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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08LILONGWE220
2008-04-14 14:22:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

MALAWI - MUTHARIKA UNLIKELY TO PRESS MUGABE

Tags:   PREL  ZI  MI 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO7161
RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLG #0220 1051422
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141422Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5190
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 2579
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0985
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0255
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L LILONGWE 000220 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S - S. HILL, E. PELLETREAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2018
TAGS: PREL ZI MI
SUBJECT: MALAWI - MUTHARIKA UNLIKELY TO PRESS MUGABE

REF: A. LILONGWE 210


B. LILONGWE 194

Classified By: Political Officer John Letvin for Reasons 1.4 (b, d)



1. (C) Summary: While media and civil society in Malawi have
called for a quick release of Zimbabwean election results and
have speculated about a potential change in leadership, the
GOM has been largely silent on the subject. President
Mutharika publicly stated that he would only communicate his
opinions to the SADC troika, and that he believed the
Zimbabwean people would solve their own problems. In past
conversations with the Ambassador, Mutharika has bristled at
the topic of Zimbabwe. The British High Commission meanwhile
confirmed that Mutharika refused to speak with British
Secretary for State and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband

SIPDIS
twice last week concerning Zimbabwe. Despite attendance at
the SADC Summit in Lusaka last weekend, Mutharika is unlikely
to put pressure on Mugabe to step down. End Summary.



2. (SBU) Private media and civil society organizations in
Malawi have called for a quick release of Zimbabwe election
results, and some have even speculated about a potential
change of leadership. The GOM, however, has remained largely
silent on the matter, and state-owned broadcaster Malawi
Broadcasting Corporation has mainly reported Zimbabwean
government and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announcements
(ref A) on the subject. Mutharika has issued no statements,
and commented during a press conference that he would only
share his opinions on Zimbabwe with the SADC troika. He
further stated that the Zimbabwean people were capable of
solving their own problems.



3. (C) In past conversations with the Ambassador, Mutharika
has bristled at the topic of Zimbabwe, making it clear the
issue is not up for discussion. The British Deputy High
Commissioner in Malawi confided to emboff in mid-April that
UK Secretary for State and Commonwealth Affairs David
Miliband had attempted to speak with Mutharika on two
consecutive days last week about Zimbabwe but was told both
times that Mutharika was too busy to speak with him.
Mutharika agreed to attend the SADC Summit in Lusaka last
weekend but before departing made it clear he expected it to
only last for one day.



4. (C) Comment: Mutharika has strong ties to Zimbabwe. His
late wife was half-Zimbabwean and was raised in Zimbabwe, and
he owns substantial property, including a farm, in Zimbabwe.
Mutharika has shown a favorable attitude towards Mugabe since
coming into office, including hosting Mugabe for a state
visit in May 2006. As a president of a minority government
with elections only a year away, Mutharika will continue to
pay close attention to international reaction to the Zimbabwe
elections, but will not likely be convinced to join the
pressure on Mugabe to step down.
EASTHAM