Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti said party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s idiocy was shocking as he had caved in to President Robert Mugabe and had surrendered all the key ministries to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Biti was frustrated that he was being kept in the dark as Tsvangirai seemed to have teamed up with Ian and Theresa Makone and other close advisors to negotiate for cabinet posts with ZANU-PF following the signing of the Global Political Agreement on 15 September 2008.
So far it appeared that Tsvangirai had surrendered the ministries of Justice, Information, Defence and Land to ZANU-PF.
Home Affairs, Local Government, Finance and Foreign Affairs, were still to be decided.
Biti said he felt betrayed by Tsvangirai’s compromises with ZANU-PF but he was not going to do anything to weaken or splinter the MDC.
He was still talking, however, about taking a sabbatical from the frustrations of Zimbabwean politics.
Viewing cable 08HARARE890, BITI FRUSTRATED OVER POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2018
SUBJECT: BITI FRUSTRATED OVER POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT
REF: A. HARARE 889
¶B. HARARE 840
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) A clearly frustrated Tendai Biti told polecon chief
on September 30, that no formal negotiations were taking
place to allocate ministries and conclude the agreement
between ZANU-PF and the MDC. Biti suspected, however, that
negotiations were taking place between Ian and Theresa Makone
and other close Tsvangirai advisors, and ZANU-PF. According
to Biti, Mugabe and Tsvangirai had tentatively agreed on a
division of ministries with only home affairs (police), local
government, finance, and foreign affairs yet to be decided.
¶2. (C) Under the Mugabe-Tsvangirai agreement, according to
Biti, ZANU-PF would head most important ministries including
justice, information, defense, and land. Biti opined that
Tsvangirai had caved to Mugabe–“Tsvangirai’s idiocy is
shocking”–and argued that only if the MDC gained the four
remaining ministries would the division be fair. He was not
optimistic this would happen; he believed that a compromise
would result in each party taking two ministries.
¶3. (C) Biti said the allocation of ministries should be open
to formal negotiation and that the entire subject should be
opened up. He had written to Mbeki suggesting this, and had
told Mbeki the current arrangement negotiated by Mugabe and
Tsvangirai could not be sold to the MDC national council.
Nevertheless, he expected Tsvangirai to give in to Mugabe,
sign an agreement, and present it to the MDC as a fait
accompli. Biti said he felt betrayed by Tsvangirai’s
compromises with ZANU-PF.
¶4. (C) Biti also expressed bitterness that several members
of MDC-Mutambara had allied with independent MP Jonathan Moyo
to challenge the election of Lovemore Moyo as speaker. As
with Tsvangirai, Biti bemoaned that he had been betrayed by
MDC-Mutambara leader Welshman Ncube.
¶5. (C) Our conversation with Biti took place before
Tsvangirai’s briefing on the stalemate in talks (Ref A), and
we now know that Tsvangirai did not realize Biti’s fears and
concede the ministries of home affairs and finance to
ZANU-PF. Nevertheless, under the tentative agreement between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, ZANU-PF will head critical ministries
such as defense, land, justice, and information. Ideally, as
Biti suggested, the entire division of ministries should be
renegotiated. This is unlikely to happen, and it is
therefore critical that at a minimum the MDC ultimately be
given responsibility for home affairs and finance.
¶6. (C) Despite his disagreements with Tsvangirai, Biti said
he will do nothing to weaken or splinter the MDC. He is
still talking, however, about taking a sabbatical from the
frustrations of Zimbabwean politics (Ref B). END COMMENT.