Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has reportedly said Zimbabwe’s political problems were exacerbated because President Robert Mugabe and the country were essentially the same and could not be separated.
Chissano’s comments are contained in a latest diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
According to the cable, while not praising President Mugabe, Chissano told Brazilian government officials in August 2004 that constant dialogue among all the parties was the only way to relieve the country’s internal pressures.
Zimbabwe is going through a political crisis which culminated in the formation of a compromise coalition government after a violent presidential run–off election in June 2008.
The regional bloc, Sadc, is mediating to normalise the political situation in Zimbabwe and ensure the country organises a free and fair poll that will produce an undisputed government.
Chissano said Africans must stop blaming their colonial past for the continent’s present problems.
“They must also use African solutions to resolve conflicts and not depend on the United Nations and others,” he said.
Chissano said every conflict had its own roots and unique characteristics which had to be addressed.
Chissano voluntarily stepped down as Mozambican president in 2004 after serving 18 years in office while President Mugabe has enjoyed 31 years of absolute power since the country gained independence in 1980.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva stepped down last year after serving for seven years in office.
The former Mozambican president visited Brazil on August 31 and was rewarded with over $315 million in debt forgiveness for his country, the most relief Brazil has given during Lula’s administration. Chissano, according to the cable, was well regarded in Brazil, and his decision to step down had generated some angst in the South American country.
In public remarks referring to Chissano, Lula expressed regret that he had decided not to run for re-election, saying: “You have learned to appreciate, as few have, the symbolism and real value of the exercise of democracy.”
Chissano stepped down at a time when political analysts said he could have won another five-year term. And although Mozambique remains poor and corrupt, he is seen as having led it through a treacherous era by ending a 16-year-long brutal civil war and overseeing the transition to democracy.