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.
Viewing cable 08LUSAKA421, ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING EXTRAORDINARY SADC
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
FOR AF/FO, AF/DAS CAROL THOMPSON
FOR AF/S/WILLS, JAMES, HILL, SHIELDS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2018
SUBJECT: ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT ON UPCOMING EXTRAORDINARY SADC
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.
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.
¶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.”