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Zimbabwe up for sale

By insisting that the three key political parties in Zimbabwe enter into an inclusive government, the Southern African Development Community had essentially “bought and owned the store and the conundrum for the sub-region that is Zimbabwe” so it had to do everything it could to fix the problem.

This was the view of the United States when Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani convoked resident G-8 missions France, Germany, Japan, the US, Britain and the European Union to solicit help for Zimbabwe.

The official said by appealing for international help, SADC was “now seeking to shift the onus, costs, and title to this bill of goods they have helped to create”.

The G-8 diplomats stressed that there would be no change from them on financial flows to Zimbabwe or the lifting of sanctions, or their support for Zimbabwe-related initiatives within the Bretton Woods institutions, until there was tangible evidence of positive change and good governance in Harare.

The United States representative said that about six years ago, then Secretary of State Collin Powell had counselled President George Bush that if the United States broke Iraq, “we would own it”.

“All would attest to American ownership of the current situation in Iraq, and we continue to work to address and fix the problem. However, to those Americans (and others) who follow the sorrow of a broken Zimbabwe, it sure looks like SADC owns this Mugabe-driven mess and must accept responsibility for its resolution,” the diplomat said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09GABORONE174, ZIMBABWE, SADC, THE WEST — WHO OWNS THE STORE?

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

09GABORONE174

2009-03-08 14:48

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Gaborone

O 081448Z MAR 09

FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5596

INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA

AMEMBASSY BERLIN

AMEMBASSY CANBERRA

AMEMBASSY LONDON

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA

AMEMBASSY PARIS

AMEMBASSY TOKYO

CIA WASHDC

HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

USEU BRUSSELS

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

C O N F I D E N T I A L GABORONE 000174

 

 

DEPARTMENT FOR AF AND AF/S

ADDISS ABABA FOR USAU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/08/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID EFIN BC ZI SADC

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE, SADC, THE WEST — WHO OWNS THE STORE?

 

REF: PRETORIA 427

 

 

Classified By: DCM Philip R. Drouin; Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani convoked resident

G-8 Missions France, Germany, Japan, the U.S. and the UK as

well as the EU on March 6 to brief on current GOB thinking on

Zimbabwe and Sudan (septel). He and President Khama had “had

a chat” earlier in the day and discussed, inter alia, the

financial pressures confronting Zimbabwe. Citing GOZ Finance

Minister Tendai Biti’s appeal at the February 26-27 SADC

Council of Ministers meeting in Cape Town (reftel) for a

financial rescue package for Zimbabwe ($5 billion total, $2

billion right away), Skelemani acknowledged that there was

much sentiment within SADC member states to look to

international donors and the IFIs to bail out the sinking

ship in Zimbabwe. However, the GOB recognizes that the

actions and words of some elements in Zimbabwe’s Government

of National Unity, notably ZANU-PF, are making it hard for

the international community to re-engage and lend a helping

hand financially to the troubled people of Zimbabwe.

Skelemani also shared with us a March 5 MFA press release on

this subject (text at pargraph 5).

 

2. (C) The rebuttal from G-8 diplomats was universal and

predictable, with the UK High Commissioner and EU Ambassador

stressing there will be no change from them on financial

flows to the GOZ or lifting of sanctions, or their support

for Zimbabwe-related initiatives within the Bretton Woods

institutions, until there is tangible evidence of positive

change and good governance in Harare. The DCM echoed much of

this sentiment and added that the United States continues to

focus on humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe and remains the

largest contributor of food aid there. The DCM also noted

that about six years ago, then SecState Powell had counselled

President Bush (refering to the Pottery Barn’s policy) that

if the United States broke Iraq, “we would own it.” All

would attest to American ownership of the current situation

in Iraq, and we continue to work to address and fix the

problem. However, to those Americans (and others) who follow

the sorrow of a broken Zimbabwe, it sure looks like SADC owns

this Mugabe-driven mess and must accept responsibility for

its resolution.

 

3. (C) Comment: While Botswana continues its lonely advocacy

within SADC, Skelemani recognizes that the GOB also

acquiesced in the less-than-perfect, “best deal possible at

the time” Global Political Agreement that is proving to be a

bear to implement. Skelemani agreed with us that by its

insistence to have the parties sign in Zimbabwe (with many

putting pressure on MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai), SADC has

essentially bought and owns the store and the conundrum for

the sub-region that is Zimbabwe, and it needs to do

everything it can to fix the problem. Other SADC member

states are less enthusiastic about this necessity, and it is

not surprising to us that SADC is now seeking to shift the

onus, costs, and title to this bill of goods they have helped

to create. The Foreign Minister nodded and took our point

that “Extraordinary” SADC Summits (another is in the offing,

time and venue TBD) are increasingly viewed as “less than

ordinary” elsewhere in the international community,

especially when Zimbabwe is on the agenda.

 

4. (C) Comment Continued: As a tragic epilogue to all this,

later on March 6 Zimbabwean Prime Morgan Tsvangirai was

injured in a road accident in Zimbabwe, in which his wife was

killed. The GOB Chief of Protocol told Emboff on March 7

that Foreign Minister Skelemani went to Harare on Saturday to

visit with Tsvangirai in the hospital. We have since seen

CNN and BBC reports that Tsvangirai has traveled to Botswana

to convalesce. Tsvangirai was a frequent visitor to Gaborone

during much of 2008. When driving by the GOB’s main guest

house (just down the street from SADC Secretariat

headquarters) on a quiet March 8 Sunday afternoon in

Gaborone, we could see many cars parked there, with security

officials and staffers standing out front, just like when

Tsvangirai has come calling here in the past. End Comment.

 

5. (U) Begin Text of GOB MFA Press Release:

 

Gaborone, March 05, 2009 — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

and International Cooperation welcomes the release on bail of

some of the MDC activists arrested over allegations of plots

of banditry and terrorism. The Ministry, however, remains

concerned that the continued detention of the remaining MDC

activists and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate,

Mr. Roy Bennett can only serve to undermine the

implementation of the Global Political Agreement and efforts

to attract international goodwill and the much needed

economic, financial and technical assistance for the

rehabilitation and reconstruction of the economy in Zimbabwe.

 

For as long as some elements in government, notably, ZANU PF,

continue to encourage and engage in irresponsible acts and

make provocative statements, the international community is

unlikely to extend a helping hand and to re-engage Zimbabwe

for the benefit of its long suffering people.

 

The Government of the Republic of Botswana calls upon ZANU PF

to end unilateralism and create an atmosphere conducive to

building mutual trust and confidence as well as to live up to

the spirit of the Global Political Agreement wherein the

parties committed themselves to bring an end to polarization,

divisions, conflict and intolerance which has characterised

Zimbabwean politics and society in the recent past.

 

End Text of Press Release.

 

 

NOLAN

(31 VIEWS)

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