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Mbeki said Tsvangirai was a western puppet hook, line and sinker

South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was the main negotiator in the Zimbabwe crisis, allegedly said Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai was a Western puppet “hook, line, and sinker”.

The message was relayed to United States embassy officials in Pretoria by a British diplomat Marianne Young who said President Mbeki’s chief strategist Joel Netshitenzhe was now convinced that the British and Americans were trying to cobble together 50 percent for the MDC.

Young said South Africa’s Minister of Local Government Sydney Mufamadi, a key member of Mbeki’s mediation team on Zimbabwe, called the British High Commissioner on 25 April to relay two messages from President Mbeki.

The first was that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s suggestion that a United Nations arms embargo on Zimbabwe be considered was completely unnecessary.

The second was that the British should not trust Morgan Tsvangirai.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08PRETORIA1000, MBEKI AND ADVISORS REVEAL BIAS AGAINST MDC (AND

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08PRETORIA1000

2008-05-09 15:38

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO9878

PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1000/01 1301538

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 091538Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4430

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 3658

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1520

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 5588

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 9805

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001000

 

SIPDIS

 

PLEASE PASS TO AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/09/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL KHUM KDEM SF ZI

SUBJECT: MBEKI AND ADVISORS REVEAL BIAS AGAINST MDC (AND

WEST)

 

REF: PRETORIA 951

 

PRETORIA 00001000 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mary Deane Conners. Reasons 1.4

(b) and (d).

 

1. (C) British diplomat Marianne Young (protect) told PolOff

on 09 May that President Mbeki’s chief strategist, Joel

Netshitenzhe, has bought Mugabe’s argument that the MDC is a

western puppet “hook, line, and sinker.” Young had just

returned from a meeting with an unnamed source in the

presidency who told her that Netshitenzhe believes Zimbabwe

is a “failed Orange Revolution,” and that the U.S. and UK are

using “western tactics like trying to cobble together 50

percent for MDC, which obviously did not happen.” According

to Young’s source, Netshitenzhe also believes the arguments

made to President Mbeki in Pretoria on 06 May by ZANU-PF

negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche that

teachers at polling stations manipulated the results in favor

of MDC.

 

2. (C) Young also revealed that Minister of Local Government

Sydney Mufamadi, a key member of Mbeki’s mediation team on

Zimbabwe, called the British High Commissioner on 25 April to

relay two messages from President Mbeki. The first was that

Prime Minister Brown’s suggestion that a UN arms embargo be

considered was completely unnecessary. The second was that

the British should not trust Morgan Tsvangirai. (NOTE:

Mufamadi’s comments are ridiculous given the timing of his

demarche. The UK suggested the arms embargo soon after the

South African government approved the unloading and transport

of Chinese ammunition destined to Zimbabwe through South

Africa. In fact, Mufamadi, who chairs SAG’s National

Conventional Arms Control Committee, personally approved the

transfer. Despite the SAG’s public statements that there was

no legal basis to deny the license request, civil society

groups contested the transfer in Durban High Court on the

basis of human rights exemptions in the applicable domestic

law, forcing the ship to leave Durban on 19 April. END NOTE)

 

 

3. (C) President Mbeki also has recently publicly complained

that the US and UK have sought to subvert SADC’s mediation

efforts and that Tsvangirai has reneged on agreements with

him, such as participating in a run-off, at the advice of the

US and UK. During a meeting with church leaders on 04 May,

Mbeki allegedly called Tsvangirai a “puppet of the west,”

though Mbeki’s spokesperson Mokone Ratshitanga has publicly

denied such a statement was made. Earlier today, press

reports also noted that Mbeki has skoffed at the idea of

outside observers in Zimbabwe, saying that the suggestion

implies Africans cannot run their own elections.

 

4. (C) In what Post initially interpreted as good news,

Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo yesterday spoke out publicly

about the escalating violence in Zimbabwe, saying that a

run-off under current conditions is not possible. Mamabolo,

however, refused to lay blame on either party, saying

instead, “Both sides are blaming each other.” (NOTE:

Mamabolo, who is well-respected in the diplomatic community

and leads the South African observer mission to Zimbabwe, has

voiced his concerns privately to Pretoria diplomats about the

increasing violence. END NOTE) Young’s source in the

presidency told her that Mamabolo did not want to speak out

Qpresidency told her that Mamabolo did not want to speak out

because he thought it important to stay neutral, but was

forced to by the Presidency which wants to provide a

counterweight to ANC President Jacob Zuma’s statements on the

crisis. Young also said that the South African observation

team of retired military officers sent in earlier this week

to investigate violence was an ANC-led initiative, not the

government’s (reftel).

 

5. (C) COMMENT: Mbeki has consistently argued that he cannot

criticize ZANU-PF or Mugabe if he wants to be effective as a

mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis. However, both his words and

actions, as well as those of other South African officials

close to him, appear to be anything but neutral. His

critical comments of the US, UK, and MDC may be a way for him

to reassert himself as mediator and to regain some

credibility within the SADC region. Ironically, giving the

impression that the only two choices in the crisis are

himself or western imperialists also has been Mugabe’s

(scare) tactic. END COMMENT.

 

PRETORIA 00001000 002.2 OF 002

 

 

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