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Cablegate: Un Special Envoy Morris in the Zimbabwean Press

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

UNCLAS HARARE 000201

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO ZI
SUBJECT: UN SPECIAL ENVOY MORRIS IN THE ZIMBABWEAN PRESS


1. Zimbabwe's government-owned "Herald" newspaper
attempted to twist comments made by UN Special Envoy for
Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa James Morris after
his January 24 meeting with President Mugabe in Harare.
The front page of the January 25 "Herald" informed readers
that Morris "accepted the irreversibility of Zimbabwe's
land reform program." Because the independent press are
excluded from State House where Morris spoke to media after
his meeting with Mugabe, that gross distortion might have
stood, but Morris used his January 25 pre-departure press
conference to set the record straight. His frank criticism
of the "Herald's" politically motivated distortion provided
a choice lead in the January 27 "Standard," a privately
owned weekly. Excerpts follow:

2. Under headline "Help new farmers: U.N. special
envoy" the "Herald" (01/25) carried the following
lead story:

"Humanitarian agencies working in Zimbabwe should
help provide farmers with water and inputs, visiting
U.N. special envoy Mr. Tim (sic) Morris said
yesterday, accepting the irreversibility of land
reform in essence. This help to farmers was
necessary, in addition to providing immediate food
aid to those in need of assistance. `We need to work
very hard to provide people with water, fertilizers
and inputs. . .,' he told journalists soon after
meeting President Mugabe at State House. `Food is
only a piece of it. In a drought, the provision of
water is very important.' Mr. Morris said the
provision of water, fertilizers and other
agricultural inputs would enhance the capacity of the
famine stricken families to feed themselves. The
U.N. official expressed optimism and satisfaction
with food distribution mechanisms and the efforts
being undertaken by the government to deal with the
HIV/AIDs scourge. . . ."

3. Under headline "Herald lied 100 (percent), says U.N.
envoy" the independent weekly "The Standard" (01/26)
carried the following article by Henry Makiwa:

"James Morris, the U.N. special envoy for
Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa, yesterday
dressed down the state-controlled daily, The Herald,
saying it had peddled `100 (percent) lies,' in
yesterday's front-page lead story. Morris who says
his deep-seated concern for the humanitarian crisis
in Zimbabwe should be accurately reflected, told
journalists, diplomats and government officials at a
press conference, that he was shocked to see `The
Herald' publish a story purporting that he had
accepted the irreversibility of the land reform
exercise. . . Morris said The Herald's lead
story. . .constituted a gross misrepresentation of
what he had said when addressing journalists on
Friday afternoon. . . Said Morris yesterday: `The
comments in `The Herald' were 100 (percent) lies. I
did not comment as `The Herald' purportedly reports
in its front-page story today. . . I did not accept
that the land reform process was irreversible as
they quote me as saying. It was gross
misrepresentation of the worst form. `What I did
say was that the future of Zimbabwe depended on the
success of a robust agro-based economy. It was also
embarrassing that `The Herald' repeatedly quoted me
as `Tim Morris' when my real name is James Morris.
Ironically, I have a 36-year-old son called Tim who
will probably be attributed to The Herald's
utterances, not myself!' Morris said. . . ."

SULLIVAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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