in Stories

US piled pressure on Mwanawasa to act on Zimbabwe

The United States piled pressure on Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who was chairman of the Southern African Development Community, to show strong leadership on the crisis in Zimbabwe, following the indecisive 29 March 2008 elections.

US ambassador to Zambia Carmen Martinez told Mwanawasa that there was need for a strong leadership because the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which had taken more than a month to release the results of the presidential election did not comply with SADC’s request for an inclusive verification process.

Martinez said according to the Movement for Democratic Change, the ZEC had refused to provide documentation to substantiate its preliminary results, which differed significantly from those posted publicly at polling stations.

“The massive irregularities in the electoral process, both before and after the March 29 election, undermine the credibility of the election results and the independence of the ZEC. We hope there will be an opportunity for SADC to engage with the ZEC and the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that both comply with the process for counting and verification as stipulated by the April 13 SADC communiqué,” Martinez wrote Mwanawasa.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08LUSAKA546, MWANAWASA ON ZIMBABWE AND VIEWS OF SADC’S ROLE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08LUSAKA546

2008-05-20 14:10

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Lusaka

VZCZCXRO8711

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHLS #0546/01 1411410

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 201410Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5822

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LUSAKA 000546

 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM SADC ZA ZI

SUBJECT: MWANAWASA ON ZIMBABWE AND VIEWS OF SADC’S ROLE

 

REF: LUSAKA 463

 

1. (SBU) Summary. Following the visit to Zambia of Assistant

Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer and

National Security Council Senior Director Bobby Pittman (Ref

A), the Ambassador and President Mwanawasa exchanged views on

Zimbabwe through a series of letters. In his May 5 letter

(para 2), President Mwanawasa acknowledged President Bush’s

letter that A/S Frazer delivered on April 26 and expressed

his appreciation for A/S Frazer’s visit. On May 6, the

Ambassador underscored the need for continued SADC engagement

to ensure free elections and to address reports of gross

human rights violations (para 3). On May 12, President

Mwanawasa responded, noting the need for a strong SADC

electoral observer mission as well as a possible delegation

to meet with President Mugabe, comprised of President Dos

Santos, President Jakaya Kikwete, and King Mswati (para 4).

President Mwanawasa also conveyed reports that Zimbabwe’s

Electoral Commission is ill-prepared to organize the runoffs,

primarily due to inadequate resources, and expressed his

intention to seek financial support from the United Nations.

End Summary.

 

2. (SBU) On May 5, President Mwanawasa sent the following

letter to President Bush, expressing his appreciation for A/S

Frazer’s visit and acknowledging President Bush’s letter that

A/S Frazer hand-delivered on April 26 (Ref A):

 

(begin text)

 

Dear Mr. President,

 

I thank you for your letter dated 21st April, 2008, and I was

pleased to receive your Special Envoy, the Assistant

Secretary of State for African Affairs and we had a very good

discussion concerning the crisis in Zimbabwe. I am pleased

to note that you will continue working with us in the region

to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.

 

Please accept, Mr. President, assurances of my highest

consideration.

 

Dr. Levy P. Mwanawasa, SC

President of the Republic of Zambia

 

(end text)

 

3. (SBU) On May 6, the Ambassador sent the following message

to President Mwanawasa, emphasizing reports of gross human

rights violations in Zimbabwe, the need for free and fair

elections, and the importance of continued SADC leadership:

 

(begin text)

 

Your Excellency,

 

I wish to express my government’s gratitude for the

hospitality that you extended to Assistant Secretary of State

for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer and National Security

Council Senior Director Bobby Pittman during their recent

visit to Zambia. I especially appreciate your readiness to

accommodate our request for a meeting on such short notice

and your willingness to meet with us on a Saturday night.

 

As SADC Chair, you have made essential contributions to

regional stability by acknowledging the crisis in Zimbabwe

and bringing it, once again, to the forefront of the SADC

agenda. Your leadership on this issue is a credit to both

you and the Republic of Zambia. Indeed, it is consistent

with Zambia’s historical role as a facilitator for peace

within southern Africa.

 

The need for strong leadership is critical to the challenging

period ahead, in the wake of the Zimbabwe Electoral

Commission’s (ZEC’s) announcement of the presidential

election results. We understand that the ZEC did not comply

with SADC’s request for an inclusive verification process.

According to the Movement for Democratic Change, the ZEC has

refused to provide documentation to substantiate its

preliminary results, which differ significantly from those

posted publicly at polling stations.

 

The massive irregularities in the electoral process, both

before and after the March 29 election, undermine the

credibility of the election results and the independence of

the ZEC. We hope there will be an opportunity for SADC to

engage with the ZEC and the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure

that both comply with the process for counting and

verification as stipulated by the April 13 SADC communique.

 

 

LUSAKA 00000546 002 OF 003

 

 

As discussed in your meeting with Assistant Secretary Frazer,

the violence carried out by the government of Zimbabwe

against its own people increases every day. The

international community is receiving credible, documented

accounts of torture bases and terror campaigns being used to

punish those who are members of, or even sympathetic to, the

political opposition. Zimbabweans who are thought to have

voted for the opposition have had their houses burned, have

been denied food, and have seen their family members raped

and murdered. That Zimbabwean security forces are

participating in these crimes makes it even more shocking.

It is an unacceptable role for an institution charged with

protecting its own citizens.

 

The great hardships that the Zimbabwean people are enduring

need to end. The number of displaced persons, the shortage

of food and medical care, and the escalating,

government-sanctioned campaign of intimidation and violence

must be of great concern to the entire southern African

region. As Assistant Secretary Frazer expressed in your

meeting, it is also of great concern to the United States.

Our government is prepared to support you, and other SADC

Heads of State, as you endeavor to find a solution to the

crisis in Zimbabwe that reflects the will of its people.

 

Once again, I thank you for meeting with us on April 26, and

for a fruitful and encouraging discussion. I look forward to

an opportunity to share your insights on this situation.

 

Sincerely,

Carmen Martinez

Ambassador

 

(end text)

 

4. (SBU) In a May 12 letter, President Mwanawasa recognized

the need for a strong SADC electoral observer mission,

announced the possibility of a senior SADC delegation to meet

with President Mugabe, comprised of President Dos Santos,

President Jakaya Kikwete, and King Mswati, and conveyed his

concern that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission lacks the

resources to conduct the runoff elections:

 

(begin text)

 

Your Excellency,

 

I thank you for your letter dated 6th May, 2008, and indeed I

was also delighted for an opportunity to discuss Zimbabwe

with the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Jendayi Frazer and National Security Council Senior Director

Bobby Pittman and yourself recently.

 

I have received similar reports of violence in Zimbabwe as

you heard. The results have been announced although we very

much doubt their veracity. It is nevertheless felt in SADC

that there is nothing which can be done at the moment but for

SADC and other interested organizations to insist that the

run-offs should be free, fair and possess integrity. On our

part we have insisted to send a strong observer mission and

we have agreed that President Dos Santos who is Chairman of

the Organ of SADC together with other Heads of State who are

members of the Organ, namely his Excellency Jakaya Kikwete,

President of Tanzania and King Mswati of Swaziland should, as

soon as possible, travel to Zimbabwe to meet the Zimbabwean

government and the opposition to discuss issues of security

and fairness in this run-off.

 

We have received reports that the ZEC are not prepared for

this run-off apparently because they lack financial

resources. We want to assist and so does the African Union

but our resources are limited so we have asked the United

Nations to receive contributions from member countries who

are able to contribute some funding and such funding could be

availed to the ZEC and also to SADC to enable us to

participate in the observer Mission. After a long period of

hesitation, I am glad to note that recently Mr. Morgan

Tsvangirai announced that he will participate in the run-off.

We will now continue to work for the creation of a security

environment for free and fair elections to take place in

Zimbabwe.

 

Once again I thank you for having called on me.

 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Levy P. Mwanawasa, SC

President of the Republic of Zambia

 

(end text)

 

 

LUSAKA 00000546 003 OF 003

 

 

5. (SBU) Comment. Post will continue to build upon A/S

Frazer’s visit, emphasizing to President Mwanawasa and senior

GRZ officials that SADC can and should play an important role

in condemning human rights violations, calling for free and

fair elections, and supporting a democratic and stable

electoral process. Post also will continue to draw attention

to ZANU-PF’s record of violence and human rights abuse with

media outlets and non-governmental organizations. On May 19,

Deputy Chief of Mission hosted an event for civil society

leaders, during which he and the guest of honor referred to

the situation in Zimbabwe and underlined the critical role

that civil society can play in bringing about democratic

change.

MARTINEZ

 

(17 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment