Diplomatic bungling


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Ambassadors-designate from France, Germany and Canada were put in a quandary when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs threatened not to accredit them if they did not present their papers before President Robert Mugabe.

This was soon after the signing of the Global Political Agreement but the parties were haggling over the power-sharing arrangements.

 The Ministry asked the embassies at short notice to present their papers but they claimed that they were not ready.

Following the threats the French and the German ambassadors said they would present their papers to Mugabe but stress that they were doing so in the context that he was the president according to the September agreement.

After the presentation they would meet with Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister-designate and Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE916, MFA BUNGLES CREDENTIALS CEREMONY, THREATENS ENVOYS

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

Classification

Origin

08HARARE916

2008-10-10 09:45

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6330

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0916/01 2840945

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 100945Z OCT 08 2ND ZDS PER NUM SVC’S

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3554

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2347

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2465

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0975

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1743

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2098

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2519

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4951

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1614

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000916

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MFA BUNGLES CREDENTIALS CEREMONY, THREATENS ENVOYS

 

HARARE 00000916 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (b) &

(d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Japanese, French, German and Canadian

Ambassador-designates were invited to present letters of

credence to President Mugabe on October 9. Unfortunately,

only the Japanese Ambassador had his letters ready; the other

three explained to the Foreign Ministry that they could not

get the letters to Harare on such short notice. At 10 pm on

October 8, the MFA called the three and threatened that if

they failed to present the next day, they would never be

accepted. On October 9, the Japanese Ambassador presented

his credentials alone. The others believe Mugabe will

reconsider and they will be invited soon to another

credentials ceremony. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) On October 7, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited

Ambassadors-designate from Japan, Canada, Germany and France

for meetings with the Chief of Presidential Protocol to

discuss presentation of letters of credence; a date for the

credentials ceremony was not specified, but it was evident

that the GOZ was looking at October 9 or 10. Germany and

France informed the Ministry that their Ambassadors-designate

did not yet have the letters, and would not be able to

present until next week. Canada told the MFA that its

Ambassador-designate was currently in South Africa and that

Canada’s October 14 election was interrupting normal

governmental business, so the letters were not available.

Shortly after the French had informed the MFA, the Charges

d’Affaires from all three countries were convoked for an 11

am meeting with the MFA’s Permanent Secretary; fifteen

minutes after issuing the convocation, the meeting was

canceled.

 

3. (C) About 10 pm on October 8, an unidentified MFA protocol

official called the French and German residences and spoke

with the Ambassadors-designate; at about the same time a desk

officer called the Canadian Charge. The three diplomats were

told bluntly that if the Ambassadors-designate did not

present credentials on October 9, they would never be

permitted to present. The protocol official who called the

French and German envoys was extremely rude and menacing; the

desk officer who called the Canadian was polite but equally

unequivocal; the Canadian Charge was told the threat was

being made on the direct orders of President Mugabe. In each

case, the MFA was informed that the problem was technical in

that the letters were simply not ready, rather than

political. This explanation was not acknowledged. On

October 9, the Japanese Ambassador presented his credentials

alone.

 

4. (C) The European Union Heads of Mission discussed the

issue during a scheduled meeting on October 9. The French

and Germans will send a Note to the Ministry repeating the

explanation that the letters were not in hand on October 9.

According to the French Charge, they believe the MFA’s

threats will be reconsidered and the French and Germans

expect to be invited to present letters as early as next

week. Assuming this takes place, during their meetings with

Mugabe the French and German Ambassadors will stress the

critical nature of the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and

the urgent need to form a government to lead a response.

Following the ceremony, they will state publicly that they

presented their credentials to Mugabe as President in the

context of the September 15 agreement. They will seek to

meet (and be seen meeting) with Tsvangirai as Prime

Minister-designate and Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the

National Assembly as soon after the credentials ceremony as

possible.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: We hope our counterparts are correct, and

 

HARARE 00000916 002 OF 002

 

 

that Mugabe and the MFA will swiftly back down from their

ill-advised threats. If Mugabe persists in responding to a

perceived political slight, instead of accepting assurances

in writing that failure to present on October 9 was due

merely to a technical deficiency, it will be a clear sign

that ZANU-PF’s siege mentality is preventing any rational

consideration of Zimbabwean national interests. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

 

(3 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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