Masiyiwa, Chadehumbe lobbied Mamabolo on 2008 elections

Exiled businessmen Strive Masiyiwa and Wellington Chadehumbe were privately lobbying the head of the South African observer mission to the 2008 elections Kingsley Mamabolo, who was South Africa’s former ambassador to Zimbabwe.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks Mamabolo had also asked former Zimbabwean journalist Sydney Masamvu, who now worked for IDASA, to feed him information throughout the election period.

The three, Masiyiwa, Chadehumbe and Masamvu were described as close embassy contacts.

Their main concern appeared to be that South Africa, which was part of the Southern African Development Community observer mission, was not likely to condemn the Zimbabwe elections as its main interest in Zimbabwe was stability and not democracy.

It was therefore not likely to talk about “free and fair” elections but rather about “credible and transparent” elections.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08PRETORIA606, SOUTH AFRICA OBSERVER HEAD SAYS SADC IN ZIMBABWE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08PRETORIA606

2008-03-20 15:48

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO0591

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #0606 0801548

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 201548Z MAR 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3908

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1462

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2195

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5442

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9672

RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA 0002

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0512

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 000606

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL, E. BROWN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2018

TAGS: PREL KDEM SF ZI

SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA OBSERVER HEAD SAYS SADC IN ZIMBABWE

TO "ASSIST" WITH ELECTIONS

 

REF: A. PRETORIA 0482

 

B. HARARE 206

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4

(b) and (d).

 

1. (SBU) The goal of the SADC election observation delegation

is to "assist the Zimbabweans" to ensure the holding of

"credible elections," according to the head of the South

African component of the SADC delegation, Ambassador Kingsley

Mamabolo. In press briefings on March 13 and 19, Mamabolo

stated that the SADC delegation is not in Zimbabwe to "score

some cheap political points" or "condemn, and be critical,"

but will rather aim to help Zimbabwe "advance and prosper in

conducting democratic and transparent elections."

 

2. (SBU) Mamabolo detailed the South African participation in

the SADC delegation, which will include 55 persons: 15

Members of Parliament (MPs), 15 civil society members, 21

government officials, and four technical experts from the

South African Independent Electoral Commission. According to

press reports, the 15 MPs will include nine ANC MPs,

including Deputy Speaker Andries Nel, two Democratic Alliance

MPs, and one each from the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United

Democratic Front, the Azanian People's Organization, and the

African Democratic party. The two DA participants are

reported to be the DA's Safety and Security Spokesperson,

Dianne Kohler-Barnard, and its Public Enterprises Spokesman,

Manie van Dyk.

 

3. (SBU) Mamabolo stressed that the South Africans are part

of the "collective" SADC Observer Mission, and thus

individual observers should not/not make public statements

outside of SADC structures. (NOTE: This was generally seen

as a warning to opposition members of parliament and civil

society observers. In 2005, the DA's Kohler-Barnard walked

out of the final SADC observer mission meeting in "disgust,"

publicly challenging the claim of the delegation head that

the election was "peaceful, credible and dignified." END

NOTE.)

 

4. (SBU) When asked at the press conferences about the

problems with press freedom, observer accreditation, voter

registration, delimitation, and other electoral problems,

Mamabolo simply replied that all the SADC delegation can do

is "bring it to the attention" of GOZ authorities.

 

5. (C) In private meetings with Tiseke Kasambala, Human

Rights Watch (HRW) Researcher and author of the new HRW

report "All Over Again: Human Rights Abuses and Electoral

Irregularities in the Run-up to Zimbabwe's 2008 General

Elections," Mamabolo and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

Deputy Director and SADC observer Xolisa Makaya both argued

that the environment in Zimbabwe is much more "peaceful" than

in previous election years. Kasambala told PolOff March 20

that DFA's Makaya noted that "no election is perfect" and

that Zimbabwe is "making progress."

 

6. (C) COMMENT: Assuming no major surprises in the elections

themselves, we expect that South Africa will push for a

generally positive, carefully worded SADC election statement

that stresses the "peaceful environment." South Africa

generally avoids the words "free and fair," but will instead

likely suggest language such as "credible" and "transparent."

Qlikely suggest language such as "credible" and "transparent."

As noted in ref B, South Africa's core interest in Zimbabwe

is stability, not democracy, and they view these elections in

the context of a (long) process of reform. One hopeful note

is that several close Embassy contacts, including Strive

Masiyiwa and Wellington Chadahumbe, know Mamabolo well from

his days as South African High Commissioner in Harare, and

are privately lobbying him. Mamabolo has also asked IDASA

analyst Sydney Masamvu to feed him information throughout the

election period. We doubt this will significantly alter the

final SADC statement, but Mamabolo will listen to their

perspectives. END COMMENT.

BOST

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