Journalist among activists sponsored by US to shed light on Mugabe’s mess


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A Bulawayo journalist, Gibbs Dube, was one of the five “activists” sponsored by the United States embassy in Harare and Freedom House to travel the region to shed light on President Robert Mugabe’s mess after the 2008 elections.

The others were Bulawayo Agenda Executive Director Gorden Moyo, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Executive Director Irene Petras, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe representative Abel Chikomo, and USAID DG specialist Jacob Mafume.

The team is reported to have made a huge impact in Namibia where an audience of 200 listened to them.

“The team made crisp, well-articulated points, stressing that the worsening violence, Mugabe’s ongoing violations of Zimbabwean law, and the lack of electoral results or legal recourse is going to leave Zimbabweans feeling their only option is to retaliate,” a cable released by Wikileaks says.

“The tide of Namibian public opinion may slowly be turning in favour of a more activist approach by SADC to address the Zimbabwe crisis,” it goes on.

“A year ago, when Zimbabwean professor John Makumbe visited Namibia and criticized Mugabe’s regime, a surprisingly large number of participants at the public lecture vociferously defended Mugabe and castigated Makumbe as a puppet of the West. With this recent panel, only two questioners indicated mild support for Mugabe and one was a member of the Zimbabwe High Commission.”

Gorden Moyo is now Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals while Dube is now based in Washington where he works for the Voice of America.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08WINDHOEK115, ZIM PANEL SHEDS LIGHT ON MUGABE’S MESS

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

Released

Classification

Origin

08WINDHOEK115

2008-04-22 05:41

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Windhoek

VZCZCXRO4114

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHWD #0115/01 1130541

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 220541Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9863

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0125

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0205

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WINDHOEK 000115

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL MASS MARR WA

SUBJECT: ZIM PANEL SHEDS LIGHT ON MUGABE’S MESS

 

REF: (A) Castillo-PAO Collective email 4/18/2008, (B) 07 Windhoek

438

 

Summary

——-

 

1. (SBU) A panel of five Zimbabwean activists, sponsored by PAS

Harare and Freedom House to travel the region, impressed their

Namibian listeners with revelations about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Their cogent arguments prompted a public discussion that turned

upside-down many of the liberation themes that Mugabe and his allies

have used repeatedly to block criticism. Namibian public support

for Mugabe appears to be waning and public discourse has become more

in favor of active SADC intervention in Zimbabwe. For its part, the

GRN leadership continues to adopt a go-slow approach. End summary.

 

“If Zimbabwe Needs a Second Liberation, So Be It”

——————————————— —-

 

2. (SBU) Bulawayo Agenda Executive Director Gorden Moyo, Zimbabwe

Lawyers for Human Rights Executive Director Irene Petras, journalist

Gibbs Dube, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) representative

Abel Chikomo, and USAID DG specialist Jacob Mafume participated in

public discussions and interviews on April 15 to shed light on the

situation in Zimbabwe. The team made crisp, well-articulated points,

stressing that the worsening violence, Mugabe’s ongoing violations

of Zimbabwean law, and the lack of electoral results or legal

recourse is going to leave Zimbabweans feeling their only option is

to retaliate. The panelists urged people to lobby their governments

to pressure the GOZ to release electoral results and avoid deepening

the crisis to a point of no return.

 

3. (SBU) The over 200 Namibians and Zimbabweans in the audience

during an April 15 debate with the five panelists were firmly in

agreement that SADC and the regions’ leaders needed to take a more

active stance to pressure Mugabe and his government. Many of them

broke regional taboos by using sacred liberation language against

Mugabe and his fellow former liberators. Some of the most notable

comments from the audience: “We need to urge the GRN to have

solidarity with people of Zimbabwe, not the state.” “How can we

decolonize minds from Mugabe’s colonialism?” “If Zimbabwe Needs a

Second Liberation, So Be It!” A Namibian in the audience won

applause when asked “Why can’t we do to Mugabe what he did to the

DRC?” referring to Zimbabwean, Angolan and Namibian intervention in

the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the late 1990’s.

 

Namibian Public Opinion Shift

—————————–

 

4. (SBU) The tide of Namibian public opinion may slowly be turning

in favor of a more activist approach by SADC to address the Zimbabwe

crisis. A year ago, when Zimbabwean professor John Makumbe visited

Namibia and criticized Mugabe’s regime, a surprisingly large number

of participants at the public lecture vociferously defended Mugabe

and castigated Makumbe as a puppet of the West (ref B). With this

recent panel, only two questioners indicated mild support for

Mugabe, and one was a member of the Zimbabwe High Commission. All

the major media outlets covered the visit by the Zimbabwean

activists.

 

5. (U) In the same vein, the SMS pages of the independent Namibian

newspaper are replete each day with renewed condemnation of Mugabe,

South African President Thabo Mbeki, SADC, and the region’s leaders.

Even the Editor of the government-owned New Era newspaper, who

typically adopts pan-Africanist or even anti-western positions, used

his Friday editorial on April 18 to urge SADC to intervene now,

“Because later may just be too late!”

 

GRN Taking it Slowly

——————–

 

6. (SBU) The government, however, seems less interested in

intervention or public discourse that could be construed as

pressuring Mugabe. During his State of the Nation address on April

10, President Pohamba avoided taking a position, saying only that he

had dispatched Foreign Minister Hausiku to Harare to assess the

situation. The independent media has criticized the GRN’s silence.

 

7. (SBU) On April 7, SWAPO MP Royal J. K. /Ui/o/oo (protect) made

the press after he publicly criticized Nambia’s approach to Zimbabwe

and Mugabe. /Ui/o/oo told PolOff on April 18 that he made the

comments because he felt he had to speak his conscience and that he

was tired of the fact that SWAPO MPs always had to get permission

from on high before speaking their minds. /Ui/o/oo said he did not

think the most recent events in Zimbabwe had changed any of the

minds of the SWAPO elite about Mugabe or Namibia’s policy because

too many of the SWAPO cadres still believed that the West was

plotting to oust Mugabe. /Ui/o/oo was visibly incensed by his SWAPO

 

WINDHOEK 00000115 002 OF 002

 

 

colleagues’ perception of the West and Zimbabwe: “Mugabe’s own

people voted him out… 28 years is too long to stay in power.”

 

MATHIEU

(45 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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