Former Botswana President Festus Mogae said one of the ways to improve the situation in Zimbabwe was to secure a safe and comfortable retirement for President Robert Mugabe but neither Vice-President Joice Mujuru nor Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa commanded the “fear or respect that Mugabe relies upon to lead”.
Mogae was speaking to United States ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice about developments in the region.
He also said the election of Jacob Zuma as South African President was just a change in personalities not in African National Congress policies.
Viewing cable 09USUNNEWYORK472, AMB. RICE MEETS WITH FORMER PRESIDENT OF BOTSWANA
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUCNDT #0472 1272005
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P 072005Z MAY 09
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6495
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RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3687
C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 000472
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/07/2019
SUBJECT: AMB. RICE MEETS WITH FORMER PRESIDENT OF BOTSWANA
Classified By: ECOSOC: M/C Robert Hagen for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)
¶1. (C) Summary – In a May 4 meeting between Ambassador Rice
and the former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, Ambassador
Rice and President Mogae discussed a range of issues
including climate change, recent elections in South Africa,
succession plans in Zimbabwe, and the strain of the financial
crisis in Africa. – End Summary
¶2. (C) Ambassador Rice began by congratulating President
Mogae on his recent appointment as a UN envoy for climate
change, to which President Mogae responded ‘it is good to
have you people back in the White House’. President Mogae
then outlined details of a climate change plan for Africa,
stressing the importance of consensus building, mitigation,
and technology transfer. President Mogae said that an
Africa-specific climate change fund might become necessary if
climate change intensifies, and Ambassador Rice concurred,
adding that a small island fund might be equally appropriate.
¶3. (C) On South Africa, President Mogae said that he saw the
emergence of the ANC splinter party COPE as a ‘blessing in
disguise’, which would produce a more meaningful, robust form
of democratic governance in South Africa. When asked what
the United States might expect from recently elected South
African President Jacob Zuma, President Mogae said that he
foresaw a change in personalities, not in ANC policies.
President Mogae said that he expected a more ‘open-minded’
South African government, with Zuma, unlike his predecessor,
set to oppose a number of Mugabe-backed initiatives in SADC.
President Mogae continued, saying that Mbeki’s controversial
stance on HIV/AIDS was borne out of ‘false pride’, and that
Mbeki was deeply suspicious of perceived efforts on the part
of western governments to paint Africans as ‘corrupt and
diseased’ (as purportedly demonstrated in State Department
travel alerts), all of which led Mbeki’s government to
grossly under report violence and AIDS statistics during his
¶4. (C) On Zimbabwe, President Mogae suggested that one way to
improve the current situation would be to secure a safe and
comfortable retirement for President Robert Mugabe.
Ambassador Rice replied that the U.S. would welcome a
peaceful transition, but was concerned about who might
succeed Mugabe prior to free and fair elections. President
Mogae agreed with this sentiment, saying that neither
Vice-President Joice Mujuru nor Housing Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa (purported front-runners in the succession race)
command the fear or respect that Mugabe relies upon to lead.
¶5. (C) On Botswana, President Mogae said that he doesn’t
foresee any short-term changes in policy under President
Khama, and that he expects relations between Botswana and the
U.S. to remain excellent. More broadly, President Mogae said
that Africa had high hopes (perhaps unrealistically high) for
the Obama Administration in Africa, and recommended a
continued and increased focus on PEPFAR, AGOA, and MCC.
Lastly President Mogae said that a strong ‘moral imperative’
remains for western governments to dramatically increase ODA
flows to Africa, as Africans were not responsible for the
recent economic downturn, but are bearing a
disproportionately high share of its economic and social