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Mogae says Mugabe is acting like a wounded buffalo

Botswana President Festus Mogae told United States officials that President Robert Mugabe was acting like a wounded buffalo so there was no way Zimbabwe was going to have free and fair elections.

Speaking three months before the 2002 elections, Mogae said it was therefore better to have the elections sooner than later to lessen the harm that was being done.

He said Mugabe was going to stay in power by hook or by crook and the only way to remove him was to attack militarily and remove him forcefully.

The cable said Mogae said this half jokingly.

When told that Mugabe was so unpopular that he would lose the elections despite the violence, Mogae said Mugabe was very smart and was already working to prevent that possibility.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01GABORONE3732, MOGAE ON MUGABE: HE WILL STAY IN POWER “BY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01GABORONE3732

2001-12-03 11:37

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Gaborone

P 031137Z DEC 01

FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7422

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L GABORONE 003732

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: (12/3/2006)

TAGS: PREL PGOV BC ZI

SUBJECT: MOGAE ON MUGABE: HE WILL STAY IN POWER “BY

HOOK OR BY CROOK”

 

REF: GABORONE 3681

 

(U) CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR JOHN E. LANGE FOR REASONS

1.5 (B AND D).

 

 

1. (C) PRESIDENT FESTUS MOGAE (PROTECT) BELIEVES THERE

IS NO CHANCE TO INFLUENCE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT ROBERT

MUGABE TO HOLD FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS BY MARCH. HE

SAID MUGABE IS ACTING LIKE A “WOUNDED BUFFALO” AND IT

WOULD BE BETTER TO HAVE THE ELECTIONS SOONER RATHER THAN

LATER TO LESSEN THE HARM THAT IS BEING DONE.

 

2. (C) THE AMBASSADOR RAISED THE ISSUE OF ZIMBABWE

DURING A 12/1 DINNER AT WHICH MAURICE TEMPELSMAN AND THE

HARVARD AIDS INSTITUTE BESTOWED THEIR 2001 AIDS

LEADERSHIP AWARD ON MOGAE. MOGAE AVERTED THAT MUGABE

DOES NOT CARE WHAT ANY OUTSIDERS THINK AND WILL STAY IN

POWER “BY HOOK OR BY CROOK.” IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION

AS TO WHETHER THERE WOULD BE FURTHER SADC ENGAGEMENT

WITH MUGABE AND HIS GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO THE MARCH

ELECTIONS, MOGAE SAID THERE PROBABLY WOULD BE MEETINGS

BUT HE SAW NO CHANCE OF SUCCESS. IN PAST SADC

DISCUSSIONS ON ZIMBABWE, HE SAID HE HAD LED THE

DISCUSSION OF ECONOMIC CONCERNS AND WAS THEN FOLLOWED BY

PRESIDENT MBEKI. NOW, HE SAID (ONLY HALF-JOKINGLY) THAT

THE ONLY WAY TO REMOVE MUGABE FROM POWER WOULD BE TO

ATTACK MILITARILY AND REMOVE HIM FORCEFULLY. THE

AMBASSADOR DESCRIBED A SCENARIO IN WHICH MUGABE AND

ZANU-PF WERE SO UNPOPULAR THAT THEY WOULD ACTUALLY LOSE

THE ELECTIONS DESPITE ALL OF THE VIOLENCE AND

INTIMIDATION IN ADVANCE. MOGAE RESPONDED THAT MUGABE IS

VERY SMART AND IS ALREADY WORKING TO PREVENT THAT

POSSIBILITY, INCLUDING THROUGH HIS LATEST EFFORT TO

DISENFRANCHISE THOSE ZIMBABWEANS LIVING ABROAD.

 

3.   (C) THE CONVERSATION THEN TURNED TO THE IMPACT ON

SOUTHERN AFRICA AND THE CONTINENT AS A WHOLE. THE

AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT THE CREDIBILITY OF NEPAD, WHICH

EMPHASIZES AFRICA’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE,

COULD BE UNDERCUT IF THE ELECTIONS WERE STOLEN. MOGAE

DISMISSED THE IMPORTANCE OF NEPAD, WHICH HE VIEWS AS

BROAD RHETORIC HAVING LITTLE REAL IMPACT ON THE GROUND.

HE SAID THE COB HAS GONE ALONG WITH THE PROGRAM BECAUSE

IT AGREES WITH THE GOALS BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT HAS LOW

EXPECTATIONS FOR IT.

 

4. (C) THE AMBASSADOR ASKED MOGAE IF HE FORESAW STRONG

MEASURES BY SADC, POSSIBLY EVEN INCLUDING EXPULSION,

SHOULD THE ELECTIONS TURN OUT AS BADLY AS MANY PREDICT.

MOGAE WAS UNCERTAIN ABOUT SADC PROCEDURES IN SUCH A CASE

BUT ADDED THAT ZIMBABWE’S “APOLOGISTS” (UNNAMED) WOULD

ARGUE THAT THE SITUATIONS IN SADC MEMBER STATES ANGOLA

AND THE DRC WERE SUCH THAT ZIMBABWE DID NOT MERIT BEING

SINGLED OUT FOR EXPLUSION FROM THE ORGANIZATION.

 

5. (C) COMMENT. MOGAE’S VIEWS ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE

PESSIMISM EXPRESSED TO US EARLIER BY FOREIGN MINISTER

MERAFHE (REFTEL). MOGAE BRIDLES AT THE MEMORY OF BEING

BERATED BY THE “WAR VETERANS” DURING THE SADC TASK FORCE

VISIT TO ZIMBABWE ON SEPTEMBER 9. DESPITE OUR EFFORTS

TO ENCOURAGE CONTINUED ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT, THE COB NOW

SEEMS TO HAVE GIVEN UP ON THE PROSPECTS OF INFLUENCING

MUGABE.

 

LANGE

(12 VIEWS)

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