Tea with Mugabe

2010-12-22 10:00

Johannesburg - Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe regards Thabo Mbeki as a “great man” and Jacob Zuma as a “man of the people who likes to make promises without necessarily knowing how to fulfil them”.

Details of a “surreal” three hour meeting in which an “alert, articulate” and “defiant” Mugabe expressed his views to US diplomats are contained in a classified US embassy cable leaked to whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

Read the full cable here.

The previously unreleased cable, obtained exclusively by Media24 Investigations, describes Mugabe as “possibly the healthiest 85-year-old in Zimbabwe”, “clearly stuck in the past” and “desperate to re-engage with the world and to be treated as an elder statesmen”.

Dated June 2 2009, and bearing the subject line: “Tea with Mugabe”, the confidential 16-page cable records a “marathon” meeting between Mugabe, Zimbabwean government officials, the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe - James McGee - and US Democratic Party congressman Donald Payne.

Questioned by McGee about Jacob Zuma's government, Mugabe “sighed that he didn't think (the ANC) treated Thabo well, particularly as he was in the midst of helping Zimbabwe”. While describing Mbeki as “judgemental and calculating and cautious with policies”, he said, “to us (Mbeki) is a great man”.

'Zuma will have to take from the whites'

According to the cable: Mugabe “noted that the South African people want to see their social needs attended to”.

“While Zuma has made promises, it remains to be seen if they will come true. Mugabe opined that in order to fulfil his campaign promises, Zuma will have to take from the haves – the whites – and give to the have-nots. The question, Mugabe believed, is if they (the whites) are willing to share their businesses with blacks.

He said it was "easier" in Zimbabwe where there are "not that many whites", but "South Africa has four million the Indians.”

Mugabe remarked that South Africa “truly is a rainbow nation”.

The meeting – which was conducted at Mugabe's official State House residence in Harare on 30 May last year was the first between US diplomats and Mugabe in over a year. Welcoming his guests he commented that “Zimbabwe hadn't had many visitors lately”.

'Victim of international abuse'

Then he launched into an “hour-long monologue” in which he painted himself “as the victim of international abuse and broken promises” and embarked on a “longwinded rehashing of Zimbabwe's history”.

He talked “non-stop...without so much as a sip of water or a clearing of the throat”, declaring at one point that “we want to engage with the world”.

Growing “increasingly adamant and agitated”, Mugabe asked: “In the context of all the countries in the world – are we really the worst?”

Discussing the country's mineral wealth and rich uranium deposits, Mugabe giggled and said “Zimbabwe doesn't intend to 'go nuclear' like some countries have done”.

Payne then “gently and masterfully praised Mugabe for his liberation credentials before confronting him about human rights abuses”.

Describing himself as having been a “fan” of Mugabe as a young man, Payne said he had followed the Zimbabwean president's “distinguished” career since its beginnings “but noted that he is now concerned about the things he reads”.

Payne said there was a stark "dichotomy between the compassionate statesman who fought for freedom...and the current government that now allows police to beat black women who dare protest”.

Did not confirm or deny abuses

According to the cable, “Mugabe sank into the couch and appeared expressionless and somewhat stunned.

“At the mention of police beating women, he responded with a puzzled look. "Which women? Where did they get them from?”

Mugabe “neither confirmed nor denied the abuses” but “responded well to Payne's gentle confrontation”.

Then he piped up: “Well, I think we deserve some tea.” A “white-gloved butler emerged and began the very formal process of serving tea”.

After the butler poured water over the guest's hands into a bowl and offered each guest a clean towel to dry their hands, the butler served tea, parmesan bread sticks, dinner rolls, sausage and a beef/onion dish.

Mugabe took his tea with milk and a few bread sticks but did not eat anything else.

Throughout the discussions, the Americans keenly studied Mugabe for signs of ill-health. But, while he “could not sit still” and “constantly pulled up his socks”, he “appeared to be a vigorous 85-year-old in superb health”.

  • Dog Poo - 2010-12-22 10:10

    A great man versus man of the people who likes to make promises without necessarily knowing how to fulfil them. That was a brilliant insight Mr Mugabe. Now you need to read what others think of you.

      Max - 2010-12-22 10:24

      To us the poor Africans, South Africa is better than during Mbeki's era, and much better before 1994. I dont about know about the people on the other side... Remember we, the poor African, do not need the 'nice' to have, we need the basics first.

      Zoolie - 2010-12-22 11:20

      @max and not delivering up to his promises gives you the basics....... yes i understand.

      The Spear - 2010-12-22 11:41

      Yes, Max, basics, like a computer with a Internet connection so that you can write on columns from the shack.

      Johnny - 2010-12-22 11:54

      @Max, ...the basics are easy to get... ...just steal them from the whites.......

      K-9-Commando - 2010-12-22 16:06

      @ Max, "poor" and "internet connection" does not go together, I have to use my works connection since I am unable to replace my broken PC at home, FYI I consider myself middle class. You certainly sound better off than I am.

      Lionel - 2010-12-23 07:09

      Yes Max, the basics like acquiring cars hy hijacking, breaking into houses and taking what you believe is rightfully yours, like may be the computer you now pocess which may be happens to be stolen and torturing and murdering a few people in the process. Oh and then the cash in transit heists, in order to acquire a few basic million or two. I thought basic needs where food, water, electricity, shelter, clothing, education, SAFETY & SECURITY (get it), for all the countries citizens.

  • Altus - 2010-12-22 10:10

    eish comrade!

  • Warren - 2010-12-22 10:12

    Mugabe only saw Thabo Mbeki as a 'great' man because Mbeki did Mugabe's bidding and appeased him whenever he could.

  • JudithNkwe - 2010-12-22 10:28

    An amazingly astutte politician - you have to give it to him

      Observer - 2010-12-22 11:30

      Isn't he just saying what we already know?

      Zion - 2010-12-22 16:53

      Yes, A despot, tyrant and aged thug too

  • gmck21 - 2010-12-22 10:35

    indians and whites will stick together if anything falls to turmoil in sa

      cervezab - 2010-12-22 11:41


      Rajty - 2010-12-22 11:42

      You wish pal- white guys are on their own, unless they choose to integrate.

      Japhta - 2010-12-22 13:48

      Ha ha ha

      pointblankza - 2010-12-22 13:50

      @Rajty, trust me mate the whites are intergrating better then the indians..

      KaiinSA - 2010-12-22 13:53

      Maar die hart van 'n Boer lê dieper en wyer, hulle gaan dit nog sien.

      lean - 2010-12-22 15:11

      I personally think Whites and Indians are integrating! If the savages start taking the businesses from White, Indian, Chinese it is going to be a War!!! Money makes all the rules...

      Zion - 2010-12-22 16:55

      Kaiing, meaning what?

      KaiinSA - 2010-12-22 17:59

      when the preverbial hits the fan in SA the Afrikaner will rise again from the ashes.

      Gundaan - 2010-12-22 18:26

      rajty , which fence are you sitting on ...!!??

      Bman_01 - 2010-12-23 08:32

      If the indians can supply their lovely curries and rotti's we will supply the rest :)

      Bobinator - 2010-12-23 10:01

      @Kaiin What planet are you living on? You sound as stuck in the past as Malema.

      Janine - 2010-12-23 10:03

      God help us all if the Afrikaner ever rises from the ashes - that's what got SA into such a mess in the first place.

  • Bismark22 - 2010-12-22 10:35

    Mugabe saw can't save Zimbabwe without the hands of whites and international money.

      KaiinSA - 2010-12-22 14:27

      I did have to giggle when he said that sanctions against Zimbabwe was treason. I guess he hasn't ever bothered to find out what treason is. The only people who can commit treason against Zimbabwe is it's own people not the whites in the west who he was aiming his speach at.

  • rainbowgir - 2010-12-22 10:48

    I love the very traditional colonial British tea served by the butler. Oh the irony!

      Stevie - 2010-12-22 14:08

      The anti-colonial rhetoric is only for his sycophantic followers that are hypnotised by nationalism. To everyone else, or at least those educated enough to see through the smoke and mirrors, he tries to appear civilised. Politicians are like chameleons - they adapt their colours to the environment as needed.

      ernest.ndaka - 2010-12-22 19:10

      But i thnk tht tea was planted in africa b4 they shipped in freezing england.

      cervezab - 2010-12-22 21:20

      @ernest - Tea is of Asian origins and planted all over the world, including England. The tradition of tea drinking was brought to Zim by English colonists, making Mugabe a hypocrite and therefor it is ironic, but your proof-less statement is moronic.

      Mark - 2010-12-23 05:57

      The Pig has truly become Mr. Jones, or Mr. Smith. Just a matter of perspective.

  • Chomp - 2010-12-22 10:50

    i too think that the indians wont allow their hard earned property to be taken by this socialist corrupt government and "unionists" as soon as malema starts doing what mugabe did 5-7 years ago, S.A. will start going the same route as zim, not quite as bad but very close. rather produce new wealth like the afrikaners after they got slaughtered by the english then take away and consume like some in anc wants to do

      Rajty - 2010-12-22 11:43

      Ja chomp...that tune is 100 years old.

      Stevie - 2010-12-22 14:12

      Please enlighten me - when did the Afrikaners get "slaughtered" by the English? (I think you mean the British, but ok, honest mistake)

      francoisengelbrecht1 - 2010-12-22 15:35

      @ Stevie - I'm enlightening you as requested. 27 000 Afrikaner women and children died of starvation, disease and exposure in British concentration camps between 1899-1902. Roughly 15 000 Africans also died in British concentration camps during the same time. These people were all civilians. I call that slaughter.

      veda2701 - 2010-12-23 10:02

      Francois, Srevie knows that - he just mentioned that it was not the English, (as we call English speaking South Africans) but the British....

  • trippingrift - 2010-12-22 11:12

    “constantly pulled up his socks” sounds like OCD to me.... probably a bit of Schizophrenia thrown in there as well

      cervezab - 2010-12-22 11:42

      or skinny leg syndrome

      troglodiet - 2010-12-22 19:00

      It's supposed to be CDO - same as yours but in alphabetical sequence like it flippen should be :p

  • FatBoySlim - 2010-12-22 11:38

    “In the context of all the countries in the world – are we really the worst?” - FAAARK YES

  • H Lategan - 2010-12-22 11:44

    Yes, the pulling up of the socks is good old OCD, I think thrown in with a healthy dose of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, perhaps even Borderline and Dissociative Disorders. One thing is certain, he has severe cognitive distortions and damage. No hope for him. Anti-psychotics, mood stabilisers, none of these will work. Poor Zimbabweans, too meek and pathetic to overthrow the psychotic clown. The price to pay will be hunger. Herman Lategan, Sea Point.

      hitler_amin - 2010-12-23 01:01

      Overthrowing him means civil war, and that lasts for generations with the end result being meaningless. Zimbabweans want to engage with the world in future and a war will not help in this regard. It's easy to shout overthrow but really, smart fingures did u even think of the remifications of that?????

      croix - 2010-12-23 08:49

      @hitler_amin - The 'ramifications' of 'no overthrow' seem to be worse? OK, so WHAT do you suggest the ordinary Zimbabweans do to rid themselves of the "SCOURGE OF ZIMBABWE"?? Even with the help of the West, it will take YEARS to start seeing an improvement in the lives of ordinary citizens. Let me assure you : If I was a citizen of Zim (opposed to the Mugg-Ape) I would have not stood idly by while my fellow citizens and family were beaten, raped and worse! There would have been a revolt for SURE! So either way, it would take a 'while', but IT WOULD CHANGE FOR DAMN SURE.

  • Saambou - 2010-12-22 12:04

    I am waiting for the cables with rasists remarks by our ANC, just like how mugabe did here. Yes 4 million and the indians, and dont forget the coloureds now. Yea that would worry me if I was one of THEM too.

  • lordwabbitspam - 2010-12-22 13:10

    Give a man a fish, and he will eat for one day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for life. Simply taking from a small minority and giving it to the majority will not help anyone. "When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for...that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation." To quote Dr. Adrian Rogers. What would make it worse in this country is that you would be taking from about 30% of the people and dividing it amongst the other 70%. Are they going to take from the black haves as well? Gonna share out some or YOUR money Zuma and stop flying around the world and actual be a president? Didn't think so.

      pointblankza - 2010-12-22 13:55

      This is the problem, there are only 4-5 million whites of which only half of that actually works and owns property. So, if you take away from the whites you only giving to 4 -5 million blacks, of which only half of that will find work or own property. That leaves us with 40 million blacks. Now considering that the black middle class outnumber the entire white population I wonder if they too will have their property taken and halved? You can come take everything I own, a house, a car and a job... wow, that should uplift everyone right? Now, which of the 40 odd million get it?

      louie - 2010-12-22 13:59

      I agree. Have been living in NZ for eight years and have just noticed steady decline of the state of infrastrucure, politics, control and increases in crime, murders, corruption. Open your eyes. The "black man" has been riding on the back of the "white man" since 1652. Were it not for us "whites" Malema wont have a BMW (germany, made by whites) driving on roads (designed by whites), living in a house made by bricks (not sticks and straw). Even the bloddy "wheel" eluded the entire african continent. Now you are trying to run a country... oh dear boys, you have bitten off more than what you can chew. Clean your house, its a mess.

      pointblankza - 2010-12-23 09:14

      @louie, you a sad individual and I am glad you left SA. What a racist mindest. Africa, before the white man, in many parts, actually had fully functioning cities, universities, civilizations. A lot of what the Greek learnt in terms of Geography, Science, Astrology was originally from Africa. Think Egypt.= for one, please don't spin your Afrikaner indoctrinated mentality, you actually know nothing of Africa before the white man came... Africa and China were actually trading long before the white man built ships strong enough to circumvent the tip of Africa.

      Bobinator - 2010-12-23 10:37

      I'm with Pointblank. Louie - your comments are ignorant beyond words, and we certainly don't need your kind in SA. New Zealand probably doesn't need your kind either.

  • Jamsey - 2010-12-22 14:29

    Mugabe asked: “In the context of all the countries in the world – are we really the worst?” A: You truelly are good sir, the worst in all statistics.

  • carlokie - 2010-12-22 14:50

    the only thing that is more past its sell by date then P&P chicken is Mister BOB.

      Zion - 2010-12-22 17:05

      You mean P&P chickens are the most second hand things in the country?

      pointblankza - 2010-12-23 09:17

      Oh carlokie, I see you been just as bamboozled with this chicken story, shame you must has quite a small brain. Now get off the computer before you hurt yourself.

  • K-9-Commando - 2010-12-22 16:05

    @ Max, "poor" and "internet connection" does not go together, I have to use my works connection since I am unable to replace my broken PC at home, FYI I consider myself middle class. You certainly sound better off than I am.

  • Mgayi - 2010-12-22 16:08

    @Lean , and who would "the savages" be ?

  • Mgayi - 2010-12-22 16:12

    @lean , who are the savages you are referring to ?

      Mahasana - 2010-12-22 16:55

      lean doesnt know that his roots are from the black man's testicles.Science proved that human evolution is in Africa.

      pointblankza - 2010-12-23 09:16

      @Mgayi, he's talking about himself.

      Bobinator - 2010-12-23 10:42

      We gotta learn to ignore the people who are blatantly racist or who are just trying to be divisive for the sake of it. Their comments are really not worth getting annoyed about or responding to.

  • Arsenefaithful - 2010-12-22 16:38

    Mbeki was the best

  • K-9-Commando - 2010-12-22 16:46

    Shame, poor Mugabe, he still does not realize his system is an EPIC FAIL. His moustache does resemble that of Hitler for a reason you know, both are thick racists.

  • Zion - 2010-12-22 16:49

    One has the impression Bob-next-door is not quite home: sunk in his own barmey world of self.

  • Kakabooi - 2010-12-22 17:04

    Tea with Mugabe? I won't even have a crap with him. Now then, don't make your name "Mugabe"!

  • Mordred - 2010-12-22 17:47

    Why is Mugabe describing himself?

  • Satan - 2010-12-22 17:50

    Ho ..Mugabe where did it all go wrong old chap.After all that education you still got third leg stuck in that thorn bush my bra soos SOME of my friends ..that got their most important protrusion stuck under that wheel of that ox-cart.. now for some tea old chap!!!?

  • ernest.ndaka - 2010-12-22 19:19

    Anymore pressure to mugabe sanctions millitary actinn wll be civilwar in zim thn sa nd all southern africa wll burn thn people who depend on african gold m diomond angolan oil those anglo american theyll die in freezin cold lets wait mugabe fall himself ANC knws these thts why they playing by the rules thnks 4 nt letting thse triggerhappy cowboys ruin zim and southern africa .Nkosi

      Gelande St - 2010-12-22 21:05

      Civil war will be good then at least it is not only the Farmers that are being killed. And Africa means shaait to the rest of the world, its diamonds, gold and oil are overstated by Africa ONLY !

      cervezab - 2010-12-22 21:06

      You seem to be missing a vowel movement or two, and I don't know what rules or impending doom you are talking about. These same people that have sanctions against Mugabe's regime, are the same countries that the ANC ran to, to put sanctions against the Apartheid regime

      Gelande St - 2010-12-22 21:15

      Civil war will be good, then it is not only the Farmers that will be killed. And the world feels shaaaait for Africa;s minerals which tends to be overstated and valued by Africa(ns) ONLY !!

      Joachin01 - 2010-12-23 07:24

      @cervezab - vowel movement; you're killing me! Hahahahahahaha!!!!!

      croix - 2010-12-23 08:55

      'Vowel movement'- Har har har har harare!!!!

      BilboBaggins - 2010-12-24 10:22

      Ernest, what on earth are you saying? Which people must be burned? Who are all these trigger happy people who are ruining Zimbabwe? Try typing a little slower and think things through first.

  • witboer - 2010-12-23 02:13

    Can somebody please take Malema and Mugabe out??? for dinner.

  • Colin - 2010-12-23 08:17

    It is sad to note someone who was once a great liberator and politician degenerate into this. Clearly a very astute man, albeit misguided. Sad to see how these coluns always degerante into a white/black arguement. It would be a lot more construtcive if we all worked together to build a wealthy nation where we ALL are "haves".

      mrdanger006 - 2010-12-23 08:42

      thank you colin, i agree with you last statement, the current "haves" should guide and help the current "have-not" to build themselves up, it would also take a great deal of help from the "new-haves", that being the government.

      T75 - 2010-12-23 10:35

      Kudos to you Colin.. Sadness is that we all put this act that we are all into intergration and accepting each for who they are. You even get people who are settlers in New Zealand making dof comments about a home they chose to reject.

  • Fred - 2010-12-23 09:41

    Isn't tea a Western thing?

      Johnny - 2010-12-23 09:55

      ...The clothes Robber Mugabe is wearing is also "western", ...and the car he drives is also "western", ...and the house he lives in, ...and the money he spends.... ...and the English lanuage he speaks... ......he is a real "western" guy... .......ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....!!!!!!

  • Allan - 2010-12-23 10:01

    This column is full of racists who cannot write or spell. I don't know why any of you bother writing. Why don't you all just get out on the streets and beat the shit out of each other. Then perhaps the reading value of these columns might improve. News24, is this self-regulation or do you guys simply not give a shit what gets posted? Allan McD

  • GEORGE - 2010-12-23 10:18

    "I WANT IT ALL" MBAMBA ZONKE,KAMINA.There is no problem in ZIMBANWE,because most Of the Zimbabweans are dispersed and living in foreign countries.About 4 milion and growing in South Africa but that's someone else problem. "SHAME" GEORGE

  • spotpro - 2010-12-23 11:01

    I still think he is a crazy old loot and should step down now at his age take the money he has swindled from his country and go retire in peace somewhere

  • maseratifitt - 2010-12-24 00:20

    Why don't the Zimbabweans get rid of this despot? Simple. The first thing any "President" in an African "democracy" does, is to get the armed forces on his side. He basically "buys" their loyalty (towards him-not towards the country) with the country's money-money that actually belong to the people. Then, if the "President" encounters any flack from the people, they just get f#$@ed up with their own money. Two possible solutions:(Constitutionally) (a) All armed forces should be under control of the collective Opposition or (b) under control of U.N.. Then the "ruling" Party can get on with the management of the country, as they should in a democracy. But it is far nicer for them to play the "power" game. It really is all about ego's, with which Mugabe is well endowed. Fortunately most people realize that our planet is really nothing compared to the universe and an individual is infinitely less. The evil deeds committed by people like Mugabe, however, can never be undone and float around in the universe to haunt him when he moves out beyond our borders. Although flags will no doubt be halfmasted when Mugabe goes, places and things will be named after him etc., I do not think that he will be able to Rest in Peace.

      BilboBaggins - 2010-12-24 10:25

      @maseratifitt. My point exactly. How many countries in Africa are (a) at peace and (b) have a true democracy? I don't think anyone in Zimbabwe will lift a finger against Mugabe because they are too scared to. Simple.

  • Daniel - 2010-12-29 22:10

    the only way to fix problems in every country around the world is to shrink the bloody government. In Amercia, SA, Zim, and so forth. The government is stupid it doesnt know how to run an economy or an education system or most important a country, let people run their life, and let the natural corse run. That way we will really see who the smart people and the stuped people are. No one should be opressed and no one should have more rights then another person you work for your own things. Taking from the haves and giving it to the have nots is theft END OF STORY.

  • Lawrence - 2011-01-11 20:09

    the biggest rapists of the south african economy are the blacks in goverment dont point fingers at the whites or the indians,they are the glue that holds south africa together..take them out of the country and it will fall apart...

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