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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE343
2001-01-17 15:10:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

ZIMBABWE VIEW ON KABILA'S APPARENT

Tags:  PREL PGOV MOPS ZI CG 
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O 171510Z JAN 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8016
INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RWANDA COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000343 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

USUN FOR HOLBROOKE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/01
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS ZI CG
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE VIEW ON KABILA'S APPARENT
ASSASSINATION

REF: SECSTATE 08596

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR
REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).



1. (C) CHARGE D'AFFAIRES, ACCOMPANIED BY POLOFF,
DELIVERED REFTEL TALKING POINTS TO THE ACTING PERMSEC IN
ZIMBABWE'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DR. NGONI
CHIDEYA THE AFTERNOON OF JANUARY 17. THE CHARGE PRESSED
OUR DESIRE FOR THE ADHERENCE TO THE LUSAKA AGREEMENT IN
THE WAKE OF THE APPARENT ASSASSINATION OF DRC PRESIDENT
KABILA AND THAT NO BELLIGERENT ATTEMPT TO TAKE MILITARY
ADVANTAGE OF THE CONFUSED SITUATION. DR. CHIDEYA
REITERATED ZIMBABWE'S POSITION THAT IT WANTS TO SEE ALL
PARTIES ABIDE BY THE PRINCIPLES OF THE LUSAKA ACCORDS.



2. (C) TURNING TO THE ASSASSINATION, CHIDEYA STATED
THAT, ACCORDING TO THE VERSION OF EVENTS HE HAS HEARD,
KABILA WAS MEETING WITH HIS FINANCE MINISTER AROUND
2:30PM JANUARY 16 WHEN A "LIEUTENANT" MARCHED INTO THE
ROOM AND SHOT KABILA THREE TIMES AT POINT-BLANK RANGE.
THE ASSAILANT ATTEMPTED TO ESCAPE THROUGH A WINDOW, BUT
KABILA'S BODYGUARDS STORMED IN AND FATALLY SHOT THE
ASSASSIN. KABILA WAS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL, WHERE HE DIED
LATER THAT DAY. ONCE IT BECAME KNOWN KABILA WAS DEAD,
HIS CABINET MET TO APPOINT A TWO-MAN "PRESIDENTIAL
COMMITTEE" TO RUN THE COUNTRY, ACCORDING TO CHIDEYA.
THE COMMITTEE CONSISTS OF INTERIOR MINISTER GAETAN
KAKUDJI AND JUSTICE MINISTER MWENZE KONGOLO.



3. (C) CHIDEYA REPORTED THAT PRESIDENT MUGABE IS
CUTTING SHORT HIS ATTENDANCE AT THE FRANCO-AFRICAN
SUMMIT IN YAOUNDE TO RETURN TODAY TO HARARE TO DEAL WITH
THE DRC CRISIS. BEFORE LEAVING YAOUNDE, MUGABE MET WITH
NAMIBIAN PRESIDENT SAM NUJOMA AND BOTH AGREED TO A MORE
SUBSTANTIVE MEETING BETWEEN KABILA'S ALLIES. THE
MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE "VERY SOON," ACCORDING TO
CHIDEYA. THE GOZ IS LIKELY TO ISSUE A STATEMENT ON THE
ASSASSINATION TOMORROW MORNING (JANUARY 18), CHIDEYA
CONTINUED. HE AFFIRMED THAT KABILA'S BODY HAS BEEN
BROUGHT TO HARARE FOR AN AUTOPOSY AND EMBALMING. IN A
SEPARATE CONVERSATION WITH POLOFF, THE MFA'S DRC DESK
OFFICER, MAXWELL CHIKOROWONDO, REPORTED THAT, TO HIS
KNOWLEDGE, THE MEETING BETWEEN THE DRC ALLIES HAD NOT
YET BEEN ARRANGED, BUT PROBABLY WOULD BE ONCE MUGABE
RETURNED TO HARARE. CHIKOROWONDO FLATLY DENIED RUMORS
THAT ZIMBABWE IS SENDING MORE TROOPS TO KINSHASA TO
STABILIZE THE SITUATION THERE.



4. (C) THE DRC DESK OFFICER STATED THAT KABILA'S
CABINET IS IN CHARGE OF THE CONGOLESE GOVERNMENT, AND
THAT KABILA'S CHIEF OF STAFF, BRIGADIER COLONEL KAPENDE,
IS NOT DIRECTING ANYTHING, BUT IS MERELY ACTING AS
SPOKESMAN FOR THE MILITARY. IF KAPENDE HAD BEEN BEHIND
THE ASSASSINATION, HE WOULD HAVE SURELY ANNOUNCED HIS
INTENTION TO TAKE OVER BY NOW, CHIKOROWONDO OPINED.
WHEN ASKED ABOUT POTENTIAL SUCCESSORS, HE STATED THAT NO
ONE REALLY STANDS OUT. INTERIOR MINISTER KAKUDJI WAS
TOO CLOSE TO KABILA, HAS NO SUPPORT, AND IS TOO DESPISED
TO PRESENT HIMSELF AS A CREDIBLE, LONG-TERM SUCCESSOR TO
KABILA, THE DESK OFFICER OFFERED.



5. (C) COMMENT: CHIDEYA'S COMMENTS PROVIDE THE FIRST
OFFICIAL ZIMBABWEAN CONFIRMATION THAT KABILA IS, IN
FACT, DEAD AND THAT HIS BODY IS IN HARARE. WE ARE
INCLINED TO BELIEVE A VERSION OF EVENTS, REPORTED IN THE
PRESS AND ATTRIBUTED TO DEFENSE MINISTER MOVEN MAHACHI,
THAT KABILA DIED ON THE PLANE TO HARARE BECAUSE SHIPPING
A BODY HERE MAKES LITTLE SENSE. THE GOZ, PARTICULARLY
THE MFA, HAS BEEN IN SOME DISARRAY WITH MUGABE AND MOST
SENIOR MFA OFFICIALS OUT OF THE COUNTRY. WE SHOULD BE
ABLE TO ASCERTAIN THE GOZ'S OFFICIAL STANCE AND ITS
INTENTIONS AFTER PRESIDENT MUGABE RETURNS TO HARARE, AS
SENIOR GOZ OFFICIALS APPEAR TO BE AWAITING THE
PRESIDENT'S DECISIONS ON NEXT STEPS. END COMMENT.

IRVING