Cablegate: Media Reaction Wssd; Harare

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Following are excerpts of editorials carried in
the September 4 editions of the independent daily "The
Daily News" and the government-controlled daily "The
Herald" on Robert Mugabe's speech to the WSSD:

2. Under headline "As millions face starvation,
Mugabe scolds Tony Blair," the "Daily News" (09/04)

"Zimbabweans will have reacted differently to
President Mugabe's emotional address to the WSSD
in Johannesburg on Monday. Some will praise it
for its blunt warning to the British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair, to stop what Mugabe
believes is his interference in Zimbabwean
politics. . . Others will rank it as a rather
unfortunate speech which did not address the
nitty-gritty issue of the summit's agenda -
sustainable development. They will regret
Mugabe's preoccupation with Tony Blair to the
exclusion of the number one subject among the
people today - starvation. . . So, while it may
be possible that there are those who feel the
President's speech to the Earth Summit hit the
right note, there may be others who feel
strongly that by taking his brawl with Tony
Blair to such a world forum, Mugabe did not
enhance his international reputation one whit.
Certainly, they would not feel that the speech
would do much to help the six million people
threatened with starvation. They would counsel
against the confrontational stance of the
government, while the country is in such dire
need of food aid."

3. Under headline "President's speech should
invigorate us" the government-controlled daily "The
Herald" (09/04) comments:

"President Mugabe's speech at the WSSD on Monday
has been hailed by most well-meaning people
throughout the world for speaking on behalf of
the poor. The thunderous applause he got during
and after his address said it all. This was
probably his finest moment in history as he
hogged international limelight on all major
television networks, newspapers, radio talk
shows and news agency reports. In just 10
minutes he had devastated the entire Western
coalition against Zimbabwe and given the Third
World a new voice to speak with boldness against
neo-colonialism being brought in the name of
globalization and democracy. . . Although he did
not insult anyone, British Prime Minister Tony
Blair particularly felt the sting of his candid
speech. . . What the speech has achieved more
than anything else is the message that firstly,
Zimbabwe is a truly free country and will die
protecting its sovereignty. Secondly, the land
reform program is here to stay. This is the
message the world needed to hear. . .
Zimbabweans should find new vigor and strength
from the President's boldness and forthrightness
to push on the land agenda and support this
courage by making the agrarian reforms a
success. . . ."


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