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Cablegate: Media Coverage 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 001371

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR 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 KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: MEDIA COVERAGE PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO AFRICA;
HARARE

1. An avalanche of news articles and opinion pieces
focusing on the decisive African Nations Cup
qualifying soccer match between Zimbabwe and
Eritrea, especially in the government-controlled
print and electronic media, failed to eclipse
critical articles against President George W. Bush's
visit to Africa. In a move described by political
analysts as "a deliberate ploy" to deflect and drown
out public attention from President Bush's imminent
visit to Africa, the government-controlled media
deliberately down-played politics from the usual
pole position to promote the "crucial game." Even
the ZANU PF's important politburo meeting last
Wednesday, including the subsequent 54th Session of
the party's Central Committee meeting addressed by
Robert Mugabe the following day, played second
fiddle to news on the soccer match. It was
uncharacteristic of the state-run ZTV to tuck
Mugabe's news clip - in which he urged the party's
Central Committee members not to be cowed by Bush's
visit - deep into Thursday's (July 3) "Newshour"
bulletin at 2000 hours. Excerpts of the of the nit-
picking news articles, op-ed and opinion pieces
against President Bush's visit that appeared mostly
in the government-controlled and pro-government
mainstream newspapers between July 4 and 7 follow:

2. Under headline "Bush's visit threatens peace" the
government-controlled daily "The Herald" (07/07)
reproduced the following article by Patrica Gwen
Afwoni, Africa Strategy Personal Assistant, African
Region, on page 7:

"Africa Strategy notes with sadness and shame the
degree of hypocrisy in which the current Right wing
Republican Administration of George Bush has
conducted its foreign policy on Africa. The forth
coming African tour of Bush. . .is designed to
threaten the peace and widen the gaps between
moderate states and war mongers in Africa. . .The
spirit of Abraham Lincoln will roll in the grave
when they hear that President Bush has visited a
pseudo democracy in Uganda and spent over six hours
dining and dancing with the military dictatorship
that has refused people to associate and assemble
freely. . .We note with great concern the way
millions and millions of U. S. dollars are being
channeled through Uganda to train and pay mercenary
armies to overthrow the government of President
Mugabe. We are also worried about the Millions of
USD that has been pumped into the hands of
opposition in Zimbabwe for ECOMIC SABOTAGE (sic). .
.Africa Strategy wishes to use this opportunity to
warn all those who are bent on paying the government
of Uganda to commit violence in the region like. .
.the black surrogate Colin Powell that all the
peaceful people of the region are documenting all
your encounters. We have now obtained clear
evidence from sources about all your financial
transactions which point at USA and Britain as the
main countries fuelling violence in Zimbabwe. . .We
are aware of the impending fabrication and malice
that Colin Powell and Bush want to link the people
of Zimbabwe and the Great Lakes Region so as to
justify regime change. . . ."

3. The July 6 edition of the independent weekly "The
Daily News on Sunday" printed an article by Agence France-
Presse (AFP) on page one that reported on President Bush's
interview centering on his imminent visit to Africa with
the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
television. The "Sunday Special" story ran under the
headline "Bush calls for fresh Zimbabwe elections."
Another independent weekly "the Standard" (07/06) also
carried an article focusing on President Bush's visit to
Africa on page one under headline "MDC to meet Bush over
Mugabe."

4. Under headline "Bush's Africa safari" the
pro-government weekly "The Sunday Mirror" (07/06)
carried the following opinion piece under the ghost
column "The Scrutator" on page 10:

". . .Despite assertions to the contrary, many of
those (countries) left out of yet another sweeping
but selective tour by the leader of the world's sole
super power are quietly lamenting and, in some cases
fearing, the possible implications of such
exclusions and oversight. . . So serious is the U.
S. A. about our continent that it has consistently
demonstrated a disdain for both the Organization of
African Unity which neither (Jimmy) Carter nor
(Bill) Clinton visited on the occasion of their
respective safaris, and the African Union which, if
the U. S. administration had a more defined and
sensitive policy in this regard, Bush could have
accommodated in his schedule, especially since the
AU Summit is meeting in Maputo next Friday. .
.Indeed, the U. S. Africa policy is so largely
immersed in strategic and economic considerations
that the issue of democracy has always been quite
secondary. Even the outpourings on Zimbabwe are
only part of that `democracy' smokescreen. Not
surprisingly, therefore, Zimbabwe will not loom
large nor should the MDC expect anything more than a
reaffirmation of the `African initiative,'
spearheaded by South Africa, another long-standing
`sub-center' in the superpower's imperialist sphere
of influence."

5. The same newspaper also ran an interesting article by
Tendai Chari" under his weekly column "Media Analysis" on
page 11 - under headline "How about a regime change in the
media?" Excerpts:

"When U. S. A. President George Bush visits Southern
Africa. . .he should bring with him, among other
rescue packages, a rescue package for the Zimbabwean
media? He must also facilitate a regime change in
our media. The men and women of the pen have become
the property and monopoly of political parties. .
.Having earned himself the much-fancied title of
`liberator' in Iraq I expect President Bush to
liberate our media from the bondage pf cronyism. He
must extricate these embeds from the clutches of
politicians holding on to them with crab-like
tenacity. We need a free media. . . ."

6. Under headline "Why Bush is coming to Africa: U. S.
leader in bid to spread his imperialist wings" the July 6
edition of the government-controlled weekly "The Sunday
Mail" carried the following opinion piece by Munyaradzi
Huni, Political Editor, on page 9:

"So the African Union (AU) summit will be held in
Maputo, Mozambique, this week, while the Texan
gunslinger, Mr. George W. Bush, will at the same
time be roaming around Africa for the time since he
`stole' the American election from Mr. Al Gore. . .?
But then don't be fooled that it's by mere
coincidence that the cunning fox decided to visit
this beloved continent at the time when the AU will
be taking place. No! . . .And by the way, don't be
fooled into thinking that Mr. Bush just woke up one
day and decided to visit South Africa, Botswana,
Uganda, Nigeria and Senegal. . .Mr. Bush is already
dangling the carrot in billions of American dollars
to buy out the African leaders so that they can
allow him to spread his stinking imperialistic
wings. . . ."

7. Under headline "African leaders must rally behind
Zimbabwe" the same newspaper carried the following
opinion piece by South African-based independent
political and socio-economic analyst and media
columnist Udo W. Froese on page 10:

"It is clear that the mighty West. . .particularly
Washington. . .will use Africa's own program, NEPAD,
to discipline this continent and do the dirty work
for and on behalf of the hopeful sponsors, the G-8
members. African countries and their leadership
will have to toe the line of the new world economic
order and globalization, or face the music.
However, both Western programs are to Africa's
peril. . .Any attempt to destabilize Zimbabwe
further would gave serious regional security
implications. It would enhance wide racism and
instability. As is it is, Zimbabwe is at war. It
would be a political and economic disaster for the
Southern African development Community (SADC) to
launch a military operation from neighboring
Botswana and Uganda in order to force a `fast regime
change' in Zimbabwe. As much as U. S. President
George Bush wants to reward Britain's Tony Blair for
his zealous support in Afghanistan and Iraq and the
rest of the world by returning Zimbabwe to the
British crown, such brutal action would create
chaos, and terrorism would take advantage. If
President Mugabe's government would be destroyed,
thousands of highly trained ZANU PF guerillas would
retreat to the bush in order to again pick up the
war for their country. . .This would cause havoc in
the region. . .When America's President George W.
Bush visits Africa this week, Africans have no
alternative but to demonstrate that they are
unanimous in their decision to counter any
destabilization efforts in their regions. Africa
would do well rallying behind Zimbabwe. . . ."

8. Under headline "Bush's Africa tour bound to fail -
analysts" the Bulawayo-based government-controlled
weekly "Sunday News" (07/06) carried the following
article by Herbert Zharare, Chief Reporter, on page
3:

"American President George W. Bush's visit to Africa
next week, during which he will arm-twist Zimbabwe's
neighbors to support a hostile Western campaign
against the country, will fail dismally and also
prove that the MDC leaders who are jostling to meet
with him are puppets of imperialism, analysts have
said. . .Political observers argued this week that
there is no doubt that Mr. Bush will dangle several
incentives to African countries, in a desperate bid
to force them to support his agenda of toppling the
elected government of Zimbabwe. . .Dr. (Tafataona)
Mahoso said African countries that allowed
themselves to be used by Mr. Bush to topple
President Mugabe were going to be haunted by the
aftermath of such an expedition.. . .Dr. William
Nhara, the head of a Harare-based regional political
think-tank, the Southern Africa Institute for
Democracy, told `Sunday News'. . .that the U. S.
President can go ahead with is visit to selected
African countries, but will achieve nothing. .
.Bulawayo-based political and social commentator Dr.
Lawton Hikwa concurred with Dr. Mahoso and Mr. Nhara
that Mr. Bush's visit. . .was part of the Western
campaign to effect so-called regime change in
Zimbabwe. . . ."

9. Under headline "'Bush's visit not critical': Africa
should not be intimidated, says President" the lead
story in the July 4 edition of the
government-controlled daily "The Herald" reads:

"Africa should not be intimidated when the U. S.
President George Bush visits the
continent. . .President Mugabe said (July 3). `When
Bush visits here, it should not send tremors to your
nerves,' he said while addressing the 54th Ordinary
Session of the ZANU PF Central Committee. `He is
coming to visit and he would not dare to try what he
did to Iraq. He knows the situation is different.
After all we do not have oil,' he said. . .Of late,
the U. S. ha renewed its onslaught against Zimbabwe
with President Bush, Secretary of State Mr. Colin
Powell and Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs Mr. Walter Kansteiner calling for President
Mugabe's exit from power. `We know that the Bush
administration and the Blair government are against
this country and its leadership. . .But their
conspiracies should never be allowed to succeed and
we are glad that Africans oppose that . . . .'"

10. While the rest of the government-controlled and
independent print media carried wire articles by
U. S.-based news agencies on President Bush's
remarks at the recent biennial meeting of the
Corporate Council on Africa, the July 3 edition of
the pro-government weekly "Business Tribune"
reproduced the full text of his speech on page 12,
under headline "Bush sets agenda for Africa tour:
Remarks by U. S. President to the Corporate Council
on U. S. (sic) - Africa Business Summit."

SULLIVAN

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