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Questions raised about the cost of Mugabe’s stay in power

The Daily News urged African leaders to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to step down in 2003 after Liberian leader Charles Taylor had been forced to step down.

“Taylor, for all his sins of the past, should be commended for seeing the light and stepping aside so that peace could return to the shattered land. He obviously realized that Liberia is bigger than Taylor,” the paper said.

“In Zimbabwe, Mugabe still clings to power despite mounting public pressure for him to step down in the midst of a rapidly worsening economic crisis created by his government’s poor policies. …..

“If Mugabe does not quit now, how long can he precariously cling to power and at what cost to the tottering and anguished nation. . .?”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1614, MEDIA REACTION MUGABE/TAYLOR HOLD POLITICAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1614

2003-08-14 09:18

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

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

 

140918Z Aug 03

UNCLAS HARARE 001614

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION MUGABE/TAYLOR HOLD POLITICAL

SPOTLIGHT; HARARE

 

 

1.   Under headline “Africa must now bear on Mugabe to step

down” the independent daily “The Daily News” dedicated its

August 14 editorial to calling on African leaders to “use

their influence” to encourage Robert Mugabe, blamed for the

“deepening political and economic anarchy” in the country,

to resign from the presidency of Zimbabwe as a harbinger to

the restoration of “normality” and “democracy” to Zimbabwe.

Hailing Charles Taylor’s resignation from the presidency of

Liberia and his departure into exile after “he obviously

realized that Liberia is bigger than Taylor,” the editorial

encouraged African leaders to “use their influence to

ensure that Mugabe is not forced to go the (Charles) Taylor

route.”   Excerpts:

 

2.   “The change of the guard in Liberia, where Charles

Taylor resigned as president on Monday and flew to

Nigeria for political asylum, could provide useful

lessons for troubled Zimbabwe, where planned talks

between the government and the opposition Movement

for Democratic Change (MDC) could fail to rescue the

country from total collapse. While Liberia has been

torn apart by civil war in the past 20 years,

Zimbabwe is gripped by deepening political and

economic anarchy after President Robert Mugabe

presided over the virtual destruction of the

economy. Taylor, for all his sins of the past,

should be commended for seeing the light and

stepping aside so that peace could return to the

shattered land. He obviously realized that Liberia

is bigger than Taylor. . .In Zimbabwe, Mugabe still

clings to power despite mounting public pressure for

him to step down in the midst of a rapidly worsening

economic crisis created by his government’s poor

policies. Mugabe, accused locally and

internationally of gross human rights abuses, would

need immunity if he were to step down. . .If Mugabe

does not quit now, how long can he precariously

cling to power and at what cost to the tottering and

anguished nation. . .? Although Mugabe’s colleagues

in the Southern African region have been working

behind the scenes to try to put things right, much

more needs to be done at that level to make clear to

the President that there can never be normality

until democracy is restored to Zimbabwe. The

African leaders could use their influence to ensure

that Mugabe is not forced to go the Taylor route.

Whether or not an African country would be prepared

to offer him asylum would depend largely on the

modalities and timing of his departure.”

 

WHITEHEAD

 

(10 VIEWS)

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