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Mugabe is finished politically

President Robert Mugabe is finished politically and can no longer stand up and brazenly claim that the people are behind him. This was the view of the Daily News on Sunday after the week-long anti-government protest that had been called for by the Movement for Democratic Change to force Mugabe to step down.

“Still, from the intensity of the panic with which the government reacted to the mass action. . .one thing is clear: Mugabe must admit that politically he is finished. No longer can he stand up and brazenly claim that the people are behind him. No. The people are not behind him anymore. They are not even frightened of him or his savage security machinery anymore,” the paper said.

“They are thoroughly fed up with his misrule and are praying that he will exit the scene while he can still do it with a modicum of dignity and self-respect.”

That was nine years ago. Mugabe is still hanging on.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE1166, MEDIA REACTION MASS ACTION IN ZIM; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1166

2003-06-09 09:50

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001166

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS AND AF/S RAYNOR

 

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION MASS ACTION IN ZIM; HARARE

 

1.   Weekend editorials concentrated on the five-day

anti-government protests, called by the opposition

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), that

completely shutdown commerce and industry in the

country from June 2 through 6, 2003. Editorial

excerpts follow:

 

2.   Under headline “ZANU-PF digging its own grave” the

independent daily “The Daily News” (06/09) comments:

 

“Faced with glaring evidence of the people of

Zimbabwe’s dissatisfaction with the government,

President Robert Mugabe is maintaining a belligerent

attitude, threatening the opposition and

participants in last week’s mass action with

retribution. . .It must be clear even to the ruling

ZANU-PF that such heavy-handedness. . .would again

send the wrong signals to local and foreign

investors. . .We fully appreciate the government’s

need to show that it is still in charge following a

mass action that humiliatingly demonstrated that

force alone is keeping the ruling party in power.

But we would urge prudence in the aftermath of last

week’s protests, for the good of the nation and

indeed for the government’s own good. . .The

government’s iron-fisted response to the mass action

and a violent campaign of retribution in the next

few weeks will only harden the people’s hearts

against the ruling party, which is clearly playing

into the hands of the opposition’s hands. If ZANU-

PF continues to display its lack of maturity, it

will ultimately dig its own grave. . . .”

 

3.   Under headline “Tsvangira’s fate: No one above the

law” the government-controlled daily “The Herald” (06/09)

comments:

 

“. . .The arrest of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai for

making treasonous statements will reassure

Zimbabweans that the justice system is alive and

well in the country and the police will not be

intimidated by anyone from carrying out its

constitutional mandate. . .The AG (Attorney-General)

and police should be commended for their boldness in

holding Tsvangirai accountable for his actions. Let

the courts decide whether his actions have been

lawful or not. . .The arrest of Tsvangirai. . .is a

sobering development and a stark reminder that the

law in Zimbabwe is not like a cobweb, which may

catch small flies but will let wasps and hornets

break through. No one is above the law.”

 

4.   Under headline “Admit you are finished” the

independent weekly “The Daily News on Sunday” (06/08)

comments:

 

“. . .Still, from the intensity of the panic with

which the government reacted to the mass

action. . .one thing is clear: Mugabe must admit

that politically he is finished. No longer can he

stand up and brazenly claim that the people are

behind him. No. The people are not behind him any

more. They are not even frightened of him or his

savage security machinery any more. They are

thoroughly fed up with his misrule and are praying

the he will exit the scene while he can still do it

with a modicum of dignity and self-respect. If

Mugabe and ZANU-PF dismiss the mass action as a

flush in the pan and hope that people will start to

sing Mugabe’s and ZANU-PF’s praises this week, then

the country is headed for a very long period of

instability. If Mugabe does not acknowledge that

only through a sincere dialogue with the MDC can the

country return to a semblance of the political and

economic normalcy before 2000, then he is throwing

down the gauntlet and daring the people: what else

can you do to me? The answer to that defiance may

be to ghastly to contemplate:”

 

5.   Under headline “Confront the real issues Mr. Mugabe:

The real threat to your power base Mr. President is

not Tsvangirai but the people of Zimbabwe” the

independent weekly “The Standard” (06/08) comments:

 

“. . .As long as the country’s economy remains in

intensive care, your own position will remain

vulnerable. This is the crux of the matter. You

can delude yourself by dismissing the protests as a

flop but is this the real issue? The real issue,

Mr. President, is that the people of Zimbabwe are

completely dissatisfied and disillusioned with the

state of affairs in the country. Tsvangirai has won

the hearts and minds of the Zimbabweans because of

this dissatisfaction and disillusionment – pure and

simple. . .President Mugabe and the ruling party

must neither underrate the mood of the people or

their power to change things. As long as

Zimbabweans continue to suffer the way they are

doing, the challenge and threat to the President’s

power base remains. And it will be arrogant and

nave in the extreme for the government and its

media to gloat that they have scored an immense

propaganda victory over Morgan Tsvangirai and the

MDC. . . .”

 

6.   Under headline “Dialogue must resume” the

pro-government weekly the “Sunday Mirror” (06/08)

comments:

 

“. . .While the nation is evidently politically

polarized, it is an understatement to say the

Zimbabweans are united in their hope for a swift

improvement in the political and economic condition

they find their country in. . .These facts in

themselves create an adequate basis for engagement

between the two parties (ZANU-PF and MDC). Any

further procrastination on this fundamental issue is

definitely not in the national interest. For, the

damage to the already tottering economy and the

increasingly violent political culture that is

emerging in this country do not bode well for the

nation.”

 

7.   Under headline “Corporates supping with the devil” the

government-controlled weekly “The Sunday Mail” (06/08)

comments:

 

“. . .It is clear that the week-long stayaway was

successful in terms of business shutdown and not

mass action or demonstrations. The question that

then comes to mind is why business chose to become

so partisan in an environment where there are two

contesting political forces. What they did amounted

to advocating a violent overthrow of a government

that they tomorrow will be expecting to work with

and calling on to create an environment in which

they can prosper. This is a sign of treacherous

naivet that will only result in a souring of

relations with the very political force that

controls their destiny. . . .”

 

8.   Under headline “Tsvangirai loses legitimacy to lead

party” the government-controlled daily “The Herald”

(06/07) comments:

 

“MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has lost all

legitimacy to lead the opposition party, having

failed to deliver on all political promises he made

to his supporters over the past three

years. . .Tsvangirai can give all the explanation he

wants to justify why no one seriously observed his

call for mass marches, but the bottom line is that

he failed to unseat the government of President

Mugabe. . . .”

 

SULLIVAN

(4 VIEWS)

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