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Mugabe said there would be war if opposition won

President Robert Mugabe openly stated that he would not accept the results of the presidential elections run-off in 2008 if his party did not win, Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Bernard Membe said.

“If the opposition wins, there will be war,” Membe quoted Mugabe as saying.

He said the Movement for Democratic Change had also countered by saying that if the Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party won, they would not accept the results.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08DARESSALAAM382, TANZANIA: A SOMBER MINISTER MEMBE BRIEFS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08DARESSALAAM382

2008-06-20 14:29

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Dar Es Salaam

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7629

INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 3320

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1419

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0396

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RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0305

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY

RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DAR ES SALAAM 000382

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S MJWILLS, SHILL

ALSO AF/E FOR SHAMILTION, JLIDDLE

ADDIS FOR AU MISSION

LONDON, PARIS, BRUSSELS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM PGOV ZI TZ

SUBJECT: TANZANIA: A SOMBER MINISTER MEMBE BRIEFS

AMBASSADOR GREEN, THE PRESS ON SADC AND AFRICAN UNION

CONCERNS ABOUT ZIMBABWE

 

REF: A. STATE 064233

B. DAR ES SALAAM 0368

 

Summary

——–

1. (SBU) A subdued Foreign Minister Bernard Membe told

Ambassador Green in a June 18 phone call and journalists on

June 19 that the SADC foreign ministers who met in Malawi

June 17-18 were “shocked” by the level of violence that

observers in Zimbabwe are relaying to the SADC Secretariat.

Membe said the military and youth militia are the primary

perpetrators. He told the press that SADC observers had

witnessed Zimbabwe citizens being murdered by military or

militia: “In one incident, observers saw two people shot to

death before their eyes” with no apparent concern that the

observers were watching. (Full text Press Statement, Para

12). Minister Membe said SADC is seriously concerned that 1)

opposition leaders are being jailed, detained and harassed,

thus unable to campaign; 2) both Robert Mugabe and the

opposition MDC have stated publicly they will not accept

election results if the other side is declared winner; 3) the

number of internally displaced persons is alarmingly on the

rise. Membe told Ambassador Green that the leaders of the

Troika of SADC’s Organ of Defence, Politics and Security

(Angola, Swaziland and Tanzania) would meet June 21 or 22 in

Luanda to discuss how SADC should respond. End summary.

 

SADC Foreign Ministers Shaken by Reports of Violence

——————————————— ——-

2. (SBU) After the Ambassador attempted for two days to reach

Minister Bernard Membe in Malawi to deliver reftel demarche

(Ref B), Membe phoned the Ambassador less than an hour after

stepping off his plane from Malawi. Membe did not have an

immediate comment on whether the African Union (AU) would

move quickly to sign a MOU with the United Nations to support

the AU observation teams. Speaking slowly and sounding

“shaken”, he gave the Ambassador a sobering report on what

the Foreign Ministers who met in Malawi had learned from SADC

observers already on the ground in Zimbabwe.

 

3. (U) Membe reported as of June 19, a total of 211 SADC

observers are in Zimbabwe: 77 South Africans, 49 Tanzanians,

and 50 from Botswana are the largest contingents. By

Saturday, June 21, there will be 350 observers in place;

before June 27, the SADC observers will total 380. According

to Membe, the African Union (AU) wanted to send an equally

large number of observers, but the Mugabe government is only

allowing 70 AU observers.

 

4. (U) The observers in Zimbabwe are reporting back to the

SADC Secretariat that:

 

— the level of violence by military and militia, including

shooting civilians in front of the observers, is unacceptable;

— the jailing and continuing harassment of opposition

leaders, particularly Morgan Tsvangirai, who is detained

frequently, for hours at a time on trumped up charges,

restricting his movements and ability to campaign.

— the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is

increasing daily; the stadium in Harare is already serving as

shelter for 350 IDPs.

 

5. (SBU) As a result, the Foreign Ministers at the Malawi

meeting had serious concerns that the June 27 runoff

elections in Zimbabwe should proceed at all. As next steps,

they agreed to brief their respective Heads of State and

suggested that the Troika presidents consult informally with

one another over the next few days. Agreement was also

reached to recommend calling a meeting of the Troika of the

Organ of Defence, Politics and Security this weekend in

Angola.

 

Request to the West: Keep Up the Pressure

——————————————

6. (SBU) Minister Membe asked the Ambassador that “the West

find a way to create a credible perception” that if Mugabe

 

DAR ES SAL 00000382 002 OF 003

 

 

does not immediately cease and desist with the violence,

killings and intimidation, there will be serious consequences

for Robert Mugabe and his government. While Membe left open

what those consequences might be, he told Ambassador Green

that the FMs agreed in Malawi unless there is an immediate

and drastic change in actions and attitude of the Mugabe

government “there cannot be free and fair elections on June

27.”

 

Membe to the Press

—————–

7. (U) Minister Membe told journalists June 19 that SADC is

deeply concerned that the Mugabe government is allowing the

violence to escalate and Zimbabwe citizens are openly being

shot by military and militia. The opposition candidates and

party leaders have been jailed, arrested, and harassed daily,

preventing them from carrying out a campaign. Mugabe has

openly stated that he would not accept election results

unless his party wins: “If the opposition wins, there will be

war.” The opposition MDC has also countered if the Mugabe’s

ZANU-PF party wins, they will not accept the results. In

addition, the Mugabe government has refused any non-Africans

to be observers, and has significantly cut down the number of

African Union member observers to only 70 persons who will be

allowed to monitor the elections.

 

8. (U) Membe stated the SADC Troika countries sent a message

to President Mugabe to stop the violence, to let all

observers deploy throughout the country, and to assure the

safety of all SADC and AU observers. President Kikwete, as

the AU Chairman, sent an even stronger message: the GOZ must

halt violence and intimidation; all sides should cease from

making irresponsible statements; all parties must be allowed

to campaign; and all sides must accept the election results

once released.

 

9. (SBU) Minister Membe stressed that apart from President

Kikwete’s roles in SADC and AU, the nation of Tanzania is

shocked at what is happening in Zimbabwe. Although Mugabe

and the leaders of Tanzania were historically friends, “we

are now at odds on issues of governance. Tanzania will not

support the Government of Zimbabwe wanting to win at all

costs irrespective of the will of its people and the results

at the polls,” he declared.

 

10. (U) In response to inquiries from Tanzanian journalists,

Membe explained as a result of the June 17-18 Malawi meeting,

the Troika of Angola, Swaziland and Tanzania had sent a

report to all SADC leaders. SADC must then decide whether to

forward the report the African Union or not. To an inquiry

on why after being quiet for so long, some SADC countries are

speaking out about the Mugabe regime: “There is imminent

violence, potentially worse than what took place in Kenya,”

he said.

 

11. (U) Minister Membe noted that perhaps former leadership

in the SADC and AU did not try as hard, but “President

Kikwete is now the AU Chairman and he wants to assist the

people of Zimbabwe; he needs to be given credit for that

stance.” Membe said President Kikwete took the lead by

sending 50 Tanzanian observers to Zimbabwe, the maximum the

GOZ would allow. Also, Kikwete has requested the AU

Commission on Peace and Security to give a full report during

the upcoming AU Summit in Sharm el-Sheik Egypt the last week

of June.

 

Comment: Time for Words is Past

——————————-

12. (SBU) Tanzania is beginning to raise its voice against

the impunity of Mugabe’s government with Membe telling

journalists in Dar es Salaam June 19 that SADC observers are

witnessing unmitigated violence, including the murder of

innocent Zimbabwe citizens. Yet, how far President Kikwete

will push SADC and AU leaders to take a stand and condemn the

actions of the Government of Zimbabwe remains to be seen. In

both his phone conversation with Ambassador Green and during

 

DAR ES SAL 00000382 003 OF 003

 

 

the press conference, Bernard Membe appeared somber and

disheartened, lacking his usual enthusiasm. Although both

Kikwete and he have been saying the right words to us about

Zimbabwe for the last six months, Membe may finally be

realizing that the time for decisions, touch choices and

action has come. If Tanzania is serious, then now is the

time is convince a majority of African leaders during the

upcoming SADC Troika meeting and at the AU summit in Sharm

el-Sheikh (June 24-30) that the Mugabe regime must be

condemned for destroying free and fair elections. Even

further, a recommendation that new Zimbabwe elections be

called that would be run and overseen by international

monitors, would be a courageous and historic step. Tanzania,

SADC and the AU leaders must stand up and say “No more!” The

people of Zimbabwe deserve no less.

 

Text of Minister Membe’s June 19 Press Statement

——————————————— —

13. (U) Begin Text: “The ministerial meeting of the SADC

Organ of Defence, Politics and Security was held in Lilongwe,

Malawi on June 17, 2008 under the chairmanship of the

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola, Joao

Bernardo de Miranda.

 

The Tanzanian Minster of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Membe,

represented Tanzania. The Government of Swaziland was

represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of

Defense, Dr. John Kunene. Other officials from Tanzania and

Angola took part. The SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Tomaz

Salomao, also attended the meeting.

 

The meeting focused on the political situation and conflict

in Zimbabwe. The Ministers received a report on Zimbabwe

from Dr. Salomao, who had visited Zimbabwe from June 14 to

17. He spoke about the political, economic and security

situation in Zimbabwe as it prepares for the runoff

presidential elections.

 

The three Ministers of the SADC Troika Organ of Defence,

Politics and Security discussed the Zimbabwe conflict in

depth. They were discouraged over the ongoing violence and

asked the Government of Zimbabwe to stop the violence in

order to create an environment conducive for free and fair

elections. The Ministers also asked both the Mugabe

government and the opposition to consider the welfare of the

citizens of Zimbabwe who had suffered economically and were

now dying.

 

The Ministers proposed to the Chairman of the SADC Organ of

Defence, Politics and Security to call an emergency meeting

of the leaders of the SADC countries and governments in order

to agree and give a joint statement on the situation in

Zimbabwe.”     End Text.

GREEN

(6 VIEWS)

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