in Stories

Zambian civil society said Tsvangirai was arrogant and self-serving

Zambia’s civil society had no kind words for the new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai saying he was inflexible, self-serving, and arrogant, and lacking in judgment and integrity.

Their displeasure with Mugabe was matched — if not surpassed — by their disdain for Tsvangirai.

They thought Tsvangirai should have already entered into a government of national unity that would allow the Zimbabwean government to begin restoring stability to the country.

They were not overly concerned about ZANU-PF’s record of human rights abuse as they felt that MDC had also committed injustices.

The civil society leaders heaped additional criticism on Tsvangirai for his profuse international travel, which they thought signalled a stronger allegiance to foreign governments than to the Zimbabwean electorate.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09LUSAKA115, ZAM ON ZIM: RESIGNED BUT REALISTIC

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

09LUSAKA115

2009-02-19 14:43

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Lusaka

VZCZCXRO6955

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHLS #0115 0501443

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 191443Z FEB 09

FM AMEMBASSY LUSAKA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6747

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L LUSAKA 000115

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/18/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZA ZI

SUBJECT: ZAM ON ZIM: RESIGNED BUT REALISTIC

 

Classified By: Ambassador Donald Booth for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Summary. Zambian Government (GRZ) officials and

civil society representatives are supportive of the new

Zimbabwean government of national unity, although they have

shared concerns about its prospects for success. Their

disapproval of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s

undemocratic conduct appears to be counterbalanced by an

equal lack of confidence in Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai’s leadership ability. Numerous Embassy

interlocutors believe that the Zimbabwean power-sharing

arrangement allows Mugabe the opportunity to step down from

office while saving face, something that they consider likely

within the next twelve months. End Summary.

 

2. (C) On February 12, Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary

Tens Kapoma and Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the

United Nations Lazarous Kapambwe sardonically described the

agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai as a “forced

marriage,” with former South African President Thabo Mbeki

acting as “the bridesmaid,” and with uncertain prospects for

success. Their misgivings aside, they appeared content —

even relieved — with the arrangement, particularly as this

would allow SADC to begin focusing on other issues. The DCM

acknowledged the GRZ’s contribution in SADC fora and

encouraged SADC to continue monitoring the implementation of

the agreement to ensure its success. The GRZ officials in

turn thanked the U.S. Embassy for abiding by former President

Mwanwasa’s appeal to avoid making pointed public statements

on Zimbabwe in the Zambian press, something they felt would

have played into Mugabe’s hands by making Mwanawasa appear to

be a pawn of western governments.

 

3. (C) Kapoma conceded that the power-sharing arrangement

provides Mugabe with an opportunity to retire from politics

on his own accord and not at the bequest of the international

community, a course of action that Mugabe might easily take

within the next 12 months. In a separate meeting, COMESA

Secretary General also made this point to the Ambassador,

relaying that Mugabe was interested in an exit strategy that

might be made complete with assurances of prosecutorial

immunity from the United Kingdom and United States. An

Indo-Kenyan business mogul with alleged ties to Mugabe also

conveyed to the DCM that Mugabe would like to step down from

office within the next six to nine months. He opined that

Tsvangirai’s political career — despite Tsvangirai’s

political ambitions — may also be in its final stages and

that it was highly improbably that Tsvangirai would head the

next Zimbabwean government.

 

4. (C) Zambian civil society representatives appear to be

similarly supportive of the new Zimbabwean government, but

equally doubtful about its chances for success. In the

lead-up to the power-sharing agreement, numerous civil

society leaders expressed to the DCM their exasperation with

Tsvangirai, whom they considered inflexible, self-serving,

and arrogant, and lacking in judgment and integrity. Their

displeasure with Mugabe was matched — if not surpassed — by

their disdain for Tsvangirai. They thought Tsvangirai should

have already entered into a government of national unity that

would allow the Zimbabwean government to begin restoring

stability to the country. Surprisingly, they were not overly

concerned about ZANU-PF’s record of human rights abuse as

they felt that MDC had also committed injustices. The civil

society leaders heaped additional criticism on Tsvangirai for

his profuse international travel, which they thought signaled

a stronger allegiance to foreign governments than to the

Zimbabwean electorate.

 

5. (C) Comment. In the course of one year, Zambian public

opinion appears to have swayed from umbrage (at Mugabe) to

scorn (for Tsvangirai). Zambian insistence that any

agreement is better than no agreement at all conveys a

realpolitik defined by “African” norms and realities that

cast a more forgiving light on Mugabe’s tyranny than on

Tsvangirai’s apparent futility. A regrettably large number

of Zambians appear to believe that the USG has extended

widespread economic sanctions on Zimbabwe and therefore has

played a role in Zimbabwe’s economic collapse. Consequently,

there seems to be an unfound optimism that the power-sharing

agreement will result in economic recovery directly following

the revocation of these non-existent sanctions. Despite our

public diplomacy efforts, they are also woefully unaware of

U.S. humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean people.

Either way, the GRZ appears well-disposed to the softening of

rhetoric in Washington and USG’s willingness to give the

power-sharing agreement (that Zambians themselves have little

confidence in) a chance.

BOOTH

(10 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