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Mugabe told US delegation differences in GPA are “little issues”

President Robert Mugabe told a United States congressional delegation that visited Zimbabwe and met him at State House in September 2009 that he thought that the Global Political Agreement was proceeding well. The differences between the parties were “little issues”.

He said he saw no reason for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana to go because he had properly appointed them.

Likewise, the appointment of governors was a presidential prerogative and there was no need to revisit this issue.

“Mugabe, in a pleasant manner, asked as the delegation was leaving why the U.S. had singled out Zimbabwe, of all the countries in the world, for the infliction of ‘the monster’ of ZDERA,” a cable released by Wikileaks says.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE707, CODEL MEEKS MEETING WITH MUGABE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE707

2009-09-04 08:51

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8599

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0707/01 2470851

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 040851Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4868

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3004

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3119

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1548

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2382

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2749

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3167

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5612

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2295

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000707

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/RSA KMOODY

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO HOUSE FOR STEPHANE LEBOUDER

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/04/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM OREP ZI

SUBJECT: CODEL MEEKS MEETING WITH MUGABE

 

REF: HARARE 456

 

Classified By: CDA Donald K. Petterson for reason 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) In a brief meeting with CODEL Meeks, truncated by

the CODEL’s departure schedule, President Robert Mugabe

lapsed into historical reveries, praised the Global Political

Agreement (GPA), saying that only “little issues” remained,

and questioned sanctions. Constrained by time, Congressman

Gregory Meeks said that a new day had arrived and that the

U.S. sougt better relations with Zimbabwe. The government

mouthpiece “The Herald” spun the two-day CODEL visit as

focused on meeting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the

meeting with Mugabe as “impromptu” and a slight to the

president. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Congressman Meeks led a delegation that also

included Congressman Melvin Watt, Congresswoman Sheila

Jackson-Lee, Congressman Jack Kingston, and Congresswoman

Marcia Fudge on a two-day trip to Harare September 2 and

September 3. Post had requested a meeting with Mugabe two

weeks earlier and renewed the request, upon the CODEL’S

arrival on September 2, to Foreign Minister Mumbengegwi who

was at the airport to greet the CODEL. We also noted to

Mumbengegwi the CODEL’S departure time on September 3 in the

event a meeting was arranged. Nevertheless, it was only

minutes before the delegation was due to depart for the

airport that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) informed

us that Mugabe was available. The delegation, accompanied by

Charge Petterson, immediately proceeded to State House where

we once again emphasized time constraints. Mugabe was joined

at the meeting by Minister of State in the Office of the

President Didymus Mutasa, Mumbengegwi, and several MFA

officials.

 

3. (SBU) Mugabe greeted the delegation to Zimbabwe and

immediately lapsed, as he is wont to do both in public

speeches and private meetings (Ref), into a historical

recounting of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle and the

Lancaster House agreement which resulted in Zimbabwe’s

independence. After about 20 minutes, realizing that Mugabe

was at 1980 and that it could take another hour or more for

him to reach 2009, Meeks interrupted and apologized that the

delegation had to cut short the meeting. Apparently

understanding for the first time that the delegation could

not settle in for an afternoon of historical reminiscence,

Mugabe fast-forwarded to land reform, the failure of which he

blamed on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and then

quickly questioned why the U.S. had imposed sanctions since

Zimbabwe’s disagreements were with the UK and not the U.S.

 

4. (SBU) Mugabe concluded with a discussion of the GPA. He

thought that it was proceeding well, and differences between

the parties were “little issues.” He saw no reason for

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney

QReserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney

General Johannes Tomana to go because he had properly

appointed them. Likewise, appointment of governors was a

presidential prerogative and there was no need to revisit

this issue.

 

5. (SBU) Constrained by time, Meeks told Mugabe that a new

day had arrived with the presidency of Barack Obama and that

the U.S. sought better relations with the Zimbabwean

government. He hoped he would later be able to speak at

length with Mugabe and promised to return before the end of

 

HARARE 00000707 002 OF 002

 

 

the year. Mugabe, in a pleasant manner, asked as the

delegation was leaving why the U.S. had singled out Zimbabwe,

of all the countries in the world, for the infliction of “the

monster” of ZDERA.

 

6. (U) “The Herald”, in an article entitled “US

Congressional team’s visit raises eyebrows,” claimed the call

on Mugabe was “impromptu” as the delegation had not intended

to meet Mugabe, but decided at the last minute to see him to

make their visit look impartial after they had met with

Tsvangirai. Presidential Spokesman George Charamba was

quoted in “The Herald” saying, “The visit seems to have been

focused on one party in the GPA. Their visit to State House

was a self-fulfilling one and even the President was taken

aback.” In the article, “The Herald” also reported that

Meeks is on the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy

that has provided financing to “a raft of non-governmental

organisations that have been pushing the illegal regime

change agenda in Zimbabwe,” and that Jackson-Lee voted for

“illegal economic sanctions” against Zimbabwe in 2001, backed

sanctions against Sudan that were opposed by the African

Union, and was arrested for disorderly conduct outside the

Sudanese Embassy.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) The MFA is wary of meetings between U.S. officials

and Mugabe; hence, at the airport before the CODEL arrived,

Mumbengegwi sought from the Charge the purpose of the visit

and what the CODEL hoped to raise with Mugabe. Nevertheless,

the GOZ wants such meetings to take place as it demonstrates,

particularly in light of Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s travels,

international engagement between the West and Mugabe.

 

8. (C) Mugabe appeared frail although alert. Either because

he was not briefed, or because he did not absorb a briefing

if one took place, he was ill-prepared for the meeting; and

rather than engaging with the CODEL he lapsed into what he

knows best: the anti-colonial struggle, the Lancaster House

agreement, and (perceived) UK efforts to frustrate land

reform.

 

9. (C) As noted, we had tried to schedule a meeting with

Mugabe for a couple of weeks. Apparently concerned that the

short length of the meeting — which it was responsible for

— would compare unfavorably with the hour-long meeting with

Tsvangirai (Septel), the GOZ decided to spin the meeting as a

U.S. slight to Mugabe. END COMMENT.

 

10. (SBU) The CODEL did not have the opportunity to clear

this message before departing Harare.

 

PETTERSON

(5 VIEWS)

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