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US did not believe Mugabe could be a credible power-sharing partner

The United States piled pressure on the African Union to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis because it did not believe that President Robert Mugabe could be a credible power-sharing partner.

It piled the pressure on AU and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and AU Commission chairperson Jean Ping who had to call a special Heads of State summit to deal with the issue.

Despite the pressure, Ping said he doubted whether the heads of state would go as far as calling for Mugabe’s resignation, and given Mugabe’s refusal to accept even “minor things,” he also did not believe Mugabe would accept a proposal for new elections.

He dismissed a call by Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga for Mugabe to resign, saying that Odinga had made such statements in the past and “this is nothing new”.

Ping said that if the US wanted the option of Mugabe’s resignation to be on the table, it would need to reach out to the attendees of the mini-summit.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08ADDISABABA3336, USAU: AU HOPING TO MOBILIZE AFRICAN LEADERS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08ADDISABABA3336

2008-12-10 15:14

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Addis Ababa

VZCZCXRO2863

PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO

DE RUEHDS #3336/01 3451514

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 101514Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3070

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7632

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 003336

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE PASS TO AF/FO, AND AF/RSA FOR WHALDEMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2018

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI AU

SUBJECT: USAU: AU HOPING TO MOBILIZE AFRICAN LEADERS

AGAINST MUGABE

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN A. SIMON, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) Summary: African Union Chairperson and President of

Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete is going to convene certain African

heads of state in Pretoria on December 14 in hopes that they

can forge a strong enough message to deliver to Zimbabwe’s

President Robert Mugabe to pressure him to implement a

power-sharing agreement. The USAU Ambassador encouraged the

AU leadership to act decisively against Mugabe, noting

failure to do so could extend the crisis and lead to others

in the international community taking their own initiatives

outside the AU. End Summary.

 

2. (C) AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping met with USAU

Ambassador on December 10 to discuss an initiative by AU

Chairperson and President of Tanzania Kikwete aimed at

pressuring Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe to implement a

power-sharing agreement with his rival, Movement for

Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Ping said

Zimbabwe’s political deadlock necessitated AU action.

 

3. (C) At Kikwete’s request, Ping said he contacted

individual ambassadors representing countries currently

chairing the eight African regional economic commissions

recognized by the AU: CEN-SAD (Benin), COMESA (Rwanda), EAC

(Kenya), ECCAS (Democratic Republic of Congo), ECOWAS

(Burkina Faso), IGAD (Ethiopia), SADC (South Africa), and UMA

(Libya). He informed them of Kikwete’s plan and asked them

to invite their respective heads of state to a summit meeting

in Pretoria on December 14. At that meeting, which Kikwete

and Ping will attend, the heads of state will attempt to

agree on a common message to deliver to Mugabe during a

follow-on meeting in Harare, potentially the following day.

(Note: Ping opined that Libya’s Qadhafi would not attend

because of South Africa’s opposition to union government.

End Note.)

 

4. (C) When the South African Ambassador to the AU first

heard of Kikwete’s plan, he apparently was not pleased,

viewing it as a “new initiative” that would limit SADC’s

mediation role in the Zimbabwe crisis. However, Ping said

Kikwete had already reached out to South African President

Mothlante and agreed to hold the summit in Pretoria. Ping

said that the AU’s resolution on Zimbabwe adopted last July

in Sharm-El-Sheikh provided for its involvement in the

process as well as giving SADC the overall lead.

 

5. (C) USAU Ambassador expressed the USG’s hope that the

proposed summit on Zimbabwe would “lead to something

decisive” and not be a “step backward” that could further

entrench Mugabe’s regime. He added that the USG wanted to

see representational government in Zimbabwe that could bring

an end to the humanitarian crisis, including the current

cholera epidemic threatening the Zimbabwean people. Given

recent events — including the disintegration of state

institutions, the unconstitutional re-appointment of the

Central Bank Governor, and the continuing violence and

intimidation — the U.S. doesn’t believe Mugabe can be a

credible power-sharing partner.

 

6. (C) Ping said he doubted whether the heads of state would

go as far as calling for Mugabe’s resignation, and given

Mugabe’s refusal to accept even “minor things,” he also did

not believe Mugabe would accept a proposal for new elections.

He dismissed a call by Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga for

Mugabe to resign, saying that Odinga has made such statements

in the past and “this is nothing new.” That said, Ping was

obviously concerned about the possibility of Mugabe being

ousted by force. A recent interview on France 24 seems to

have persuaded him that an “outside force” is being readied.

 

7. (C) The Ambassador noted the time had passed for Mugabe to

have a veto over the resolution of the crisis. Ping replied

that if the U.S. wanted the option of Mugabe’s resignation to

be on the table, it would need to reach out to the attendees

of the mini-summit. He noted the USG has missions in all of

the relevant countries.

 

8. (C) The Ambassador said that unless the AU adopts a

stronger stand against Mugabe, other countries and

organizations will act on their own. “We want to see the AU

be the lead organization in solving Africa’s problems,” he

said. “Others might not be as effective and (their

intervention) would hurt the long-term goal of the AU.”

 

——-

Comment:

 

ADDIS ABAB 00003336 002 OF 002

 

 

——-

 

9. (C) Ping, who cast himself as Kikwete’s messenger,

appeared to have his own doubts about the likelihood of this

mini-summit succeeding in changing Mugabe’s mind. He noted

that Mugabe had rebuffed an earlier attempt by Kikwete to

resolve the situation last spring, even refusing to talk to

Kikwete.

YAMAMOTO

(13 VIEWS)

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