Letting Mugabe retire peacefully sounds like a terrible idea

The Wikileaks news that really matters (and yet more evidence that the UN is far too keen to protect dictators rather than prosecute them):

The head of the United Nations offered Robert Mugabe a lucrative retirement package in an overseas haven if he stood down as Zimbabwe‘s president, according to claims quoted in leaked diplomatic cables.

The extraordinary offer was allegedly made by Kofi Annan, who was then the UN secretary general, at the millennium summit of world leaders in New York, according to a memo drawn up by American officials which was obtained by the WikiLeaks website.

The memo, written in September 2000, records a meeting between a US embassy official in Harare and a senior source in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the party opposed to Mugabe’s Zanu-PF.

According to the MDC source, whose name the Observer has redacted, “Kofi Annan, in the recent meeting in New York during the millennium summit offered Mugabe a deal to step down. Although [the MDC source] said the MDC was not privy to the details, he surmised that Annan’s supposed deal probably included provision of safe haven and a financial package from Libyan president [Gaddafi]. The opposition party heard that Mugabe turned down the offer the following day after discussing it with the first lady.”

The offer, which many Zimbabwean experts may simply dismiss as wishful thinking on the part of a frustrated MDC, was not the only one rumoured to have been made to Mugabe at that time. The cable reveals that Zanu-PF itself had put out “feelers” to see whether the MDC would be willing to allow Mugabe a “graceful exit” that was “in Zimbabwe’s national interest”.