in Stories

Jendayi Frazer said Tsvangirai won the elections

United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the 29 march 2008 elections. She said she based this on a wealth of post-election tallies by independent observers.

Frazer said this in Zambia where she called on the international community and the Southern African Development Community to take a tougher stance against President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai’s party had won one seat more than President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front in the lower house while Mugabe’s party had won more seats in the Senate but the presidential election results had not yet been released.

Frazer said Zimbabwe’s election results should reflect the will of the people.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08LUSAKA465, MEDIA COVERAGE OF A/S FRAZER VISIT TO ZAMBIA

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08LUSAKA465

2008-04-28 11:28

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Lusaka

VZCZCXRO9616

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHLS #0465 1191128

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 281128Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5744

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS LUSAKA 000465

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL ZI ZA

SUBJECT: MEDIA COVERAGE OF A/S FRAZER VISIT TO ZAMBIA

 

REF: LUSAKA 463

 

1. Summary. In interviews with Zambian national and international

TV, local reporters and major news wire services during a brief

visit to Lusaka, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Jendayi Frazer broadcasted U.S. concerns about the recent Zimbabwean

election and spoke out forcefully against violence in post election

Zimbabwe. A/S Frazer used her press opportunities to clarify, but

not back off from, remarks she had made days before in South Africa

that MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai had won the March 29 election,

stating clearly that she had based her comments on a wealth of

post-election tallies by independent observers. Her visit – and her

call for a tougher international community stance against President

Robert Mugabe – featured prominently in local and international

media. End Summary.

 

2. During a brief April 26-27 visit to Lusaka that included meetings

with President Levy Mwanawasa and former President Kenneth Kaunda,

A/S Frazer sat down for interviews with Associated Press (AP),

Reuters, the BBC World Service, Radio France International, and

several local Zambian media outlets. In each interview she spoke

out forcefully against post-election violence in Zimbabwe and called

on the international community, and specifically on SADC, to take a

tougher stance against reports of gross human rights abuse. She

also continued to emphasize that Zimbabwe’s election results should

reflect the will of the people. A/S Frazer’s statements were picked

up and placed prominently on Zambian and international television,

radio, print, and internet sites.

 

3. Local media outlets concentrated on Frazer’s meeting with

President Mwanawasa, and on his role as SADC Chairman. Zambia’s

most-read newspaper, “The Post” (circulation: 30,000), got an

exclusive interview (“US rep, Levy hold talks over Zim crisis”) and

led with Frazer’s concerns about post-election violence. Though the

paper has previously criticized Western involvement in the

Zimbabwean crisis, their coverage of the A/S visit was accurate and

highlighted the A/S’ main points. The government-run “Daily Mail”

(circulation: 20,000) and “Times of Zambia” (circulation: 25,000)

both took their front-page reports from a Zambia News and

Information Services (ZANIS) reporter who sat in on the AP

interview. Both articles mirrored each other (The Times: “America

exerts pressure on Zim.” The Daily Mail: “Levy urged to pressurise

[sic] Mugabe”) and both led with A/S talking points about U.S.

concern over Zimbabwe violence.

 

4. Zambia National Broadcasting Company television (viewership: 4

million) and radio (listenership: 8 million) broadcasts took

advantage of an exclusive interview, and lead by saying “the United

States of America has expressed concern over the deteriorating

security environment in Zimbabwe.” (The TV bulletin also ran a

separate clip, featuring A/S comments highlighting the Zambian

government’s anti-corruption efforts.) A number of popular,

privately-owned radio stations mentioned the A/S visit, basing their

reports on the ZANIS report.

 

5. Almost as if anticipating A/S Frazer’s visit, the Post –

Zambia’s largest circulation and only independent newspaper ran an

editorial calling on Mugabe to hand over power peacefully. This was

an unexpected shift in message for The Post, which has traditionally

been a liberation movement stalwart. In fact, the Post’s publisher

used the opportunity of the PAO’s last visit to the newsroom to

lambaste the West for its imperial/colonial interference in

Zimbabwean politics. The subsequent editorial (“Let the imperialists

choke on their frustration”) was straight out of Mugabe’s past

talking points. However, given that they are bordering countries,

the lack of original and/or insightful reporting on Zimbabwe from

Zambia is a notable disappointment. With the exception of the local

angle – President Mwanawasa’s role as SADC chairman – most Zimbabwe

coverage comes from international wire services. With the visit of

the A/S, and given the chance to report directly on the situation,

the Zambian media was by and large positive, and accurate, reporting

back the A/S’ talking points just as she presented them.

 

MARTINEZ

(27 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment