Namibia’s Secretary to the Cabinet Franz Kapofi told a United States diplomat that President Robert Mugabe was “shrewd” and had tremendous ego, so Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai needed to recognise that ego and not fight over every ministry.
He was commenting after the stalemate between Mugabe and Tsvangirai following the signing of the Global Political Agreement that was supposed to pave way for an inclusive government.
Kapofi said Mugabe was not just a problem for Tsvangirai but he was difficult for the whole region.
Tsvangirai had to take what he got to get his foot into the door and then work to erode Mugabe’s power from within.
Viewing cable 08WINDHOEK336, NAMIBIA: ONE VIEW ON SADC ENGAGEMENT ON ZIMBABWE
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FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0127
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L WINDHOEK 000336
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2018
SUBJECT: NAMIBIA: ONE VIEW ON SADC ENGAGEMENT ON ZIMBABWE
REF: STATE 112727
Classified By: Charge d’affaires, a.i. Matt Harrington;
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) Charge d’affaires delivered reftel demarche to
Secretary to the Cabinet Franz Kapofi on October 23. Kapofi,
a senior advisor to President Hifikepunye Pohamba, explained
that he was not sure if Namibia would send a representative
to the SADC Politics, Defense and Security Organ Troika
Summit scheduled for October 27 in Harare. Kapofi noted that
President Pohamba will almost certainly not attend as he has
other commitments, and since the Harare meeting is not a
summit of SADC heads of state. (Note: Kapofi is the Namibian
government’s lead negotiator for Millennium Challenge Account
(MCA) program. He and the Charge discussed the status of the
ratification of the MCA Compact. That conversation will be
reported septel. End Note).
¶2. (C) Charge underscored the need for SADC engagement to
restart the Zimbabwe power-sharing talks between Robert
Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Charge stressed the need for
an expeditious solution that reflects the will of the
Zimbabwean people, noting the dire humanitarian crisis. He
emphasized to Kapofi the need for SADC members to press
Mugabe to cease unilateral actions that undermine the
September 15 agreement and to work in good faith to fully
implement the agreement.
¶3. (C) Kapofi responded that “President Mugabe is not just
difficult for Mr. Tsvangirai, but difficult for the whole
region.” He noted that Mugabe is “shrewd” and has a
“tremendous ego.” Kapofi remarked that Tsvangirai needs to
recognize Mugabe’s ego and not fight over every ministry. He
added that Tsvangirai should “take what he gets” to get his
foot in the door and then work to erode Mugabe’s power from
¶4. (C) Comment: Kapofi was frank about Mugabe’s personal
shortcomings and about the challenges he poses for the entire
region. That said, Kapofi’s views of Mugabe are not widely
shared among ruling party officials. It does not appear
Namibia has been asked to participate in the Harare meeting,
and in any case, would be unlikely to bring pressure on the
Zimbabwean President. End Comment.