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Cablegate: Media Reaction President Bush's Visit to Africa;

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001370

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DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO AFRICA;
HARARE


1. President George W. Bush's visit to Africa remains the
top issue for discussion in lengthy editorials being
carried in the mainstream newspapers ahead of the July 7 -
12 visit. Excerpts follow:

2. Under headline "Bush must respect African leadership"
the government-controlled daily "The Herald" (07/07),
comments:

"American leader Mr. George W. Bush begins his first
visit to Africa. . .with very dirty hands after his
alleged bungling in Iraq. American and British
troops stand accused of slaughtering thousands of
unarmed civilians including women and children
during the U. S.-led invasion of Iraq. . .Mr. Bush
will be hoping to make the whole world believe that
America cares about Africa despite ample evidence to
the contrary. . .Whatever his real motive for coming
to Africa, Mr. Bush had better not dictate things to
anyone, lest, as President Mugabe warned over the
weekend, he be spurned. . .While we know that no
African leader worth his salt and who really knows
America will accept to be used by the likes of Mr.
Bush, we think an opportunity has arisen for the
Texan to experience first-hand the rock-solid unity
prevalent in Africa.. . . ."

3. Under headline "Bush visit: What's in it for Zimbabwe"
the independent weekly "The Standard" (07/06), comments:

". . .Whether President Mugabe and ZANU PF choose to
dismiss the visit as a non-event or not, the point
must be forcefully made that each of the countries
to be visited is moving ahead while Zimbabwe is
definitely retreating back to Stone Age. This is
the reality which is staring us in the face. .
.Describing Colin Powell as a `disgraceful Uncle
Tom' and other such vitriol might be what Jonathan
Moyo (Information Minister) believes he is paid for,
but it certainly will not bring food on the tables
of long suffering Zimbabweans. It was, in terms of
foreign relations, an extraordinary inept thing to
say even for a government not known for its delicacy
of diplomacy. If these crude and undignified
attacks on President Bush and U. S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell were being made from a position
of strength, perhaps we would be more guarded in our
criticism. . .This paper emphatically agrees with
Colin Powell. . .However, by the same token, we
share the view that the U. S. should not adopt the
role of a world policeman advocating a regime
change. Rather it should concentrate its energies
on helping the people of Zimbabwe and African
leaders resolve a specific political problem such as
the one in this country. Yes, the United States
might be the leader of the free world, is a great
democracy, a military super power and a nation
unequalled in material wealth. But all that does
not give it the right to act as a world policeman
and calling for regime changes wherever there is a
problem. Our advice to the U. S. is that acting in
this high handed manner can only alienate people and
needlessly lose the goodwill of its friends in
Africa. Powell's dramatic language ran the risk of
being interpreted as war-mongering and parallels
being drawn with the Iraq war. . .The U. S.
administration's criticism of the Mugabe regime is
very valid. . .But in his meeting with Presidents
Mbeki and Obasanjo, President Bush is advised not to
display a one-eyed view of the continent. While
making his analysis of the Zimbabwe crisis clear, he
must also be prepared to listen carefully to what
the African leaders will have to say and move in
tandem with them for the resolution of the
Zimbabwean crisis. . . ."

4. Under headline "Bush visit no panacea to our problems"
the pro-government weekly "The Sunday Mirror" (07/06)
comments:

"We reiterate our position that U. S. President,
George W. Bush's visit to the southern African
region this week will not have any impact on
Zimbabwe. . .For those hoping that Bush will effect
a regime change in Zimbabwe. . .we urge them to
study that prospect more realistically and not be
blinded by the euphoria of expectations that has
clouded sound vision among their ranks. . .It is not
important for us to point out that Liberia presents
the most nagging challenge for the Americans at the
moment and that if any imminent action is demanded
of the U. S. right now, it is on that beleaguered
West African state. . .On the resolution of
Zimbabwe's political impasse and its attendant
economic woes, the process initiated by the African
troika still presents itself as the only legitimate
`road map. . .' Our message to those who have
burdened Bush's imminent visit with their misplaced
expectations, therefore, is that they should look
inwards for a resolution to the country's problems.
The sooner this is done, the quicker our problems
are sorted out - by ourselves. . . ."

5. Under headline "Warning to MDC surrogates" the
government-controlled Bulawayo-based daily
"Chronicle" (07/05), comments:

"The U. S. and Britain. . .are driving terror into
many nations in the name of fighting terrorism. . .Of
late they have been threatening to include what they
call regime change on a number of countries, including
Zimbabwe, viewed as not towing the line. . .Bush and
his Secretary for State, Collin (sic) Powell have in
recent weeks stepped up their vilification of
President Mugabe and publicly called for his ouster
from power. . .President Mugabe on Thursday told the
54th Ordinary Session of the ruling ZANU PF Central
Committee that Africans should not be intimidated by
Bush's visit. `He is coming to visit and he should
not dare to try what he did to Iraq. He knows the
situation is different. After all we do not have oil
here,' said an unperturbed President Mugabe. While
welcoming . . .Mugabe's words of courage, it is
disheartening that there are some sellouts among us,
especially within the opposition MDC who appear
determined to team up with foreigners like Bush to
destabilize the country. . .This business of teaming
up with foreigners against your brother is un-African
. . .As South African President Thabo Mbeki said
recently, the problems affecting Zimbabwe can be
solved by Zimbabweans. Neighbors and the
international community can only assist. We urge MDC
and British and American masters to take President
Mbeki's advice very seriously to avoid embarrassing
themselves. . . ."

6. Under headline "The root of misrule in Zimbabwe" the
independent weekly "Zimbabwe Independent" (07/04)
comments:

". . .U. S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's
comparison of Zimbabwe's regime with that of
Burma's, where state violence against a popular
opposition has ensured for that country the
reputation of a rogue state, appears to have stung
members of Mugabe's inner circle. And so it should.
Zimbabwe's international standing has been
prejudiced by ongoing state-sponsored terror and
impunity for those who have assaulted, tortured and
killed members of the opposition. Zimbabwe's rulers
are getting the reputation they deserve. . . ."

7. Under headline " Bush must tread softly in Africa" the
pro-government weekly "Business Tribune" (07/03) comments:

"Threats coming from the U. S. that American
President George Bush would `lean hard' on South
African President Thabo Mbeki to change his policy
on Zimbabwe show that the American administration
overestimates the power Mbeki wields over his
Zimbabwean counterpart. Also, it shows that
America's view of the Zimbabwean problem is overly
simplistic. Mbeki. . .long realized that the
Zimbabwean problem can only be solved by Zimbabweans
themselves without undue influence from interested
parties such as Britain and America. . .In a way
Bush's expected posturing in South Africa next week
might reverse the little gains achieved so far.
Bush's African tour must be seen in the bigger
picture of his attempt to cow the African continent
into submitting to American dominance of world
trade. In his remarks to the Corporate Council on
Africa's U. S.-Africa Business Summit. . .Bush
betrayed the true purpose of his tour, namely that
it was more about American interests than anything
else. . . By `leaning hard' on Mbeki next week
Bush's intention is simply to add him to the list of
submissive African heads of state prepared to
mortgage their countries' sovereignty to American
imperialism. Bush should tread softly on his path
in Africa."

SULLIVAN

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