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Tsvangirai asked for 30 minutes but was given two hours by Lesotho

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai asked for only 30 minutes to brief Deputy Prime Minister Archibald Lehohla on the stalemate following the 29 March elections but he was given two hours according to Lesotho Foreign Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa.

 According to a press release issued by the Lesotho government, the meeting addressed the following issues:

  • The Movement for Democratic Charge’s concerns about escalating acts of violence and intimidation against the Zimbabwean citizens, in particular supporters of the opposition MDC;
  •  
  • A request from the MDC for support from the government of Lesotho, as a member of the Southern African Development Community, in ensuring peaceful and fair conduct of the forthcoming presidential run-off elections in Zimbabwe;
  •  
  • An MDC appeal to SADC member states to convene an extraordinary SADC summit of heads of state and government to discuss the date of the envisaged run-off presidential election, minimum conditions for the run-off presidential election, and mechanisms for the transfer of power to the winning party.
  •  

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08MASERU136, LESOTHO: ZIMBABWE UN DEMARCHE DELIVERED; TSVANGIRAI MEETS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08MASERU136

2008-05-14 17:22

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Maseru

VZCZCXRO4438

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHRN

DE RUEHMR #0136 1351722

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 141722Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY MASERU

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3673

INFO RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 4092

UNCLAS MASERU 000136

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

DEPT ALSO FOR AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV UNSC ZI LT

SUBJECT: LESOTHO: ZIMBABWE UN DEMARCHE DELIVERED; TSVANGIRAI MEETS

DEPUTY PM

 

REF: A) STATE 50339; B) MASERU 135

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On May 14, Ambassador delivered ref A

demarche to Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsekoa regarding UN and

SADC engagement on the crisis in Zimbabwe. Tsekoa expressed

particular appreciation for recognition of SADC’s leadership

role in seeking a peaceful resolution to the electoral process,

adding that the GOL had conducted a substantive dialogue the

previous day with visiting Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan

Tsvangirai (ref B). Regarding the latter’s May 13 afternoon

visit to Lesotho, a GOL press release said that Deputy Prime

Minister Lehohla had discussed Tsvangirai’s concerns about

escalating violence, SADC involvement in the anticipated

presidential run-off elections, and a potential forthcoming SADC

extraordinary heads of state and government summit. Speaking to

a local journalist, Tshangarai said that his MDC party will

enter the run-off, but SADC must create an enabling environment

that will give security and confidence to Zimbabweans. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) On May 14, Ambassador and DCM delivered ref A talking

points to Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsekoa regarding UN and

SADC engagement on the crisis in Zimbabwe.   Minister Tsekoa

expressed appreciation for the demarche, in particular USG

recognition of SADC’s leadership role in seeking a peaceful

resolution to the electoral process, and said he would relay the

points directly to Deputy Prime Minister Lehohla at a follow-on

meeting.   Tsekoa noted that in order to help facilitate the

process, the GOL had agreed to meet the previous afternoon with

visiting Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for a

substantive discussion (ref B). Although the Foreign Minister

did not offer further details on the discussions, he added that

Tsvangirai “had asked for 30 minutes to brief us, but we engaged

him for nearly two hours.”

 

3. (U) Further to the May 13 Tsvangirai visit, a May 14 GOL

press release stated that the Zimbabwean’s meeting with the

Deputy Prime Minister had addressed the following issues:

 

— The Movement for Democratic Charge’s (MDC) concerns about

escalating acts of violence and intimidation against the

Zimbabwean citizens, in particular supporters of the opposition

MDC;

— A request from the MDC for support from the GOL, as a member

of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in

ensuring peaceful and fair conduct of the forthcoming

presidential run-off elections in Zimbabwe;

— An MDC appeal to SADC member states to convene an

extraordinary SADC summit of heads of state and government to

discuss the date of the envisaged run-off presidential election,

minimum conditions for the run-off presidential election, and

mechanisms for the transfer of power to the winning party.

 

4. (U) Speaking to a journalist from the state-owned Lesotho

News Agency (LENA) following the May 13 meeting, Tshangarai said

his MDC party will enter the run-off, but SADC must create an

enabling environment that will give security and confidence to

Zimbabweans. “We believe that we have a two-pronged approach to

the crisis in Zimbabwe, which is either a dialogue or a run-off.

Because everyone in the region has chosen a route to going

towards the run-off, we are prepared for it,” he added. The MDC

leader further said there have been attempts to convince ZANU-PF

that it is necessary or desirable to negotiate a settlement

rather hold a run-off, but ZANU-PF seems unready “to accept the

will of the people.”

 

5. (SBU) COMMENT: According to Embassy sources, the GOL

delegation agreed to attend the proposed new SADC extraordinary

summit if it is convened by the current SADC chair and to

support decisions reached collectively. While only a few

details concerning Tshangarai’s May 13 meeting with top GOL

officials are now emerging, we will continue to observe

Lesotho’s position on Zimbabwe to gauge any deviation from its

current position to remain in step with noninterventionist SADC

neighbors. END COMMENT.

 

NOLAN

 

(6 VIEWS)

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