It might not have been his mission, but former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe left the country convinced that the end of President Robert Mugabe’s rule was near.
In a cable dispatched on the eve of his departure from Zimbabwe Dell said “my views can be stated very simply as stay the course and prepare for change”.
He said United States policy on Zimbabwe, which imposed sanctions and travel bans on the country, was working and was helping drive change.
“What is required is simply the grit, determination and focus to see this through. Then, when the changes finally come we must be ready to move quickly to help consolidate the new dispensation.”
According to Dell, Mugabe had survived for so long because he was more clever and more ruthless than any other politician in Zimbabwe.
“To give the devil his due, he is a brilliant tactitian (sic) and has long thrived on his ability to abruptly change the rules of the game, radicalize the political dynamic and force everyone else to react to his agenda.”
Mugabe has survived another five years since Dell’s cable and could outlast current United States President Barack Obama who goes to the polls in November.