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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.

101219Z Jul 03

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001408

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 REACTION PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO AFRICA;
HARARE


1. President George W. Bush's remarks on the challenges
facing Zimbabwe during a joint news conference with
his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki, in
Pretoria made the top story during the state-run
radio and television, ZBC/TV, news programs
broadcast on July 9 at 2000 hours. The reporter
aired sound bites from the two Presidents that
centered on their shared position on how the
political, economic and social turbulence in
Zimbabwe could be resolved. This news clip was
followed by another clip about an anti-Bush protest
that declared him a dangerous warmonger. However,
the station remained tight-lipped about another
demonstration by about 100 supporters of the
Movement for Democratic Change that waved placards,
outside the U. S. Embassy in Pretoria, praising Bush
for taking a tough line on Robert Mugabe.

2. Armed with the same story and a statement from
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo's office, the
July 10 editions of the two government-controlled
dailies - "The Herald" and "Chronicle" - smiled all
the way to the printers to run the following
articles:

"Under headline "Bush shocks MDC" the "Herald"
(07/10) carried the following articles under sub-
headlines:

"U. S. President agrees with Mbeki on Zim" Itayi
Musengeyi in Pretoria, South Africa reports:

"United States President George Bush has snubbed an
MDC petition calling South African President Thabo
Mbeki a `dishonest broker' and urging the American
Government to effect a `regime change' in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at a Press conference after meeting
President Mbeki in Pretoria yesterday, the American
President said he was of `one mind' with his South
African counterpart's approach to the Zimbabwean
situation. . .Mr. Bush told reporters that he did
not doubt the South African leader's capabilities as
a mediator and that America supported him all the
way. In an apparent climb-down from recent
pronouncements that the U. S. would ask South Africa
to pressure Zimbabwe to hold fresh presidential
elections, Mr. Bush said he was convinced President
Mbeki was working hard to help Harare resolve its
problems. The U. S. leader also said Mr. Mbeki was
an honest broker on the Zimbabwean issue. . ."

Under headline "Opposition party's antics laughable
and childish" the "Herald" (07/10) carried the
following article on page one:

"The British-sponsored MDC's predictable antics
meant to catch the eye of U. S. President George W.
Bush are vain, laughable and childish and can only
confirm the MDC's infamous status as a puppet
organization set up to protect and advance white
interests, the Department of Information and
Publicity in the President's Office said in a
statement yesterday. `No amount of falsehoods or
sonorous verbiage can take away the fundamental
truth that Zimbabwe today is a victim of her quest
for genuine independence, democratic and full
sovereign right over her resources, principally
land. Everything else is extraneous. . .' The
department said President Bush's fleeting and
perfunctory reference to Zimbabwe at his Press
Conference is a loud climb-down by a President all
along misled, but who now leaves the region better
enlightened about issues at stake. . .'The U. S. has
also had to accept that Zimbabwe savors full and
untrammeled sovereignty and thus will not accept
false and synthetic solutions from outsiders however
powerful. The long and bloody years of independence
struggle against white settler occupation have given
this region a unique political trait which Bush
cannot ignore, let alone contradict,' the statement
read. . . ."

3. While the government-controlled press was gleefully
reporting on the press conference, the independent
daily "The Daily News" (07/10) settled on amplifying
opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's message to
Presidents Bush and Mbeki. The paper carried the
story on page two under headline "Tsvangirai
welcomes U. S. commitment to end crisis." Excerpts:

"Opposition MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai
yesterday said he had welcomed commitment by
American President George Bush and his South African
counterpart Thabo Mbeki to seek an urgent end to
Zimbabwe's crisis but the opposition leader insisted
there was no dialogue yet between his party and the
ruling ZANU PF party as claimed by Mbeki. . .`We are
encouraged by the statements of President Thabo
Mbeki . . .and President George W. Bush. . .that
there has been a meeting of minds between the two
presidents on the Zimbabwe crisis. . . . '"

SULLIVAN

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