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SADC ministers bulldoze Zimbabwe to reform troika

Southern African Development Community foreign and defence ministers had to bulldoze Zimbabwe to reform the organ on politics, defence and security into a troika.

The organ had been dysfunctional since its formation largely because of a disagreement between President Robert Mugabe who was the chair and South African President Nelson Mandela who chaired SADC over whether the organ was subordinate to the SADC chairman or was autonomous.

The ministers had to bulldoze Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge to agree that the organ becomes subordinate to the SADC chair.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00GABORONE5265, BREAKTHROUGH FOR SADC ON REFORMING POLITICAL

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00GABORONE5265

2000-11-24 16:02

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Gaborone

P 241602Z NOV 00

FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5856

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 GABORONE 005265

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/05

TAGS: SADC PREL MARR MCAP ZU

SUBJECT: BREAKTHROUGH FOR SADC ON REFORMING POLITICAL

ORGAN?

 

REF: (A) GABORONE 2630, (B) PRETORIA 6497, (C) MBABANE

1670

 

(U) CLASSIFIED BY POL/ECON CHIEF MICHAEL MORROW, REASON

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) SADC FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS HAVE REACHED

CONSENSUS ON REFORMING THE LONG-MORIBUND SADC ORGAN ON

POLITICS, DEFENSE AND SECURITY, FM MERAFHE TOLD US. THE

ORGAN HAS BEEN LARGELY DYSFUNCTIONAL SINCE ITS CREATION

IN 1996, DUE TO A DISPUTE OVER LINES OF AUTHORITY

BETWEEN IT AND SADC PROPER THAT PITTED ORGAN CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MUGABE AGAINST 1996-99 SADC CHAIRMAN NELSON

MANDELA. ACCORDING TO MERAFHE, THE SADC FOREIGNQ

MINISTERS MET IN HARARE NOVEMBER 23 AND AGREED ON A

REFORM PLAN THAT CLEARLY SUBORDINATES THE ORGAN TO THE

SADC CHAIRMAN AND ESTABLISHES A TROIKA CHAIRMANSHIP OF

THE ORGAN. THIS AGREEMENT WAS ACHIEVED ONLY AFTER

CONSIDERABLE PRESSURE WAS PUT ON ZIMBABWE, WHICH HAD

LONG OPPOSED THE REFORM PLAN, MERAFHE SAID. SADC HEADS

OF STATE MUST NOW RATIFY THE PLAN, WHICH MERAFHE EXPECTS

TO HAPPEN AT AN EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT WITHIN THE NEXT SIX

MONTHS. THIS REFORM, IF RATIFIED, WOULD BE A CLEAR STEP

FORWARD IN SADC’S EFFORTS TO DEVELOP A SOUND REGIONAL

SECURITY ARCHITECTURE. HOWEVER, THE ULTIMATE

EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ORGAN WILL LARGELY DEPEND ON THE

EXTENT TO WHICH SADC’S DIVERSE MEMBERS CAN DEVELOP A

COMMON SET OF VALUES IN THEIR APPROACH TO CONFLICT

MANAGEMENT. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— ———-

SADC MINISTERS AGREE TO REFORM POLITICAL/SECURITY ORGAN

——————————————— ———-

 

2. (C) FOREIGN MINISTER MERAFHE TOLD AMBASSADOR

NOVEMBER 24 THAT AN IMPORTANT NEW DEVELOPMENT HAD

OCCURRED DURING HIS MEETING THE DAY BEFORE WITH A

GROUPING OF OTHER SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

(SADC) FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS IN HARARE. THE

MINISTERS PRESENT (FROM AT LEAST 10 OF THE 14 MEMBER

STATES — MAURITIUS, ZAMBIA, SEYCHELLES, AND POSSIBLY

DRC WERE NOT PRESENT) REACHED CONSENSUS ON A PLAN FOR

REFORMING THE STRUCTURE OF SADC’S ORGAN FOR POLITICS,

DEFENSE AND SECURITY. THE PLAN FOLLOWED THE OUTLINE OF

THE AGREEMENT REACHED BY SADC FOREIGN AND DEFENSE

MINISTERS IN MBABANE IN OCTOBER 1999: THAT THE ORGAN IS

INDEED A PART OF SADC AND SHOULD REPORT TO THE SADC

CHAIRMAN; AND THAT THE ORGAN’S CHAIRMANSHIP (HELD BY

MUGABE SINCE THE ORGAN’S CREATION IN 1996) SHOULD BE

TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANNUALLY ROTATING TROIKA. (COMMENT:

ZIMBABWE FOREIGN MINISTER HAD SIGNED ON TO THE MBABANE

COMMUNIQUE, BUT SUBSEQUENT BACKSLIDING THREW THE ORGAN

REFORM ISSUE INTO QUESTION. SEE REFTELS. END COMMENT).

 

3. (C) THE HARARE CONSENSUS, PROVIDED IT HOLDS, WOULD

OPEN THE DOOR TO CLEARING UP A PROBLEM THAT HAS

BEDEVILED SADC FOR FOUR YEARS. SINCE ITS INCEPTION, THE

ORGAN HAS HAD A DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH SADC

ITSELF. THE CRUX OF THE MATTER HAS BEEN SHARP

DISAGREEMENT OVER WHETHER THE ORGAN SHOULD BE

SUBORDINATE TO THE SADC CHAIRMAN OR AUTONOMOUS FROM IT.

THIS DISPUTE LARGELY PITTED ORGAN CHAIRMAN ROBERT MUGABE

AGAINST NELSON MANDELA, WHO HELD THE SADC CHAIRMANSHIP

FROM 1996-99. THE MOST WELL KNOW CONTROVERSY

SURROUNDING THE ORGAN WAS THE UNRESOLVED DEBATE OVER

WHETHER THE ORGAN (OR FOR THAT MATTER, SADC ITSELF) EVER

FORMALLY ENDORSED THE DEPLOYMENT OF ZIMBABWEAN, NAMIBIAN

AND ANGOLAN TROOPS (THE SO-CALLED “SADC FORCES”) TO THE

DRC IN AUGUST 1998.

 

———————

TWISTING HARARE’S ARM

———————

 

4. (C) MERAFHE SINGLED OUT ZIMBABWE AS THE MAIN

STUMBLING BLOCK AT THE HARARE MINISTERIAL. HE SAID

ZIMBABWE WAS RELUCTANT TO GO ALONG WITH THE REFORM PLAN

UNTIL HE, ALONG WITH SOUTH AFRICAN FM ZUMA, “HAMMERED”

AWAY AT ZIMBABWEAN FM MUDENGE UNTIL “HE WAS DISABUSED OF

HIS NOTIONS.” MERAFHE (PROTECT) FURTHER NOTED THAT HE,

ALONG WITH THE OTHER MINISTERS WHO WERE PRESENT, ARE NOW

“QUIETLY CELEBRATING” ZIMBABWE’S ACCEPTANCE OF THE

STRUCTURAL CHANGE.

 

5. (C) ACCORDING TO MERAFHE, THE SADC HEADS OF STATE

MUST NOW RATIFY THE PLAN BEFORE IT BECOMES OPERABLE. HE

ANTICIPATES THIS WILL HAPPEN AT AN EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT

WITHIN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS. ASKED BY THE AMBASSADOR

ABOUT THE CHANCES OF FURTHER BACKSLIDING AT THE HEAD OF

STATE LEVEL, MERAFHE REPLIED THAT IT WOULD BE EXTREMELY

DIFFICULT — AND DOWNRIGHT EMBARRASSING — FOR ZIMBABWE

OR ANY OTHER MEMBER STATE TO BREAK RANKS AT THIS POINT.

 

——————————————— –

SADC CONSENSUS ON ECONOMIC RESTRUCTURING, TOO?

——————————————— –

 

6. (C) WE ASKED MERAFHE ABOUT THE “OTHER HALF” OF

SADC’S RESTRUCTURING EFFORT — A REVIEW THAT BEGAN 15

MONTHS AGO OF SADC’S HIGHLY DECENTRALIZED (AND WIDELY

CRITICIZED) SYSTEM OF 21 SECTOR COORDINATING UNITS, EACH

(WITH TWO EXCEPTIONS) FUNDED AND STAFFED BY A SINGLE

MEMBER STATE. HE REPORTED THAT THE ISSUE WOULD BE

DISCUSSED BY THE SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS (OF WHICH

MERAFHE IS A MEMBER) AT THEIR NOVEMBER 28 MEETING IN

GABORONE, AND THAT HE EXPECTED A FAVORABLE AND NON-

CONTROVERSIAL OUTCOME. (COMMENT: THIS TRACKS WITH WHAT

WE ARE HEARING FROM A VARIETY OF OTHER SOURCES: THAT

AFTER 15 MONTHS OF STUDY AND NEGOTIATIONS, SADC HAS

REACHED A CONSENSUS TO CONSOLIDATE THE 21 SECTOR UNITS

INTO 4 “CLUSTERS” — TRADE/FINANCE/INVESTMENT;

INFRASTRUCTURE; AGRICULTURE/ENVIRONMENT; AND HUMAN

RESOURCES — THAT WOULD BE REGIONALLY FUNDED AND

REGIONALLY STAFFED. END COMMENT).

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) SHOULD THE CONSENSUS REACHED IN HARARE STICK,

THIS CAN ONLY BE SEEN AS A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR

SADC. HAVING A FUNCTIONING ORGAN WOULD GIVE SADC A

MUCH-NEEDED MECHANISM FOR ADDRESSING REGIONAL SECURITY

ISSUES, AS WELL AS GIVE THE U.S. AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL

PARTNERS A POINT OF CONTACT THROUGH WHICH TO ENGAGE SADC

ON SUCH ISSUES. AT THE SAME TIME, AT THIS POINT IT

WOULD NOT BE PRUDENT AUTOMATICALLY TO ASSUME SADC WILL

ACTUALLY APPROVE THESE REFORMS — PRESIDENT MUGABE COULD

STILL BLOCK THEM IF HE SO CHOOSES. NOR WOULD IT BE

PRUDENT TO OVERSELL THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF A REFORMED

ORGAN. MANY OBSERVERS POINT TO THE STARK DISPARITIES

AMONG THE 14 SADC COUNTRIES REGARDING THEIR LEVEL OF

POLITICAL MATURITY AND COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND

DEMOCRACY. UNLESS AND UNTIL THE REGION DEVELOPS A

GREATER DEGREE OF SHARED COMMITMENT TO THESE VALUES, THE

ULTIMATE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ORGAN AS A VEHICLE FOR

DIPLOMATIC, NON-MILITARY APPROACHES TO REGIONAL SECURITY

ISSUES IN SOUTHERN AFRICA WILL REMAIN IN QUESTION.

NONETHELESS, THE HARARE CONSENSUS IS A PREREQUISITE FOR

SADC TO GET TO THAT POINT. THIS, COUPLED WITH THE

ENCOURAGING NEWS SUGGESTING AGREEMENT ON CONSOLIDATING

SADC’S FAR-FLUNG AND GENERALLY WEAK DEVELOPMENTAL

STRUCTURES, APPEARS TO BODE WELL FOR SADC’S LONG-TERM

ASPIRATIONS TO BECOME A STRONGER ENGINE FOR REGIONAL

INTEGRATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA.

 

 

LANGE

(14 VIEWS)

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