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Mugabe will have same ignominious exit as Smith

President Robert Mugabe and his government will face the same ignominious exit as former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith did or it could even be worse, the Financial Gazette warned as the country celebrated its 22nd anniversary.

 The paper said Mugabe could not ride the storm of international condemnation and isolation just like Smith had failed to.

 “As Smith now knows only too well, a vain attempt to defy the world over a clear injustice has its price, and Rhodesia and Smith himself eventually learnt this lesson to their grief.

 “It won’t be different now for Mugabe. As Zimbabwe today marks its 22 years of independence, is it not an irony that the country is once again under international sanctions for government-sponsored anarchy, as it was for several years up to 1980?”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE955, MEDIA REPORT ZIM TURNS 22; HARARE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE955

2002-04-19 11:43

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 000955

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/PD FOR COX AND ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT AND SCHLACHTER,

AF/RA FOR SWANN, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ZI PREL PHUM

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT ZIM TURNS 22; HARARE

 

 

1.   Editorials published in the April 18 and 19 editions

of

the mainstream newspapers concentrate on Zimbabwe’s 22nd

anniversary. Editorial excerpts:

 

2.   Under headline “Spirit of togetherness is heartening,”

the government-controlled daily “The Herald” (04/19)

comments:

 

“The turnout at yesterday’s independence celebrations

throughout the country is a clear affirmation of

President Mugabe’s leadership. Thousands of Zimbabweans

from both the ruling ZANU PF and opposition MDC turned

out to hear President Mugabe’s independence message.

For the first time in over two years, the MDC joined

hands with other Zimbabweans to commemorate the

country’s 22 years of independence. . .This show of

unity was in keeping with President Mugabe’s call for

all Zimbabweans to cast their political, religious,

ethnic or cultural differences aside and concentrate on

nation building. Zimbabweans have been waiting for a

long time to see this kind of political maturity

displayed as it sends the right signals to the outside

world that, despite our political differences, we are

one nation. The celebration of this Independence Day by

all nationals should signify a new thinking and unity of

purpose. It is an affirmation of the country’s

sovereignty and will send an unambiguous message to the

country’s detractors that were bent on dividing the

nation and re-colonizing us. We expect the entire

country to rally behind its leaders in charting a new

course for the revival of the economy. . .The

independence celebrations have started the ball rolling

and political leaders should now tone down inflammatory

statements that don’t build the nation but distract

attention from the real development needs of the people.

. .We also commend the leader of the MDC, Mr. Morgan

Tsvangirai, for urging his supporters to attend the

independence celebrations. . .This gesture is a good

sign for the future and will mean that the opposition

can now be part and parcel of the various national

processes of the country. . .A new chapter was opened. .

.and hopefully there will be no one to spoil this new

spirit of togetherness as we join hands to build a new,

revitalized Zimbabwe.”

 

3.   Under headline “Journey without maps,” the independent

weekly “The Financial Gazette” (04/18) comments:

 

“. . .But for all the seemingly business-as-usual

attitude adopted by Zimbabwe’s leaders in the face of

widening international condemnation and isolation, it is

clear that the sanctions are beginning to have a telling

and that Mugabe and his officials are deeply worried

about the road ahead. Nothing bears out the

government’s worry more than its rabid response to the

sanctions because, if they were of no effect at all,

none of its members would bother even to respond. And

yet despite this realization, Harare somehow seems to

think that it has the wherewithal to ride over the storm

of its isolation, in the same manner as former Rhodesian

premier Ian Smith hoped he would do in the turbulent

1960s and 1970s. As Smith now knows only too well, a

vain attempt to defy the world over a clear injustice

has its price, and Rhodesia and Smith himself eventually

learnt this lesson to their grief. It won’t be

different now for Mugabe. . .As Zimbabwe today marks its

22 years of independence, is it not an irony that the

country is once again under international sanctions for

government-sponsored anarchy, as it was for several

years up to 1980? Instead of withdrawing into a cul-de-

sac and hoping that normalcy will eventually return to

Zimbabwe, Mugabe and his advisers must get real and do

so quickly. They need to acknowledge the deep-seated

grievances that their actions have caused and correct

these before it is too late. Not even the half-backed

economic reforms led by agriculture, which the

government is toying around with, will ever work in a

climate of mayhem and international sanctions. The

alternative to doing the right thing now is clear:

Mugabe and his government will face the same ignominious

exit as Smith did. It could even be worse.”

 

4.   Under headline “Marking final victory over the

colonial

yoke,” the government-controlled daily “The Herald”

(04/18) ran the following comment on page one:

 

“Although battered and bruised, Zimbabweans today

celebrate the final victory against the yoke of

colonialism and can now stand proud and tall as a truly

independent African nation. . .Despite 22 years of

independence, the ghost of colonialism was still

haunting the country and this spook was finally

exorcised in the March 9-11 presidential poll. The

country has now truly come of age and will have to learn

to stand on its own feet. The sanctions that are being

applied against Zimbabwe by mostly European countries

and the U. S. remove the safety guards the country

needed in its early years of independence. While most

urbanites are reasonably concerned and scared at the

prospect of going it alone, we need to assure them that

this is the perfect opportunity for the country to dig

deep within itself and develop a truly Zimbabwean

economy that is owned and driven by its own people. The

sanctions are indeed a blessing in disguise as they

serve as a test among ourselves to see whether we

qualify to be independent or not. We have had 22 years

to learn the ropes of governance and business, it is now

time we started fending for ourselves. . . .”

 

5.   Under headline “Little cause for cheer on Independence

Day,” the independent daily “The Daily News” (04/18)

comments:

 

“Today, the government will reflect on its 22-year rule.

It would like everyone to believe that its achievements

are unparalleled, but that is not entirely true. Its

gains were during the first decade of independence and

were in the areas of education and health. However,

since the 1990s, there was a rapid erosion of those

gains that the losses now seem to outweigh the

achievements. . .Lest the people are bamboozled, those

attending the Independence celebrations today need to

see beyond the rhetoric and identify who is to blame for

the sorry state Zimbabwe finds itself in.”

 

WHITEHEAD

(6 VIEWS)

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