- Category: Stories
- Published on Thursday, 02 May 2013 20:05
- Written by Charles Rukuni
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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.
Viewing cable 08PRETORIA606, SOUTH AFRICA OBSERVER HEAD SAYS SADC IN ZIMBABWE
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
C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 000606
DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL, E. BROWN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/19/2018
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
¶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.