Cablegate: Text of Letter From Zimbabwe Opposition Leader To

Published: Wed 19 Jun 2002 02:43 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Text of Letter from Zimbabwe Opposition Leader to
President Bush
REF: Fax to AF/S
Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.
Not for Internet posting.
1. (SBU) On June 19, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) delivered to all G-8 embassies in Harare a
letter from its president, Morgan Tsvangirai, to their
respective heads of government. Below is the verbatim text
of the letter addressed to President Bush. A copy of the
original is being faxed to AF/S (ref).
2. (SBU) Begin Text:
Mr. George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you on the eve of the historic Group of 8 Most
Industralised Countries/New Partnership for African
Development (G8/NEPAD) summit in Canada. I would have
welcomed an opportunity for direct consultations with you on
various matters of mutual interest, but as you may be aware,
I am currently prohibited to travel outside Zimbabwe.
Over the past forty years or more, the story of Africa has
been one of utmost dejection, hopelessness and despair, with
grinding poverty seemingly defeating all possibilities for
relief and redress. Tragically, the African experience is
replete with elaborate development strategies, programmes of
action etc., but all followed by a dismal record of inaction
and painful failure. Lack of capacity, lack of political
will, lack of resources, endemic corruption and bad
governance accounted for this routine and systematic
failure. The cost, in terms of missed opportunities and
indeed human life has been astronomical.
However, a fortuitous convergence of circumstances, both
within and outside the continent seems to have, at long
last, created a rare, unprecedented and unique opportunity
for a serious search for renewal, for a new beginning.
NEPAD brings a message of hope to the African continent. In
the words of one of the greatest statesman of the twentieth
century, albeit, in a slightly different context, for us
NEPAD, if successfully implemented represents a vast
cooperative effort, unparalleled in magnitude and nobility
of purpose to satisfy the burning needs of the African
people for economic progress, freedom from hunger and
disease, from dictatorship and despair. It will stand tall
as a shining tribute to the power of the creative energies
of free men and women - an example to the entire world that
liberty and progress can walk hand in hand. It will
engender a new spirit of enterprise that will create a brave
new continent where poverty, disease and ignorance will have
no place. NEPAD must not be allowed to remain at the level
of appearances and unfulfilled hopes and promises.
It is in this context that we in the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) welcome the NEPAD initiative. Here in
Zimbabwe, in our own small-localized way, we have been
struggling, against perilous odds, guided by the ideals of
good governance, democracy, human rights, the rule of law
and sustainable economic management and development. The
same ideals that are enshrined in, and underpin NEPAD.
You will no doubt, agree with us, that is spite of the
generally hostile political terrain, the culture of
democratic governance is taking root in a number of African
countries, with brave voices of agony being heard across the
globe from a people who refuse to continue to succumb to
dictatorship and decay. We believe that NEPAD should play a
critical role in strengthening these desperate voices.
NEPAD should ensure that disease, poverty and ignorance
would provide neither a breeding ground for, nor offer
opportunities for regression into autocratic forms of
governance and economic decay.
However, we equally and strongly believe that Africa cannot
meaningfully engage the international community without
first tackling problems that threaten both regional and
continental security and political stability. There is or
ought to be a direct linkage. The litmus test lies in
Africans ending rhetoric and taking tangible action to help
resolve thorny issues in accordance with standards of
conduct and performance that they have set for themselves.
They should be judged by the standards that they have
voluntary designed and accepted. NEPAD provides such a set
of standards.
ZANU PF and the Mugabe regime are intensifying a programme
of systematic violence to punish the MDC and civic
organisations and compel them to accept the results of the
March 2002 fraudulent presidential poll results. All the
material facts on the ground in Zimbabwe today indicate that
the Mugabe regime is putting finishing touches to
preparations for a stage-managed serious domestic conflict
that would see the death of thousands of innocent civilians.
We in the MDC stand ready for constructive dialogue that
would lead to a peaceful resolution of the crisis facing our
country today, but Mugabe and his associates are bent on a
destructive path that can only degenerate into a serious
internal conflict verging on civil war. As Mugabe totters
towards the sunset of his biological and political life, he
seems determined to take Zimbabwe down with him.
Zimbabwe remains NEPAD's biggest challenge. It will test
the sincerity and commitment of Africa's leaders to the
concept of "peer review". It is tragically nave in the
extreme to expect dictators to reform and change out of
"self-interest" alone as alluded to by the President of
South Africa. If this were the case, there would have been
no Zimbabwe crisis since self-interest would have impelled
Mugabe to disembark from his ruinous course of action. Peer
pressure must translate into a real cost for the maintenance
of autocratic forms of government. It must be seen to real
and effective. Dictators such as Robert Mugabe do not care
about the general welfare of those that they rule and
oppress. Instead, an impoverished and hopeless people
precisely offer the kind of environment in which dictators
like Robert Mugabe thrive. That is the real "self-interest"
of Robert Mugabe. He cannot be expected to reform himself
out of a dictatorship, which he deliberately constructed and
constantly nourishes.
In the context of SADC it appears that so far there has not
been any intention to take peer review seriously. As you
are aware, the SADC Parliamentary Forum produced the "Norms
and Standards for Elections in the SADC Region" which was
adopted by all SADC states, including Zimbabwe and South
Africa, (which is one of the key movers of NEPAD) in March
2001. None of the Election Observer Missions from the SADC
countries and Nigeria in particular and the African
continent in general adhered to these norms and standards in
their monitoring and evaluation of the Zimbabwe presidential
poll. The SADC Parliamentary Forum proceeded to use these
supposedly agreed standards to monitor the Zimbabwe
presidential polls in March 2002 and produced a damning
report on the Zimbabwe presidential poll, while country
Election Observer Missions produced ringing endorsements of
what was clearly a rigged and violent poll. It is poignant
to note that Election Observer Missions from South Africa
and Nigeria, whose presidents are positioning themselves as
some of the peer review leaders, either totally ignored or
were openly contemptuous of the SADC Parliamentary Norms and
Standards. This was a tragic failure to apply peer pressure
on the Mugabe regime to abandon a systematic programme of
violence in order to steal the presidential poll and we have
absolutely no confidence in the renewed claim by African
leaders that this time round, in the context of NEPAD peer
review and pressure would be effective. In the absence of
any redeeming action on the part of South Africa and
Nigeria, it is difficult to regard this renewed commitment
to peer pressure as anything but a ruse to get NEPAD off the
launching pad. The leaders of South Africa and Nigeria must
be honest with themselves, with Zimbabwe and with the
international commitment. If they are reluctant to apply
meaningful peer pressure on Mugabe, what guarantee does the
international community have that any other murderous
African dictator would be treated differently? Statesmen do
not say one thing and proceed to do something totally
We suggest that as a mark of seriousness and good faith,
South Africa and Nigeria, the two key players in NEPAD with
the most real leverage on Mugabe, should become more
assertive and encourage Mugabe to return to the negotiating
table. The G8 and other international friends and well
wishers of Zimbabwe can also offer an effective positive
hand. They should make it clear that the progress of NEPAD
would be problematic unless peer pressure on the Mugabe
regime is seen to be producing positive results.
NEPAD should not offer succor and comfort to dictatorial
regimes that are precisely the root cause of Africa's
present predicament. The present Government of Zimbabwe
constitutes a serious threat to the central tenets of NEPAD.
Peer pressure does not seem to have been applied seriously
on the Mugabe regime. Since 2001, many regional and
continental missions have been to Zimbabwe, but not one of
them has successfully pressurized Mugabe to abandon his
naked abuse of power and his total disregard and utter
contempt for internationally accepted norms of democracy and
good governance. Indeed some of these missions, such as the
SADC Ministerial Task Force, which met in Harare in
September 2001 openly, supported Mugabe's reckless and
violent ways. Periodic summits of the SADC Heads of State
have routinely delivered messages of support for Mugabe's
dictatorship; the present Chairman of SADC, Malawian
President Bakili Muluzi has announced his firm intention to
reverse the march and gains of democracy in his impoverished
and starving country; and Zambia's presidential poll result
remains controversial and contested. Clearly, by its own
record, SADC does not constitute a peer group that inspires
confidence. So far it does not have a demonstrable ability
and track record of monitoring democracy and good governance
in the region. SADC in general and South Africa in
particular must create a new set of bona fides to show that
they are a serious regional peer review group. Zimbabwe
must be a starting point.
I avail myself, Mr. President, this opportunity to renew the
assurances of my highest consideration.
I remain,
Yours sincerely,
Morgan Tsvangirai,
President Movement for Democratic Change
End Text.
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