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Zimbabwe has second longest unbroken multiparty democracy in Africa

Zimbabwe had the second longest unbroken record as a multiparty democracy in Africa so it was surprised as to why the United States was complaining about the breakdown of the rule of law and human rights and lack of democracy.

This was stated in a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the United States embassy in Harare in which the embassy was complaining about sentiments made by US assistant secretary of State Walter Kansteiner who had just visited Zimbabwe.

“The Zimbabwe government has recently become aware that the US Administration has attitudes which make it difficult for it to relate positively and constructively with Zimbabwe. These attitudes may have a basis somewhere, but we cannot believe that they arise from genuine concerns about Zimbabwe’s conduct of its domestic affairs, nor from direct differences between the US and Zimbabwe in the manner both regard their respective obligations as sovereign governments,” the letter said.

“The Zimbabwe leadership fought for and introduced national freedom and participatory democracy to the country and the government has maintained the second longest unbroken record as a multiparty democracy in Africa. It continues to uphold the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights.”

It did not state which country had the longest record.

The embassy commented that it was perplexed about the timing and substance of the letter, the cordiality of which was not echoed in President Robert Mugabe’s August 12 and 13 speeches.

“The letter appears to be an overture, a feeler to see if we are interested in engaging with the GOZ on issues of mutual concern. Given recent threats by President Mugabe and other senior GOZ officials to impose retaliatory sanctions on EU and US officials, the note could be a last-ditch effort to ward off such action, which the professionals at MFA know would only further isolate Zimbabwe,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE1831, ZIMBABWEAN DIPLOMATIC NOTE POSES MORE QUESTIONS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1831

2002-08-14 12:44

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001831

 

SIPDIS

 

FOR AF AND AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/14/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN DIPLOMATIC NOTE POSES MORE QUESTIONS

THAN ANSWERS

 

 

Classified By: CHARGE ROBERT E. WHITEHEAD FOR REASONS 1.5 B/D.

 

1. (U) Embassy received a diplomatic note and statement at

COB on August 9, before the long Hero’s Day weekend. Below

is the entire text.

 

Begin text of Diplomatic Note:

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe

presents its complements to the Embassy of the United States

of America and has the honor to forward a statement in

response to recent remarks by the US Assistant Secretary of

State, Mr. Walter Kansteiner.

 

The Ministry would like to assure the Embassy that the

Government of Zimbabwe does share the same concerns as the

United States on such issues as democracy and good governance

and is willing to engage the Government of the United States

on such matters. The Ministry believes however that such

dialogue will be facilitated by mutual understanding by both

sides of the dynamics which shape political policies. It is

in this vein that the attached statement has been made, for

onward transmission to the relevant authorities.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe

avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of

the United States of America, the assurances of its highest

consideration.

 

Harare

 

August 2002

 

End text of Diplomatic Note.

 

Begin text of Statement:

 

The Zimbabwe Government maintains that there is a concordance

of views and value systems between the US Administration and

itself. It has conducted its relations with the US on this

basis. We have always believed that both our countries are

looking forward to a world where mankind can be freed from

the misery caused by race, xenophobia, terrorism, hunger,

disease, and war.

 

The Government of Zimbabwe is aware that one of the

historical realities of our time, is that the United States

is the leading democracy in the world today. We have

maintained the hope that the US Administration is prepared to

lead the world in this regard and that, sooner rather than

later, the US Administration will assume this role, not only

for the benefit of larger developed nations, but for the

developing nations as well.

 

The Zimbabwe Government has recently become aware that the US

Administration has attitudes which make it difficult for it

to relate positively and constructively with Zimbabwe. These

attitudes may have a basis somewhere, but we cannot believe

that they arise from genuine concerns about Zimbabwe’s

conduct of its domestic affairs, nor from direct differences

between the US and Zimbabwe in the manner both regard their

respective obligations as sovereign governments. The

Zimbabwe leadership fought for and introduced national

freedom and participatory democracy to the country and the

government has maintained the second longest unbroken record

as a multiparty democracy in Africa. It continues to uphold

the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights.

 

The recent remarks by the US Assistant Secretary of State,

Mr. Walter Kansteiner, 31 July 2002, claiming that democracy

and human rights were no longer applicable to Zimbabwe,

appear to reflect what the US Administration would wish to

say about Zimbabwe, but they do not match the reality of

governance in Zimbabwe. It is of grave concern that such

remarks should be uttered. They distort the essence of

Zimbabwe’s genuine effort to promote democracy, the rule of

law, equity, and prosperity among its people whom colonial

racism had impoverished for over a century.

 

Mr. Roger Winter, the USAID Assistant Administrator visited

Zimbabwe recently. He visited Mashonalaland Central, (Tsenga

Village, Mount Darwin) to see for himself the extent of

people’s participation and involvement in the distribution of

food relief. Mr. Winter would admit that this visit brought

him face to face with our governance at work and especially

the high level of consultation and stakeholder involvement in

their own local affairs. It is assumed that Mr. Winter has

not yet had the opportunity to share his experiences with Mr.

Kansteiner and we hope that he will have the opportunity to

do so soon.

 

Zimbabwe wishes that the concordance of values it has always

shared with the United States should remain the firm basis

upon which to build our relations in trade, investment,

tourism and technical cooperation. The Zimbabwe Government

assures the Government of the United States of its highest

consideration and continued friendship.

 

End text of Statement.

 

2. (C) Comment: Frankly, we were a bit perplexed about the

timing and substance of this diplomatic note, the cordiality

of which was not echoed in Mugabe’s August 12 and 13 speeches

(septel). Although we have been frozen out by the MFA since

the March election, the Americas desk officer delivered this

note in person, telling us he had been instructed to do so by

the permanent secretary, who is no America-phile. Although

some of the note’s claims are laughable — the GOZ “continues

to uphold the principles of democracy, rule of law, and human

rights” — the letter appears to be an overture, a feeler to

see if we are interested in engaging with the GOZ on issues

of mutual concern. Given recent threats by President Mugabe

and other senior GOZ officials to impose retaliatory

sanctions on EU and U.S. officials, the note could be a

last-ditch effort to ward off such action, which the

professionals at MFA know would only further isolate

Zimbabwe. We believe a brief letter of acknowledgment is

appropriate, stating that the USG has always believed in the

importance of bilateral dialogue, that we are happy to share

with them once again our views on the way forward. We want

to avoid giving the GOZ the impression, however, that mere

dialogue, in the absence of significant policy changes, will

lead to an improved bilateral relationship with us or other

key international players. End comment.

WHITEHEAD

 

(13 VIEWS)

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