Bennett planned to retire if MDC did not win 2008 elections


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Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett planned to retire from politics if the Morgan Tsvangirai faction did not win the 2008 elections.

He told United States embassy officials in Pretoria that it was difficult to raise funds for the party and he was frustrated by the quality of people in the MDC.

He said there were a lot of non-performers. Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai had established timelines for various committees to produce policy papers.

The process was meant to refine the party’s policy positions and to expose leaders who were not capable of delivering.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA3486, MDC TREASURER BENNETT “CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC” ON

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA3486

2007-10-03 10:06

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO5177

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #3486/01 2761006

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 031006Z OCT 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2114

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0186

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1314

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1172

RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0493

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4919

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9239

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 003486

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/03/2017

TAGS: PREL KDEM SF ZI

SUBJECT: MDC TREASURER BENNETT “CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC” ON

SADC TALKS

 

REF: A. HARARE 858

B. PRETORIA 3425

C. TRENKLE-DELL EMAIL OF 4/25/07

D. TRENKLE-WARREN EMAIL OF 9/7/07

 

PRETORIA 00003486 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(

b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. The pressure is now on SADC facilitator

Mbeki and ZANU-PF to deliver on reforms for the 2008

elections in Zimbabwe, argued MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett.

Bennett, who said he was initially skeptical of the

MDC-ZANU-PF agreement on Constitutional Amendment 18,

stressed that the MDC remained ready to boycott the elections

if ZANU-PF did not fulfill its part of the bargain. Mbeki

hopes to conclude the MDC-ZANU-PF negotiations by October 15.

Raising private funds remains difficult for the MDC. Only

USD 150,000 remain of a USD 1 million donation Bennett

received earlier this year. Bennett expressed his personal

frustration with the “quality of the people” in the MDC and

hinted he may retire from politics if the MDC does not

succeed in the 2008 elections. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————————-

Pressure Now on SAG and ZANU-PF in Talks

—————————————-

 

2. (C) Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Treasurer Roy

Bennett told PolOff September 28 that he is “cautiously

optimistic” on the South African-led SADC facilitation

between the MDC and ZANU-PF. Bennett admitted that he was

initially skeptical about the inter-party agreement on

Constitutional Amendment 18 (ref A), but MDC

Secretary-General Tendai Biti convinced him that the MDC

 

SIPDIS

“made the right call.” The MDC demonstrated good faith, and

the pressure is now on South Africa and ZANU-PF to deliver

the rest of the package, including the repeal of the Public

Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information

and Privacy Protection Act (AIPPA), the return of political

exiles (such as Bennett), instituting a truly independent

electoral commission, and putting in place a new voter’s

roll. Mbeki hopes to conclude the talks no later than

October 15, Biti told Bennett.

 

3. (C) The Tsvangirai faction of the MDC will pull out of the

2008 election if ZANU-PF does not agree to the reforms,

Bennett said. (NOTE: He did not comment on whether the

Mutambara faction of the MDC would also boycott. END NOTE.)

Bennett argued that South Africa needs the MDC to participate

for the elections to be legitimate, which gives the MDC

leverage.

 

4. (C) According to Bennett, Mbeki told the MDC Presidents

September 14-15 (ref B) that he suspected electoral support

in Zimbabwe was split “50/50” between ZANU-PF and the MDC.

Either could win, Mbeki suggested, emphasizing that the

winner must be willing to work with the losing party.

Bennett views this statement as Mbeki beginning to lay the

groundwork for a government of national unity following the

2008 elections.

 

—————–

Mass Mobilization

—————–

 

5. (C) Bennett said he is urging Tsvangirai to begin “mass

mobilization” of the people in the coming weeks. The party

felt constrained by the ongoing SADC negotiations, but now

that the talks are coming to a close, Bennett hoped that

Tsvangirai would lead a series of marches to energize the

 

SIPDIS

people, such as a “march for jobs” or “march for free and

fair elections.” Tsvangirai is sympathetic to this idea, but

Bennett is not sure how much planning has taken place.

 

—————

MDC Fundraising

—————

 

6. (C) Bennett admitted that raising funds for the MDC

remains “very challenging.” The party had earlier raised USD

1 million from a group of unnamed private investors (ref C).

 

PRETORIA 00003486 002.2 OF 002

 

 

These funds had been used to fund party events, to pay

salaries, and to purchase party vehicles in each province.

Only USD 150,000 of the initial USD 1 million remains, and it

is unclear whether the same donors will be willing to provide

additional resources.

 

7. (C) The party has used some of the private funds to train

a “close protection unit” for MDC President Tsvangirai. The

training, which is being provided in South Africa by a

private company called Delta One, is currently underway.

Fourteen Zimbabweans started the training, although three

have already been sent home. Bennett hopes that they will

end up with an eight-person, well-trained unit to protect

Tsvangirai during the election campaign.

 

SIPDIS

 

—————–

Weakness of Party

—————–

 

8. (C) Bennett spoke openly about the challenges facing the

party, expressing his personal frustration with the “quality

of the people” in the MDC. At the last party policy

conference (ref D), Tsvangirai established clear timelines

for the various committees to produce policy papers. This

process was meant both to refine the party’s policy positions

and expose leaders who were not capable of delivering.

Instead, Bennett said that Tsvangirai has let the timetable

slip repeatedly with no consequence for the “non-performers.”

In part because of his growing frustration with the party

and its lack of progress, Bennett admitted that he is

considering leaving politics if the 2008 elections do not go

well.

Bost

(38 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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