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Mugabe “cartooned” in Botswana on United Nations day

President Robert Mugabe was “cartooned” in a play by a group of pupils at the United Nations Day in Kang, a small, remote place in Central Kalahari, Botswana which was attended by Botswana’s Foreign Minister Pandu Skelemani and representatives of 14 diplomatic missions and United Nations agencies.

The play was about the marketing of a “product” developed to aid youth empowerment to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Throughout the play, the promoters of the product were met with lines, especially from the child portraying Mugabe, that sounded as though they were taken directly from speeches:

  • “This is just a Bush plan from the West,”
  • “We don’t need the West’s interference,” and
  • “The West can go to hell if they think we will accept their plans for us.”

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08GABORONE979, FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES – BOTSWANA PUBLIC OPINION

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08GABORONE979

2008-11-10 07:51

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Gaborone

VZCZCXRO7170

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHOR #0979 3150751

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 100751Z NOV 08

FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5368

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0379

UNCLAS GABORONE 000979

 

SENSITIVE

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL ZI BC

SUBJECT: FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES – BOTSWANA PUBLIC OPINION

ON ZIMBABWE

 

NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING

 

1. (U) United Nations Day was celebrated in Botswana

on October 24 in Kang, a small, remote way station on

the Trans-Kalahari Highway in the Central Kalahari

District. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and

International Cooperation, Phandu Skelemani, many

other GOB officials, and representatives from about

14 diplomatic missions and the UN agencies attended

the event.Pol/Econ Officer represented the Embassy.

 

2. (SBU) The UN Day celebration centered on this

year’s theme of Youth Empowerment and featured two

youth choirs, a traditional dance group and a youth

drama group from a local intermediate school. The drama

group wrote a play for the occasion, in which an

imaginary “product” had been developed to aid youth

empowerment. The play’s plot involved the marketing

of this “product” to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Iran’s

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Throughout the play, the

promoters of the product were met with lines,

especially from the child portraying Mugabe, that

sounded as though they were taken directly from

speeches – “this is just a Bush plan from the

West,” “we don’t need the West’s interference,”

and “the West can go to hell if they think we will

accept their plans for us.”

 

3. (SBU) The audience, which included hundreds of

local school children and adult community members,

seemed to love this portrayal of Mugabe and laughed

after each line was delivered. However, the Zimbabwean

Ambassador to Botswana, seated in front of Poloff,

was visibly upset by the play and its portrayal of his

government. The Ambassador summoned a UN official to

his seat and repeatedly protested that the play was

insulting and had no connection to the theme of UN Day.

At the end of the play the audience gave it rousing

applause, while the Ambassador from Zimbabwe made a

hasty exit from the gathering, skipping the remaining

UN Day events.

 

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Though the UN Day celebration was a

light-hearted event, the crowd’s reaction to the play

demonstrates that Robert Mugabe does not enjoy grassroots

support in Botswana, including in the most far-off corners

of the country.   The audience in Kang was largely made

up of rural Batswana from the central and western part of

the country who are the least impacted by the current

influx of Zimbabwean refugees, and yet even their reaction

seems to show that the average citizen agrees with the

GOB’s tough stance against the Mugabe government.

END COMMENT

NOLAN

(5 VIEWS)

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