African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma asked the how the West could expect Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to cooperate with them when they were so critical of him.
Zuma posed the question to then United States President George Bush, National Security advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, USAID administrator Henrietta Fore when he met them in Washington in October 2008. He was not yet South African president.
Zuma said the South African government had been as aggressive on Zimbabwe as it could without damaging its ability to influence negotiations in the future.
He even criticised United States ambassador to South Africa Eric Bost for “pushing him hard”.
In a note to a cable released by Wikileaks, Bost said Zuma’s tone in Washington was quite different from that in Pretoria on his return as he reportedly said that the Southern African Development Community was going to put pressure on Mugabe to find a solution to the impasse in negotiations with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change because “what happens in Zimbabwe has effect on the region”.
Viewing cable 08PRETORIA2464, DIPLOMATS IN SOUTH AFRICA TALK ZUMA AND ZIMBABWE
P 070948Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6362
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY
AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY
AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG PRIORITY
CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 002464
DEPARTMENT FOR AF A/S J. FRAZER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2018
SUBJECT: DIPLOMATS IN SOUTH AFRICA TALK ZUMA AND ZIMBABWE
REF: PRETORIA 02392
Classified By: Ambassador Eric M. Bost for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
¶1. (C) Summary: On November 4, 2008, Ambassador Bost briefed
Chiefs of Missions (COM) to South Africa on African National
Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma’s October 20-25 trip to
the U.S. (report septel). The COMs discussed who was making
South African Government (SAG) policy on Zimbabwe now and in
the future, but agreed generally that it was not yet clear.
They expressed no optimism regarding the possible outcomes of
the South African Development Community (SADC) Summit on
Zimbabwe planned for November 9. End summary.
¶2. (C) Ruth Archibald, Canadian High Commissioner, said Frank
Chikane, Director General of the Presidency under former
President Thabo Mbeki, is staying at the Presidency under
President Kgalema Motlanthe and maintains the lead on
Zimbabwe policy. (Note: This contradicts what Zimbabwe
analyst Sydney Masamvu told us on October 30 (see reftel).
End note.) She said Mathews Phosa, ANC Treasurer General, is
occupied with other matters for at least two weeks and is not
“pulling strings” on the upcoming SADC Summit.
¶3. (C) Colin Wrafter, Irish Ambassador, said he had come
directly from the Department of Foreign Affairs where he
learned that neither the SAG nor other SADC members would
support a proposal for new presidential elections in
Zimbabwe. (Note: Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai is shopping around the continent the idea
that a new general election should form the basis of a
comprehensive solution to the ongoing Zimbabwe crisis. End
note.) Wrafter said the SAG was considering the idea of
proposing two ministers for the Home Affairs Ministry in
Zimbabwe or a co-share that would rotate every few weeks.
¶4. (C) Ambassador Bost told the COMs that President Bush,
Secretary Rice, National Security Advisor Hadley and USAID
Administrator Fore discussed the Zimbabwe crisis with Zuma.
Zuma told them the SAG would continue to work through SADC
and would use diplomacy to address the situation in Zimbabwe.
In Washington, Zuma said the SAG had been as aggressive as
it could without damaging its ability to influence
negotiations in the future. (Note: Later, back in Pretoria,
Zuma reportedly said it was time for SADC to put additional
pressure on Mugabe to find a solution to the impasse in
negotiations because “what happens in Zimbabwe has effect on
the region.” End note.) He asked how the West could be so
critical of President Robert Mugabe and then expect Mugabe’s
cooperation. He commented to President Bush that Ambassador
Bost had been “pushing him hard.” According to Ambassador
Bost, Zuma mentioned no foreign policy priorities. The COMs
conveyed great appreciation to Ambassador Bost for this