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US wanted Mugabe out, Mujuru in in inclusive government

The United States wanted South Africa to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe to resign and to be replaced by his deputy Joice Mujuru to form a power-sharing government with the Movement for Democratic Change, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The message came from Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, who Mugabe had called a prostitute in May 2008, during the stalemate in implementing the Global Political Agreement which the three key parties in the Zimbabwe, the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had agreed to on 15 September 2008.

Frazer called on the South African facilitators to push for Mugabe’s resignation in favour of his vice president, who would represent ZANU-PF in a power-sharing government.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, however, expressed confidence that the Zimbabwe crisis was about to end.

Motlanthe expressed the view that the quick formation of a unity government, with Mugabe remaining president, was the most efficient way forward.

He was not convinced that Mugabe had discredited himself as a partner in negotiations.

MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told Frazer that the Mbeki-led power-sharing effort was dead, but neither party wanted to admit it officially.


Full cable:



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Reference ID






2009-01-02 13:24

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Pretoria

O 021324Z JAN 09













E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2018





REF: A. 08 PRETORIA 2716

B. 08 PRETORIA 2134

C. 08 HARARE 1127

D. 08 HARARE 1131

E. 08 HARARE 1136


Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Eric M. Bost for reasons 1.4 b

and d.


1. (C) Summary: Visiting Assistant Secretary of State for

African Affairs Jendayi E. Frazer reached out to South

African and regional leaders to outline U.S. policy on

Zimbabwe and explain why the U.S. no longer believes

President Robert Mugabe can be part of a power sharing

solution to Zimbabwe’s crisis. Meeting with South African

President Kgalema Motlanthe and South African Development

Community (SADC) facilitator Sydney Mufumadi, Frazer pressed

for active South African leadership. African National

Congress (ANC) insider Tokyo Sexwale insisted that party

support for Mbeki as SADC facilitator has waned, a position

ANC President Zuma later confirmed. Opposition Congress of

the People (COPE) leader Mosioua Lekota claimed to be among

the first to speak out against Mugabe’s excesses. South

African-based Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiywa and

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Secretary-General Tendai

Biti outlined the MDC action plan. End Summary.



Moving Zimbabwe to Pretoria’s Outbox



2. (C) Meeting with Frazer December 18, former Minister

Sydney Mufumadi discussed the recent efforts of the SADC

Zimbabwe facilitation team led by former President Thabo

Mbeki, which includes Mufumadi, Presidential Advisor Frank

Chikane, and former Presidential Foreign Policy Advisor

Mojanku Gumbi. Mufumadi expressed the view that the MDC

failed to show proper respect for SADC as the regional

decision-making body when it refused SADC’s most recent offer

involving shared control between the MDC and ZANU-PF of Home

Affairs. Frazer stressed South Africa’s dominance in SADC as

an imperative to lead. She called on the South African SADC

facilitators to push for Mugabe’s resignation in favor of his

vice president, who would represent ZANU-PF in a

power-sharing government.


3. (C) Meeting with Frazer on December 20, President Kgalema

Motlanthe hailed ZANU-PF’s decision to gazette Amendment 19,

establishing the framework for a power-sharing government, as

a clear sign of progress. Motlanthe expressed confidence to

Frazer that with a quick vote on Article 19 and the immediate

inauguration of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime

Minister, the crisis in Zimbabwe will be well on the way

toward resolution. Motlanthe expressed the view that the

quick formation of a unity government, with Mugabe remaining

a president, is the most efficient way forward, and he is not

convinced that Mugabe has discredited himself as a partner in




MDC Backers: Mbeki Must Go



4. (C) South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman Strive

Masiywa told A/S Frazer on December 18 that the MDC will not

take part in further negotiation as long as former President

Mbeki remains in charge of SADC facilitation. Masiywa also

complained that Motlanthe is sympathetic to Mbeki and does

not want to disrupt the ANC by removing Mbeki as SADC

facilitator. He added that Tsvangirai had appealed directly

to Motlanthe to remove the Mbeki team, which the MDC

considers friendly to ZANU-PF, and that Motlanthe refused.

Qconsiders friendly to ZANU-PF, and that Motlanthe refused.

Masiywa said the South Africans are not committed to a

negotiated resolution to the crisis but merely want to stage

the inauguration of Tsvangirai as prime minister as a media

event they can use to declare, prematurely, that they have

solved the Zimbabwe political crisis. Masiywa said MDC

president Morgan Tsvangirai had expected more support than he

has received from the UN and the AU and has, consequently,

decided to focus his energy on cementing the MDC’s

relationships with friendly governments, including Botswana,

Tanzania, Senegal, and Kenya to build a pro-MDC consensus in

the AU. Frazer urged that Tsvangirai either return to

Zimbabwe as soon as possible or seek alternatives to

demonstrate leadership and mobilize MDC supporters.


5. (C) Long-time ANC insider Tokyo Sexwale, meeting with A/S

Frazer on December 20, highlighted a recent radio interview

with ANC President Jacob Zuma in which Zuma said, “Mugabe is

no longer my comrade,” as a breakthrough, signifying that the

liberation struggle-era bond between the ZANU-PF and the ANC

is unraveling. Sexwale said he had just come from an ANC

National Executive Committee meeting wherein the ruling party

had agreed to step up efforts to resolve the crisis in

Zimbabwe. Sexwale commented that Motlanthe is “too close” to

Mbeki and like Mbeki was inclined to soft-pedal SADC

facilitation. Sexwale said he planned to call for the

removal of Mbeki as facilitator, but added that removing the

former president in a manner that preserved his dignity was

tricky. Sexwale also noted that Motlanthe, to his credit,

had publicly refuted Mugabe’s allegations that MDC is

training troops in Botswana. In response to Frazer’s call

for tougher action on the part of South Africa, Sexwale

observed that it is very difficult to know when the time is

right to close pipelines and cut electrical transmission

lines. He commented that South Africans are very uneasy

about “pulling out the tablecloth” from under their

Zimbabwean neighbors. Frazer called on Sexwale to focus on

urging Mugabe to step down as the first step toward resolving

the crisis.



Parties Gingerly Approach Zimbabwe Issue



6. (C) Opposition Congress of the People (COPE) leader

Mosioua Lekota, meeting with Ambassador Bost and A/S Frazer

on December 20, attempted to put the Zimbabwe crisis in

historical context. Lekota said that the coming of democracy

to South Africa in 1994 was not good news for Mugabe, who had

previously been celebrated as Africa’s foremost liberation

hero. Lekota claimed that he had been among the first to

speak out when Mugabe confiscated white-owned farms.

Comparing ZANU-PF’s politicization of ministries in Zimbabwe

to what the ANC has done within the South African civil

service, Lekota agreed with Frazer that asking the MDC to

share the Ministry of Home Affairs with ZANU-PF, in the

absence of a comprehensive power-sharing arrangement, does

not make sense. (Note: In discussing COPE’s domestic agenda,

including its fight with the ANC over the party name, and its

plans for 2009 elections, Lekota said that COPE was

considering naming its headquarters OR Tambo House, a choice

guaranteed to provoke an ANC outcry. End note).


7. (C) In a December 21 telephone call with Zuma, A/S Frazer

thanked Zuma for the invitation to the gala December 20

wedding of his and FM Dhlamini-Zuma’s daughter and commended

him for his radio comments indicating that Mugabe is no

longer his comrade. Zuma mentioned his conversations during

the previous week with Secretary Rice and Frazer on Zimbabwe

and indicated that he would welcome the opportunity to talk

with Frazer again on Zimbabwe in the coming weeks. (Note:

Zuma and Frazer did not have an opportunity to speak at the

wedding. End note).



MDC’s Portrait of a Failed State



8. (C) Meeting with A/S Frazer on December 21, Tendai Biti

said Zimbabwe is a failed state whose people are suffering

from diseases not seen since the early 1900s, whose

government has lost control of an increasingly dollarized

Qgovernment has lost control of an increasingly dollarized

economy, and whose military is disintegrating into corporate

factions vying for control of resources. Biti claimed that

the deterioration of Zimbabwe is accelerating, adding that

the increasingly frequent abduction of MDC activists was

unknown four-to-five months ago. Biti said that the state is

operating in an extra-legal manner and that dialogue is dead.

Biti said the sense of ZANU-PF entitlement is overwhelming,

adding that ZANU-PF knows it needs MDC in the government in

order to get out from under sanctions, but does not even go

through the motions of courting MDC — as evidenced by the

government’s refusal to issue a passport to MDC leader Morgan



9. (C) Biti expressed gratitude for the tightening of U.S.

sanctions on Zimbabwe. He told Frazer that the Mbeki-led

power-sharing effort was dead, but neither party wants to

admit it officially. Biti and Frazer discussed the

possibility of passing a binding UN Security Council

Resolution on Zimbabwe once South Africa relinquishes its

seat at the end of 2008. He added that the MDC is planning a

program of grassroots engagement, along with greater

strategic use of MDC’s power in the parliament to focus

greater attention on the crisis.



10: (C) Asked about the value of the Mbeki-led facilitation

efforts, Biti praised the South African technical team that

negotiated Article Nineteen, but he pronounced the current

power-sharing deal dead. He charged that the South Africans,

having negotiated most of the details of the constitutional

change, did not even bother to consult MDC to finalize

provisions that remained in dispute but instead rushed to

have the document gazetted without informing MDC. He

described South African President Motlanthe’s eagerness to

seal the deal and inaugurate Tsvangirai as Prime Minister to

“performing a heart transplant on a dead person.” Biti said

that on September 15, the MDC might have given Mugabe the

benefit of the doubt and tried power-sharing but now a deal

is impossible.


11. (C) On the possibility of power-sharing with ZANU in the

event that Mugabe does step down, Biti said that “whoever

steps into Mugabe’s shoes would be better.” A/S Frazer noted

that Zuma said Mugabe is no longer his comrade. To that,

Biti remarked that if Zuma would say what Botswana’s

President Khama is saying, there would be no need for a

blockade to persuade Mugabe to step down. Frazer’s phone call

with MDC President Tsvangirai focused on MDC plans for

grassroots action and Tsvangirai’s own plans to return to







12. (C) A/S Frazer’s press roundtable on December 21 drew

headline coverage from local and international media, capping

meetings with South Africa’s key political leaders. A/S

Frazer’s high-profile visit helped energize our engagement on

Zimbabwe. The Mission will attempt to keep up the pace of

our dialogue. End comment.




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