Biti said Mufamadi hit the roof after reviewing ZANU-PF paper on talks


0

The secretary general of the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Tendai Biti told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell that South African mediation team leader Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi “hit through the roof” after reviewing the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s position paper on negotiations with the MDC.

The paper according to Biti declared that the land dispute between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe should be the primary focus of the talks. It attacked the MDC as puppets of the West and criticised sanctions while ignoring issues of constitutional and electoral reform.

Biti, who was briefing the ambassador on the latest developments after the ZANU-PF negotiating team failed to pitch up in Pretoria, said Mufamadi, legal adviser Mujanku Gumbi and director general in the Presidency Frank Chikane were furious after ZANU-PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche failed to turn up for talks.

He said he and Welshman Ncube told the South Africans that President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF were in denial about the existence of a crisis in the country.

They regarded the MDC as puppets of the United States and the UK and were not prepared to deal with them as equals.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE627, THE MDC VIEW OF THE MBEKI TALKS

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

07HARARE627

2007-07-12 12:49

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0588

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0627/01 1931249

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 121249Z JUL 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1687

INFO RUCNSAD/SADCC COLLECTIVE

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1645

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1513

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1649

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0297

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0915

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1278

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1705

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4122

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1475

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2139

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0774

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1866

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000627

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E.LOKEN AND L.DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B.PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: THE MDC VIEW OF THE MBEKI TALKS

 

REF: A) PRETORIA 2209 B) HARARE 552

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——

Summary

——-

1. (C) Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC anti-Senate

faction, told Poleconchief July 11 that South African

mediators were furious that ZANU-PF negotiators had failed to

travel to South Africa last week for SADC-sponsored talks

under the auspices of South African president Thabo Mbeki.

Biti and fellow MDC negotiator Welshman Ncube took advantage

of the absence of the ZANU-PF representatives to brief the

South Africans on what they see as the GOZ’s efforts to avoid

a negotiated resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis. Biti was

cautiously optimistic about the talks. He believed Mbeki was

determined to broker an agreement and that his mediation team

was informed and capable. Despite the MDC split, he and

Ncube were working well together in the negotiation process.

The MDC was preparing for elections, but absent an agreement

resulting in a level electoral playing field, the MDC was

prepared to boycott the election and take to the streets.

End Summary.

 

———————-

South Africans Steamed

———————-

 

2. (C) Biti and Ncube traveled to South Africa last week to

engage in the next round of talks following agreement on an

agenda in mid-June (Ref A). According to Biti, the South

African mediation team (Local Government minister Sydney

Mufamadi, Director General in the Presidency Reverend Frank

Chikane, and legal advisor Mujanku Gumbi) was furious when

ZANU-PF negotiators Justice minister Patrick Chinimasa and

Labor minister Nicholas Goche failed to travel to South

Africa without forewarning them. He said their was a silver

lining, however, to their absence–he and Ncube had ample

time to relate their perceptions of ZANU-PF’s positions and

negotiating strategy.

 

3. (C) Biti and Ncube told the South Africans that Mugabe

and ZANU-PF were in denial about the existence of a crisis.

ZANU-PF regarded the MDC as puppets of the U.S. and UK and

were not prepared to deal with them as equals. They engaged

in the talks because South Africa was one of their few

friends and they did not wish to offend that country. Biti

also emphasized to his interlocutors that Mugabe considered

Mbeki a junior partner, intimating that he could be

manipulated.

 

4. (C) Biti said he and Ncube next outlined what he saw as

the ZANU-PF strategy. They thought ZANU-PF would try to drag

out the negotiations while at the same time preparing to

introduce and pass Constitutional Amendment 18 (Ref B) which

would solidify ZANU-PF’s grip on parliament and facilitate

its perpetuation of power. (Note: Parliament is due to

consider Amendment 18 when it reconvenes on July 24. End

Note.) Proof of ZANU-PFs lack of sincerity was recent

speeches by Mugabe and Vice-President Msika arguing that a

new constitution was unnecessary–this after the ZANU-PF and

MDC negotiators agreed last month that a new constitution

should be the top agenda item (Ref A). Ultimately, Biti

thought that ZANU-PF might pull out of the negotiations,

blaming lack of progress on the MDC and/or the South

Africans, or they might attempt to get the MDC to sign a

 

HARARE 00000627 002 OF 003

 

 

meaningless agreement. Biti and Ncube concluded by telling

the South Africans directly that Mugabe was “playing” them

and that they needed to come up with a strategy to get

ZANU-PF to negotiate meaningfully.

 

—————–

Cautious Optimism

—————–

 

5. (C) Unlike in years past when Biti thought the South

African goal was a reformed ZANU-PF government, he told us he

now thought Mbeki was genuinely seeking constitutional reform

permitting a fair election. He believed Mbeki did not want

the negotiations to fail, realizing that it could negatively

affect his legacy. According to Biti, Mbeki, in a meeting

with both sides on June 18, had bluntly told them that

Zimbabwe was in a crisis that needed to be resolved for the

sake of Zimbabwe and for the region as a whole. The

following day, Mufamadi “hit the roof” after reviewing

ZANU-PF’s position paper on negotiations which declared the

land dispute between the UK and Zimbabwe should be the

primary focus, attacked the MDC as puppets of the West, and

criticized sanctions while ignoring issues of constitutional

and electoral reform. The South Africans were subsequently

able to mediate an agenda,viewed favorably by the MDC,

focusing on reforms. (Ref A).

 

6. (C) Tempering optimism with realism, Biti said he knew

ZANU-PF would have to be dragged to a good agreement. And

noting the importance Mbeki placed in arriving at an

agreement, he acknowledged that it would be up to the MDC

negotiators to press Mbeki and his team to come to a good

resolution.

 

6. (C) Biti said he and Ncube had confidence in Mbeki’s

mediation team and thought Mbeki’s point person, Mufamadi,

was informed and capable, albeit low key. Despite the split

between MDC factions, he and Ncube were working well together.

 

——————————-

And if Optimism is Misplaced…

——————————-

 

7. (C) The MDC, according to Biti, was actively preparing

for elections. He pointed to large crowds that have attended

Tsvingirai-led rallies in the last couple of weeks.

 

SIPDIS

Nevertheless, participation in the scheduled elections was

dependent on a level electoral playing field. The MDC’s

ultimate weapon was the “delegitimization” of the election.

Biti maintained that the MDC would abandon its electoral

campaign and take to the streets if a fair election were not

possible.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

8. (C) Although an agreement was reached in mid-June to put

constitutional and electoral reform on the negotiating agenda

(Ref A), Mugabe and Vice-President Msika have since given

speeches declaring a new constitution unnecessary–amending

the current constitution in their eyes is sufficient.

Further, Amendment 18, introduced by the GOZ, will be taken

up when Parliament reconvenes on July 24. GOZ persistence in

debating and adopting this amendment would be evidence that

ZANU-PF does not take the talks seriously.

 

 

HARARE 00000627 003 OF 003

 

 

9. (C) With regard to the talks, critical questions are

whether Biti is right that Mbeki is determined to forge an

agreement and whether the South African president is prepared

to take necessary measures, such as public criticism of

ZANU-PF’s negotiating role or the threat to withhold approval

of an unfair election, to force Mugabe’s hand. Even with

strong intervention from Mbeki, however, Mugabe seems bent on

continuing his destructive policies, and we have serious

doubts whther he will sign an agreement leading to democratic

reform and permitting fair elections.

DELL

(34 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *