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Wade did not want West to humiliate Mugabe

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade wanted President Robert Mugabe to accept the results of the march 2008 elections and respect human rights but at the same time he did not want the West to humiliate him in view of what he had done for his country.

Wade, who was criticised by the West for imposing himself as a mediator on a number of conflicts, believed that putting more public pressure on Mugabe was likely to backfire, and that pushing him into a corner would lead to more violence.

There had already been increasing violence in Zimbabwe long before the announcement of the presidential results which showed that Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe but had not garnered enough votes for an outright victory.

This had therefore necessitated a run-off election between the two leading candidates, Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

Four candidates, including two who stood as independents, Simba Makoni and Langton Towungana, contested the March poll.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08DAKAR572, SENEGAL AGREES WITH SOUTH AFRICA ON ZIMBABWE

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

Classification

Origin

08DAKAR572

2008-05-16 13:12

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Dakar

VZCZCXRO6269

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN

DE RUEHDK #0572/01 1371312

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 161312Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0500

INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0352

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 000572

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W, AF/S, AND AF/RSA

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI SF SG UK

SUBJECT: SENEGAL AGREES WITH SOUTH AFRICA ON ZIMBABWE

 

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires a.i. Kevin Mullally for reasons 1.5 B/

D.

 

1. (C) Summary: Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade sent his

Foreign Minister on May 1 to Harare to urge Zimbabwean

President Robert Mugabe to allow the electoral commission to

release March 29 election results and to accept the outcome.

According to Momar Gueye, the Foreign Ministry’s director of

African and Asian Affairs, President Wade believes that

President Mugabe should be encouraged to respect human rights

and democracy and to accept the results of the March 29

elections but he should not be “humiliated.” Moreover,

applying too much public pressure would likely backfire and

result in more violence. Senegal believes Mugabe’s

acceptance of the need for a run-off is a significant

concession. Senegal and South Africa’s views are largely

covergent, according to Gueye. End summary.

 

2. (C) On May 7, the MFA Director of the African and Asian

Affairs Division Gueye told Political Counselor that Foreign

Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio delivered a strong private

message from Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade to President

Mugabe encouraging the government to respect democracy and

human rights. According to Gueye, although Wade respects

Mugabe’s history as an independence freedom fighter, he made

it clear to Mugabe that it is essential that the results of

the March 29 elections be released and that Mugabe accept the

outcome, as was noted in Foreign Ministry press release (a

copy of which was sent to AF/W by email). However, Gueye

emphasized that Wade, who he characterized as a “true

pan-Africanist,” does not want to see Mugabe be humiliated by

the West, given all that he has done. Moreover, Senegal

believes that putting more public pressure on Mugabe is

likely to backfire, and that pushing him into a corner would

lead to more violence.

 

3. (C) Although he acknowledged that Presidents Wade and

Thabo Mbeki of South Africa have had a tense relationship in

the past as a result of Wade taking umbrage at Mbeki’s

mediation efforts in the Ivory Coast, in Senegal’s “back

yard,” Gueye said the two presidents’ views were now largely

convergent. He reported that during Foreign Minister Gadio’s

meeting with President Mbeki on his way back from Zimbabwe

the two sides had agreed that the best way forward was for

all parties concerned to urge both the GOZ and the opposition

to accept the results of the March 29 elections as determine

by the country’s electoral commission.

 

4. () Although Gueye conceded that the long delay betwen

the election and the announcement of the resuts could cause

some observers to question the crediility of outcome, he

emphasized that the Southrn African Development Community

(SADC) had veriied that the election was essentially free

and fir and noted that Senegal had not participated in ny

electoral observation and was therefore not ina position to

judge. Moreover, he questioned what would be the point of

allowing the opposition to take control of the parliament if

President Mugabe intended to overturn the presidential

election result.

 

5. (C) Guey opined that Senegal’s efforts ad the

Senegalese/South African view were vindicated by subsequent

release of the March 29 results by Zimbabwe’s election. He

contended that Mugabe’s acceptance of the need for a run-off

election was a significant concession, given that Mugabe

previously said he would never accept such an outcome. Gueye

said, “This result is “very humiliating for Mugabe. Now we

have to see if (opposition leader Morgan) Tsvigirai will

accept the result.”

 

Comment

——-

 

6. (C) President Wade clearly sees the Zimbabwe mission of

his foreign minister as an unalloyed success and believes

that it adds to his stature as a pan-Africanist statesman,

hence the press release. As we have noted before, Wade sees

himself as being an African leader of the first rank and

resents what he sees as President Mbeki’s efforts to make

South Africa into the continent’s superpower. It appears

that Wade is returning the favor with Mbeki by helping him to

resolve crisis in South Africa’s “backyard.” However,

President Wade is in over his head. It is clear that the

Senegalese Foreign Ministry knows next to nothing about the

conflict in Zimbabwe beyond what it reads in the press.

Senegal does not have an embassy in Harare and the MFA has in

the past asked for information from Post about the situation

in Zimbabwe. These latest efforts at mediation are only the

 

DAKAR 00000572 002 OF 002

 

 

most recent example of Wade’s desire to be seen as Africa’s

indispensable peace maker. Finally, while Wade no doubt is

sincere in his belief that Africans should handle African

problems, he also no doubt believes that diplomatic “coups”

abroad improve his standing at home as well.

 

Background

———-

 

7. (U) President Wade announced that he was going to take on

the role of mediator in a press conference (to which he

convoked the entire diplomatic corps) in October of 2007.

During the press conference he was very critical of President

Mbeki’s handling of the crisis in Zimbabwe. Wade said that

he would facilitate an agreement between Mugabe and British

Prime Minister Gordon Brown. President Wade went to Harare

in November 2007 to meet with Mugabe. He attended a state

dinner during which he gave a long address announcing that

the origin of Zimbabwe’s problems was the so-called British

refusal to pay for land reform as agreed at the end of the

independence war. Wade praised Mugabe as an African hero.

Subsequently, during the African Union/European Union

heads-of-state summit, Wade vocally defended Mugabe.

SMITH

 

(10 VIEWS)

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