Tsvangirai said Mugabe is determined to take Zimbabwe down with him


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States President George Bush that Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe was determined to take Zimbabwe down with him as he tottered “towards the sunset of his biological and political life”.

In a letter to President Bush which he wrote as Movement for Democratic Change president shortly after the 2002 presidential elections which he felt he had been robbed of, Tsvangirai said dictators like Mugabe did not care about the general welfare of those that they ruled and oppressed. 

“Instead, an impoverished and hopeless people precisely offer the kind of environment in which dictators like Robert Mugabe thrive,” Tsvangirai said. “That is the real ‘self-interest’ of Robert Mugabe. He cannot be expected to reform himself out of a dictatorship, which he deliberately constructed and constantly nourishes.”

He added: “It is tragically naive in the extreme to expect dictators to reform and change out of ‘self-interest’ alone as alluded to by the President of South Africa ( Thabo Mbeki). If this were the case, there would have been no Zimbabwe crisis since self-interest would have impelled Mugabe to disembark from his ruinous course of action.”


Full cable:


Viewing cable 02HARARE1455, Text of Letter from Zimbabwe Opposition Leader to

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Reference ID






2002-06-19 14:43

2011-08-30 01:44


Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.









E.O. 12958: N/A


SUBJECT: Text of Letter from Zimbabwe Opposition Leader to

President Bush


REF: Fax to AF/S


Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

Not for Internet posting.


1. (SBU) On June 19, the opposition Movement for Democratic

Change (MDC) delivered to all G-8 embassies in Harare a

letter from its president, Morgan Tsvangirai, to their

respective heads of government. Below is the verbatim text

of the letter addressed to President Bush. A copy of the

original is being faxed to AF/S (ref).


2. (SBU) Begin Text:


Mr. George W. Bush

President of the United States of America


Dear Mr. President,


I write to you on the eve of the historic Group of 8 Most

Industralised Countries/New Partnership for African

Development (G8/NEPAD) summit in Canada. I would have

welcomed an opportunity for direct consultations with you on

various matters of mutual interest, but as you may be aware,

I am currently prohibited to travel outside Zimbabwe.


Over the past forty years or more, the story of Africa has

been one of utmost dejection, hopelessness and despair, with

grinding poverty seemingly defeating all possibilities for

relief and redress. Tragically, the African experience is

replete with elaborate development strategies, programmes of

action etc., but all followed by a dismal record of inaction

and painful failure. Lack of capacity, lack of political

will, lack of resources, endemic corruption and bad

governance accounted for this routine and systematic

failure. The cost, in terms of missed opportunities and

indeed human life has been astronomical.


However, a fortuitous convergence of circumstances, both

within and outside the continent seems to have, at long

last, created a rare, unprecedented and unique opportunity

for a serious search for renewal, for a new beginning.

NEPAD brings a message of hope to the African continent. In

the words of one of the greatest statesman of the twentieth

century, albeit, in a slightly different context, for us

NEPAD, if successfully implemented represents a vast

cooperative effort, unparalleled in magnitude and nobility

of purpose to satisfy the burning needs of the African

people for economic progress, freedom from hunger and

disease, from dictatorship and despair. It will stand tall

as a shining tribute to the power of the creative energies

of free men and women – an example to the entire world that

liberty and progress can walk hand in hand. It will

engender a new spirit of enterprise that will create a brave

new continent where poverty, disease and ignorance will have

no place. NEPAD must not be allowed to remain at the level

of appearances and unfulfilled hopes and promises.


It is in this context that we in the Movement for Democratic

Change (MDC) welcome the NEPAD initiative. Here in

Zimbabwe, in our own small-localized way, we have been

struggling, against perilous odds, guided by the ideals of

good governance, democracy, human rights, the rule of law

and sustainable economic management and development. The

same ideals that are enshrined in, and underpin NEPAD.


You will no doubt, agree with us, that is spite of the

generally hostile political terrain, the culture of

democratic governance is taking root in a number of African

countries, with brave voices of agony being heard across the

globe from a people who refuse to continue to succumb to

dictatorship and decay. We believe that NEPAD should play a

critical role in strengthening these desperate voices.

NEPAD should ensure that disease, poverty and ignorance

would provide neither a breeding ground for, nor offer

opportunities for regression into autocratic forms of

governance and economic decay.


However, we equally and strongly believe that Africa cannot

meaningfully engage the international community without

first tackling problems that threaten both regional and

continental security and political stability. There is or

ought to be a direct linkage. The litmus test lies in

Africans ending rhetoric and taking tangible action to help

resolve thorny issues in accordance with standards of

conduct and performance that they have set for themselves.

They should be judged by the standards that they have

voluntary designed and accepted. NEPAD provides such a set

of standards.


ZANU PF and the Mugabe regime are intensifying a programme

of systematic violence to punish the MDC and civic

organisations and compel them to accept the results of the

March 2002 fraudulent presidential poll results. All the

material facts on the ground in Zimbabwe today indicate that

the Mugabe regime is putting finishing touches to

preparations for a stage-managed serious domestic conflict

that would see the death of thousands of innocent civilians.


We in the MDC stand ready for constructive dialogue that

would lead to a peaceful resolution of the crisis facing our

country today, but Mugabe and his associates are bent on a

destructive path that can only degenerate into a serious

internal conflict verging on civil war. As Mugabe totters

towards the sunset of his biological and political life, he

seems determined to take Zimbabwe down with him.


Zimbabwe remains NEPAD’s biggest challenge. It will test

the sincerity and commitment of Africa’s leaders to the

concept of “peer review”. It is tragically nave in the

extreme to expect dictators to reform and change out of

“self-interest” alone as alluded to by the President of

South Africa. If this were the case, there would have been

no Zimbabwe crisis since self-interest would have impelled

Mugabe to disembark from his ruinous course of action. Peer

pressure must translate into a real cost for the maintenance

of autocratic forms of government. It must be seen to real

and effective. Dictators such as Robert Mugabe do not care

about the general welfare of those that they rule and

oppress. Instead, an impoverished and hopeless people

precisely offer the kind of environment in which dictators

like Robert Mugabe thrive. That is the real “self-interest”

of Robert Mugabe. He cannot be expected to reform himself

out of a dictatorship, which he deliberately constructed and

constantly nourishes.


In the context of SADC it appears that so far there has not

been any intention to take peer review seriously. As you

are aware, the SADC Parliamentary Forum produced the “Norms

and Standards for Elections in the SADC Region” which was

adopted by all SADC states, including Zimbabwe and South

Africa, (which is one of the key movers of NEPAD) in March

2001. None of the Election Observer Missions from the SADC

countries and Nigeria in particular and the African

continent in general adhered to these norms and standards in

their monitoring and evaluation of the Zimbabwe presidential

poll. The SADC Parliamentary Forum proceeded to use these

supposedly agreed standards to monitor the Zimbabwe

presidential polls in March 2002 and produced a damning

report on the Zimbabwe presidential poll, while country

Election Observer Missions produced ringing endorsements of

what was clearly a rigged and violent poll. It is poignant

to note that Election Observer Missions from South Africa

and Nigeria, whose presidents are positioning themselves as

some of the peer review leaders, either totally ignored or

were openly contemptuous of the SADC Parliamentary Norms and

Standards. This was a tragic failure to apply peer pressure

on the Mugabe regime to abandon a systematic programme of

violence in order to steal the presidential poll and we have

absolutely no confidence in the renewed claim by African

leaders that this time round, in the context of NEPAD peer

review and pressure would be effective. In the absence of

any redeeming action on the part of South Africa and

Nigeria, it is difficult to regard this renewed commitment

to peer pressure as anything but a ruse to get NEPAD off the

launching pad. The leaders of South Africa and Nigeria must

be honest with themselves, with Zimbabwe and with the

international commitment. If they are reluctant to apply

meaningful peer pressure on Mugabe, what guarantee does the

international community have that any other murderous

African dictator would be treated differently? Statesmen do

not say one thing and proceed to do something totally



We suggest that as a mark of seriousness and good faith,

South Africa and Nigeria, the two key players in NEPAD with

the most real leverage on Mugabe, should become more

assertive and encourage Mugabe to return to the negotiating

table. The G8 and other international friends and well

wishers of Zimbabwe can also offer an effective positive

hand. They should make it clear that the progress of NEPAD

would be problematic unless peer pressure on the Mugabe

regime is seen to be producing positive results.


NEPAD should not offer succor and comfort to dictatorial

regimes that are precisely the root cause of Africa’s

present predicament. The present Government of Zimbabwe

constitutes a serious threat to the central tenets of NEPAD.

Peer pressure does not seem to have been applied seriously

on the Mugabe regime. Since 2001, many regional and

continental missions have been to Zimbabwe, but not one of

them has successfully pressurized Mugabe to abandon his

naked abuse of power and his total disregard and utter

contempt for internationally accepted norms of democracy and

good governance. Indeed some of these missions, such as the

SADC Ministerial Task Force, which met in Harare in

September 2001 openly, supported Mugabe’s reckless and

violent ways. Periodic summits of the SADC Heads of State

have routinely delivered messages of support for Mugabe’s

dictatorship; the present Chairman of SADC, Malawian

President Bakili Muluzi has announced his firm intention to

reverse the march and gains of democracy in his impoverished

and starving country; and Zambia’s presidential poll result

remains controversial and contested. Clearly, by its own

record, SADC does not constitute a peer group that inspires

confidence. So far it does not have a demonstrable ability

and track record of monitoring democracy and good governance

in the region. SADC in general and South Africa in

particular must create a new set of bona fides to show that

they are a serious regional peer review group. Zimbabwe

must be a starting point.


I avail myself, Mr. President, this opportunity to renew the

assurances of my highest consideration.


I remain,

Yours sincerely,


Morgan Tsvangirai,

President Movement for Democratic Change


End Text.




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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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