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Cablegate: Media Reaction Zim Presidential Poll; Harare

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

061053Z Mar 02


UNCLASSIFIED PTQ8813

PAGE 01 HARARE 00583 01 OF 02 061343Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 EUR-00 UTED-00 TEDE-00 INR-00
NSAE-00 PA-00 PRS-00 SP-00 TEST-00 USIE-00 IIP-00
DRL-02 SAS-00 /002W
------------------704A0E 061343Z /45
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1109
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA
AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
AMEMBASSY GABORONE
AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
AMEMBASSY LONDON

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000583

SIPDIS

AF/PD FOR COX AND ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT AND
SCHLACHTER, AF/RA FOR SWANN, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI
FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ZI PREL ZI PREL PHUM
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ZIM PRESIDENTIAL POLL; HARARE


1. WITH ONLY THREE DAYS REMAINING BEFORE ZIMBABWEANS
GO TO THE POLLS TO ELECT A NEW PRESIDENT, EDITORIALS IN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HARARE 00583 01 OF 02 061343Z
THE MAINSTREAM NEWSPAPERS CONTINUE TO CONCENTRATE ON
THE ELECTION. EDITORIAL EXCERPTS FOLLOW:

2. UNDER HEADLINE "UK PUT FIRMLY IN ITS PLACE," THE
GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY "THE HERALD" DEDICATED
ITS MARCH 6 EDITORIAL TO THE CHOGM DECISION TO
POSTPONE ACTION ON ZIMBABWE. EXCERPTS:

"THE OUTCOME OF THE COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF
GOVERNMENT MEETING IN AUSTRALIA IS A SLAP IN THE FACE
FOR THE PRO-SANCTIONS LOBBY THAT DID NOT GO TO COOLUM
TO COMPROMISE BUT TO IMPOSE ITS WILL. LED BY BRITAIN,
AN IRRESPONSIBLE FORMER COLONIAL POWER, THE GROUP
PLANNED TO RAILROAD THE SUMMIT INTO SUSPENDING ZIMBABWE
FROM THE 54-MEMBER BODY OR IMPOSING SANCTIONS ON THE
COUNTRY. . . BUT BRITAIN AND ITS ALLIES' PLAN QUICKLY
CRUMPLED WITH THE MAJORITY OF MEMBERS REFUSING TO
RUBBER STAMP SELF-SERVING PROPOSALS. THE SANCTIONS
LOBBY WAS NOT ONLY BRUSHED ASIDE BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY
THE COMMONWEALTH, FOR THE FIRST TIME ACKNOWLEDGED, THAT
THE LAND ISSUE WAS AT THE CORE OF ZIMBABWE'S PROBLEMS.
. . ZIMBABWEANS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DEMOCRATICALLY
ELECT THEIR PRESIDENT WITHOUT INTERFERENCE. . . THERE
IS NO NEED TO PRE-JUDGE THE OUTCOME. . . ONLY
FOREIGNERS, SCARED THAT THE OUTCOME WILL NOT GO THE WAY
THEY WANT, WILL RUSH TO PRE-DETERMINE THE ELECTION AND
SEEK TO HAVE THE COUNTRY PUNISHED. . . AS THINGS
STAND, BRITAIN AND ITS SANCTIONS LOBBY WILL HAVE TO
THINK OF OTHER WAYS OF PUNISHING ZIMBABWE BECAUSE THE
COMMONWEALTH IS UNLIKELY TO DO ITS DIRTY WORK."

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HARARE 00583 01 OF 02 061343Z
3. UNDER HEADLINE "THE KEY WORD IS CONSISTENCY," THE
BULAWAYO-BASED GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY
"CHRONICLE" DEDICATED ITS MARCH 6 EDITORIAL TO
URGING ZIMBABWEANS TO VOTE FOR A LEADER WITH SOLID
EXECUTIVE QUALITIES IN THE MARCH 9 AND 10
PRESIDENTIAL POLL. EXCERPTS:

". . .AS PEOPLE PREPARE TO VOTE ON MARCH 9 AND 10,
THE WORD CONSISTENCE SHOULD BE UPPER MOST IN THEIR
MINDS. AMONG THE PEOPLE ASKING THEM FOR THEIR VOTE,
WHO HAS BEEN CONSISTENT IN ACTION, WORD OR DEED? WHO
HAS DISPLAYED AN UNWAVERING STANCE ON ANY SUBJECT OF
NATIONAL IMPORTANCE? WHO HAS SPOKEN ELOQUENTLY ON ANY
MATTER THAT WOULD BENEFIT THE ORDINARY MAN? WHO HAS
PROMISED AND TO SOME EXTENT SHOWN EVIDENCE THAT HE HAS
THE PEOPLE AT HEART? THE ANSWER TO THESE QUESTIONS IS
RATHER OBVIOUS FOR BETWEEN THE SO-CALLED FRONT RUNNERS
IN THE POLL - PRESIDENT MUGABE AND MR. TSVANGIRAI -
MUGABE HAS EMERGED AS CONSISTENT AS EVER. . . EVEN
THE IMMENSE PRESSURE FROM POWERFUL ANGLO-AMERICAN
FORCES, AND THREATS OF SANCTIONS HAVE NOT CHANGED HIS
CONSISTENT ARTICULATION OF ISSUES. NOT SO WITH MR.
TSVANGIRAI. . . CAN SOMEONE WHO IS SO INCONSISTENT

SIPDIS
THEREFORE BE TRUSTED TO CARRY THE JOB OF CEO OF THE
COUNTRY? UNLIKE IN A COMPANY WHERE YOU CAN EXPERIMENT
AND MAYBE FIRE THE INCUMBENT A YEAR OR TWO AFTER HE HAS
FAILED, WITH A COUNTRY IT WILL BE DISASTROUS TO ALLOW
OURSELVES THE FOLLY OF 'TRYING.' THE INCONSISTENCY
DISPLAYED BY SOME OF THE POTENTIAL LEADERS MIGHT
BACKFIRE, IN A WAY THAT IS BIGGER THAN THE ARTIFICIAL
SHORTAGES THAT WE HAVE TO GRAPPLE WITH ON A DAILY
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HARARE 00583 01 OF 02 061343Z
BASIS."

4. UNDER HEADLINE "ZIMBABWE'S FAILURE COULD DOOM THE
COMMONWEALTH" THE INDEPENDENT DAILY "THE DAILY
NEWS" MARCH 6 EDITORIAL IS CRITICAL OF ALLEGED SADC
COLLUSION WITH THE MUGABE ADMINISTRATION IN
DISENFRANCHISING ZIMBABWEANS DURING THE MARCH 9 AND
10 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. EXCERPTS:

". . .THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
(SADC) IS TAKING AFTER THE OAU OVER THE CRISIS IN
ZIMBABWE. LARGELY THROUGH ITS INFLUENCE, THE
COMMONWEALTH FAILED TO COME UP WITH A BOLD, DECISIVE
AND UNEQUIVOCAL POSITION ON THE TERROR UNLEASHED BY
PRESIDENT MUGABE'S REGIME ON THE OPPOSITION AHEAD OF
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. THE IDEAL WOULD HAVE BEEN
TO ENSURE THAT THE PLAYING FIELD WAS LEVEL BEFORE THE
ELECTION. TO WAIT UNTIL THE VERDICT OF AN ELECTION IN
WHICH THOUSANDS OF VOTERS HAVE BEEN DISENFRANCHISED BY
MUGABE'S CUNNING DEVICES IS A COWARD'S WAY. THE FUTURE

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ8816

PAGE 01 HARARE 00583 02 OF 02 061343Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 EUR-00 UTED-00 TEDE-00 INR-00
NSAE-00 PA-00 PRS-00 SP-00 TEST-00 USIE-00 IIP-00
DRL-02 SAS-00 /002W
------------------704A1A 061343Z /45
P 061053Z MAR 02
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1110
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA
AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
AMEMBASSY GABORONE
AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
AMEMBASSY LONDON

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000583

SIPDIS

AF/PD FOR COX AND ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT AND
SCHLACHTER, AF/RA FOR SWANN, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI
FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ZI PREL ZI PREL PHUM
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ZIM PRESIDENTIAL POLL; HARARE

OF THE COMMONWEALTH COULD BE IN GREAT DANGER IF THE 54-
NATION GROUP PANDERS TO THE WHIMS OF AN AFRICAN BLOC SO
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HARARE 00583 02 OF 02 061343Z
AMBIVALENT ABOUT DEMOCRACY THEY BLAME THE MEDIA FOR
WHAT IS CLEARLY THE WORK OF MUGABE'S YOUNG THUGS
(MILITIAS) . . . THE PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE HAVE, SINCE
THE REFERENDUM IN 2000, DISPLAYED A RESILIENCE OF
SPIRIT WHICH SHOCKED MUGABE AND HIS PARTY OF VIOLENCE.
THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT EVEN WITH THE VIOLENCE
AGAINST THEM AND THE SERIES OF ANTI-DEMOCRATIC LAWS
RUSHED THROUGH PARLIAMENT WITH THE INDECENT HASTE OF A
BANANA REPUBLIC, THE PEOPLE WILL MAKE THEIR CHOICE
KNOWN EMPHATICALLY ON 9-10 MARCH. . . ."

SULLIVAN

UNCLASSIFIED

>

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