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Cablegate: Zim Panel Sheds Light On Mugabe's Mess

VZCZCXRO4114
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHWD #0115/01 1130541
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220541Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9863
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0125
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0205

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WINDHOEK 000115

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MASS MARR WA
SUBJECT: ZIM PANEL SHEDS LIGHT ON MUGABE'S MESS

REF: (A) Castillo-PAO Collective email 4/18/2008, (B) 07 Windhoek
438

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) A panel of five Zimbabwean activists, sponsored by PAS
Harare and Freedom House to travel the region, impressed their
Namibian listeners with revelations about the situation in Zimbabwe.
Their cogent arguments prompted a public discussion that turned
upside-down many of the liberation themes that Mugabe and his allies
have used repeatedly to block criticism. Namibian public support
for Mugabe appears to be waning and public discourse has become more
in favor of active SADC intervention in Zimbabwe. For its part, the
GRN leadership continues to adopt a go-slow approach. End summary.

"If Zimbabwe Needs a Second Liberation, So Be It"
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) Bulawayo Agenda Executive Director Gorden Moyo, Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights Executive Director Irene Petras, journalist
Gibbs Dube, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) representative
Abel Chikomo, and USAID DG specialist Jacob Mafume participated in
public discussions and interviews on April 15 to shed light on the
situation in Zimbabwe. The team made crisp, well-articulated points,
stressing that the worsening violence, Mugabe's ongoing violations
of Zimbabwean law, and the lack of electoral results or legal
recourse is going to leave Zimbabweans feeling their only option is
to retaliate. The panelists urged people to lobby their governments
to pressure the GOZ to release electoral results and avoid deepening
the crisis to a point of no return.

3. (SBU) The over 200 Namibians and Zimbabweans in the audience
during an April 15 debate with the five panelists were firmly in
agreement that SADC and the regions' leaders needed to take a more
active stance to pressure Mugabe and his government. Many of them
broke regional taboos by using sacred liberation language against
Mugabe and his fellow former liberators. Some of the most notable
comments from the audience: "We need to urge the GRN to have
solidarity with people of Zimbabwe, not the state." "How can we
decolonize minds from Mugabe's colonialism?" "If Zimbabwe Needs a
Second Liberation, So Be It!" A Namibian in the audience won
applause when asked "Why can't we do to Mugabe what he did to the
DRC?" referring to Zimbabwean, Angolan and Namibian intervention in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the late 1990's.

Namibian Public Opinion Shift
-----------------------------

4. (SBU) The tide of Namibian public opinion may slowly be turning
in favor of a more activist approach by SADC to address the Zimbabwe
crisis. A year ago, when Zimbabwean professor John Makumbe visited
Namibia and criticized Mugabe's regime, a surprisingly large number
of participants at the public lecture vociferously defended Mugabe
and castigated Makumbe as a puppet of the West (ref B). With this
recent panel, only two questioners indicated mild support for
Mugabe, and one was a member of the Zimbabwe High Commission. All
the major media outlets covered the visit by the Zimbabwean
activists.

5. (U) In the same vein, the SMS pages of the independent Namibian
newspaper are replete each day with renewed condemnation of Mugabe,
South African President Thabo Mbeki, SADC, and the region's leaders.
Even the Editor of the government-owned New Era newspaper, who
typically adopts pan-Africanist or even anti-western positions, used
his Friday editorial on April 18 to urge SADC to intervene now,
"Because later may just be too late!"

GRN Taking it Slowly
--------------------

6. (SBU) The government, however, seems less interested in
intervention or public discourse that could be construed as
pressuring Mugabe. During his State of the Nation address on April
10, President Pohamba avoided taking a position, saying only that he
had dispatched Foreign Minister Hausiku to Harare to assess the
situation. The independent media has criticized the GRN's silence.

7. (SBU) On April 7, SWAPO MP Royal J. K. /Ui/o/oo (protect) made
the press after he publicly criticized Nambia's approach to Zimbabwe
and Mugabe. /Ui/o/oo told PolOff on April 18 that he made the
comments because he felt he had to speak his conscience and that he
was tired of the fact that SWAPO MPs always had to get permission
from on high before speaking their minds. /Ui/o/oo said he did not
think the most recent events in Zimbabwe had changed any of the
minds of the SWAPO elite about Mugabe or Namibia's policy because
too many of the SWAPO cadres still believed that the West was
plotting to oust Mugabe. /Ui/o/oo was visibly incensed by his SWAPO

WINDHOEK 00000115 002 OF 002


colleagues' perception of the West and Zimbabwe: "Mugabe's own
people voted him out... 28 years is too long to stay in power."

MATHIEU

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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