Search

 

Cablegate: Tanzania: A Somber Minister Membe Briefs

VZCZCXRO4389
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHDR #0382/01 1721429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201429Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7629
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 3320
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1419
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0396
RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU PRIORITY 0301
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0305
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DAR ES SALAAM 000382

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S MJWILLS, SHILL
ALSO AF/E FOR SHAMILTION, JLIDDLE
ADDIS FOR AU MISSION
LONDON, PARIS, BRUSSELS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM PGOV ZI TZ
SUBJECT: TANZANIA: A SOMBER MINISTER MEMBE BRIEFS
AMBASSADOR GREEN, THE PRESS ON SADC AND AFRICAN UNION
CONCERNS ABOUT ZIMBABWE

REF: A. STATE 064233
B. DAR ES SALAAM 0368

Summary
--------
1. (SBU) A subdued Foreign Minister Bernard Membe told
Ambassador Green in a June 18 phone call and journalists on
June 19 that the SADC foreign ministers who met in Malawi
June 17-18 were "shocked" by the level of violence that
observers in Zimbabwe are relaying to the SADC Secretariat.
Membe said the military and youth militia are the primary
perpetrators. He told the press that SADC observers had
witnessed Zimbabwe citizens being murdered by military or
militia: "In one incident, observers saw two people shot to
death before their eyes" with no apparent concern that the
observers were watching. (Full text Press Statement, Para
12). Minister Membe said SADC is seriously concerned that 1)
opposition leaders are being jailed, detained and harassed,
thus unable to campaign; 2) both Robert Mugabe and the
opposition MDC have stated publicly they will not accept
election results if the other side is declared winner; 3) the
number of internally displaced persons is alarmingly on the
rise. Membe told Ambassador Green that the leaders of the
Troika of SADC's Organ of Defence, Politics and Security
(Angola, Swaziland and Tanzania) would meet June 21 or 22 in
Luanda to discuss how SADC should respond. End summary.

SADC Foreign Ministers Shaken by Reports of Violence
--------------------------------------------- -------
2. (SBU) After the Ambassador attempted for two days to reach
Minister Bernard Membe in Malawi to deliver reftel demarche
(Ref B), Membe phoned the Ambassador less than an hour after
stepping off his plane from Malawi. Membe did not have an
immediate comment on whether the African Union (AU) would
move quickly to sign a MOU with the United Nations to support
the AU observation teams. Speaking slowly and sounding
"shaken", he gave the Ambassador a sobering report on what
the Foreign Ministers who met in Malawi had learned from SADC
observers already on the ground in Zimbabwe.

3. (U) Membe reported as of June 19, a total of 211 SADC
observers are in Zimbabwe: 77 South Africans, 49 Tanzanians,
and 50 from Botswana are the largest contingents. By
Saturday, June 21, there will be 350 observers in place;
before June 27, the SADC observers will total 380. According
to Membe, the African Union (AU) wanted to send an equally
large number of observers, but the Mugabe government is only
allowing 70 AU observers.

4. (U) The observers in Zimbabwe are reporting back to the
SADC Secretariat that:

-- the level of violence by military and militia, including
shooting civilians in front of the observers, is unacceptable;
-- the jailing and continuing harassment of opposition
leaders, particularly Morgan Tsvangirai, who is detained
frequently, for hours at a time on trumped up charges,
restricting his movements and ability to campaign.
-- the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is
increasing daily; the stadium in Harare is already serving as
shelter for 350 IDPs.

5. (SBU) As a result, the Foreign Ministers at the Malawi
meeting had serious concerns that the June 27 runoff
elections in Zimbabwe should proceed at all. As next steps,
they agreed to brief their respective Heads of State and
suggested that the Troika presidents consult informally with
one another over the next few days. Agreement was also
reached to recommend calling a meeting of the Troika of the
Organ of Defence, Politics and Security this weekend in
Angola.

Request to the West: Keep Up the Pressure
------------------------------------------
6. (SBU) Minister Membe asked the Ambassador that "the West
find a way to create a credible perception" that if Mugabe

DAR ES SAL 00000382 002 OF 003


does not immediately cease and desist with the violence,
killings and intimidation, there will be serious consequences
for Robert Mugabe and his government. While Membe left open
what those consequences might be, he told Ambassador Green
that the FMs agreed in Malawi unless there is an immediate
and drastic change in actions and attitude of the Mugabe
government "there cannot be free and fair elections on June
27."

Membe to the Press
-----------------
7. (U) Minister Membe told journalists June 19 that SADC is
deeply concerned that the Mugabe government is allowing the
violence to escalate and Zimbabwe citizens are openly being
shot by military and militia. The opposition candidates and
party leaders have been jailed, arrested, and harassed daily,
preventing them from carrying out a campaign. Mugabe has
openly stated that he would not accept election results
unless his party wins: "If the opposition wins, there will be
war." The opposition MDC has also countered if the Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party wins, they will not accept the results. In
addition, the Mugabe government has refused any non-Africans
to be observers, and has significantly cut down the number of
African Union member observers to only 70 persons who will be
allowed to monitor the elections.

8. (U) Membe stated the SADC Troika countries sent a message
to President Mugabe to stop the violence, to let all
observers deploy throughout the country, and to assure the
safety of all SADC and AU observers. President Kikwete, as
the AU Chairman, sent an even stronger message: the GOZ must
halt violence and intimidation; all sides should cease from
making irresponsible statements; all parties must be allowed
to campaign; and all sides must accept the election results
once released.

9. (SBU) Minister Membe stressed that apart from President
Kikwete's roles in SADC and AU, the nation of Tanzania is
shocked at what is happening in Zimbabwe. Although Mugabe
and the leaders of Tanzania were historically friends, "we
are now at odds on issues of governance. Tanzania will not
support the Government of Zimbabwe wanting to win at all
costs irrespective of the will of its people and the results
at the polls," he declared.

10. (U) In response to inquiries from Tanzanian journalists,
Membe explained as a result of the June 17-18 Malawi meeting,
the Troika of Angola, Swaziland and Tanzania had sent a
report to all SADC leaders. SADC must then decide whether to
forward the report the African Union or not. To an inquiry
on why after being quiet for so long, some SADC countries are
speaking out about the Mugabe regime: "There is imminent
violence, potentially worse than what took place in Kenya,"
he said.

11. (U) Minister Membe noted that perhaps former leadership
in the SADC and AU did not try as hard, but "President
Kikwete is now the AU Chairman and he wants to assist the
people of Zimbabwe; he needs to be given credit for that
stance." Membe said President Kikwete took the lead by
sending 50 Tanzanian observers to Zimbabwe, the maximum the
GOZ would allow. Also, Kikwete has requested the AU
Commission on Peace and Security to give a full report during
the upcoming AU Summit in Sharm el-Sheik Egypt the last week
of June.

Comment: Time for Words is Past
-------------------------------
12. (SBU) Tanzania is beginning to raise its voice against
the impunity of Mugabe's government with Membe telling
journalists in Dar es Salaam June 19 that SADC observers are
witnessing unmitigated violence, including the murder of
innocent Zimbabwe citizens. Yet, how far President Kikwete
will push SADC and AU leaders to take a stand and condemn the
actions of the Government of Zimbabwe remains to be seen. In
both his phone conversation with Ambassador Green and during

DAR ES SAL 00000382 003 OF 003


the press conference, Bernard Membe appeared somber and
disheartened, lacking his usual enthusiasm. Although both
Kikwete and he have been saying the right words to us about
Zimbabwe for the last six months, Membe may finally be
realizing that the time for decisions, touch choices and
action has come. If Tanzania is serious, then now is the
time is convince a majority of African leaders during the
upcoming SADC Troika meeting and at the AU summit in Sharm
el-Sheikh (June 24-30) that the Mugabe regime must be
condemned for destroying free and fair elections. Even
further, a recommendation that new Zimbabwe elections be
called that would be run and overseen by international
monitors, would be a courageous and historic step. Tanzania,
SADC and the AU leaders must stand up and say "No more!" The
people of Zimbabwe deserve no less.

Text of Minister Membe's June 19 Press Statement
--------------------------------------------- ---
13. (U) Begin Text: "The ministerial meeting of the SADC
Organ of Defence, Politics and Security was held in Lilongwe,
Malawi on June 17, 2008 under the chairmanship of the
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Angola, Joao
Bernardo de Miranda.

The Tanzanian Minster of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Membe,
represented Tanzania. The Government of Swaziland was
represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Defense, Dr. John Kunene. Other officials from Tanzania and
Angola took part. The SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Tomaz
Salomao, also attended the meeting.

The meeting focused on the political situation and conflict
in Zimbabwe. The Ministers received a report on Zimbabwe
from Dr. Salomao, who had visited Zimbabwe from June 14 to
17. He spoke about the political, economic and security
situation in Zimbabwe as it prepares for the runoff
presidential elections.

The three Ministers of the SADC Troika Organ of Defence,
Politics and Security discussed the Zimbabwe conflict in
depth. They were discouraged over the ongoing violence and
asked the Government of Zimbabwe to stop the violence in
order to create an environment conducive for free and fair
elections. The Ministers also asked both the Mugabe
government and the opposition to consider the welfare of the
citizens of Zimbabwe who had suffered economically and were
now dying.

The Ministers proposed to the Chairman of the SADC Organ of
Defence, Politics and Security to call an emergency meeting
of the leaders of the SADC countries and governments in order
to agree and give a joint statement on the situation in
Zimbabwe." End Text.
GREEN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC