President Robert Mugabe does not listen to anyone who is not a black African according to former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
Aboul Gheit told a visiting United States congressional delegation that Egypt had advised Mugabe to take urgent action to deal with the crisis in the country but Mugabe would not listen.
Asked why Mugabe would not listen to the advice of respected neighbours such as Egypt, Aboul Gheit said, “because of our skin colour”.
Aboul Gheit said Mugabe simply would not listen to anyone “who is not a black African”, including other non sub-Saharan members of the African Union like Egypt.
He said that despite the Mugabe government’s unwillingness to listen to Egyptian advice, Egypt had sent ten doctors and eight pharmacists to help with the worsening public health situation in Zimbabwe.
Egypt sent a C-130 military cargo airplane full of supplies to Harare every two weeks, including “100,000 injections” for cholera.
Asked if President Hosni Mubarak ever spoke directly with Mugabe, Aboul Gheit said, Yes, “they used to be good friends… ..but Mugabe won’t listen to anyone any more”.
Viewing cable 08CAIRO2581, FOREIGN MINISTER DESCRIBES EGYPTIAN HUMANITARIAN
PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHEG #2581 3651357
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301357Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1245
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002581
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, AF/S
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2018
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER DESCRIBES EGYPTIAN HUMANITARIAN
AID TO ZIMBABWE
REF: CAIRO 1794
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (C) Just prior to CODEL Dorgan’s meeting with President
Mubarak on December 14 (septel), Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul
Gheit, in response to a question from Senator Dorgan, said
that the situation in Zimbabwe was dire, especially with the
outbreak of cholera there, and that Egypt was sending
emergency humanitarian supplies on a regular basis to Harare.
The latest shipment, he said, was an electricity generator
to provide power to a water treatment plant, since parts of
Zimbabwe are dangerously low on safe water.
¶2. (C) Aboul Gheit said that Egypt, as a friendly African
neighbor, had advised the Mugabe government to “take urgent
action” to deal with the country’s crisis, including opening
up a dialogue with the political opposition. Unfortunately,
“Mugabe will not listen.” When Senator Dorgan asked why
President Mugabe would not listen to the advice of respected
neighbors such as Egypt, Aboul Gheit said, “because of our
skin color.” According to Aboul Gheit, Mugabe simply will
not listen to anyone “who is not a black African,” including
other non sub-Saharan members of the AU, like Egypt.
¶3. (C) Aboul Gheit said that despite the Mugabe government’s
unwillingness to listen to Egyptian advice, Egypt had sent
ten doctors and eight pharmacists to help with the worsening
public health situation in Zimbabwe. Aboul Gheit said that
he controls a special “African development fund” (Note: This
is probably a reference to the Egyptian Fund for Technical
Cooperation with Africa (EFTCA) (reftel)) that he uses to
assist in humanitarian and development projects throughout
Africa, lamenting that recently the lion’s share of the fund
was being devoted to Zimbabwe. He added that Egypt sends a
C-130 military cargo airplane full of supplies to Harare
every two weeks, including “100,000 injections” for cholera.
He said that Egypt had contemplated sending even more cholera
medicine to Zimbabwe, but had decided against it as it would
have drawn down Egypt’s own strategic reserves of the
¶4. (C) Another hindrance to increased Egyptian aid to
Zimbabwe, Aboul Gheit explained, is the huge amount of
government corruption there. “We know that most of the
supplies we send they (the Mugabe government) keep for
themselves.” Senator Dorgan asked if President Mubarak ever
spoke directly with president Mugabe. Yes, said Aboul Gheit,
“they used to be good friends.” Mubarak has advised Mugabe
to be “more flexible” in dealing with the political
opposition in Zimbabwe, Aboul Gheit said, “but Mugabe won’t
listen to anyone any more.” Perhaps the best answer to
Zimbabwe’s ills, Aboul Gheit opined, would be for Robert
Mugabe to “retire to another country.” However, he stressed,
“there is no sign he would be willing to do that, yet.”
¶5. (C) Comment: While Egypt will probably continue to supply
Zimbabwe with small amounts of humanitarian aid, it will
likely defer to South Africa, the AU, and other countries in
Southern Africa to devise a political solution to the crisis