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Only a call to Mugabe by US president can stop violence- ambassador

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald told State department officials at the height of farm invasions in Zimbabwe in 2000 that nothing short of a telephone call from President Bill Clinton to President Robert Mugabe would stop the violence.

McDonald said with the probability of being driven from office by the first viable opposition challenge in 20 years President Mugabe had unleashed a reign of terror against the rival Movement for Democratic Change and Zimbabwe’s white farmers.

The ambassador said while Mugabe and leaders of the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front put the violence in the context of removing the last and most unjust vestige of colonial rule, the ownership of the land, in his judgment the struggle was all about power: “who gets it and who keeps it”.

Mugabe stood to lose some of it in the next parliamentary elections.

“We have made a number of demarches to ministers and even to President Mugabe himself to enforce the law. I have pursued our donor colleagues with vigour to weigh in jointly with us to the Zimbabwean government, but have heard nothing but demurrals, temporizing, and even a clear “No”; they all want their capitals to take the lead.

“I think that the time has come for us to ratchet up the pressure unilaterally. The next step, in my view, is to request the President to make a telephone call to Mugabe. I must stress that it needs to be nothing less than a telephone call, as a letter could very well be ignored,” the ambassador said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE2204, PROPOSAL FOR POTUS TO ENGAGE MUGABE BY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE2204

2000-04-24 12:44

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

241244Z Apr 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO6696

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02204 01 OF 02 241241Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-01   DODE-00

DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-01   FBIE-00 VC-01   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00     AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————4F2F84 241241Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5825

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN

AMEMBASSY MAPUTO

AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK

AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002204

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02204 01 OF 02 241241Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2010

TAGS: PREL ZI US SF WA MZ ZA PGOV

SUBJECT: PROPOSAL FOR POTUS TO ENGAGE MUGABE BY

TELEPHONE ON CURRENT DISTURBANCES IN ZIMBABWE

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASON 1.5

(D).

 

1. (C) RECENT, PRESIDENTIALLY DIRECTED EVENTS HAVE

TAKEN ZIMBABWE TO THE VERGE OF CRISIS. WE BELIEVE A

STRONG AND HIGH-LEVEL MESSAGE APPEALING FOR CALM,

RESTRAINT AND A RETURN TO DEMOCRACY AND RESPECT FOR THE

RULE OF LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS IS CRITICAL. IN THIS

CONNECTION, I STRONGLY URGE THAT PRESIDENT DELIVER SUCH

A MESSAGE VIA A TELEPHONE CALL AT THE EARLIEST

OPPORTUNITY TO PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE.

 

2. (C) WITH THE PROBABILITY OF BEING DRIVEN FROM OFFICE

BY THE FIRST VIABLE OPPOSITION CHALLENGE IN TWENTY

YEARS, ROBERT MUGABE HAS UNLEASHED A REIGN OF TERROR

AGAINST THE RIVAL MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC)

AND THIS COUNTRY’S WHITE FARMERS. THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE

BELIEVES THE LATTER TO BE BANKROLLING THE OPPOSITION

PARTY AND HELPING TO RECRUIT AND ORGANIZE ITS RURAL

CONSTITUENCY. MUGABE HAS USED MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL

LIBERATION WAR VETERANS’ ASSOCIATION AND THE STATE

SECURITY APPARATUS TO PERPETRATE THE VIOLENCE. IT IS A

HARDLY SPONTANEOUS OR NATIONAL MOVEMENT; MOST RIGHT-

THINKING ZIMBABWEANS ARE REPELLED BY THE FARM

OCCUPATIONS. WITHIN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS TWO MDC PARTY

OPERATIVES WERE KILLED IN A FIREBOMB ATTACK ON THEIR

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02204 01 OF 02 241241Z

VEHICLE, TWO WHITE FARMERS WERE FATALLY SHOT, A SCORE

WERE BEATEN TO WITHIN AN INCH OF THEIR LIVES, AND

OSTENSIBLE WAR VETERANS RAPED A PAIR OF WHITE WOMEN IN

THEIR FARMHOUSE NEAR HARARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. THE

“WAR VETERANS” HAVE BATTERED HUNDREDS OF BLACK FARM

WORKERS; STOLEN OR DESTROYED THEIR PROPERTY, AND KILLED

AN UNKNOWN NUMBER. TO THEIR CREDIT, THE COMMERCIAL

FARMERS UNION HAS INSTRUCTED ITS MEMBERS NOT TO RESORT

TO VIOLENCE, TAKING SOME OF THE POTENTIAL FOR EXPLOSION

OUT OF THE OPERATION, AND MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR THE

OBJECTIVE VIEWER TO DECIDE WHO IS AT FAULT. THE POLICE,

AT MUGABE’S INSTRUCTION, HAVE LARGELY STOOD ON THE

SIDELINES AND PASSIVELY WATCHED THE SPECTACLE OF INJURY

AND DESTRUCTION.

 

3. (C) WHILE MUGABE AND THE LEADERS OF THE RULING ZANU-

PF PUT THE VIOLENCE IN THE CONTEXT OF REMOVING THE LAST

AND MOST UNJUST VESTIGE OF COLONIAL RULE, THE OWNERSHIP

OF THE LAND, IN OUR JUDGMENT THE STRUGGLE IS ALL ABOUT

POWER: WHO GETS IT AND WHO KEEPS IT. THE PRESIDENT

STANDS TO LOSE SOME OF IT IN THE STILL UNSCHEDULED

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION. IF THE RULING PARTY LOSES

ENOUGH SEATS, SAY OVER 50 PERCENT, MDC LEADER MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI TELLS US THAT MUGABE WOULD STEP DOWN,

 

SIPDIS

UNACCUSTOMED TO GOVERNING WITH AN OPPOSITION THAT WOULD

ACT AS A REAL CHECK TO UNTRAMMELED EXECUTIVE POWER.

MUGABE’S VIEW OF POWER IS MANICHEAN: EITHER YOU HAVE IT

ALL OR YOU HAVE NOTHING. MOREOVER, THE ZIMBABWEAN

PRESIDENT MUST KNOW THAT THERE ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH

PEOPLE IN ZIMBABWE WITH A GOOD REASON TO KILL HIM, AND

THAT AS AN EX-PRESIDENT HE WOULD NOT LAST LONG, AT LEAST

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 02204 01 OF 02 241241Z

STAYING IN THE COUNTRY HE HELPED FOUND. THEREFORE, WE

THINK THAT HE WILL NOT CALL FOR AN ELECTION UNTIL HE IS

CERTAIN THAT HE WILL WIN IT OVERWHELMINGLY. IF HIS

POLITICAL NOSE TELLS HIM THAT CONDITIONS DO NOT EXIST

FOR THAT OUTCOME TO OCCUR WITHIN THE TIME FRAME

PRESCRIBED BY THE CONSTITUTION, THERE IS SUFFICIENT

TURMOIL IN THE COUNTRY FOR HIM TO DECLARE MARTIAL LAW OR

A STATE OF EMERGENCY, WHICH HE COULD USE TO SCRUB THE

ELECTION AND RULE BY DECREE.

 

4. (C) WE HAVE MADE A NUMBER OF DEMARCHES TO MINISTERS

AND EVEN TO PRESIDENT MUGABE HIMSELF TO ENFORCE THE LAW.

I HAVE PURSUED OUR DONOR COLLEAGUES WITH VIGOR TO WEIGH

IN JOINTLY WITH US TO THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT, BUT

HAVE HEARD NOTHING BUT DEMURRALS, TEMPORIZING, AND EVEN

A CLEAR “NO;” THEY ALL WANT THEIR CAPITALS TO TAKE THE

LEAD. I THINK THAT THE TIME HAS COME FOR US TO RATCHET

UP THE PRESSURE UNILATERALLY. THE NEXT STEP, IN MY

VIEW, IS TO REQUEST THE PRESIDENT TO MAKE A TELEPHONE

CALL TO MUGABE. I MUST STRESS THAT IT NEEDS TO BE

NOTHING LESS THAN A TELEPHONE CALL, AS A LETTER COULD

VERY WELL BE IGNORED (MUGABE WOULD KNOW THAT IT HAD BEEN

DRAFTED BY A SUBORDINATE AND LIKELY NOT EVEN SEEN BY THE

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO6697

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 02204 02 OF 02 241241Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-01   DODE-00

DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EUR-01   FBIE-00 VC-01   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00     AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00    PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 R-00     PMB-00

DSCC-00 DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /010W

——————4F2F90 241241Z /38

O 241244Z APR 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5826

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN

AMEMBASSY MAPUTO

AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK

AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY PARIS

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 002204

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

LONDON FOR PFLAUMER

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 02204 02 OF 02 241241Z

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2010

TAGS: PREL ZI US SF WA MZ ZA PGOV

SUBJECT: PROPOSAL FOR POTUS TO ENGAGE MUGABE BY

TELEPHONE ON CURRENT DISTURBANCES IN ZIMBABWE

 

PRESIDENT. ALSO, THE CLEARANCE PROCESS MAY RESULT IN A

MESSAGE THAT IS EITHER EQUIVOCAL OR TOOTHLESS. WHAT IS

OCCURRING HERE DEMANDS MORE. WHILE POTUS HAS NOT

DIRECTLY ENGAGED MUGABE IN THE PAST, I BELIEVE THAT HIS

PERSONAL WARMTH, STYLE, AND DEMONSTRATED COMMITMENT TO

AFRICA WILL GO A LONG WAY. IF THE PRESIDENT IS

UNAVAILABLE, THEN STRONG CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN

TO ASKING VICE PRESIDENT GORE TO PLACE THE CALL.

 

5. (C) THE PRINCIPAL PITFALL IN A TELEPHONE CALL IS

THAT MUGABE WILL MAKE AN EFFORT TO DRAW THE PRESIDENT

INTO A DEBATE ON THE LAND ISSUE IN ZIMBABWE, AND THE

USG’S OSTENSIBLE OBLIGATIONS IN THAT REGARD. WE WOULD

URGE THAT THE PRESIDENT STEER AWAY FROM THE TOPIC TO THE

EXTENT POSSIBLE, AND FOCUS ON THE INTERNATIONAL

COMMUNITY’S VIEW OF RECENT EVENTS IN ZIMBABWE AND WHAT

IT COULD MEAN DOWN THE ROAD. WITHOUT MINCING WORDS, THE

BEST TACTICAL APPROACH IN THIS CONVERSATION WOULD BE TO

EMPHASIZE HISTORY’S VIEW OF LEADERS: THE LAURELS FOR

THOSE WHO ARE LARGE ENOUGH TO RISE TO THE DEMANDS OF A

SITUATION, VERSUS BRICKBATS OR OBLIVION FOR THOSE WHO

HAVE BEEN BLINDED BY SHORT-TERM CIRCUMSTANCE. MUGABE

VALUES HIS LEGACY AND MAY WELL PROVE MOST RECEPTIVE TO

AN APPROACH ALONG THESE LINES. THE PRESIDENT SHOULD

STRESS TO MUGABE THAT:

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 02204 02 OF 02 241241Z

— WHILE NOT PULLING PUNCHES WITH REGARDS TO U.S.

CONCERNS ABOUT SUCH ISSUES AS THE GOZ’S FAILURE TO

UPHOLD THE RULE OF LAW AND MUGABE’S PUBLIC STATEMENTS

THAT CAN BE READ AS AN INCITEMENT TO RACIAL OR POLITICAL

VIOLENCE, WE HAVE MADE CLEAR OUR DESIRE TO WORK WITH

ZIMBABWE BOTH TO ADDRESS THE STILL-UNRESOLVED LAND

ISSUE, AND TO HELP HALT THE COUNTRY’S DOWNWARD ECONOMIC

AND POLITICAL SPIRAL;

 

— AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE,

MUGABE’S FIRST RESPONSIBILITY IS TO ENSURE THAT THE RULE

OF LAW IS UPHELD;

 

— THE U.S. VIEWS ZIMBABWE AS A FELLOW DEMOCRACY, AND

THAT IN DEMOCRACIES PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT AND FREEDOM TO

CHANGE THEIR GOVERNMENT VIA THE BALLOT BOX; AND

 

— THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMIC

MORASS, SINCE FARMERS, ESPECIALLY NEW ONES, NEED PEACE,

PREDICTABILITY AND BANK LINES TO PLOW THEIR FIELDS AND

REAP THE FRUITS OF THEIR EFFORTS.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(106 VIEWS)

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