in Stories

Mugabe’s attitude towards Tsvangirai matures

Lesotho’s Foreign Minister Kenneth Tsekoa told United States ambassador to Maseru Rob Nolan that President Robert Mugabe’s attitude towards Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had changed since the formation of the inclusive government.

He saw “not a softening, but a maturation” of Mugabe’s attitude towards working with Tsvangirai and the coalition government.

Tsekoa said he was also pleased that the European Union had made a visit to Zimbabwe to review its sanctions and humanitarian assistance.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 09MASERU330, FOREIGN MINISTER’S TOUR D’HORIZON DOES NOT INCLUDE AU CHAIR

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

Classification

Origin

09MASERU330

2009-09-14 15:32

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Maseru

VZCZCXRO5124

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHRN

DE RUEHMR #0330/01 2571532

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 141532Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY MASERU

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4370

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 4803

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MASERU 000330

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/14/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON ETRD LT

SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER’S TOUR D’HORIZON DOES NOT INCLUDE AU CHAIR

ISSUE

 

REF: GABORONE 702

 

MASERU 00000330 001.2 OF 002

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth C. Power, Deputy Chief of Mission.

REASON: 1.4 (b)

1. (C) Summary: Ambassador Rob Nolan was invited by Foreign

Minister Kenneth Tsekoa to a meeting which resulted in a tour

d’horizon discussion of the key issues in Lesotho’s current

political arena. Tsekoa stated that the government of Lesotho

(GOL) is bringing together a commission of international experts

to investigate the roots of the April assassination attempt on

the Prime Minister, in an attempt to determine the source of the

plot and the depth of Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) involvement in

it. He also discussed atmospherics of the recent AU

extraordinary summit in Libya and last week’s SADC summit in

Kinshasa, which he admitted was contentious, although he did not

raise the issue of Lesotho’s failed bid to be SADC’s choice for

African Union (AU) chair. Finally, Tsekoa provided the

Ambassador a copy of a letter that the GOL is transmitting to

Representative Charles Rangel of New York, in his capacity as

Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, requesting his

further support of African textile factories through AGOA and

related trade provisions. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Tsekoa engaged the Ambassador in a warm and open

conversation that touched on all of the major issues facing

Lesotho’s political system. He advised the Ambassador that the

Prime Minister will be announcing today the creation of a

commission of international experts to investigate the

assassination attempt of the Prime Minister in April, which was

carried out by a group of South Africans, Basotho, and

Mozambicans, many of whom were mercenaries. The commission will

be made up of a Mozambican judge, military intelligence experts

from South Africa and Botswana, an Indian who used to advise the

LDF, and several unnamed Basotho representatives. This group’s

mission will be to determine the extent of LDF involvement in

the planning and execution of the attack, as well as uncover the

funding source and mastermind of the plot. The commission is

expected to begin its work in October.

 

3. (C) The Foreign Minister shared his perceptions of the AU’s

extraordinary summit on conflict prevention and mitigation that

took place in Libya in early September. He noted Moammar

Qaddafi’s strong, eccentric personality and stated that there

were few African leaders who were willing to speak up to rein

him in when he was speaking out of turn or attempting to push

through proposals that were not palatable to the rest of the

continent’s leaders. In discussing this most recent summit, he

state that Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was the only one

who spoke up and pushed back against Qaddafi as the Libyan

leader was attempting to steamroll the group about the AU flag

design. Tsekoa also lamented the “billions of dollars” spent on

both the summit and the Libyan anniversary celebration, nothing

that such money would be better spent on economic development in

Libya and elsewhere.

 

4. (C) Turning to last week’s SADC summit in Kinshasa, Tsekoa

said that he saw “not a softening, but a maturation” of Zimbabwe

president Robert Mugabe’s attitude towards working with Prime

Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the coalition government; he also

expressed his pleasure that the European Union had made a visit

to Zimbabwe to review its sanctions and humanitarian assistance.

Tsekoa spoke briefly about the report by SADC mediator

Keturmile Masire, former president of Botswana, who Tsekoa

indicated was “angry” about the lack of progress in his attempts

to resolve Lesotho’s dispute over the 2007 national elections.

According to Tsekoa, Prime Minister Mosisili also became angry

at SADC’s failrure to accept the GOL position that the courts

have ruled on the dispute and the case is now closed for further

discussion. The SADC Organ will now take up where Masire left

off and continue to monitor the dispute. Tsekoa did not mention

the relationship between this issue and Mosisili’s bid for the

AU chair (reftel).

 

5. (C) At the end of the meeting, Tskeoa gave the Ambassador a

copy of a letter that the Lesotho Embassy in Washington has sent

to Rep. Charles Rangel of New York. The letter request Rangel’s

support for “a `hybrid’ scenario through which US garment buyers

who continue to source from Africa would be rewarded with

opportunity to import equal volumes of garments from the Asian

LDCs free of duty.” Ambassador Nolan agreed to pass this letter

on to the Department, noting the importance of AGOA and the

textile industry to Lesotho’s fragile economy. (Note: Post will

email a copy of this letter to AF/S. End Note.)

 

6. (C) Comment: Tsekoa’s usual warmth and frankness are a

testament to the good relationship post has cultivated with him.

His comments on the SADC summit are of particular interest,

given Lesotho’s unusual loss of support for AU chair to Malawi.

Post contacts within the MFA have stated, “SADC does not respect

us,” indicating that Lesotho capitulated to Malawi for the sake

of regional unity. Given the Prime Minister’s public vehemence

about not ceding to any of the opposition’s demands in the

election dispute, his anger during the summit is not surprising

 

MASERU 00000330 002.2 OF 002

 

 

– and the lack of support from SADC for his AU chair bid is

likely to be a big blow to him. It is not clear, however, that

this new development will change his position towards the

opposition. Talks with the opposition are planned to continue

over the coming weeks, and post will report any developments.

NOLAN

(7 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment