Daily News fabricated story about Archbishop Pius Ncube?


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United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Tom McDonald told Foreign Affairs official Jonathan Wutawunashe that the Daily News had fabricated a story about his meeting with the Bulawayo-based Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube on 21 September 2000.

The paper had reported that McDonald had met the archbishop to lobby him to use his influence to persuade the Southern African Development Community to accept the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Bill- which was aimed at imposing sanctions on the country and its leadership.

McDonald said he met with Wutawunashe for half an hour at his request. Wutawunashe wanted to know whether the Daily News story was correct.

The ambassador said the story was not correct and the reporter was unprofessional. The subject of ZIDERA was not raised but he refused to say what he discussed with the archbishop.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE5362, MFA INQUIRES ABOUT AMBASSADOR’S CALL ON

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5362

2000-09-25 15:05

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.

 

251505Z Sep 00

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTO5068

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05362 251504Z

ACTION IO-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AF-00   A-00     ACQ-00   CIAE-00 DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   PA-00

PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   SS-00

TRSE-00 T-00     USIE-00 IIP-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /008W

——————898806 251504Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7181

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 005362

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/25/10

TAGS: PREL OIIP US ZI

SUBJECT: MFA INQUIRES ABOUT AMBASSADOR’S CALL ON

BULAWAYO’S CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5

B/D.

 

1. (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD MET FOR HALF AN HOUR WITH

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE

AND THE AMERICAS JONATHAN WUTAWUNASHE AT THE LATTER’S

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05362 251504Z

REQUEST SEPTEMBER 25. WUTAWUNASHE GOT TO THE POINT

QUICKLY, ASKING WHETHER “THE DAILY NEWS” HAD STATED

CORRECTLY THE OBJECT OF THE AMBASSADOR’S VISIT TO PIUS

NCUBE, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF BULAWAYO, ON

SEPTEMBER 21. THE ARTICLE STATED THAT “MCDONALD’S VISIT

WAS TO LOBBY NCUBE TO USE HIS INFLUENCE TO PERSUADE THE

REGION TO ACCEPT THE BILL (ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT).”

 

2. (C) AMBASSADOR MCDONALD RESPONDED THAT THE NEWSPAPER

ARTICLE’S ACCOUNT WAS “NOT CORRECT, AND THAT THE

REPORTER WAS UNPROFESSIONAL.” THE AMBASSADOR SAID THAT

HE HAD MET WITH THE ARCHBISHOP, BUT THE SUBJECT OF THE

ZIMBABWE DEMOCRACY ACT WAS NOT RAISED. HOWEVER, HE

WOULD NOT DIVULGE WHAT WAS THE SUBSTANCE OF THE PRIVATE

CONVERSATION. THE AMBASSADOR WENT ON TO STATE THAT THE

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE SHOULD NOT LET ITSELF BE SEIZED

BY ITS OWN PARANOIA, BUT RATHER TAKE TO HEART THE BILL’S

SERIOUS MESSAGE.

 

3. (C) COMMENT: “THE DAILY NEWS'” FABRICATED ARTICLE

THAT APPEARED ON SEPTEMBER 25, WAS CUT FROM WHOLE CLOTH.

THE REPORTER RECEIVED NO INFORMATION EITHER FROM

OURSELVES OR THE ARCHBISHOP. IF SOMEONE IN THE

ARCHBISHOP’S OFFICE TIPPED OFF THE PRESS TO THE

AMBASSADOR’S CALL IN ORDER TO HELP THE ARCHBISHOP, WHO

HAS RECEIVED A NUMBER OF DEATH THREATS, HE OR SHE DID

THE WRONG THING. THE FACT THAT THE AMBASSADOR WAS

QUESTIONED ABOUT THIS ARTICLE SHOWS THAT THE ZIMBABWE

GOVERNMENT’S PARANOIA IS IN OVERDRIVE. WE DO NOT INTEND

TO PUBLICIZE THIS MATTER FURTHER, BUT WILL REGISTER OUR

UNHAPPINESS ABOUT THE STORY WITH THE NEWSPAPER’S

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05362 251504Z

MANAGING EDITOR. END COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(28 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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