Botswana pleaded with US to support Makoni for ADB job


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Botswana’s Finance Minister Baledzi Gaolathe pleaded with the United States to support Simba Makoni’s candidacy for president of the African Development Bank because he was the best qualified candidate.

He argued that Makoni should be acceptable to the United States for both political and economic reasons because he had left the government of Zimbabwe because he could not go along with the status quo.

Gaolathe said Makoni had been endorsed by the Southern African Development Community because he was considered a citizen of SADC rather than a member of the government of Zimbabwe.

The US therefore had to look at Makoni as an individual rather than as President Robert Mugabe’s pick.

United States ambassador to Botswana Joseph Huggins told the minister that the government’s active support of Makoni undermined the suggestion that he was truly independent of the Mugabe regime.

Gaolathe argued that refusing to support the SADC consensus candidate because of its objections to poor governance in Zimbabwe constituted “collective punishment” for the misdeeds of one and was, therefore, “unfair”.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 05GABORONE479, SADC SEEKS US SUPPORT FOR ADB CANDIDATE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

05GABORONE479

2005-04-05 11:10

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Gaborone

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

 

051110Z Apr 05

 

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   CIAE-00 INL-00   DODE-00 PERC-00

DS-00   EB-00   E-00     VC-00   H-00     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   VCE-00   AC-00   NRC-00   NSAE-00 OES-00   GIWI-00

ACE-00   FMPC-00 SSO-00   SS-00   SA-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00

DRL-00   NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /000W

——————D83154 051233Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE

TO DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

SECSTATE WASHDC 1921

INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

NSC WASHDC

HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

C O N F I D E N T I A L GABORONE 000479

 

SIPDIS

 

 

DEPT FOR AF/S DIFFILY, DEPT PLEASE PASS TO TREASURY

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/03/2015

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI BC SADC

SUBJECT: SADC SEEKS US SUPPORT FOR ADB CANDIDATE

 

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR HUGGINS FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

 

1. (C) Summary: Minister of Finance and Development

Planning Baledzi Gaolathe requested a meeting with Ambassador

Huggins on April 4 to lobby for United States support for Dr.

Simba Makoni as the Southern African Development Community’s

(SADC) candidate for the presidency of the African

Development Bank (ADB). He argued that Dr. Makoni should be

acceptable to the US for professional and political reasons,

given that he left the Government of Zimbabwe because “he

could not go along with the status quo” there. Minister

Gaolathe pleaded that the US not punish the rest of SADC for

the problems in Zimbabwe. The Ambassador promised to

communicate SADC’s message to the Departments of State and

Treasury but advised Gaolathe that it would be difficult for

the US to reward the Mugabe regime after the March 31

elections that confirmed the Government of Zimbabwe’s refusal

to respect human rights and democratic principles. End

Summary

 

——————————————— —

MAKONI PROFESSIONALLY AND POLITICALLY QUALIFIED?

——————————————— —

 

2. (C) After a competitive review process, the SADC Council

of Ministers settled on Dr. Simba Makoni as the best

qualified candidate to stand for the Presidency of the

African Development Bank, Minister Gaolathe explained.

Botswana had been tasked to reach out to a number of Western

countries, including the US, UK, and Switzerland, to seek

support for Dr. Makoni. Given his experience in government

and the private sector, including stints as Executive

Secretary of SADC and Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe, SADC

 

SIPDIS

was confident of Dr. Makoni’s professional credentials. The

organization did not choose Dr. Makoni on the basis of his

connection with the Government of Zimbabwe, he asserted, but

regarded him as a “citizen of SADC”.

 

3. (C) Minister Gaolathe recognized that Dr. Makoni had been

among some senior Zimbabwean officials whose travel to

Western countries had been restricted as a means of

pressuring Harare to improve its governance. He pointed out,

however, that Dr. Makoni had left the Government of Zimbabwe

because “he could not go along with the status quo” there.

The Minister suggested that if critics of the Mugabe regime

did not support individuals such as Dr. Makoni, others like

him might not have the courage to follow his example.

 

——————————————— ——–

SADC: VIEW MAKONI AS AN INDIVIDUAL, NOT A GOZ INSIDER

——————————————— ——–

 

4. (C) Ambassador Huggins observed that, in view of

Zimbabwe’s uncompetitive March 31 election, it would be

difficult for the US to support Dr. Makoni’s candidacy,

especially when Harare would undoubtedly use Dr. Makoni’s

selection to tout the legitimacy of the Mugabe regime.

Minister Gaolathe admitted that many in Botswana and

elsewhere in SADC share our concerns about governance in

Zimbabwe and have voiced them “behind the scenes”. If

elected President of the ADB, Minister Gaolathe continued,

Dr. Makoni would be “completely severed” from the influence

of the Government of Zimbabwe. As a consequence, he argued,

the US should look at Dr. Makoni as an individual, rather

than as Mugabe’s pick. Ambassador Huggins noted that the

GOZ’s active support for Dr. Makoni’s candidacy undermined

the suggestion that he is truly independent of the Mugabe

regime.

 

———————

COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT

———————

 

5. (C) Finally, Minister Gaolathe agreed that while US-SADC

relations have been stalled, the US maintains cordial

relations with most members of SADC. Refusing to support the

SADC consensus candidate because of its objections to poor

governance in Zimbabwe, he said, constitutes “collective

punishment” for the misdeeds of one and, therefore, would be

“unfair”. SADC should not be denied the opportunity to put

forward the best qualified individual because he happens to

come from Zimbabwe, Minister Gaolathe concluded.

 

————————————

TEXT OF LETTER TO TREASURY SECRETARY

————————————

 

6. (U) Minister Gaolathe passed Ambassador Huggins a letter

to Treasury Secretary Snow formally requesting US support for

Dr. Makoni. The text of that letter follows:

 

Dear Sir,

 

I wish to take this opportunity, Sir, to seek your support

for Dr. Simba Makoni, who has been endorsed by SADC as the

regional candidate. He was chosen as the most suitable among

other candidates considered within the SADC region.

 

I believe that in selecting the next President of the ADB, we

should look at both the qualifications of the candidates and

also take into account the principle of rotation.

 

In this regard, I am of the view that our region should, in

the spirit of rotation and sharing of responsibilities, be

given the opportunity to serve our organization.

 

Dr. Makoni distinguished himself as an outstanding Executive

Secretary of the Southern African Development Community. He

 

SIPDIS

has also accumulated extensive experience as Managing

Director of several companies in the Private Sector and as

Minister in several ministries in the Public Sector. I have

no doubt, therefore, that with his wealth of experience and

management skills, he will provide a dynamic leadership to

our continental organization.

 

It is my sincere hope that I can count on you to support the

candidature of Dr. Makoni who curriculum vitae I attach for

your consideration. (Note: Dr. Makoni’s CV is seven pages

long and, therefore, is not reproduced in this message. End

note.)

 

Accept, Honourable Minister, the assurances of my highest

consideration and esteem.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

B. Gaolathe

Minister of Finance and Development Planning

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) SADC’s selection of a former senior official in the

Mugabe regime as its candidate for the ADB Presidency shows a

continued unwillingness to publicly recognize the crisis of

governance in Zimbabwe and a lack of sensitivity to the

importance of respect for human rights and democracy.

Refusal to support Dr. Makoni’s candidacy provides an

opportunity to remind SADC that their failure to address the

situation in Zimbabwe has negative repercussions for the

entire region.

HUGGINS

 

 

NNNN

(16 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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