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USA/Africa: Wikileaks Highlights, 2

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Dec 14, 2010 (101214)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

It should be no surprise to anyone that South African diplomats been been frustrated both with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, or that Kenya and the United States have enjoyed close military to military ties despite vocal U.S. criticism of the Kenyan government. Wikileaks cables released to date, such as the ones included in this AfricaFocus Bulletin, provide some nuances and may be embarrassing, but provide no "smoking guns" or startling revelations.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains the text of two cables from late 2009, one reporting on conversations between Kenyan and U.S. officials on disagreements about shipment of tanks to Southern Sudan, and the other a conversation between the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa and the South African Foreign Minister, including remarks about the sitution in Zimbabwe.

Another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today (and available at contains the texts of two cables, concerning Nigeria and Ethiopia, respectively, as well as direct links to the Wikileaks pages organized by origin of the cables, and a brief comment from AfricaFocus on misuse of these primary sources.

For access to the cables released by Wikileaks to date, visit If this site is unavailable, use a Google search to locate Wikileaks mirror sites.

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note++++++++++++++++++++

Kenya responds to Sudan tank demarche

S e c r e t section 01 of 02 nairobi 002497


E.o. 12958: decl: 2019/12/16
Tags: marr, mcap, mops, mass, parm, pinr, pter, prel, ke, ug, up, su
SUBJECT: Kenya responds to Sudan tank demarche

Ref: 09 state 122115; 09 nairobi 2487

CLASSIFIED BY: Rachel Meyers, Deputy Political Counselor, State, POL;>
reason: 1.4(a), (b), (d)

¶1. On December 15, Ambassador Ranneberger discussed the tank transfer issue with Prime Minister Odinga, who said that the GOK was committed to assisting the GOSS and that there was "intense pressure" from the GOSS to deliver the tanks. He hinted that the GOK might instead transfer the tanks to Uganda (and, he implied, from there to South Sudan). On December 16, following AF guidance, Ambassador Ranneberger reiterated to the PM that any further transfer of the tanks, via Uganda or otherwise, would violate U.S. law and could trigger sweeping sanctions against Kenya. He also noted that the likelihood of receiving a waiver for past transfers of LME to the SPLA since 2007 would be remote if the GOK proceeded with moving the tanks to Sudan. Ambassador Ranneberger also briefed Minister of Finance Uhuru Kenyatta on the issue on December 16, and Kenyatta responded that he understood the U.S. position.

¶2. xxxxxxxxxxxx, COL McNevin and DAO notetaker met with xxxxxxxxxxxx. xxxxxxxxxxxx also attended. McNevin reiterated the points made by Ambassador Ranneberger to the PM (see para 2) and noted that we are open to discussing possible future options for disposition of the tanks so that the GOK is not stuck with assets it does not need. Before the meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxx mentioned that in the GOK's view, the tanks belong to the GOSS and that his government is receiving "increasing pressure" to deliver them. He added that President Kibaki was personally very angry about this issue. During the meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxx commented that the GOK was "very confused" by our position and did not understand why they needed a waiver, since the past transfers had been undertaken in consultation with the United States and they thought we were in agreement on the way forward towards implementation of the CPA. He added that this was causing a "major problem" between the GOK and the GOSS. xxxxxxxxxxxx asked about the significance of what appeared to him to be a major policy reversal, and questioned whether the United States is rethinking the CPA, increasingly shifting its support to Khartoum, and/or now seeking a unitary state in Sudan. xxxxxxxxxxxx asked that the United States explain directly to the GOSS/SPLA why we are blocking the tank transfer. Following that discussion, xxxxxxxxxxxx indicated the GOK would like to participate in a high-level trilateral meeting (GOK, GOSS, and USG) to reach a collective understanding of U.S. and regional partner countries' objectives with respect to implementation of the CPA.

¶3. As McNevin was departing the meeting, xxxxxxxxxxxx called him back and asked, on xxxxxxxxxxxx behalf, for a list of all DOD programs and funding for Kenya, due to xxxxxxxxxxxx later today (December 16) in preparation for an upcoming Defense Council meeting scheduled for December 21. The Defense Council is chaired by President Kibaki, and it appears likely that xxxxxxxxxxxx will use the list to underscore the importance of the U.S.-Kenya mil-mil relationship and to convince Kibaki not to transfer the tanks. In addition to Kibaki and xxxxxxxxxxxxx other Defense Council members are NSIS Director Gichangi, Minister for Defense Haji, Minister for Internal Security Saitoti, Commandant of the Administration Police Mbugua, and Police Commissioner Iteere. (Note: The Defense Council is composed entirely of advisors who are close to the President and come from his Kikuyu ethnic group or closely related groups. End note.)

¶4. As directed in ref A, the demarche regarding transfer of Ukrainian-origin LME by the Government of Kenya (GOK) to the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was originally delivered by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Vicki Huddleston and Kenya-US Liaison Office Chief COL McNevin to Kenya Assistant Minister for Defense David Musila and xxxxxxxxxxxx. COL McNevin also discussed the issue further with the xxxxxxxxxxxx. In addition, the Political RA Chief met with Director of National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) General Gichangi on the issue on December 16.The GOK representatives assured DASD Huddleston and COL McNevin that no tanks would be delivered to the SPLA for the foreseeable future. (Note: There are 32 T-72 tanks remaining in Kenya from the shipment that arrived in Mombasa aboard the M/V Faina. End note.)

Nairobi 00002497 002 of 002

¶5. xxxxxxxxxxxx also noted that all other transfers have been done with full disclosure to the United States, and the GOK has shared all information regarding these transfers without hesitation. He further noted that stopping this shipment will incur "big costs" and that "Salva Kir will not be happy." He went on to state that the GOK may seek waiver support from the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and that the basis for the waiver would be the implementing instructions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which allow other nations to support the modernization and conversion of the SPLA from a guerilla force to a small conventional civilian military that would be capable of future integration with the Sudanese national military. As noted in ref A talking points, McNevin and xxxxxxxxxxxx also briefly discussed that U.S. legislation does contain a waiver provision. xxxxxxxxxxxx McNevin held a subsequent meeting with xxxxxxxxxxxx at the Ambassasdor's request and noted that the likelihood of a waiver being granted by the United States would be remote if the GOK went ahead with the tank transfer.

¶6. Comment: As of 16 December, the 32 T-72 tanks remain on flatcars at Kahawa Army Barracks in Nairobi. If indeed the tanks are not going to be transported in the "foreseeable future," we would expect to see them off-loaded soon and the flatcars returned to Rift Valley Railroad service. The GOK is understandably confused, as transfer of these tanks, in their view, dove-tailed with the goals of the United States to implement the CPA by converting the SPLA from a guerrilla force to a small conventional force capable of defending Juba (but not take Khartoum), able to integrate with a national force, and able to counterbalance the significant military capacity of Khartoum. Despite the GOK assurances, there are a number of factors that may lead to the eventual transfer of the tanks, including: the need to maintain good relations with South Sudan and keep a friendly ally on Kenya's unstable northwestern border; the substantial financial losses Kenya will incur if it does not complete the transfer; the fact that Kenya has no need to add additional tank assets to its military; and Kenya's financial and, to a lesser extent, cultural/ideological links with South Sudan.

¶7. Over the past two years, KMOD officials have shared full details of their engagement with the SPLA as we have shared details of our training program for the SPLA, including combat arms soldier training, under a May 2007 Presidential Directive. The GOK views this as a reversal of U.S. policy that has significant security,financial, and political implications for them. It is difficult to persuade the Kenyans that transferring this equipment to the SPLA violates the terms of the CPA and therefore will merit sanctions if completed when they are well aware that the United States is continuing military to military security sector reform assistance to the SPLA.

¶8. We have been pushing the GOK very hard on the civilian side to bring about reform and good governance, and have sparked mounting resistance as a result. Despite that pressure and tension, our military to military relations have been excellent and our unimpeded access has been of significant benefit to the USG in terms of counterterrorism and anti-piracy. Given the competing policy issues on the table, we welcome ideas to defuse this situation, discuss options for alternative dispositions of the tanks, and to harmonize the "apparent disconnect" between the CPA and U.S. legislation mentioned in ref A. We urge Washington to consider the GOK's request to convene a high-level dialogue with the GOK, GOSS, and other relevant stakeholders as soon as possible to foster a clear understanding of U.S. policy and develop a way forward towards CPA implementation.


Ambassador's Courtesy Call on Foreign Minister Mashabane

Tuesday, 03 November 2009, 15:52

EO 12958 DECL: 11/01/2019

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador's first official call with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was warm and frank. Mashabane thanked the USG for its partnership and support through PEPFAR and acknowledged past mistakes in HIV/AIDS policies. The Ambassador thanked the SAG for support on security and the Minister promised to continue the current support. They agreed to work together on establishing a bilateral mechanism and cooperating on augmenting food security and combating violence against women. Mashabane made strong statements on distancing the SAG from Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and supporting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Although Mashabane was very positive about our bilateral agenda, the SAG's capacity to execute remains a question. End Summary.

Positive Bilateral Agenda

¶2. (C) Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was warm and receptive in the Ambassador's first official meeting with the South African Government on November 2. She said her government was excited about working with the Obama Administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Ambassador, expecting that bilateral relations would continue to improve. Mashabane expressed the hope that we could develop a bilateral mechanism early in 2010, building on her meeting with the Secretary in Pretoria in August. The Ambassador said we looked forward to hearing the SAG's ideas for the bilateral mechanism and setting a date for the Annual Bilateral Forum early in 2010. Mashabane hoped that President Obama could make a state visit to South Africa linked to attending the FIFA World Cup in June-July 2010. She envisioned President Zuma reciprocating with a state visit to the U.S. early in 2011. Mashabane also noted the positive role of the U.S. in the G-8 and the G-20, emphasizing that developing countries were excited about President Obama's leadership.

¶3. (C) Mashabane noted that the Ambassador's confirmation speech showed that he and the USG shared South Africa's five key priorities set forth at the ANC Conference at Polokwane in December 2007: employment, education, health, fighting crime, and rural development. She and the Ambassador agreed that there was a long agenda of shared objectives and that they should identify clear and achievable goals. The Ambassador said the U.S. would like to do more to support education, and observed that USAID had important initiatives in this area. He also said he would like the U.S. and South Africa to partner for various trilateral programs in Africa. She supported this approach, noting South Africa's interest in "prospering" its neighbors. Mashabane highlighted AGOA as a positive force for stability in Africa. The Ambassador noted that US UN Ambassador Susan Rice would like to host the Minister for an event when she next visits New York. He thanked the SAG for its recent Human Rights Council vote in favor of the U.S.-Egypt-sponsored Freedom of Expression Resolution.

¶4. (C) Mashabane said she was passionate about integration and de-racialization as tools to eradicate the legacies of apartheid in both rural and urban townships. She said Qapartheid in both rural and urban townships. She said advancing rural development was complicated by an excessive number of municipalities at 284. Mashabane encouraged the Ambassador to make contact with the Premier of Gauteng Province, Nomvula Mokonyane, a close childhood friend, now known as "Mama Action". She said that her staff would share a new proposal for the South Africa Development Agency, newly brought under her Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). The Minister joked that she needed to be nice to Minister of Finance Gordhan and Minister of National Planning Manuel, suggesting that they controlled the economic and finance levers in the new government. The Ambassador emphasized that the USG wants to support and contribute in all the priority areas, like education, rural development, and health. He noted his comment in his Senate confirmation statement that our job is to help South Africa succeed, observing our shared diversity and the special challenge of overcoming the legacy of apartheid. Mashabane said it was a propitious moment with a new President (Zuma)

PRETORIA 00002245 002 OF 003

who listens to and supports South Africans.

Health and HIV/AIDS - Extolling Cooperation, Noting Past Mistakes

¶5. (C) The Minister thanked the USG for its sustained support as a key partner in fighting HIV/AIDS under the PEPFAR program in South Africa, hoping for continued support. She admitted that there had been mistakes in past policy, but the SAG was now committed to catching up. Mashabane stated that President Zuma would make a strong statement on World AIDS Day on December 1, emphasizing that South Africa would now lead from the front, not from behind. The Ambassador noted that the USG had agreed to make a one-time contribution of $120 million over two years to help with the ARV stock-out gap, subject to some key conditions. Mashabane encouraged the Ambassador to communicate with Minister of Health Motsaeledi and Minister of Finance Gordhan on these issues. The Ambassador noted the need to make plans for the next five years, also encouraging South Africa to share its experience and skills with the rest of Africa. Mashabane said the SAG would like to be able to make greater use of generic ARVs and other drugs to save costs.

Food Security and Agriculture - Women's Issues

¶6. (C) Mashabane identified food security and agriculture as key areas for cooperation. She said we would shortly receive a written response on our food security initiative. The Minister spoke highly of the work and vision of the passionate and dynamic Agriculture Minister, Tina Joemat-Petterson. She encouraged the Ambassador to visit one of the Minister's rural pilot projects.

¶7. (C) The Ambassador raised our desire to cooperate on women's issues and to target specifically violence against women, noting its linkages to HIV/AIDS. The Minister agreed with the importance of this issue. She said South Africa has good laws and regulations, but many women - particularly in rural areas - still live in the past in terms of their culture and communities. Mashabane cited the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa as an effective organization, chaired by Baleka Mbete, who is also the National Chair of the ANC. She cited the value of workshops aimed at preventing violence before incidents. The Ambassador mentioned visiting a U.S.-funded Tutuzela Care Center that supports rape counseling and law enforcement. Mashabane said such centers had achieved a significant increase in conviction rates from 20 to 80 percent. She said that she was the outgoing Chair of the Progressive Women's Movement of SA in Limpopo and cited a recent workshop in that Province. The Ambassador said that the USG would like to follow up on participating in such workshops.


¶8. (C) The Ambassador thanked the Minister for the SAG's security support to the U.S. Mission since the mid-September threat and asked that it remain in place (also requested by separate diplomatic note.) She said she supported this request. Mashabane said South Africa would win its battle against crime, asserting that it would never have problems as great as Brazil's. The Ambassador offered technical support and training for law enforcement agencies.


¶9. (C) The Minister expressed great frustration with President Mugabe, saying that "we cannot do quiet diplomacy forever" and calling him "the crazy old man". She said we must all support Prime Minister Tsvangirai, but she expressed disappointment that he withdrew from the government without consulting South Africa and other international partners. She said there were rumors that he was instructed to do this by a senior USG official. The Ambassador said that to his knowledge this was not the case, noting that Tsvangirai "walked" without any consultation and seemingly without a

PRETORIA 00002245 003 OF 003

plan. Mashabane said the current SADC Chair President Joseph Kabila was left cooling his heels in South Africa over the weekend when Mugabe at first refused to receive him until late Sunday. (She noted that she was stuck in Pretoria waiting to fulfill her protocol role of seeing him off at the airport, so was not able to take her children home to Limpopo Province over the weekend.) Mashabane said the SAG view was that Mugabe is getting desperate and is trying to push the country into elections. On the other hand, she said Tsvangirai wasn't realistic in calling for removal of all the security chiefs. She advocated seeking to change the electoral law to facilitate proper counting, while pragmatically leaving the security chiefs in place. Mashabane broached consideration for amnesty scenarios for the security chiefs that might induce them not to block a political transition.

¶10. (C) Mashabane promised to follow-up with the Ambassador on next steps following discussions she would have very soon with President Zuma and the Foreign Minister of Mozambique. She advocated helping Tsvangirai prepare for elections if they happen and exposing the dirty actions of the security chiefs. The Minister pointed out the danger to her northern province of Limpopo and the rest of South Africa with potential for more cholera outbreaks and significant refugees if the situation lingers or worsens.

¶11. (C) Mashabane raised concerns about Palestine, Israel, and the Goldstone Report. The Ambassador said the U.S. was committed to a two-state solution. He said President Obama was frustrated with Israel and noted that private messages are much stronger than the public ones. The Ambassador said Secretary Clinton would be aggressive in calling for greater dialogue and results. Mashabane recommended that the Ambassador meet with South African Jewish Deputies to hear their perspectives. The Ambassador welcomed the suggestion and said he was also interested in outreach to the Muslim community in South Africa.

¶12. (C) COMMENT: The Ambassador's first official meeting with the South African Foreign Minister was particularly friendly and open, emblematic of the positive trend in our bilateral relationship. The Foreign Minister indicated a desire to set up a dinner to welcome the Ambassador, as long as we did not tell the other Ambassadors. The Ambassador met her last August (prior to presenting his credentials) while accompanying Secretary Clinton on her visit to South Africa, when the two Ministers established a warm rapport. There is clearly enthusiasm within the SAG for developing a bilateral mechanism. We should bear in mind, however that the South African Government faces shortfalls in capacity which limit its ability to staff cooperative mechanisms and to implement programs, so we will have to carefully choose our initiatives. The Foreign Minister made strong statements on Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe, but our sense is that her department does not have the lead within the SAG on the Zimbabwe agenda. GIPS

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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