Mozambique Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi was surprised by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s pull out from the inclusive government because the Southern African Development Community had always believed that the government of national unity was progressing.
He said that there should be an internal process within Zimbabwe to resolve political conflicts before SADC could host a summit on the issue.
The parties should meet, raise their concerns with the Council of Ministers, come to a consensus government position, and then raise that position with SADC.
Baloi said that SADC was trying to “anticipate problems” regarding Zimbabwe.
For example, he had received advance notice that Tsvangirai was going to announce a boycott, and attempted to set up a meeting before the announcement between Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Tsvangirai to discuss the issue but Tsvangirai did not respond to the offer.
Baloi said he was “frustrated” that Tsvangirai did not talk to them before he acted.
“We don’t want to learn about these events from the press,” he said.
Baloi said President Robert Mugabe’s intransigence-constantly going “forward and back” on progress-was also having a negative impact.
Mugabe had to understand that his actions were hurting SADC’s reputation.
Viewing cable 09MAPUTO1139, FOREIGN MINISTER BALOI DISCUSSES SADC APPROACH ON
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 001139
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/2019
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER BALOI DISCUSSES SADC APPROACH ON
Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Todd Chapman, Reasons 1.4(b+d)
¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The Charge held a brief discussion on
October 20 with Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi regarding the
Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) efforts on
Zimbabwe. He explained Washington’s concerns about the
implementation of Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement (GPA)
and SADC’s role as its guarantor. FM Baloi provided an
overview of SADC’s frustrations with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe’s inflexibility as to
power sharing, and SADC’s plans for dealing with Zimbabwe.
Baloi will attend a meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics,
Defense, and Security in Lesotho October 26-27 before
traveling on for meetings in Harare October 28. The GRM and
SADC seem unlikely to make any constructive statements on
Zimbabwe in the near future. END SUMMARY.
CHARGE OUTLINES WASHINGTON’S CONCERNS
¶2. (C) On October 20, the Charge discussed by phone USG
concerns regarding Zimbabwe with Mozambican Foreign Minister
Oldemiro Baloi. The Charge raised the lack of the
implementation of the provisions of the GPA, Mugabe’s actions
in defiance of the GPA, and SADC’s role in overseeing the
execution of the GPA. The Charge outlined steps Mugabe could
take to show a commitment to democratic reform, including
ending politicized arrests and prosecutions as well as
violent land seizures, replacing the Reserve Bank Governor
and Attorney General, ending media censorship, repealing
emergency decrees restricting personal freedoms, and publicly
committing to the drafting of a new constitution and the
holding of national elections under international supervision
BALOI ON SADC AND ZIMBABWE
¶3. (C) Baloi responded that SADC was very worried about the
situation in Zimbabwe, and claimed that Zimbabwe and Lesotho
had been the two topics of discussion at the SADC Summit in
Kinshasa in September. Baloi noted that SADC had “always
believed the government of national unity was progressing”
and was surprised by Morgan Tsvangirai’s announcement last
week that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was
disengaging from the transition government.
¶4. (C) The FM highlighted that there should be an internal
process within Zimbabwe to resolve political conflicts before
SADC can host a summit on the issue; the parties should meet,
raise their concerns with the Council of Ministers, come to a
consensus government position, and then raise that position
with SADC. Despite this recommendation, Baloi noted he will
travel to Lesotho for meetings on October 26-27 of the SADC
Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security where they will
discuss Zimbabwe. Baloi told Charge he would then be
traveling to Zimbabwe, for meetings in Harare on October 28.
(NOTE: This falls upon the date of Mozambique’s general
elections. END NOTE.).
¶5. (C) Baloi said that SADC was trying to “anticipate
problems” regarding Zimbabwe. For example, Baloi stated that
last week he received advance notice that Tsvangirai was
going to announce a boycott, and attempted to set up a
meeting before the announcement between Guebuza and
Tsvangirai to discuss the issue–yet Tsvangirai did not
respond to the offer. Baloi also shared that they were
“frustrated” that Tsvangirai did not talk to them before he
acted–“we don’t want to learn about these events from the
press,” he said. Baloi said that at the time of the phone
call, noon local time, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza
was to meet Tsvangirai in Manica province.
¶6. (C) The Charge asked Baloi if Mugabe had shown any
flexibility on the issues of implementing the GPA. Baloi
replied that Mugabe had not shown much thus far, but that
Guebuza would have to be the one to talk to Mugabe about that
issue. Baloi said Mugabe’s intransigence–constantly going
“forward and back” on progress–was having a negative impact,
and that Mugabe must understand his actions are hurting
ZIMBABWE EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT SOON
MAPUTO 00001139 002 OF 002
¶7. (C) Baloi mentioned the SADC Secretariat was busy
preparing the necessary documents for a discussion on
Zimbabwe. He said they are lacking former South African
President and SADC-appointed mediator for Zimbabwe Thabo
Mbeki’s mediation report from 2008, which is necessary to
complete the discussion–the Secretariat anticipates Mbeki’s
mediation report will arrive before next week’s summit in
Lesotho. The FM mentioned SADC probably would host an
extraordinary summit soon” where the two topics of discussion
would be the delay of the customs union, which is set to be
established by 2010, and Zimbabwe.
COMMENT: GRM GIVES EXCUSES, SADC UNLIKELY TO PUSH MUGABE
¶8. (C) Baloi’s comments on SADC’s surprise over the
announcement of Tsvangirai’s boycott seem disingenuous.
Tsvangirai and MDC have, on multiple occasions, made pleas to
SADC to reengage on the issue of the implementation of the
GPA. SADC, as guarantor of the agreement, has chosen not to
address MDC’s concerns regarding the outstanding GPA issues –
namely the appointment of Reserve Bank Governor Gono and
Attorney General Tomana, the refusal to swear in the
MDC-designated Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bennett, and
the continued arrest, detainment and harassment of MDC
parliamentarians. Additionally, Baloi’s statement that
Zimbabwe was a main topic of discussion at the SADC Summit in
Kinshasa is misleading, since SADC evidently chose not to
address the Zimbabwe issue during the meeting in a meaningful
way. Blaming Mugabe for SADC’s damaged reputation, rather
than accepting responsibility for SADC’s disengagement from
the issue, is telling of how the region probably will deal
with the failures of the agreement.