Danish Ministers says Mugabe is “a man without a plan”


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Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Jan Trojborg said President Robert Mugabe was “a man without a plan” but it was clear that the government could set one up quickly if the President gave his ministers the green light to do so.

Trojborg told diplomats in Harare that he had come to the country to find a solution to its problems.

The Movement for Democratic Change was uncertain whether it could hold momentum until election or would take to the streets, and once it did so, it was uncertain it could control the situation.

“The government is determined not to be run over by the parliament of the street,” Trojborg observed.

He said that he had concluded that the key to the Zimbabwean crisis was to resolve two issues: the land reform and the country’s withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He said naming the issues was not a problem but the devil was in the detail. He had, however, told the government: “It looks like we are at five minutes to twelve; this is the last chance for the country to avoid collapse.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE6317,

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE6317

2000-11-09 15:45

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.

 

091545Z Nov 00

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ6928

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 06317 01 OF 03 091545Z

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——————9D198D 091546Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7601

INFO AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

NSC WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 006317 SIPDIS LONDON FOR GURNEY PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH PASS USAID FOR A/AID – R. MCCALL, DAA/AER – VNEWTON, AFR/SA – CPALMA CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 HARARE 06317 01 OF 03 091545Z PASS USTR FOR ROSA WHITAKER E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2010 TAGS: PREL [External Political Relations], EAGR [Agriculture and Forestry], EAID [Foreign Economic Assistance], ZI [Zimbabwe], Land Reform SUBJECT: DANISH DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION MINISTER DELIVERS TOUGH MESSAGES TO ZIMBABWE ON FAST TRACK LAND EXERCISE CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND (D).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: DANISH MINISTER FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION JAN TROJBORG TOLD WESTERN HEADS OF MISSION NOVEMBER 8 THAT HE HAD COME TO ZIMBABWE TO SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION TO THE COUNTRY’S CURRENT IMPASSE. HE VOICED STRONG SUPPORT FOR THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM’S (UNDP) EFFORTS TO REKINDLE DIALOGUE AMONG THE DONORS, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE AND OTHER LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS AND APPEALED FOR SIMILAR SUPPORT FROM THE ASSEMBLED DIPLOMATS WHEN UNDP ADMINISTRATOR MARK MALLOCH-BROWN VISITED LATER THIS MONTH. THE DANISH MINISTER SAID THE MESSAGE HE BROUGHT FOR PRESIDENT MUGABE (A “MAN WITHOUT A PLAN”) WAS TO STOP THE ILLEGAL FARM INVASIONS IMMEDIATELY, MAKE SENSIBLE DESIGNATIONS OF THOSE FARMS ALREADY ACQUIRED, RESPECT COURT ORDERS AND RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW IN THE RURAL AREAS, AND NEGOTIATE WITH THE UNITED NATIONS. THE PLAINSPOKEN DANE ALSO TOLD FOREIGN MINISTER MUDENGE TO MOVE ON FROM HIS OBSESSION WITH THE BRITISH. FURTHER, HE TOLD THE FOREIGN MINISTER THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH A POTENTIAL SUPREME COURT RULING CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 03 HARARE 06317 01 OF 03 091545Z AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT ON THE FAST TRACK LAND RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE WOULD BE “UNACCEPTABLE” TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. HE FOUND THE MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) PARLIAMENTARIANS IMPRESSIVE AND SEIZED WITH PLANNING STRATEGY, BUT COUNSELED THEM THAT, AS THE OPPOSITION, THEY MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WELFARE OF THE COUNTRY AND AVOID EXPOSING THEIR FOLLOWERS TO VIOLENCE. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) WRAPPING UP A BRIEF FOUR-DAY VISIT TO HARARE TRIGGERED BY MEETINGS WITH UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (UNDP) ADMINISTRATOR MARK MALLOCH-BROWN AND SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT MBEKI, DANISH MINISTER FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION JAN TROJBORG TOLD WESTERN HEADS OF MISSION NOVEMBER 8 IN HARARE THAT HE HAD COME TO DISCUSS FINDING A SOLUTION TO ZIMBABWE’S CURRENT IMPASSE. AFTER TALKS HE CONCLUDED THAT THE KEY WOULD BE TO RESOLVE TWO PROBLEMS: THE LAND ISSUE AND WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM THE CONGO. NAMING THE PROBLEMS WAS EASY, BUT THE DEVIL WAS IN THE DETAIL, HE SAID. HIS GOVERNMENT’S MESSAGE TO ZIMBABWEAN INTERLOCUTORS WAS: STOP THE ILLEGAL FARM INVASIONS IMMEDIATELY, MAKE SENSIBLE DESIGNATIONS OF THOSE FARMS ALREADY ACQUIRED, RESPECT COURT ORDERS AND RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW IN THE RURAL AREAS, AND NEGOTIATE WITH THE UNITED NATIONS. “IT LOOKS LIKE WE ARE AT FIVE MINUTES TO TWELVE,” THE MINISTER OBSERVED, “THIS IS THE LAST CHANCE FOR THE COUNTRY TO AVOID COLLAPSE.”

¶3. (C) SPEAKING TO PRESIDENT MUGABE, THE DANISH MINISTER URGED HIM TO FIND A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 04 HARARE 06317 01 OF 03 091545Z HERE AND IN THE CONGO. HE UNDERSTOOD THAT IT WAS “COMPLICATED” TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM THE CONGO AND URGED THE HEADS OF MISSION PRESENT TO HELP ZIMBABWE WITHIN THE UN FRAMEWORK. TROJBORG SAID MUGABE REVIEWED IN DETAIL THE HISTORY OF LANCASTER HOUSE, AND THE DANE THEN ENDURED A TIRADE AGAINST THE BRITISH AND THE CONSPIRACY THEY WERE LEADING AGAINST HIM. NEVERTHELESS, THE VISITING MINISTER NOTED THAT THE RHETORIC WAS MILDER THAN WHAT MUGABE HAD USED ON PREVIOUS OCCASIONS.

¶4. (C) TROJBORG CONTINUED THAT HE HAD TOLD PRESIDENT MUGABE THAT THE DONORS HAD REACTED TO HIS POLICIES BY CUTTING THEIR BILATERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. HE CAUTIONED THE ZIMBABWEAN CHIEF EXECUTIVE THAT, WHILE HE UNDERSTOOD POLITICALLY THE NEED TO LAUNCH A FAST TRACK APPROACH, ACQUIRING ALL 5 MILLION HECTARES AT ONCE WAS A SURE RECIPE FOR DISASTER. HE SAID THAT THE FAST TRACK RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE NEEDED A PRECISE DEFINITION AND NEEDED TO BE DONE SO AS NOT TO UNDERMINE THE COUNTRY’S AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION. AT THE SAME TIME THE PROGRAM SHOULD SETTLE REAL FARMERS, AND NOT WAR VETERANS OR UNSKILLED PEASANTRY, ON THE FARMS. HE TOLD THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT THAT IT WAS TIME TO SET PERCEPTIONS FROM THE PAST ASIDE AND “LOOK FORWARD,” WORDS HE JUDGED TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT. HE NOTED THAT MUGABE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE UNDP ADMINISTRATOR, WHEN THE LATTER CAME TO HARARE, AND WORK WITH HIM.

¶5. (C) THE YOUNGER ZIMBABWEAN MINISTERS, ON THE OTHER HAND, UNDERSTOOD THE NEED FOR REFORM AND THAT THE LAND ISSUE IS NOT ECONOMIC BUT POLITICAL. THE DANISH POLITICIAN SAW CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE POSITIONS OF THE YOUNGER AND THE OLDER MINISTERS. FOREIGN MINISTER MUDENGE, SAID THAT THERE WERE 100 BETTER WAYS TO CONDUCT LAND REFORM, BUT THE COUNTRY FOUND ITSELF IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION. WHEN TROJBORG SUGGESTED IT WAS THE FAULT OF THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT, THE FOREIGN MINISTER FOBBED BLAME OFF ON THE BRITISH.

¶6. (C) THE DANISH MINISTER OBSERVED THERE WAS A “CLEAR LACK OF QUALITY” TO THE CURRENT LAND REFORM AND RESETTLEMENT EXERCISE. HE HOPED HOWEVER THAT THERE WAS ROOM FOR MANEUVER IN IT, AND SAID HE WOULD ENCOURAGE HIS EUROPEAN UNION COLLEAGUES TO VISIT ZIMBABWE AND SPEAK CLEARLY AND ALONG THE LINES OF THE UNDP MISSION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE.

¶7. (C) “I HAD AN INTERESTING CONVERSATION WITH THE OPPOSITION,” HE STATED. HE FOUND MDC MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT WELSHMAN NCUBE AND PAUL NYATHI VERY IMPRESSIVE, PARTICULARLY IN THEIR EFFORTS TO FIND A STRATEGY TO INFLUENCE EVENTS, CERTAINLY MORE SO THAN THE PRESIDENT. HE FOUND MUGABE TO BE “A MAN WITHOUT A PLAN,” BUT IT WAS CLEAR THAT THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT COULD SET ONE UP QUICKLY IF THE PRESIDENT WOULD GIVE HIS MINISTERS THE GREEN LIGHT TO DO SO. THE MDC WAS UNCERTAIN WHETHER IT COULD HOLD MOMENTUM UNTIL ELECTION OR WOULD TAKE TO THE STREETS, AND ONCE IT DID SO, IT WAS UNCERTAIN IT COULD CONTROL THE SITUATION. “THE GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED NOT TO BE RUN OVER BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE STREET,” TROJBORG OBSERVED. THE MDC, HE CONTINUED, WOULD ADHERE TO CONSTITUTIONAL MEANS, AND THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD BE EASY TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, AS IT WAS UNLIKELY THAT ANYTHING WOULD CHANGE FOR THE POSITIVE VIS-A-VIS THE ECONOMY BEFORE THEN. NEVERTHELESS, HAVING VOTED THE MDC INTO PARLIAMENT, THE PEOPLE WERE EXPECTING RESULTS. THE DANISH MINISTER TOLD THE MDC MEMBERS THAT EVEN AS MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION, THE MDC HAD A RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT IN THE INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY, A STATEMENT WITH WHICH THE PARLIAMENTARIANS AGREED.

¶8. (C) FINALLY, TROJBORG SAID IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR HIM TO SUSTAIN CURRENT AID LEVELS TO ZIMBABWE IN THE FACE OF PUBLIC OPINION OPPOSING IT. UNLESS THE ZIMBABWEAN GOVERNMENT TOOK THE INITIATIVE TO CHANGE ITS WAYS WITHIN SIX MONTHS, TROJBORG ANNOUNCED HE WOULD BE FORCED TO REDUCE IT. CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 04 HARARE 06317 02 OF 03 091546Z

¶9. (C) A BRIEF QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION FOLLOWED THE MINISTER’S REMARKS.

— THE BELGIAN AMBASSADOR SAID SOME DONORS HAD RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE CONCLUSION OF THE UN/UNDP MISSION, NOTING THAT IT REQUIRED THEM TO PUT MONEY UP- FRONT. IS THIS GOOD? “SHOULDN’T THERE BE DISCUSSION FIRST?” SHE ASKED. TROJBORG THOUGHT THE TWO THINGS WENT HAND IN HAND, AS THE PLAN REQUIRED TRUST. THE DANISH GOVERNMENT THOUGHT THAT MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND SHOULD REST IN INTERNATIONAL HANDS. COMMENT: USE OF A TRUST FUND WHEN THE CONDITIONS ARE APPROPRIATE, BUT IT IS VERY UNLIKELY THAT DONORS WILL CONTRIBUTE AT THIS POINT TO A TRUST FUND THAT FINANCES THE GOZ FAST TRACK PROGRAM. END COMMENT.

— THE GREEK AMBASSADOR ASKED WHAT THE FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MINISTER (SIMBA MAKONI) HAD SAID. TROJBORG SAID HE HAD NOT MET WITH HIM YET, BUT NOTED THAT IN PRAGUE THE ZIMBABWEAN MINISTER HAD SAID, “WE’LL ALL BE DEAD IN THE SPRING, IF THERE IS NO SOLUTION [TO ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC ILLS].”

— THE GERMAN AMBASSADOR ASKED WHETHER PRESIDENT MUGABE HAD ANY REACTION TO THE MINISTER’S URGING TO RESPECT COURT ORDERS. BECAUSE THE FAST-TRACK PROGRAM WAS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT THE GOVERNMENT HAD ATTACKED THE CHIEF JUSTICE. TROJBORG SAID THE PRESIDENT DID NOT ADDRESS THE ISSUE, BUT NOTED THAT HE RESPECTED THE RULE OF LAW. THE FOREIGN MINISTER, ON THE OTHER HAND, ADMITTED THAT IF THE COURT CASE GOES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, THE LATTER WOULD NOT ACCEDE TO THE DECISION. THE DANISH MINISTER SAID THAT WAS “UNACCEPTABLE.”

— THE DUTCH CHARGE D’AFFAIRES ASKED WHETHER PRESIDENT MBEKI HAD BEEN CLEARER ON HIS STAND VIS-A-VIS THE LAND QUESTION. TROJBORG RESPONDED THAT THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT NOTED THAT THE PROBLEM MUST BE APPROACHED FROM ANOTHER ANGLE, AS THE PICTURE IN THE WEST WAS NOT CLEAR, A FACT FOR WHICH THE MEDIA BORE THE BLAME. WHAT WAS GOING ON IN ZIMBABWE WAS DEVASTATING FOR ITS ECONOMY AND SOUTH AFRICA WOULD BEAR THE BRUNT OF ITS COLLAPSE. MUGABE IS VERY EMOTIONAL AND IT IS DIFFICULT TO DISCUSS THE PROBLEM WITH HIM, AND AS A RESULT HE GOES BACK TO WHAT HE KNOWS BEST, FIGHTING ENEMIES, REAL OR IMAGINED. MBEKI SEES THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE AS OUT OF CONTROL. THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT NOTED THAT HISTORICAL TENSION BETWEEN HIS COUNTRY AND ZIMBABWE PRECLUDED HIS CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 03 HARARE 06317 03 OF 03 091546Z SPEAKING FRANKLY WITH MUGABE.

— THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE ASKED IF A MISSION FROM THE EU TROIKA MIGHT NOT BE APPROPRIATE TO MAKE THE SAME POINTS. THE DANISH MINISTER RESPONDED THAT THE “THE ONLY CARD WE HAVE IS THE UNDP ONE.” HE DISCOURAGED SUCH AN INITIATIVE, AND NOTED THAT FOR HIMSELF THE MEDIA IN DENMARK WAS CRITICIZING HIM FOR COMING TO ZIMBABWE AND CONTINUING AN AID PROGRAM TO A DICTATOR. HE AGAIN MADE A PITCH FOR ALL ASSEMBLED HEADS OF MISSION TO SUPPORT THE MALLOCH-BROWN VISIT AND THE MESSAGE HE MIGHT BRING, WHICH WOULD BE “NOT TOO SOFT, BUT CONSTRUCTIVE.”

— THE BRITISH DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER ASKED WHETHER MUGABE WAS KEEN TO RE-ENGAGE THE DONOR COMMUNITY AND WAS HE ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT OF THE CURRENT IMPASSE. THE DANISH MINISTER SAID THAT HE FOUND MUGABE MORE ENGAGED THAN HE SURMISED WOULD BE THE CASE, AND HAD SPENT A LOT OF TIME REFLECTING ON THE LAND ISSUE. HE CONTINUES TO STRONGLY DISTRUST OF THE WEST, AND TO NURTURE HIS OBSESSION WITH THE BRITISH. HE RAILED AGAINST THE LATTER FOR “RECEIVING” IAN SMITH, CONVEYING THE SENSE THAT HE, MUGABE, IS NOT RECEIVED THAT WAY. HE CONTINUED THAT THE UNITED KINGDOM COULD PLAY A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN RETURNING THE COUNTRY TO NORMALITY. AT THE SAME TIME, MUGABE CALLED ON THE HEADS OF MISSION TO ADVISE THE MDC NOT TO TAKE TO THE STREET AND AVOID BRINGING VIOLENCE DOWN UPON ITSELF.

¶10. (C) COMMENT: PERHAPS BECAUSE WE AGREE WITH MOST CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 04 HARARE 06317 03 OF 03 091546Z EVERYTHING TROJBORG SAID, WE FOUND HIS MESSAGE TO BE JUST RIGHT AND, IN GENERAL, HIS MISSION TO BE USEFUL. IN ITS WAKE, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE HAS NO EXCUSE TO SAY THAT IT DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE CONCERNS OF THE DONOR COMMUNITY. IT ALSO RECEIVED GOOD ADVICE TO QUIT PICKING AT HISTORICAL SCABS AND START LOOKING FORWARD. WHETHER OR NOT THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE CHOOSES TO ACT ON THESE OPPORTUNITIES TO RE-ENGAGE THE DONORS STILL REMAINS TO BE SEEN, BUT DIPLOMATS OF THE WORLD HAVE MOBILIZED IN A BID TO STOP THE CLOCK FROM TOLLING MIDNIGHT HERE. END COMMENT. MCDONALD CONFIDENTIAL >

(35 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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