US embassy cable - 01HARARE1815

ANDREW YOUNG VISITS ZIMBABWE, DEFENDS PRESIDENT MUGABE'S LAND REFORM PROGRAM

Identifier: 01HARARE1815
Wikileaks: View 01HARARE1815 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2001-06-06 14:28:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL KPAO PGOV EAGR ZI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

061428Z Jun 01


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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9038
INFO NSC WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001815 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S (KRAFT, RENDER), AF/PD (COX, SANDERS), AF/RA, NSC FOR 
JENDAYI FRAZER 
LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY 
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/11 
TAGS: PREL, KPAO, PGOV, EAGR, ZI 
SUBJECT: ANDREW YOUNG VISITS ZIMBABWE, DEFENDS PRESIDENT MUGABE'S 
LAND REFORM PROGRAM 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING. REASONS: 1.5(B) AND (D) 
 
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1.  (U) FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS ANDREW YOUNG PAID A 
BRIEF VISIT TO  ZIMBABWE JUNE 4-6, 2001, MEETING WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE 
AND GOVERNMENT MINISTERS ON JUNE 5. AFTER MEETING PRESIDENT MUGABE, 
FORMER AMBASSADOR YOUNG GRANTED A LENGTHY INTERVIEW TO THE GOVERNMENT- 
CONTROLLED ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION (ZBC). EXCERPTS OF THAT 
INTERVIEW RECEIVED PROMINENT PLAY ON ZBC'S PRIME TIME EVENING 
TELEVISION NEWS PROGRAM ON JUNE 5.  ZBC RADIO ALSO CARRIED REPORTS OF 
FORMER AMBASSADOR YOUNG'S COMMENTS, AND THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY 
 
"THE HERALD" GAVE THE STORY FRONT-PAGE PLAY. INDEPENDENT DAILY "THE 
DAILY NEWS" RAN THE STORY ON PAGE 2. 
 
2. (U) THE GIST OF YOUNG'S COMMENTS TO THE MEDIA WAS THAT PRESIDENT 
MUGABE WAS DOING A GOOD JOB OF MANAGING AN INITIATIVE (THE LAND REFORM 
PROGRAM) TO CORRECT HISTORIC INJUSTICES. YOUNG SAID THAT, "PRESIDENT 
MUGABE IS DOING A MUCH BETTER JOB HERE THAN THE BRITISH ARE DOING IN 
MANAGING IRELAND" (SIC). YOUNG SET OUT THE HISTORICAL REASONS FOR 
ZIMBABWE'S SITUATION BY SAYING THAT GOVERNMENTS OF GREAT BRITAIN AND 
THE UNITED STATES HAD FAILED TO LIVE UP TO COMMITMENTS TO SUPPORT LAND 
REFORM IN ZIMBABWE MADE DURING THE LANCASTER HOUSE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS 
IN 1979. 
 
3.  (U) YOUNG SAID THAT ZIMBABWE WAS BEING UNFAIRLY VICTIMIZED BY 
"PROPAGANDA AGAINST THE COUNTRY." HE ALSO SAID THAT "MUGABE'S CRITICS 
ACT AS IF MUGABE HAS NOT BEEN ELECTED AND THEY FORGET THAT WHO RULES 
THE COUNTRY IS THE PREROGATIVE OF ZIMBABWEANS - AFTER ALL, MUGABE HAS A 
 
BETTER MANDATE THAN PRESIDENT BUSH." YOUNG CALLED ON THE WORLD TO "TAKE 
 
A HARD LOOK AT ZIMBABWE AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION BETTER." 
SPEAKING ABOUT RECENT POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN ZIMBABWE, YOUNG SAID THAT 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  01815  061504Z 
IT WAS MINIMAL COMPARED TO THE VIOLENCE CURRENTLY AFFECTING THE MIDDLE 
EAST. 
 
4. (U) YOUNG ALSO SPOKE ABOUT THE MORALITY OF THE LAND ISSUE IN 
ZIMBABWE. HE SAID IT WAS NOT MORALLY JUSTIFIABLE FOR 1 PERCENT OF THE 
POPULATION TO OWN 70 PERCENT OF THE LAND. "A LOT OF THE WHITE FOLKS 
HERE WILL GO TO HELL FOR THEIR LACK OF MORAL JUSTIFICATION ON THE LAND 
ISSUE," YOUNG SAID. 
 
5. (C) COMMENT: FORMER AMBASSADOR YOUNG HAS A LONG ASSOCIATION WITH 
PRESIDENT MUGABE AND IS WELL KNOWN IN ZIMBABWE. IN ADDITION TO HIS TIME 
 
AS U.S. PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UN, YOUNG IS ALSO KNOWN LOCALLY 
 
AS THE LONG-TIME MAYOR OF ATLANTA AND ONE OF THE KEY MEMBERS OF THE 
ATLANTA OLYMPIC COMMITTEE. THE GENERAL PERCEPTION OF YOUNG IS THAT, 
ALTHOUGH HE NO LONGER HOLDS PUBLIC OFFICE, HE STILL HAS SIGNIFICANT 
POLITICAL AND SOCIAL INFLUENCE IN THE GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS AND THE 
MEDIA. YOUNG'S MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT MUGABE'S LAND REFORM 
EFFORT WAS CERTAINLY APPRECIATED WITHIN THE RULING PARTY. OTHER SECTORS 
 
OF ZIMBABWEAN SOCIETY MAY BE PUZZLED THAT YOUNG SEEMED UNAWARE OF THE 
BREAKDOWN OF THE RULE OF LAW IN ZIMBABWE, OR OF ASSAULTS ON THE MEDIA, 
THE JUDICIARY AND OPPOSITION POLITICAL ACTIVISTS. AFTER THE NEWS 
BROADCAST, OPPOSITION POLITICIANS CALLED EMBASSY OFFICERS TO EXPRESS 
THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUNG'S REMARKS. THEY WERE ASSURED THAT YOUNG HAD 
EXPRESSED HIS PERSONAL VIEWS, WHICH IN NO WAY REFLECTED THE POSITION OF 
 
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT. END COMMENT 
 
IRVING 
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