Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a hero of the country’s liberation struggle, could have become his country’s Nelson Mandela but instead became a second Idi Amin, a cable just released by Wikileaks says.
The cable quoting an editorial in a Brazilian centre-right newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo entitled: An Institutionalized Savagery, says Mugabe was being propped by then South African President Thabo Mbeki who tolerated the tyrant.
The editorial was written on 1 July 2008, four days after Mugabe had been sworn in as the country’s president following a re-run in which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had pulled out because of rampant political violence. Tsvangirai had won the first round in March but had not won an outright majority.
Mandela was the first South African black President and spent 27 years in jail in his quest to liberate his country. He is regarded as an international hero though there is some sentiment that he did not do much for his people after independence and was more interested in promoting his saintly image.
Idi Amin was a President of Uganda and is more famous for kicking out Indians from the country and taking over their businesses.
The editorial said it was unlikely that South Africa, China and Russia would support economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, something that was being pushed for by the West to isolate Mugabe and if passed by the United Nations would have enabled military intervention.
“It is unlikely that South Africa, as well as Russia and China, will support economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, and much less the sending of the UN’s blue helmets. But it would be considered a victory if the African Unit, with the support of South Africa, declared illegitimate the sixth mandate of Mugabe and put pressure [on Mugabe] for new elections”,” the editorial said.
Full cable below:
Viewing cable 08SAOPAULO348, MEDIA REACTION: ZIMBABWE
DE RUEHSO #0348 1831042
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011042Z JUL 08 ZDK
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8362
INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 9496
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8776
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 3125
UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000348
STATE INR/R/MR; IIP/R/MR; WHA/PD
DEPT PASS USTR
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: ZIMBABWE
An Institutionalized Savagery
Editorial in center-right O Estado de S.Paulo (7/01) says: “Robert
Mugabe, the hero of Zimbabwe’s independence movement, could have
been for his country what Nelson Mandela was for South Africa, but
instead became a second Idi Amin. Essential for the future of the
new Idi Amin is the position of South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki
who has been giving signs of exasperation with the tyrant. It is
unlikely that South Africa, as well as Russia and China, will
support economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, and much less the
sending of the UN’s blue helmets. But it would be considered a
victory if the African Unit, with the support of South Africa,
declared illegitimate the sixth mandate of Mugabe and put pressure
[on Mugabe] for new elections.”