Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Stan Rylander said the European Union was working with a group of Zimbabweans to craft a programme that would remove the security chiefs as a threat to future reform, but he told United States embassy officials that this must be handled carefully.
Rylander said the programme would take some time to take effect and acknowledged the difficulty in having any contact with the more senior security officials.
He said it was important to have contact if they were to know what the security chiefs were thinking to have any hope of influencing them.
Viewing cable 09HARARE920, HARARE: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH SWEDISH
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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
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INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
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NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN
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SUBJECT: HARARE: AMBASSADOR’S MEETING WITH SWEDISH
¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe
believes that the two keys to improvement of the situation
here are economic stabilization and security sector reform.
He is skeptical of improvement in the political situation,
but thinks that SADC is taking a stronger position and South
African President Zuma is not as supportive of Mugabe as his
predecessor was. The West should take another look at the
sanctions list within the next few months, and if there is
some positive progress, consider removing some from it,
especially parastatals. We should also consider adding to
the list. While we should continue to point out the
shortcomings and misdeeds of ZANU-PF, we should at the same
time keep the door open for dialogue with them. END SUMMARY.
ECONOMY AND SECURITY ARE THE KEYS TO DEVELOPMENT
¶2. (SBU) On November 23 I met with Swedish Ambassador to
Zimbabwe Sten Rylander. Rylander has been at post for nearly
four years and has nearly 30 years experience in southern
African affairs. A strong proponent of political and
economic development in Zimbabwe, he says that he has been
frustrated in his efforts to get through to his contacts in
ZANU-PF the importance of working to develop the country
properly. The keys to positive development are economic
stabilization and security sector reform. For the former,
nothing will really happen until Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono is removed from that position. He
said he has spoken to Gono a number of times about this.
Gono has said he would be willing to step down, but he is
worried about his security. Also, Mugabe won’t let him quit.
To that end, Rylander believes that the recent rumor of
Gono’s selection to a position in the Manicaland ZANU-PF
structure might be a positive sign, and a way for Mugabe to
save face. If Gono moves to the new position it wouldn’t
look like Mugabe was caving to outside pressure. The fact
that the SADC Troika and South African President Zuma have
all indicated that Gono should be reassigned can’t have been
lost on Mugabe or the rest of the ZANU-PF leadership, but
they have been recalcitrant up to now.
¶3. (SBU) On the issue of security sector reform, Rylander
said that if this is not done right, nothing else will be
effective. The EU is currently working with a group of
Zimbabweans to craft a program that will remove the security
chiefs as a threat to future reform, but it must be handled
carefully. It will also, he said, take some time to take
effect. He acknowledged the difficulty in having any contact
with the more senior security officials, but said that it is
important that there be contact if we are to know what they
are thinking or have any hope of influencing them. This same
principle applies to everyone in government; which does not
mean we stop criticizing them publicly when they misbehave.
A NEW LOOK AT SANCTIONS
¶4. (SBU) Rylander believes that it is only barely possible
that there will be some positive development within the next
few months. He said that the West needs to be prepared for
the eventuality of such progress and that we need to take a
fresh look at the sanctions list, especially the parastatals.
If there is political movement in the right direction, we
Q If there is political movement in the right direction, we
need to be prepared to remove some from the list. He said
that recently he met with Finance Minister Tendai Biti who
informed him that there were eight entities on the list that
are currently not funding ZANU-PF and are paying money into
the treasury, and they should be delisted. There are even a
few individuals on the list, Rylander said, who perhaps
should be removed if there is political progress. We should
also consider adding to the list any who have behaved in ways
similar to those currently on the list.
¶5. (SBU) Rylander is hardly soft on the GOZ, and that is
all the more reason that his view on reviewing the sanctions
list and striving for dialogue with all parties is a valid
point of view. His views reflect most of the EU embassies
here who believe in the principle, “We can twist their arms,
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but first we must take their hands.” He has also pointed out
a key factor: without some form of insurance for the
security chiefs, there will be little chance of ever
achieving true political reform. END COMMENT.