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Cablegate: Tsvangirai Visits Mozambique

VZCZCXRO7314
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0365 1151724
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241724Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8813
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0150

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000365

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ZI MZ
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI VISITS MOZAMBIQUE

1. (U) Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) visited Maputo on April
23. The visit was personally coordinated by the leader of
Mozambique's opposition party Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, who
arranged for Tsvangirai to meet with former president Joaquim
Chissano and current president Armando Guebuza. In a press
conference at Dhlakama's residence at the end of his visit,
Tsvangirai said that he had met with Chissano, as the

SIPDIS
chairman of the forum of African former heads of state, to
request that he lend influence to resolve the electoral
crisis in Zimbabwe.

2. (U) Tsvangirai said that he had raised three issues in
all his meetings in Maputo: first, the ongoing violence that
is causing a humanitarian crisis. By his count he indicated
that eleven people have been killed, 400 detained, and
thousands others somehow affected. Second, he said that he
had asked for assistance in bringing the violence to an end.
Third, he expressed concerns at the delay in releasing the
results of the presidential vote. Tsvangirai said that he
believed President Guebuza would like to see the crisis
resolved through dialoque and not violence. Asked if he
would be willing to participate in a runoff, Tsvangirai said
he would address this issue only if the results of the
election were released.

3. (U) Separately, former President Chissano told the press
on April 24 that he advised Tsvangirai that Chissano could
only get involved in finding a solution for Zimbabwe if the
heads of state of SADC requested that he do so. President
Guebueza has not yet commented on the content of his meeting
with Tsvangirai.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Tsvangirai did not appear to cover any
new ground during his visit to Mozambique, and as yet we have
no reaction from the GRM about his meeting with Guebuza. But
Tsvangirai did himself no favors with the GRM by so publicly

SIPDIS
aligning himself with Renamo's leader Dhlakama. Always the
opportunist, Dhlakama took the spotlight during Tsvangirai's
visit, positioning himself as a senior mediator who is
working to ensure regional democracy. At the same time, the
Renamo leader is using the increased attention to campaign
for the 2009 presidency, indirectly suggesting that a vote
for the incumbent Frelimo party might result in the same
state of affairs in Mozambique that Zimbabwe is suffering
now. One beneficial aspect to the Tsvangirai visit is that
an increasing number of Mozambican civic organizations,
including the press, are questioning more and more the GRM's
policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards the brewing crisis next
door. END COMMENT.
Chapman

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