 

SADC, AU Must Not Be Intimidated

 

DAR ES SAL 00000368 003 OF 004

 

 

——————————–

11. (C) A/S Frazer was adamant that SADC, the AU and the

international community must not be intimidated. In

particular, the African Union must assert itself and say:

“No more!”, even though it puts President Kikwete in a

delicate situation. She relayed that when Mbeki was working

with ECOWAS to resolve the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, he was

ineffective and too close to Gbagbo, so ECOWAS basically

dismissed him. SADC or the AU needs to consider taking the

Zimbabwe facilitation out of Mbeki’s hands. Pressure needs

to be brought against Mugabe; otherwise even if the elections

were postponed, as President dos Santos of Angola has

suggested, it would only be postponing the crisis; Membe

agreed.

 

12. (C) A/S Frazer suggested that a conversation must be

initiated with the moderate security forces in Zimbabwe and

an appeal made to moderates within the ZANU-PF, encouraging

them to move away from Mugabe. She said that President Mbeki

is too legalistic, and constantly tries to defend Mugabe.

Membe noted that Mbeki is frustrated with the ANC, where he

has no support, and frustrated as well with the domestic

situation in South Africa.

 

13. (C) Membe said President Kikwete is concerned about the

safety of Morgan Tsvangirai. Any attempt to hurt or, worse

yet, to kill him could cause a civil war which in turn would

create a situation for the military to take over. Kikwete

and he are well aware that after such a war, the military

would finally control the country, and could well install

Mugabe as the “father of the country.” A/S Frazer stressed

that Mugabe is testing us all: “The arrest of Mutambara

crossed a line; our response needs to be coordinated and

strong.” A/S Frazer added that Mugabe’s wife had made a

statement that win or lose he would not leave and intends to

be president for life. “I am sure this accurately reflects

the whims of Mugabe himself,” she said.

 

14. (C) Membe urged that the U.S. continue to send strong

messages. “If the international community continues to speak

out, to create space, that will allow the African nations to

move,” he stated. A/F Frazer replied that Mugabe clearly is

clinging desperately to power: “At this juncture, someone

could give Mugabe assurances that if he steps down now, he

will not be charged with any crime. However, if he were to

threaten the life or hurt the opposition leaders, then the

situation would change; at that stage perhaps an intervention

would be warranted.”

 

15. (C) Minister Membe stressed that pressure from the

international community is critical at this juncture. He

reiterated that the AU members had deeply appreciated the

“silent support” of the United States during the Comoros

crisis: “It strengthened our hand, your silent support, so we

were confident to succeed.” Membe asked that we create a

situation now where Mugabe will feel intense pressure:

“Create a credible threat and we will take advantage of that

threat to execute our decisions. I can assure you that at

least 85 percent of AU members are tired of Mugabe being in

power,” he concluded.

 

Participants

————

16. (U) The participants in the June 3 meeting in Arusha,

Tanzania were:

 

Government of the United States:

Hon. Jendayi E. Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State

for African Affairs

Fatuma Sanneh, Assistant to A/S Frazer

Mary Johnson, US Embassy Dar es Salaam, notetaker

 

Government of Tanzania:

Hon. Bernard Membe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and

International Cooperation

Amb. Ombeni Sefue, Tanzanian Ambassador to the

United States

 

DAR ES SAL 00000368 004 OF 004

 

 

Notetakers

 

17. (U) This cable was cleared by Assistant Secretary Frazer.

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