President Robert Mugabe told United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson that he was astonished that Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi was not invited to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s meeting with United States President Barack Obama.
Mzembi was the only Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front minister allowed to visit the United States with Tsvangirai and had attended the meeting between Tsvangirai and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Carson was also present at that meeting.
Mugabe met Carson on the margins of the African Union summit in Sirte, Libya.
He said the exclusion of Mzembi led him to question the United States government’s support for the unity government.
He said that US assistance to Zimbabwe would “end up in the hands of the British” and noted that Washington was free to spend its money that way if it chose.
Mugabe also said MDC-Tsvangirai was not genuinely popular and claimed they made gains in the most recent election by bribing voters with food.
Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI567, AU SUMMIT: MUGABE REMAINS DEFIANT
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P 140906Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5031
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1086
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0762
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
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RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0185
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0200
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RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5569
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000567
STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/E, AF/W AND AF/RSA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 7/13/2019
SUBJECT: AU SUMMIT: MUGABE REMAINS DEFIANT
TRIPOLI 00000567 001.2 OF 002
CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, US Embassy Tripoli,
Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
¶1. (C) Summary: In a July 2 meeting with AF A/S Carson,
President Robert Mugabe emotionally defended his stewardship of
Zimbabwe over the last 26 years, heatedly denouncing “outside
interference,” claiming he would implement the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) “in my own way,” and insisting Zimbabwe is “my
country.” Mugabe’s responses to Carson’s questions became
increasingly agitated and he abruptly ended the meeting by
jumping up and storming out. Mugabe’s obvious discomfort with
what amounted to 10 minutes of low key questions about the GPA,
human rights, and his legacy was preceded by his 35 minute
monologue on British perfidy and American untrustworthiness.
The prospects for Zimbabwe’s democracy appear bleak if Mugabe’s
extreme sensitivity to questions is any indication of his
commitment to the GPA. End Summary.
¶2. (C) A/S Carson and President Mugabe met July 2 on the margins
of the AU Summit in Sirte, Libya. Mugabe was accompanied by
Foreign Minister S.S. Mumbengegwi and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to
Libya George Vengesa. A/S Carson was accompanied by desk
officer Maria Beyzerov.
MUGABE ANNOYED WITH TSVANGIRAI VISIT TO U.S.
¶3. (C) Mugabe said he was “astonished” that Walter Mzembi
(Minister of Tourism and the recent Tsvangirai delegation’s only
ZANU-PF member) was not invited to Tsvangirai’s June 12 meeting
with President Obama. Mugabe said this led him to question USG
support for the unity government. He asserted that U.S.
assistance to Zimbabwe would “end up in the hands of the
British,” and noted we were free to spend our money this way if
we chose. Mugabe also claimed MDC-Tsvangirai was not genuinely
popular and claimed they made gains in the most recent election
by bribing voters with food.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE GPA
¶4. (C) Carson congratulated Mugabe on the conclusion of the GPA
and asked Mugabe for his assessment of progress to date. Mugabe
said things were going well but ZANU-PF and the MDC had
different backgrounds “but we are free to determine our future.”
When asked about his commitment to fully implement the GPA,
Mugabe angrily snapped back, “We’ll do it our own way and not in
accordance with the likes and dislikes of the United States.”
Mugabe called the question itself “rude” and noted he had signed
the agreement, which meant he will implement it. He concluded,
“it’s the outside subjectivity that we don’t want” and insisted
that “outside interference” is not welcome.
THE ECONOMY AND MUGABE’S LEGACY
¶5. (C)Mugabe continued in this vein when asked to consider his
legacy, especially with regard to Zimbabwe’s economy. He
replied in an angry tone, “the legacy I want to leave behind is
Zimbabwe without outside interference.”
¶6. (C) Carson said the international community did not expect
Zimbabwe to fall into economic despair. Mugabe said Zimbabwe is
not in despair and is doing better than some countries which do
not face sanctions. Mugabe repeatedly blamed the economic
problems that exist in Zimbabwe on sanctions. Carson clarified
that the reason behind Zimbabwe’s economic problems was Mugabe’s
mismanagement style and not sanctions.
USG READY TO WELCOME ZIMBABWE INTO COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRATIC
¶7. (C) Carson emphasized that the United States is ready to
welcome Zimbabwe back into the circle of democratic nations but
cannot do so as long as the current situation continues. “Keep
your money, keep your power, and keep away from us. You can
pass that message to Obama,” Mugabe replied. He angrily insisted
that Zimbabwe was his country and warned all outsiders to stay
TRIPOLI 00000567 002.2 OF 002
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
¶8. (C) In response to Carson’s question about human rights
violations in Zimbabwe, Mugabe said, “what violations?”
Speaking loudly, Mugabe blamed the British for organizing riots
in Zimbabwe and said, “did you expect me to just sit back and
watch?” Mugabe claimed that the security forces used
appropriate measures to keep order.
¶9. (C) Carson then suggested that Mugabe allow the international
press into Zimbabwe so the world can see what is really
happening on the ground. If in fact there are no ongoing human
rights violations and the economic crisis is not as bad as we
think, the press will document the facts and inform the rest of
the world. Mugabe said he will not allow international press in
since all they are interested in is “false reporting.” He
shouted that as an outsider it’s not Carson’s place to tell him
what to do in “his country” and stormed out of the meeting.
MUGABE’S HISTORY LESSON
¶10. (C) Mugabe’s outbursts were preceded by a 35-minute
monologue of revisionist history about Zimbabwe’s past, from the
arrival of British colonials, through the liberation war, and up
until the present. Sinking into his chair, Mugabe talked about
British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s response to Zimbabwe’s “fast
track” land reform. Mugabe implied that former President Bush
supported the British in their post independence “war against
Zimbabwe” as a quid pro quo for Blair’s support of the U.S. in
the Iraq war. He described Blair as Zimbabwe’s number one enemy
and Bush as “enemy number two.”
¶11. (C) Mugabe is an angry and defiant man caught up in a time
warp. Nearly thirty years after Zimbabwe’s independence, he
still blames Britain for all of his country’s past and current
problems. He adamantly refuses to accept any blame for
Zimbabwe’s sharp economic decline and fall from political grace.
He also continues to view Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC as a creation
and puppet of the British government. Mugabe’s obsession with
the British, his low regard for the MDC and his emotional
reaction to outside criticism do not bode well for the future.
Our assessment is the MDC’s ability to fully implement the GPA
— and the health and credibility of Zimbabwe’s democracy — is
probably limited as long as Mugabe remains in power.
¶12. (U) A/S Carson has approved this message.