Cablegate: Independent Newspapers Criticize Inaction In
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UNCLAS HARARE 002157
DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS CRITICIZE INACTION IN
1. Under title "The dialogue of the deaf" the
independent weekly "The Financial Gazette' (09/26)
"South African President Thabo Mbeki and his
Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo have
predictably decided to postpone taking the tough
decisions that had been expected from them on
Zimbabwe, underlining once more that they value
the bonds of African brotherhood above all else.
In doing so, the two leaders have inevitably
placed themselves in direct conflict with
Zimbabwe's democratic forces and all who seek a
negotiated solution to a low-level conflict
which increasingly threatens southern Africa's
peace and stability. . . When the present story
of Zimbabwe is finally written in years to come,
Mbeki and Obasanjo will stand out as the two
leaders who, at a critical time, thwarted the
people's interests by siding with those in
power. . . They and all others who genuinely
wish Zimbabwe well should know better by now:
Harare never cares or listens to diplomacy and
it will not suddenly do so now or after the
March deadline. These two leaders must take
full responsibility for whatever happens next in
Zimbabwe's descent into chaos. Their
determination to secure short-term political
interests while postponing the inevitable,
however painful, could yet prove too costly for
them and their colleagues."
2. Under title "Abuja let-off could unleash more
violence" the independent daily "The Daily News"
". . .If Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo
expect President Mugabe to be magnanimous in his
victory in Abuja, then they are woefully ill-
informed about his party's dossier of violence.
In rejoicing at their victory, many of his ZANU
PF supporters may unleash a new wave of violence
against the opposition - just for the hell of
it. The failure to intensify sanctions against
Zimbabwe. . .could return to haunt the
Commonwealth, but particularly Mbeki and
Obasanjo. . . But the will of the people of
Zimbabwe will not be denied expression for long.
It would be preferable if, in the end, it was
done peacefully. What Mbeki and Obasanjo are
doing is to offer them a frightening option."