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Tsvangirai gave Mugabe two weeks to release activists

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai gave President Robert Mugabe two weeks to release party activists who had been abducted by security agents otherwise he would not continue to work with the Mugabe regime.

He told a press conference inn Gaborone where he was staying but said he was just visiting and was not in exile.

Tsvangirai also denied reports that Botswana hosted training camps for his party cadres.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08GABORONE1111, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI ADDRESSES MEDIA IN BOTSWANA

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08GABORONE1111

2008-12-19 15:15

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Gaborone

O 191515Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5447

SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS GABORONE 001111

 

 

STATE FOR AF

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PGOV BC ZI

SUBJECT: MORGAN TSVANGIRAI ADDRESSES MEDIA IN BOTSWANA

 

1. Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change Leader Morgan Tsvangirai

spoke to and took questions from some 50 local and international

media December 19 at a hotel in Gaborone. Tsvangirai addressed

issues including the abductions of MDC party members in Zimbabwe,

the Global Political Agreement, Robert Mugabe’s claim that MDC

insurgents are being trained in Botswana, mediation by the Southern

African Development Community, the cholera epidemic, and his status

in Botswana.

 

2. On the status of abducted MDC party members, Tsvangirai said

that he could not negotiate while his organization is being

violated. He set a date of January 1, 2009 for there to be

resolution of the abductions or he could not continue to work with

the Robert Mugabe regime.

 

3. Referring to the Global Political Agreement signed September 15

with Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai said that a partnership must have

willingness on both sides for it to work. Mugabe wants to stay in

power at all costs and have the MDC as only a junior partner.

Zimbabwe has no government, according to Tsvangirai.

 

4. Asked about the South African President’s reported assertion

that a deal would be struck by the end of this week, Tsvangirai

found no basis for this since the necessary change to the Zimbabwe

constitution (Amendment 19) to allow for a power-sharing arrangement

would require at least a month to go through Parliament.

 

5. Tsvangirai denied Mugabe’s claim that MDC insurgents are being

trained in Botswana and added that it is not being done anywhere.

He also said that South Africa has reported that there is no

foundation for the allegation.

 

6. Addressing political mediation by Zimbabwe’s neighbors,

Tsvangirai called for SADC’s continued engagement. While it is said

that SADC’s role is key to resolving the situation in Zimbabwe,

Tsvangirai wondered why more progress had not been made. Answering

a question, he later said that he respected the South African

President as SADC chair and considered him to be an important

influence to resolving the crisis.

 

7. Speaking to the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said

that Harare is the center of it and that the MDC-controlled city

council could have access to the means to address the outbreak if

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party didn’t stand in the way.

 

8. Taking a question about his status in Botswana, Tsvangirai noted

that he was not a “leader-in-exile” but rather in the country

temporarily while he waited for his travel documents. He said that

the MDC has no status in Botswana — it is just a visiting political

party from Zimbabwe — but he asks that Botswana be sympathetic to

the plight of Zimbabweans here.

 

 

NOLAN

(4 VIEWS)

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