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.

090911Z Jul 03




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. President George W. Bush's visit to Africa continues
to make headlines in the local print and electronic media.
While the independent press is casting the visit in
positive light, the government-controlled print and
electronic media is denouncing the whistle stop tour of
Africa as inconsequential. The government-controlled daily
"The Herald" and the state-run radio and television
station, ZTV, have dispatched reporters to cover President
Bush's visit to South Africa. The July 8 main news
bulletin at 2000 hours on ZTV One made the Bush visit its
top story. The story included a live telephone interview
with the organization's Chief Reporter Reuben Barwe in
Pretoria, who gave a brief synopsis of President Bush's
visit to South Africa. Barwe's interview was followed by
another live studio interview with a political analyst,
William Nhara, who said President Bush "is welcome" for as
long as he is here "to strengthening existing economic
ties" and "does not meddle in the internal affairs of other
countries." Since yesterday, President Bush's visit is
dominating news bulletins on all the four radio stations
broadcast in English and the two major indigenous languages
- Shona and Ndebele.

2. The lead stories in the July 9 editions of the
government-controlled daily "The Herald" and the
independent daily "The Daily News" focus on
President Bush's visit to South Africa. Article
excerpts follow:

Under headline "Uproar over Bush's visit" the
"Herald" carried the following stories under sub-
headline: "Mbeki imperialist says MDC":

"In a desperate attempt to attract international
attention to coincide with U. S. President George W.
Bush's visit to Africa, MDC supporters yesterday
held an illegal demonstration in Harare denouncing
South African President Thabo Mbeki as an
imperialist. . .About 30 MDC demonstrators handed
over a petition to the U. S. Embassy in Harare. The
petition labels Mr. Mbeki an `imperialist' who wants
to see Zimbabwe `perpetually weak so as not to pose
a threat to his own country.' They ran and chanted
along the streets carrying placards reading `Mugabe
step down' and `We want a transitional government
now.' `President Mbeki has indeed lost the moral
authority to mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis,' read
part of the petition. Zimbabwe cannot continue to
suffer because of President Mbeki's imperialist
ambitions. . . .'"

Under the sub-headline "U. S. demands on Zim
impossible - media" the "Herald" carried the
following article by Itayi Musengeyi in Pretoria,
South Africa:

"U. S. President George W. Bush was due to arrive
here late last night, amid South African media
reports that Pretoria would tell him that his
demands on Zimbabwe are impossible. Speculation was
rife in the media that Zimbabwe would feature in
talks between Mr. Bush and his SA counterpart
President Thabo Mbeki following recent
pronouncements by Washington that Harare should hold
fresh Presidential elections. . . ." The article
then proceeded to quote press reports from several
Johannesburg-based newspapers and radio stations.

3. Under headline "Anti-Mbeki demo foiled" the
independent daily "The Daily News" (07/09) carried the
following lead story by Angela Makamure:

"Several people were assaulted in Harare yesterday
and two arrested when riot police put down a
demonstration against South African President Thabo
Mbeki and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on the
eve of a visit to Pretoria by U. S. leader George W.
Bush. Demonstrators numbering about 3,000 marched
through the streets of the capital city's central
business district, carrying placards denouncing
Mbeki's policy pf `quiet diplomacy' on the crisis in
Zimbabwe. . . ."

4. Post will fax the full text of the articles ASAP.


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