Withdrawal of troops from DRC linked to presidential elections


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With revelations that Zimbabwe had spent US$200 million on the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Robert Mugabe was under pressure to withdraw Zimbabwean troops from that country so that this would not be a campaign issue in the 2002 presidential elections.

This was disclosed by the under-secretary for Africa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs David Hamadziripi who was described by the United States embassy in Harare as “one of the embassy’s most frank and straightforward contacts” in the ministry.

Hamadziripi was being posted to the DRC to oversee a new office to coordinate peace efforts in the region.

One of the office’s first missions would be to oversee the withdrawal of up to half of Zimbabwe’s 12 000 troops.

Hamadziripi said that the domestic political pressure for a withdrawal was becoming too great for Mugabe to ignore.

He said that it was important for Mugabe to show significant movement in this area before the 2002 presidential election and thus remove it as a potentially damaging campaign issue.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 00HARARE5464, ZIMBABWE CLOSER TO PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL FROM DROC

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE5464

2000-09-27 16:13

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3006

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05464 01 OF 02 271611Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 VC-00   H-01

TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00

OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00

P-00     SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02 G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00

/009W

——————8A9897 271612Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7216

INFO USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE

NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RWANDA COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 005464

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

USUN FOR HOLBROOKE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/10

TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE CLOSER TO PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL FROM DROC

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05464 01 OF 02 271611Z

REFTEL: HARARE 5137

 

CLASSIFIED BY DCM EARL M. IRVING. REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND

(D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: AT A SEPTEMBER 26 FAREWELL LUNCH WITH

THE DCM, THE MFA’S UNDERSECRETARY FOR AFRICA DAVID

HAMADZIRIPI REPORTED THAT ZIMBABWE IS CLOSE TO

WITHDRAWING UP TO HALF ITS TROOPS FROM THE DROC.

HAMADZIRIPI DESCRIBED KABILA’S BRIEF TRIP TO LUANDA ON

SEPTEMBER 24 AS A LAST-DITCH ATTEMPT TO GET ANGOLA TO

FILL ZIMBABWE’S SHOES. THE POLITICAL PRESSURE IN

ZIMBABWE TO WITHDRAW HAS BECOME TOO GREAT FOR MUGABE TO

IGNORE, ACCORDING TO THE UNDERSECRETARY. HE JUST

RETURNED FROM A WEEK-LONG TRIP TO KINSHASA, WHERE HE

WILL SOON MANAGE A NEW OFFICE STAFFED BY DROC ALLIES

DESIGNED TO COORDINATE PEACE EFFORTS IN THE REGION. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) ON SEPTEMBER 26, DCM AND POLOFF HOSTED A

FAREWELL LUNCH FOR UNDERSECRETARY FOR AFRICA DAVID

HAMADZIRIPI, WHO HAS BEEN ONE OF THE EMBASSY’S MOST

FRANK AND STRAIGHTFORWARD CONTACTS IN ZIMBABWE’S MFA.

HAMADZIRIPI IS BEING TRANSFERRED TO KINSHASA (APPARENTLY

SOMEWHAT AGAINST HIS WILL) TO MANAGE AN OFFICE BEING SET

UP BY THE DROC’S ALLIES TO OVERSEE THE PEACE PROCESS

THERE. THE OFFICE WILL BE HEADED BY A ZIMBABWEAN

“SPECIAL ASSISTANT” WITH AMBASSADORIAL RANK (WHOM

HAMADZIRIPI DID NOT NAME), WITH HAMADZIRIPI IN CHARGE OF

DAY-TO-DAY MANAGEMENT. REPRESENTATIVES FROM ANGOLA,

NAMIBIA, AND DROC WILL BE POSTED TO THE OFFICE;

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05464 01 OF 02 271611Z

CONGOLESE WILL FILL THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF POSITIONS.

 

3. (C) ONE OF THE OFFICE’S FIRST MISSIONS WILL

APPARENTLY BE TO OVERSEE THE WITHDRAWAL OF UP TO HALF OF

ZIMBABWE’S 12,000 TROOPS IN THE DROC. HAMADZIRIPI

STATED THAT ZIMBABWE BEGAN CONTEMPLATING THE WITHDRAWAL

TWO MONTHS AGO, AND IT HAS BEGUN THE NECESSARY PLANNING.

HE REPORTED THAT COMMANDER OF THE ZIMBABWE DEFENSE

FORCES (ZDF) VITALIS ZVINAVASHE HAD JUST COMPLETED A

TRIP TO KINSHASA IN WHICH HE INFORMED KABILA THAT

ZIMBABWE IS REALLY WITHDRAWING. HE EMPHASIZED THAT THE

WITHDRAWAL WOULD PROCEED WHETHER OR NOT ANGOLA IS ABLE

TO STEP INTO THE ZIMBABWEAN ARMY’S POSITIONS.

HAMADZIRIPI STATED THAT KABILA WENT TO LUANDA SEPTEMBER

24 TO CONVINCE ANGOLA TO FILL ZIMBABWE’S SHOES, BUT DID

NOT RECEIVE MANY ENCOURAGING SIGNS. ALTHOUGH ZIMBABWE

WOULD PROBABLY COMPLETE ITS PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL BEFORE

THE TWO-MONTH EXTENSION ON THE MONUC OBSERVER FORCE IS

UP, HAMADZIRIPI ITERATED THAT THE PRESENCE OF ZIMBABWE’S

FORCES WAS NOT LINKED TO THE MONUC DEPLOYMENT. ZIMBABWE

HAS THE FREEDOM TO ROTATE ITS FORCES OR CHANGE THEIR

NUMBERS, JUST AS UGANDA HAS DONE, WITHOUT AFFECTING ITS

COMMITMENT TO KABILA’S GOVERNMENT, “EXCEPT WE’LL REALLY

DO IT,” HE ADDED WRYLY.

 

4. (C) HAMADZIRIPI OPINED THAT THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL

PRESSURE FOR A WITHDRAWAL WAS BECOMING TOO GREAT FOR

MUGABE TO IGNORE. THE UNDERSECRETARY BELIEVED IT WAS

IMPORTANT FOR MUGABE TO SHOW SIGNIFICANT MOVEMENT IN

THIS AREA BEFORE THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND THUS

REMOVE IT AS A POTENTIALLY DAMAGING CAMPAIGN ISSUE.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 05464 01 OF 02 271611Z

(NOTE: FINANCE MINISTER SIMBA MAKONI RECENTLY REVEALED

IN PARLIAMENT THAT ZIMBABWE HAD SPENT US$200 MILLION ON

ITS DROC DEPLOYMENT SINCE THE WAR BEGAN. A SEPTEMBER 26

FRONT PAGE ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT “DAILY NEWS”

REPORTED THAT KINSHASA OWES ZIMBABWE ARMY TRAINERS

US$800,000 IN BACK PAY. END NOTE.) WITH A PARTIAL

WITHDRAWAL, THE GOZ IS ALSO DETERMINED TO SEND KABILA A

MESSAGE THAT IT WILL NO LONGER TOLERATE FOOT-DRAGGING ON

PEACE EFFORTS AND THAT IT IS SERIOUS ABOUT DISENGAGING

FROM THE DROC.

 

5. (C) COMMENT: HAMADZIRIPI HAS PROVED TO BE A VERY

RELIABLE POINT MAN FOR THE EMBASSY ON ZIMBABWE’S

INVOLVEMENT IN THE DROC, AND IT WOULD BE SURPRISING TO

FIND HIS REPLACEMENT AS OPEN AND STRAIGHTFORWARD. (HE

HINTED THAT HIS UNNAMED SUCCESSOR’S ACCESS TO FOREIGN

MINISTER MUDENGE IS NOT NEARLY AS GOOD AS HIS OWN.) WE

CAN BELIEVE HIM WHEN HE SAYS THE GOZ IS PREPARING TO

WITHDRAW FROM THE DROC. HIS REASONING TRACKS WELL WITH

DEVELOPMENTS AND WHAT OTHER SOURCES HAVE BEEN TELLING

US. ALTHOUGH HE DID NOT MENTION IT, EMMERSON MNANGAGWA,

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AND MUGABE’S RIGHT-HAND MAN IN THE

DROC, TOLD US HE WAS VISITING KINSHASA DURING THE SAME

WEEK AS HAMADZIRIPI, PRESUMABLY TO APPLY PRESSURE ON

KABILA TO ABIDE BY LUSAKA (SEE REFTEL). THE GOZ IS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ3007

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 05464 02 OF 02 271612Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00   DODE-00

DOTE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FAAE-00 VC-00

H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   L-00     VCE-00 AC-01

NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00

ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00

DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00

/009W

——————8A98A2 271612Z /38

O 271613Z SEP 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7217

INFO USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE

NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RWANDA COLLECTIVE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 005464

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

USUN FOR HOLBROOKE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/10

TAGS: PGOV PREL MOPS ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE CLOSER TO PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL FROM DROC

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 05464 02 OF 02 271612Z

CERTAINLY MAKING CLEAR TO KINSHASA THAT ITS PATIENCE IS

WEARING THIN. EVEN A PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL FROM THE DROC

WOULD HELP PLUG THE DISASTROUS LEAK IN THE GOZ’S SINKING

FINANCIAL SHIP AND SEND A STRONG SIGNAL TO DOMESTIC AND

FOREIGN OBSERVERS ALIKE THAT THE DROC DRAIN ON ZIMBABWE

WILL COME TO AN END SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.

 

6. (C) DAO COMMENT: THE WITHDRAWAL OF HALF OF

ZIMBABWE’S TROOPS CURRENTLY IN THE DROC SOUNDS CORRECT,

BUT THIS WOULD LIKELY BE DONE OVER A SIX- TO 12-MONTH

TIMEFRAME.   BEFORE ZIMBABWE RETURNS ITS TROOPS FROM THE

DROC, THERE WILL NEED TO BE AN APPARATUS IN PLACE TO

OVERSEE ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC INTERESTS (MINING AND

FORESTRY CONCESSIONS, FOR EXAMPLE). ONE OPTION BEING

CONSIDERED IS TO RETIRE THE ZDF’S TROOPS IN THE DROC

FROM THE MILITARY AND GIVE THEM SECURITY JOBS TO PROTECT

ZIMBABWE’S DROC CONCESSIONS. THIS WOULD ACCOMPLISH TWO

MAIN OBJECTIVES: FIRST, TO HAVE A FORCE STILL IN THE

DROC TO PROTECT ZIMBABWE’S INTERESTS, AND SECOND, TO

ALLOW THE OVERALL MILITARY STRUCTURE TO BE DOWNSIZED.

ZIMBABWE IS LOOKING AT DOWNSIZING THE ZDF’S CURRENT

FORCE OF 34,000 TO 25,000.   ADDITIONALLY, BRINGING A

PORTION OF THE MILITARY BACK FROM THE DROC WOULD ENABLE

PRESIDENT MUGABE TO REINFORCE DISTRICTS THAT ZANU-PF

LOST IN THE JUNE ELECTIONS. OF PARTICULAR CONCERN TO

ZANU-PF ARE THE CITIES OF BULAWAYO, KWEKWE, AND MUTARE,

WHOSE GARRISONS ARE VIRTUALLY EMPTY FROM THE DROC

DEPLOYMENT. ALSO, WE WOULD SPECULATE THAT THE SPECIAL

ASSISTANT WITH AMBASSADORIAL RANK WHOM HAMADZIRIPI DID

NOT NAME COULD BE LTG CHIWENGA, CURRENTLY THE ZIMBABWE

NATIONAL ARMY COMMANDER; HE IS RUMORED TO BE RETIRING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 05464 02 OF 02 271612Z

SOON FOR AN AMBASSADORIAL APPOINTMENT. LTG CHIWENGA HAS

BEEN INVOLVED IN THE DROC FROM THE BEGINNING AND WOULD

MAKE A GOOD WATCHDOG FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BUSINESS

INTERESTS THERE.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(121 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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