President Robert Mugabe and his negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche were refusing to concede any ground on the four key ministries that the parties were haggling over, according to Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti.
Biti briefed United States embassy on the progress of the negotiations and how ZANU-PF was digging its heels in.
The parties were haggling over the ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, Local Government, and Foreign Affairs.
Biti said it appeared the only solution was to take up the matter to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
Viewing cable 08HARARE915, BITI BRIEFS ON NEGOTIATIONS
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SUBJECT: BITI BRIEFS ON NEGOTIATIONS
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Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) MDC-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) secretary-general and
negotiator Tendai Biti briefed polecon chief October 8 and
October 9 on the status of negotiations to complete a
power-sharing agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC.
According to Biti, ZANU-PF is refusing to cede any of the
outstanding ministries that the MDC considers crucial to a
deal: home affairs, finance, local government, or foreign
affairs. While Tsvangirai had previously indicated MDC would
be satisfied with a deal that gave it control of home affairs
and finance, Biti said the MDC was now insisting on all four
ministries. Acknowledging ZANU-PF would not agree to this,
Biti said the MDC now supported reopening negotiations on the
allocation of all ministries with mediation from SADC and the
AU. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (C) Biti said that Mugabe and Tsvangirai met on October 4
but, as in their October 1 meeting (Ref), failed to make
headway. Tsvangirai continued to insist on MDC control of
home affairs and finance; Mugabe refused.
¶3. (C) On October 7, MDC-T negotiators Biti and Elton
Mangoma met with ZANU-PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche. According to Biti, the ZANU-PF negotiators
were “condescending” and vowed that ZANU-PF would not cede
any of the four outstanding ministries to the MDC.
¶4. (C) A follow-up meeting of the negotiators was held on
October 8, this time with the addition of MDC-Mutambara
(MDC-M) negotiators Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi. Again, according to Biti, no progress was
made. Another meeting is scheduled for today with principals
Mugabe, Tsvangirai, and Mutambara and their negotiating teams.
¶5. (C) Biti told us he and others would not be satisfied
with a deal that gave the MDC home affairs and finance, and
Tsvangirai would have a difficult time selling this to the
MDC national council. At a minimum, he believed the MDC
should receive all the outstanding ministries. To this end,
he was advocating that negotiations be reopened on allocation
of all 31 ministries.
Seeking SADC and AU help
¶6. (C) According to Biti, Tsvangirai had written former
South African president Thabo Mbeki seeking his reengagement
as a mediator. Mbeki wrote back requesting the MDC list
points of disagreement with ZANU-PF and areas in which he
could be helpful. Biti interpreted this as a “bureaucratic”
response signaling that Mbeki was not eager to insert himself
into the process.
¶7. (C) Biti was pessimistic that ZANU-PF would compromise
without AU and SADC involvement. He traveled to Dar Es
Salaam last weekend to speak with Tanzanian president Kikwete
who, according to Biti, was sympathetic to the MDC position
and highly critical of Mugabe. Biti said that newly-elected
speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo had met with
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Botswanan president Khama who took a similar position.
Finally, MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe had met with
South African president Motlanthe and ANC president Jacob
Zuma. Zuma, in particular, as related to Biti by Khupe, was
supportive of the MDC. Biti added that Tsvangirai was
planning a trip next week to Botswana and possibly South
Africa. (NOTE: Despite GOZ promises, Tsvangirai still has
not received his passport and will be traveling on a travel
document. END NOTE.)
¶8. (C) Biti believed the impasse could be resolved only with
SADC and AU intervention. He viewed MDC participation in the
current negotiations as a way of demonstrating to the
regional and international communities that ZANU-PF was
stonewalling and acting in bad faith.
¶9. (C) ZANU-PF’s bad faith in negotiations is evidence that
it sees MDC inclusion in government as requisite to
international reengagement and economic recovery, but wants
to maintain the real power in a new government. Its
unwillingness to support a genuine power-sharing arrangement
bodes poorly for the functioning of a government if and when
a final agreement is concluded. END COMMENT.