WIKILEAKS ON ZIMBABWE - Tsvangirai, MDC Unfit To Lead, says US Amb. Dell

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WIKILEAKS ON ZIMBABWE - Tsvangirai, MDC Unfit To Lead, says US Amb. Dell

The Wikileaks documents show what has already been expected by close observers but has of course been denied through the 'Mugabe Must Go' rhetoric that passes for newsreporting in the mainstream press. Ambassador Christopher Dell repeatedly refers to 'doing the hard things' - with which he means the economic destruction of the Zimbabwean economy through economic sanctions (see Section 4C of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Russ Feingold and Jesse Helms). ZDERA put the country on a credit freeze in late December 2001, and precipitated the economic collapse in 2002, two years after the start of land reform. The purpose of destroying the economy was to make the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans so miserable that they would vote for the MDC (sound familiar?). On the wikileaks documents:

MDC-T leaders are weak and ineffectual: former Ambassador Dell
By: Our reporter
Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010 11:44 am

PRIME MINISTER Morgan Tsvangirai is a weak leader who cannot be relied upon to lead a country like Zimbabwe, according to former United States ambassador Christopher Dell.

The shocking revelation was revealed in a leak of three million secret American diplomatic missives obtained by the website WikiLeaks.

"Tsvangirai is ... a flawed figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgement in selecting those around him," wrote former Ambassador Dell in his 2007 cable from the US embassy in Zimbabwe.

The Cable titled "The End is Nigh" sheds light on the U.S. regime change strategy in Zimbabwe, and its hand in the harmonised elections of 2008.

His advice to the U.S. State Department at the time was: "Stay the course and prepare for change in Zimbabwe".

"Our policy is working and it's helping to drive change here. What is required is simply the grit, determination and focus to see this through. Then, when the changes finally come we must be ready to move quickly to help consolidate the new dispensation."

After considering various regime change scenarios, Mr Dell's cables revealed that fuel and food shortages were to be used as a tool for regime change.

Fuel and food shortages prompted Mr Dell to say "for the first time the president is under intensifying pressure simultaneously on the economic, political and international fronts" and that President Mugabe was "running out of options."

He said it was up to the U.S. "once again, to take the lead, to say and do the hard things."

The MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, repeated the same call for international supervision during his campaign in 2007-8.

The MDC-T Secretary General, Tendai Biti was to declare after the elections of 2008 that: "Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is the new President of the Republic of Zimbabwe".

This pre-empted an announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of the official election results showing that none of the presidential candidates had secured the 50 plus one majority required to form a government, prompting a run-off presidential election.

It has also become clear that the US did not think Mr Tsvangirai would deliver regime change easily; preferring to use former South African President Thabo Mbeki to that end, even though they viewed him as a close ally of President Mugabe.

The US miscalculated Cde Mbeki's role within the regional Sadc setting.

"The Mbeki mediation offers the best, albeit very slim, hope of getting there" wrote Mr Dell in one of the cables.

The US was also not supportive of the inter-party talks that were going on in Zimbabwe at the time and the inclusive Government that was to emerge from those talks, preferring Mr Tsvangirai to take over power although they largely viewed him as a weak and ineffectual leader.

Mr Dell did not believe there were opposition politicians with leadership qualities to take over from President Mugabe.

He called the MDC "far from ideal" and was "convinced that had we [the U.S.] had different partners, we could have achieved more already."

He said the MDC-T leadership would "require massive hand-holding and assistance should they ever come to power."

"Less attractive is the idea of a South African-brokered transitional arrangement or government of national unity.

"He (Mr Tsvangirai) is the indispensable element for (regime change), but possibly an albatross around their necks once in power.

"In short, he is a kind of Lech Walensa character: Zimbabwe needs him, but should not rely on his executive abilities to lead the country's recovery."

Wa?e;sa is a former Polish president and trade-unionist, who offered to collect this year's Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Mr Tsvangirai was a close "ally" of the U.S. ambassador during his tenure in the country, so this revelation will come as a shock to him and his MDC-T party.

It also gives credence to President Mugabe's statements at the time where he labelled the MDC-T as an unwitting puppet of the West, and its regime change agenda.

The former ambassador was critical of the MDC as a whole, describing the 2005 split in that party as "a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound".

He said MDC Secretary General, Professor Welshman Ncube had "proven to be a deeply divisive and destructive player in the opposition ranks.

"The sooner he is pushed off the stage, the better," Mr Dell wrote in one of the cables sent to Washington at the time of his tenure.

The US diplomat was also very critical of MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti and Spokesman Nelson Chamisa whom he said were "thin below the top ranks" of opposition politics adding that the "The great saving grace of the opposition is likely to be found in the diaspora."

He also described MDC leader Arthur Mutambara as a "light-weight".

"Arthur Mutambara is young and ambitious, attracted to radical, anti-western rhetoric and smart as a whip," Mr Dell wrote.

"But, in many respects he's a light-weight who has spent too much time reading U.S. campaign messaging manuals and too little thinking about the real issues."

He dismissed Britain as "ham-strung by its colonial past and domestic politics", adding: "Letting them set the pace alone merely limits our effectiveness."

The EU, he said, is "divided between the hard north and its soft southern underbelly".

He added: "The Africans are only now beginning to find their voice. Rock solid partners like Australia don’t pack enough punch to step out front and the UN is a non-player. Thus it falls to the United States, once again, to take the lead, to say and do the hard things and to set the agenda."

Mandela, No Darling of The West

Wikileaks also revealed that South African President, Nelson Mandela was not a darling of the West, as the media had portrayed him.

Mr Mandela remained on the US terrorist list until July 2008 when former President George W. Bush, signed a law to remove him.

He and other members of the African National Congress had been on the list because of their fight against South Africa's Apartheid regime, which gave way to majority rule in 1994.

The revelation shows that Mr Mandela and other leaders who are traditionally regarded as America's allies for example, Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, are not held in any higher regard in the U.S. than President Robert Mugabe or Libyan leader Colonnel Gaddafi, who are also named in the cable leaks.

Wikileaks exposes MDC-T puppetry
By: Comment
Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010 3:42 pm

SECRET documents released by whistle blowing website, Wikileaks on Monday show MDC-T as an unwitting puppet in the U.S. plan for regime change in Zimbabwe, a charge President Mugabe has been making for the better part of the last decade.

Thousand of leaked documents put American diplomats at risk of being labelled merely intelligence operatives, rather than envoys for their country.

A leaked cable sent to Washington by Christopher W. Dell, former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, also directed to USAID, selected U.S. embassies in African countries, NGOs like USAID, military centres in Europe, among other agencies reveals the U.S. foreign policy plan and the MDC's role in that plan.

The cable was also sent to Dan Mozena, then Director of Southern African Affairs at the U.S. State Department. This is not surprising. During a 23 March 2007 Congressional Briefing on Zimbabwe, Dan Mozena and Donald Payne (Democrat), House of Representatives Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations, revealed continuing U.S. Government funding for the MDC factions, Lovemore Madhuku's National Constitutional Assembly, civil society organisations, NGOs and the Voice of America Studio 7 Project through USAID and the US Embassy in Zimbabwe.

They also disclosed ongoing efforts with a number of other African leaders and to co-ordinate efforts with the United Kingdom, European Union, United Nations, African Union, and Sadc to ensure that regime change was achieved in Zimbabwe sooner rather than later.
Article continues below

Dell's leaked classified cable was an important and sensitive document which revealed and confirmed Zimbabwe government's earlier regime change accusations.

It was sent to American embassies in Abuja (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Dakar (Senegal), Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya). They were also sent to embassies in Canberra (Australia) and France (Paris).

It was also sent to the United States European Command intelligence centre (USEUCOM) in Vaihingen, Germany; the National Security Council in Washington DC and to the American Joint Analysis Centre at Molesworth; the RAF Molesworth (a Royal Air Force station located near Molesworth) in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom and to the United States U.N. mission in New York.

The cable was a highly sensitive piece of information, and Mr Dell classified it under Section 1.4b/d of Executive Order 12958. So the matter is as sensitive as it can get.

The Senior African Director at the National Security Council works closely with the U.S. President. The NSC is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. This means that the Zimbabwean issue is dealt with at the highest level within the U.S. administration.

It seems that the embassies that received Dell's cable, represent countries that were sympathetic to the MDC-T. Between 2007-2008, the MDC-T embarked on a major offensive in the African region and in the West with Tsvangirai declaring that he wanted "to cut Mugabe’s umbilical cord with Africa."

He visited the countries quoted in Dell's leaked cable.

Tsvangirai himself, or senior MDC-T officials, visited all these countries in 2007-8.

The trip to Ghana was briefly interrupted as MDC-T founding Chairman, Isaac Matongo had died. Tsvangirai was to later visit that country in 2008, where he told a news conference in Accra that: "We believe the time has come for him (President Mugabe) to have an honourable exit," in line with U.S. foreign policy. He added: "We are calling ... on every head of state in Africa to stand in defence of the people of Zimbabwe."

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti held "consultative talks" with Kenya’s then new Prime Minister Raila Odinga on 21 July, 2008. Tsvangirai visited Uganda (21 November, 2007), Nigeria (21 April, 2010) where he met with then President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ghana (22 April, 2008), Senegal (31 July, 2008), etc.

These trips, however funded, seemed congruent with Dell's recipients of the leaked cable.

These revelations echoed similar pronouncements further afield in Europe made by Tony Blair, Lord Triesman and Sir Ian McCartney in the United Kingdom House of Commons between 12 and 26 March 2007, and the publication of a report of the International Crisis Group entitled 'Zimbabwe: An End to the Stalemate?'

The report marked the roots of Dell's regime change move and a full description of the "managed change" formula was contained in that ICG report of 6 March 2007.

The idea of taking Zimbabwe to the U.N. Security Council was hatched in the House of Lords, after this report was published, and Dell travelled to london to discuss the U.S.'s role in the post-Mugabe era. It seems there was a "final push" now being envisaged as "the end of Mugabe was nigh".

Dell and Lord Triesman spoke with the same voice during that period. Dell's idea was that the economy would eventually destroy President Mugabe and Lord Triesman retorted in the House of Lords: "I have also heard that Mugabe anticipates carrying on in power well beyond 2008. I do not know whether that will happen, because his economy has more or less imploded."

Lord Lea of Crondall second Lord Triesman's contention by declaring that Tsvangirai "is a former friend of ours, a trade union official and a great democrat".

The web was quite intricate.

Dell, in his communication, also reveals that he was working with Zanu-PF so-called "moderates" who had come together with the MDC to draft a "new constitution" as a basis for internationally supervised elections in 2010 - which would see Tsvangirai installed as president.

It has now emerged that the idea of an internationally supervised election was the work of Dell, who reported in the leaked cable that "The End is Nigh". It was not an MDC-T baby.

This also sheds light on the U.S. regime change strategy in Zimbabwe, and its possible hand in the harmonised elections of 2008.

In line with this design, the MDC formations were encouraged to unite behind the so-called "people-driven constitution" in an effort to postpone the harmonised elections from 2008 to 2010. Mr Tsvangirai failed to follow this U.S. plan as Sadc, through former South African President Thabo Mbeki, was pushing for a negotiated solution.

This led Dell to conclude that "Tsvangirai is ... a flawed figure, not readily open to advice, indecisive and with questionable judgement" in the 2007 cable to Washington.

It seems that Dell, at his departure, was quite sure that his regime change agenda had succeeded, and that, with the help of the donor community, especially USAID, change was in the offing.

He wrote: "Change is in the offing, we need to step up our preparations. The work done over the last year on transition planning has been extremely useful, both for stimulating a fresh look at our own assumptions and plans and for forging a common approach among the traditional donor community.

He makes an interesting revelation that was dismissed at the time – the revelation that NGOs were directly involved in regime change activities, in concert with the MDC-T.

Government briefly banned NGO work and asked all NGOs to re-register.

The MDC-T criticised government's move, but it is now clear that government was right in stating that NGOs were exceeding their mandate and meddling in internal politics.

Dell's leaked cable further reveals: "But the (regime change) process has lagged since the meetings in March in London and should be re-energized. It is encouraging in this respect that USAID Washington has engaged the Mission here in discussing how we would use additional resources in response to a genuinely reform-minded government."

He added: "I hope this will continue and the good work done so far will survive the usual bloodletting of the budget process."

While Dell admitted that African diplomacy was taking over the negotiating space, via mechanisms like Sadc, he however felt that the U.S. should lead the regime change process in Zimbabwe, citing countries like Australia and Britain and supragovernance structures like the E.U. and U.N. as failing to "pack enough punch".

This puts a stop to academic arguments that the U.S. was merely responding to a bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and its ally, Britain. The U.S., it can now be categorically stated, has its own interests in changing the government of Zimbabwe, divorced from the standoff between Zimbabwe and Britain. That means any negotiations on sanctions removal, e.g. the E.U.-Zimbabwe talks, are mere moot points unless they involve the U.S. as well.

Dell concluded: "The Africans are only now beginning to find their voice. Rock solid partners like Australia don't pack enough punch to step out front and the U.N. is a non-player. Thus it falls to the U.S., once again, to take the lead, to say and do the hard things and to set the agenda."

Unfortunately, the MDC-T is not mentioned in any of these structures. They are a mere conduit for the realisation of U.S. foreign policy objectives in Zimbabwe and the region, and are a dispensable lot in the Washington's eyes. The sooner they realise this, the better for everybody.

*Comments and suggestions: itayig ***

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