Obama asked SADC to put pressure on Mugabe to leave – Wikileaks


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United States President Barack Obama asked the Southern African Development Community to put pressure on Zimbabwe for Mugabe to exit, six months after the formation of the inclusive government, according to one of the cables just released by Wikileaks.

The request was made by Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson to Botswana Vice- President Mompati Merafhe when they met on 2 July 2009 on the margins of the African Union Summit in Sirte, Libya.

Carson told Merafhe that when Obama met Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Washington the previous month (12 June 2009) he had said helping Tsvangirai without aiding Mugabe would be a challenge.

During the meeting Obama showered Tsvangirai with praise for reforming the country in the few months that he had been in office but promised him only $73 million in conditional aid, a paltry sum compared to the problems the country was facing.

Obama chided Mugabe for resisting reforms saying: “The president, President Mugabe – I think I’ve made my views clear – has not acted all the time in the best interest of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds of democratic changes that need to take place.”

He said he was not convinced that Tsvangirai could turn the country around in partnership with Mugabe. Aid from the United States would therefore not go through the government. “We continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights, and rule of law, but it will be going directly to the people in Zimbabwe and I think can be of assistance to the prime minister in his efforts.”

Carson told Merafhe that the United States channelled its assistance to Zimbabwe through non-governmental organisations. The aid was for humanitarian assistance, HIV/Aids, democracy and governance, agricultural inputs and education.

He asked Merafhe if SADC would increase pressure on Zimbabwe for Mugabe to exit. The cable does not say what Merafhe’s response was.

Carson also asked Merafhe what his views on new South African President Jacob Zuma were. Zuma had been regarded as highly critical of Mugabe. Merafhe said though it was too early to tell, initial indications were that Zuma would be internally focussed.

 

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI588, AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON’S MEETING WITH BOTSWANA’S VICE PRESIDENT MOMPATI MERAFHE TRIPOLI 00000588 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09TRIPOLI588

2009-07-21 16:04

2011-01-31 21:09

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Tripoli

VZCZCXRO2608

PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN

DE RUEHTRO #0588/01 2021601

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 211601Z JUL 09

FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5059

INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1088

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0764

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0189

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0208

RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5598

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000588

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/E, AF/RSA, AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/21/2019

TAGS: PREL AU BC ZI MA EAGR ENRG LY KSUM

SUBJECT: AU SUMMIT: A/S CARSON’S MEETING WITH BOTSWANA’S VICE PRESIDENT MOMPATI MERAFHE TRIPOLI 00000588 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

 

1.(C) Summary: Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson met with Botswana Vice President (VP) Mompati Merafhe on July 2, 2009 on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Sirte, Libya. The discussion focused on the global financial crisis, recent accomplishments made by the Government of Botswana (GOB) in the agricultural sector, the new USG global food security initiative, and political leadership in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar. End Summary.

 

BOTSWANA STRUGGLES DURING GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS ——————————————— —-

 

2.(C) VP Merafhe asked the Assistant Secretary for his opinion on the state of the global financial crisis and economy. Carson expressed his belief that the recession in the United States was close to bottoming out and could settle sometime between June-September next year. However, U.S. employment, housing, and auto industry figures all continue to indicate a slump.

 

3.(C) VP Merafhe noted that Botswana was “struggling” as a result of the global recession, citing high-end tourism and the diamond industry as particularly hard hit. As part of a larger effort to save jobs in the industry, Botswana has had to close one diamond mine due to decreased sales and lower prices. The GOB is also in the process of concluding establishment of a diamond trading consortium including DeBeers, Anglo America, and Namibia that would, once complete, consolidate 30% of global diamond trade in Botswana. The GOB will hold an 80% stake under the partnership.

 

4.(C) Merafhe also discussed the GOB’s decision to run a budget deficit through which government spending would be used to stimulate the economy (Note: the African Development Bank [ADB] recently approved a loan of USD $1.5 billion in Botswana, marking the first such debt that Botswana had accrued in over 17 years. End Note.)

 

AGRICULTURAL SECTOR REFORM A HIGH PRIORITY ——————————————

 

5.(C) VP Merafhe explained that the GOB has more than doubled sorghum production in the last year, increasing yields from 43,000 metric tons to 93,000 metric tons using a locally developed model that could be replicated in other countries. Ensuring the sustainability of agricultural sector investment and the accomplishments that have been achieved, is a high priority for the GOB, Merafhe continued.

 

6.(C) Carson noted that the USG was in the process of launching a new, global food security initiative in which Africa would be featured prominently. In particular, USG agricultural assistance funding will double to $1 billion during FY2010, with an approximate total of $3.5 billion provided by the USG within the next three years. Carson explained that host country partnership, innovation, and ownership of planned agricultural sector interventions are USG priorities in its approach to implementing the new initiative.

 

ENERGY PRODUCTION: SEEKING SELF-SUFFICIENCY ——————————————-

 

7.(C) Carson asked about the status of coal production and energy resources in Botswana. Merafhe noted that the GOB was working to harness Botswana’s overall energy resources to achieve self-sufficiency, and that China will enter the market to help Botswana further exploit its coal production capabilities. There are no plans, at present, to develop wind or solar energy resources.

 

DOMESTIC POLITICS —————–

 

8.(C) When asked about domestic politics, Merafhe said he was confident about the prospects for his party in upcoming national elections to be held in October, noting that under the GOB system the president is not directly elected but instead chosen by the political party with the highest number of seats in Parliament. Merafhe does not expect new opposition candidates TRIPOLI 00000588 002.2 OF 002 to enter the election campaign.

 

VP MERAFHE: SOUTH AFRICA’S ZUMA IS “INTERNALLY FOCUSED” ——————————————— ———

 

9.(C) Moving to regional issues, A/S Carson asked the Vice President for his impression on the recent election of Jacob Zuma in South Africa. Merafhe said it was too early to tell, but the initial indications suggested that Zuma appeared to be “internally focused.” Merafhe also noted that he had no prior knowledge of, or contact with, the new South African Minister of Foreign Affairs but that she appeared to be solid

 

ZIMBABWE ——–

 

10.(C) xxxxxxxxxxxx A/S Carson noted that POTUS saw Zimbabwe Prime Minister Tsvangirai during his recent travel to Washington, and said that helping the Prime Minister without aiding Mugabe will be a challenge. A/S Carson also said that the USG would remain engaged in Zimbabwe and continue to channel foreign assistance in support of the people of Zimbabwe through non-governmental organizations. USG support for humanitarian assistance, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and democracy and governance programs in Zimbabwe will all continue under the USG foreign assistance program. Agricultural sector inputs and education programming are also anticipated as new USG foreign assistance components. 11.(C) A/S Carson asked if SADC would increase pressure on Zimbabwe for Mugabe to exit. xxxxxxxxxxxx

 

MADAGASCAR: WAY FORWARD REMAINS UNCLEAR —————————————

 

12.(C) VP Merafhe said that Madagascar was also a “nasty situation.” A/S Carson noted that the AU will repeat efforts to assemble the four political parties in Madagascar in an effort to proceed with presidential elections and restore constitutional governance. A/S Carson noted that Rajoelina is presently too young to secure the presidency under the Malagasy constitution and that the overall way forward in resolving the political impasse in Madagascar was still not clear. POLASCHIK

(26 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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