Goche said Mutasa and Bonyongwe were obstructionist

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front negotiator Nicholas Goche told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that he could arrange a one-on-one meeting between the ambassador and President Robert Mugabe because he wanted the two governments to mend their relations.

McGee had made a similar request to meet Mugabe to State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa and Central Intelligence Organisation director Happyton Bonyongwe but Goche said the two were obstructionist. They had recommended against a meeting between McGee and Mugabe.

Goche said he could not understand why the US could not talk with Mugabe when they talked with leaders like Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and Meles Zanawi of Ethiopia, who he implied were worse than Mugabe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE85, AMBASSADOR MEETING WITH GOZ MINISTER AND MUGABE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE85

2008-01-31 11:08

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6012

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #            0085/01 0311108

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 311108Z JAN 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2440

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1750

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1876

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0468

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1153

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1510

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1932

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4361

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1003

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000085

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL,

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2018

TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETING WITH GOZ MINISTER AND MUGABE

INSIDER NICHOLAS GOCHE

 

 

Classified By: Amb. James D. McGee for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

-------

SUMMARY

-------

 

1. (C) The Ambassador met January 28 with Nicholas Goche,

the Minister of Public Service, Labor, and Social Welfare.

Goche is also one of the ZANU-PF negotiators in the SADC

mediation process. He promised the Ambassador he would

attempt to facilitate a one-on-one meeting between the

Ambassador and President Robert Mugabe. On substance, Goche

said the SADC mediation was finished, and ZANU-PF was

focusing on the upcoming elections which it was confident of

winning. He stated international observation was a

possibility, but Mugabe would make the decision. ZANU-PF

remained united as a party, although it was riven by

corruption. Goche believed reengagement with the West was

desirable, but the land issue remained an obstacle,

particularly with the UK. He questioned why the U.S. had

refused to deal with Mugabe, while engaging African despots

such as Sudan's Bashir. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) The Ambassador's meeting took place at the home of

Fred Mutanda, the president of the American Business

Association of Zimbabwe, whose business dealings include

ownership of local Western Union and Volkswagen franchises.

The meeting was friendly, and began with a discussion of the

Washington Redskins, whom Goche rooted for after opening up

the Zimbabwean Embassy in Washington as a junior diplomat in

1980.

 

----------------------------

Possible Meeting with Mugabe

----------------------------

 

3. (C) The Ambassador told Goche he wanted to meet

one-on-one with Mugabe to deliver a personal message to

Mugabe. Referring to a prior meeting the Ambassador had had

with Minister for Lands and State Security Didymus Mutasa and

CIO Director Happyton Bonyongwe, Goche said they were

obstructionist and had recommended against a meeting between

the Ambassador and Mugabe. Goche said he himself thought

dialogue was important and he would attempt to facilitate

such a meeting.

 

--------------------------------------------- ---

SADC Finished, ZANU-PF Confident in Election Win

--------------------------------------------- ---

 

4. (C) Goche told the Ambassador that although there might

be one more SADC mediation meeting for public consumption,

the SADC negotiations were effectively finished. ZANU-PF was

confident it would win the March election and would consider

allowing international observers. The party had nothing to

hide and would welcome early observation to verify that the

run-up to the elections was fair. In response to the

Ambassador's question as to the meaning of "international,"

Goche said this would include the U.S. Embassy--but not the

UK--and could include the Carter Center (proposed by the

Ambassador in meetings with UNDP and with Mutasa and

Bonyongwe). The Zimbabwean Cabinet was now discussing the

issue of observers; Goche stressed that he and other

ministers were supportive of international observation, but

that Mugabe would make the final decision.

 

--------------

ZANU-PF United

--------------

 

5. (C) Goche averred that ZANU-PF was entering the elections

 

HARARE 00000085 002 OF 002

 

 

as a united party. Referring to reports that Simba Makoni

would lead an anti-Mugabe movement either within the party or

as a "third way," Goche stated that Makoni was a "coward" who

talked big to the press but remained silent at party

meetings. Goche acknowledged that there was significant

corruption within ZANU-PF.

 

------------------------------------

On Reengagement with the U.S. and UK

------------------------------------

 

6. (C) Pointing out that Zimbabwe had been a long-time ally

of the U.S., and had even supplied troops to Somalia in the

early 1990s, Goche lamented the deterioration in relations

between the U.S. and Zimbabwe. International reengagement

was important to correcting Zimbabwe's economy. Goche did

not blame Zimbabwe's economic plight on the bugaboo of

sanctions, but said he could not understand why the U.S.

engaged in dialogue with leaders such as Bashir in Sudan,

Kibaki in Kenya and Meles in Ethiopia, who he implied were

worse than Mugabe, but not with Mugabe. Why did the U.S.

send negotiators to North Korea, he asked rhetorically, but

refuse to negotiate with Zimbabwe?

 

7. (C) Implying that the land issue was the root of all

troubles, Goche said there would be no give on the question

of GOZ compensation to white farmers. This was a nuclear

issue between Zimbabwe and the UK and there would be no way

forward with the British until it was sorted out.

 

-------

COMMENT

-------

 

8. (C) Goche's protests to the contrary, his comments about

Mutasa and Bonyongwe, as well as comments about others within

ZANU-PF, are indicative of divisions within the party. For

now, however, Mugabe has been able to mask these differences,

and it appears ZANU-PF will present a united front in the

March elections.

 

9. (C) Goche is close to Mugabe--he was a former Minister of

State Security and was selected by Mugabe to represent him in

the SADC negotiations. We will continue to pursue contact

with Goche and other ministers both as a window on ZANU-PF,

and to deliver our message that the U.S. is ready to help the

people of Zimbabwe after there is fundamental political and

economic change. End Comment.

 

MCGEE

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