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Mwanawasa misread Mugabe

Former Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa told United States ambassador to Zambia Carmen Martinez that President Robert Mugabe had refused to take his call inviting him to an extraordinary meeting of the Southern African Development Community to discuss the Zimbabwean crisis but he was certain that Mugabe would pitch up.

“I know him – he wants to make a show,” Mwanawasa who was reportedly laughing said.

Mugabe did not pitch up.

Mwanawasa had been called by the ambassador to discuss points the US was circulating to African governments on Zimbabwe as well as the special summit.

He expressed his deep appreciation for the words of support from the US government and that the ambassador had approached him through discreet channels.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08LUSAKA421, ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING EXTRAORDINARY SADC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08LUSAKA421

2008-04-11 09:39

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Lusaka

VZCZCXRO9735

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHLS #0421 1020939

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 110939Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5689

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L LUSAKA 000421

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR AF/FO, AF/DAS CAROL THOMPSON

FOR AF/S/WILLS, JAMES, HILL, SHIELDS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2018

TAGS: PREL SADC ZA ZI

SUBJECT: ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING EXTRAORDINARY SADC

SUMMIT

 

REF: 07 LUSAKA 963

 

Classified By: Ambassador Carmen Martinez, reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

 

1. (C) Summary: SADC Chairperson and Zambian President Levy

Mwanawasa told Ambassador he has not yet heard whether Robert

Mugabe will attend the emergency meeting of SADC heads of

state called for April 12, but he expects Mugabe will not to

want to miss a chance to peform. He confirmed that Morgan

Tsvangirai will be allowed to meet with SADC heads of state.

 

SIPDIS

Mwanawasa believes that the announcement of Zimbabwe’s

election results is an urgent concern, and said that if the

summit is not successful, his next step would be to deploy

respected former presidents from the region such as former

Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda to prevail upon Mugabe and

effect a resolution to the crisis. End summary.

 

2. (C) Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, at the Ambassador’s

request, called her at 0930 hours on April 11. The

Ambassador discussed the points contained in the latest

Department press guidance and commended the President on his

initiative in convening the emergency Summit. The Ambassador

emphasized that the United States government remains

concerned about the welfare of the Zimbabwean people and that

the Zimbabwean government’s continued abuse and intimidation

must come to an end.

 

3. (C) The President expressed his deep appreciation for the

words of support from the USG. He also was appreciative that

the Ambassador had made the approach through discreet

channels, as he was in a difficult position especially given

“what happened last time” (referring to the SADC Summit in

2007, see reftel). The President said that he was looking

forward to a successful summit, however, he had not received

confirmation that Mugabe would attend. He said he called

Mugabe personally on Thursday, April 10, but Mugabe would not

take his call, so he has asked President Mbeki to get in

touch with Mugabe. President Mwanawasa said he has not yet

heard from Mbeki. President Mwanawasa said, laughing, that

he thought Mugabe would come because “I know him – he wants

to make a show.” President Mwanawasa also confirmed that

Tsvangirai will be allowed to meet with the heads of state.

 

SIPDIS

 

 

4. (C) President Mwanawasa said that his original plan was to

try to send a commission of respected former African

presidents including the First President of Zambia, Kenneth

Kaunda, to bring their influence to bear to resolve the

crisis. Possibly Kaunda would be able to influence Mugabe to

accept reality (as Kaunda did, when his decades of one-party

rule ended in–what was to him–a surprising election defeat

in 1991). Mwanawasa said that if there is no progress at the

emergency Summit, he will return to the idea of forming a

commission of former presidents to send to Zimbabwe.

 

5. (C) President Mwanawasa concluded by saying that the most

urgent matter now is to announce the election result. He

said that once the results are announced, if Mugabe wants a

recount, then that issue can be dealt with, “but you cannot

recount what you have not announced.”

 

MARTINEZ

(20 VIEWS)

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