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Zuma’s advisor at a loss regarding Zimbabwe

African National Congress President Jacob Zuma’s advisor Mo Shaik said there was nothing Zuma could do about the indecisive 2008 elections in Zimbabwe except wait and see.

He criticised the Movement for Democratic Change for announcing that it had won the elections pointing out that it was dangerous to allow opposition parties to tally their own votes.

“Right now, we can’t say either Mugabe or Morgan got a majority so all we can do now is wait,” Shaik told United States embassy officials in Pretoria.

He said the MDC should work with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to form a government of national unity.

The only non-negotiable part of the bargain was Mugabe’s removal.

Shaik said a run-off should be avoided at all costs because the elections were either going to be rigged or there was going to be bloodshed.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08PRETORIA727, ZUMA ADVISOR APPEARS AT A LOSS REGARDING 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

Released

Classification

Origin

08PRETORIA727

2008-04-08 12:38

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO6263

PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #0727/01 0991238

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 081238Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4063

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 5484

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 9711

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000727

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR P, AF, AF/S, DRL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2018

TAGS: PGOV SF ZI

SUBJECT: ZUMA ADVISOR APPEARS AT A LOSS REGARDING ZIMBABWE

 

 

PRETORIA 00000727 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(

b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. On 7 April Mo Shaik, one of ANC President

Jacob Zuma’s advisors, met with PolOff to discuss current

thinking within the Zuma camp regarding the Zimbabwe crisis.

Contrary to media hype surrounding Jacob Zuma’s meeting with

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on 7 April, Shaik portrayed the

Zuma camp as being in a “wait-and-see” mode. Shaik also

criticized both the ANC Youth League’s criticism of the

process, calling them “irresponsible,” and the MDC for

declaring early victory. Shaik believes a run-off should be

avoided at all costs and that a transitional government that

does not include Mugabe is the only answer. Shaik, however,

was unclear about how Zuma could influence the process,

admitting that Zuma does not have any more leverage over

Mugabe than Mbeki does. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) PolOff met with Zuma advisor Mo Shaik on 7 April to

discuss current thinking within the Zuma camp regarding

Zimbabwe’s crisis. Shaik opened by boldly stating that we

were seeing a “tectonic shift in Zimbabwe, where for the

first time we can see the past and the future.” Shaik’s

optimism quickly disappeared when asked what the ANC’s

strategy was, giving the distinct impression that the Zuma

camp at least does not have one. When PolOff asked about the

neutral tone in ANC’s statement regarding the elections,

especially given the ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL) public

criticism of the process, Shaik asked petulantly what the US

expected the ANC to say after SADC observers declared the

election free and fair. He also called the ANCYL’s statement

“irresponsible.” His criticisms were also directed at the

MDC, questioning why they declared victory and pointing out

that it was dangerous to allow opposition parties to tally

their own votes. “Right now, we can’t say either Mugabe or

Morgan got a majority so all we can do now is wait.” Shaik

admitted that Zuma does not have any more leverage over

President Mugabe than Mbeki does. Shaik also confirmed that

Zuma is in contact with MDC officials, but not with ZANU-PF

officials. (NOTE: Press reports note that Tsvangirai met

with Zuma, Sydney Mufamadi (Minister of Local Government and

member of Mbeki’s negotiating team on Zimbabwe), and business

leaders on 7 April (septel). END NOTE)

 

3. (C) Immediately after the results are posted, Shaik

believes the MDC should work with ZANU-PF to form a unity

government, with “the only non-negotiable part of the

equation being Mugabe’s removal.” Despite constitutional

requirements, Shaik believes a run-off should be avoided at

all costs because it will likely be rigged and lead to

bloodshed. When asked how the international community could

encourage this, Shaik floundered and started thinking out

loud. Eventually Shaik came up with two ideas. First, Shaik

believes Mugabe’s inner circle must be convinced that their

only option if they want a future is to join a transitional

government. He had no ideas, however, as to how to plant

these seeds, admitting that though Zuma has good MDC

contacts, he does not within ZANU-PF. Second, “trusted

emissaries like Angolan President Dos Santos, Namibian

President Pohamba, UN Secretary General Moon, even the

President of Spain” should negotiate with Mugabe to step down

QPresident of Spain” should negotiate with Mugabe to step down

on the condition that he would not be prosecuted for any

crimes committed while in power. (COMMENT: Shaik never

mentioned South Africa or the ANC as a potential honest

broker. END COMMENT) Shaik casually dismissed concerns

about any precedent this would set. However, Shaik did agree

that it would be an uphill battle to convince ZANU-PF members

they are on a sinking ship when rigging a run-off and keeping

power to themselves is still an option. Eventually he said,

“Ok, so we can have a run-off, but we have to make sure there

is no rigging!”

 

4. (C) Shaik also told PolOff that Deputy Foreign Minister

Aziz Pahad recounted his recent conversation with U/S Frazer.

He did not go into detail, only saying that he does not

understand what the US government expects from South Africa.

He then heavily criticized recent US public statements

regarding Zimbabwe, saying “the UK has played its cards right

and kept quiet.” Shaik also criticized US sanctions against

select Zimbabweans, saying the only good they did was to

build solidarity amongst the more corrupt ZANU-PF leaders who

now feel they are all in the same boat.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: Unlike previous conversations with Shaik

immediately after the Zimbabwe election, Zuma’s camp seems to

 

PRETORIA 00000727 002.2 OF 002

 

 

have taken a step back. In spite of likely urging from

COSATU and ANCYL, Shaik’s hesitancy may reflect a growing

realization that Mugabe is not easily influenced by anyone.

END COMMENT.

BOST

 

(5 VIEWS)

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