The Movement for Democratic Changed lacked a certain spark when its leader Morgan Tsvangirai was detained for two weeks on fresh treason charges and although it remained cohesive it seemed to be marking time rather than moving forward.
This was said by the United States embassy after its officials had met Tsvangirai’s special advisor Gandi Mudzingwa who brushed off criticism of the party’s leadership by the youth wing and civil society.
Civil society questioned the appropriateness of demonstrations which the party had planned while there was discontent among the youth wing of the party which threatened to demonstrate against Tsvangirai’s continued imprisonment.
Mudzingwa said these were the complaints of a few individuals and flatly denied any serious threats of splits within the party.
Ed: Zimbabwe has developed a culture of personalising political parties. There is no ZAPU without Joshua Nkomo, no ZANU-PF without Robert Mugabe, no MDC without Tsvangirai. And the West just loves. To some spice it throws in tribalism and succession as if this was some chieftainship.
Viewing cable 03HARARE1252, MDC MAKES PLANS WHILE WAITING FOR ITS LEADER TO BE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
191420Z Jun 03
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 001252
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2008
SUBJECT: MDC MAKES PLANS WHILE WAITING FOR ITS LEADER TO BE
Classified By: Political Officer Peggy Blackford for reasons 1.5b/d
¶1. (C) Although the MDC is clearly missing its leader who
continues to be imprisoned on new treason charges, it remains
united and strong according to Special Presidential Advisor
Gandi Mudzingwa. Criticisms leveled against the MDC
leadership are just that, criticisms, not indications of any
split in the party. There has been no progress in
negotiations via any of the actors who have hoped to bring
the parties to the table. The South Africans may be talking
to Mugabe but, in Mudzingwa’s opinion, are ignoring the MDC.
The MDC, in the meanwhile, is gearing up for district
elections in August and is badly in need of funds. It
appears that other new initiatives will wait for the release
of Tsvangirai however.
Status of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai – Morale at the MDC
¶2. (C) At a lunch with Gandi Mudzingwa, Special Advisor to
Tsvangirai, PolOff asked how the MDC leader was faring.
Mudzingwa said that he seemed to be holding up well although
no one but his wife and his attorneys have been able to see
him in the remand prison. Mudzingwa repeated the story we
have been told by Tsvangirai’s attorney that the judgment on
bail for the new treason charges is ready and said that he
believed that it would be handed down this afternoon. Later
inquiries to the attorney, however, suggested that that may
have been wishful thinking on Mudzingwa’s part.
¶3. (C) Asked about criticism of the MDC by civil society,
which questioned the appropriateness of demonstrations, and
discontent among the youth wing of the party, which has
threatened to demonstrate against Tsvangirai’s continued
imprisonment, Mudzingwa said these were the complaints of a
few individuals and flatly denied any serious threats of
splits within the party. He said that he personally had been
a bit downcast by the failure of the demonstrations but upon
reflection had concluded that the stayaway had been much
better than the one in March. Therefore, on the whole, he
was content with the outcome of the mass action.
No progress towards negotiations
¶4. (C) PolOff queried whether there had been any contacts
from any of the various parties that have been trying to
bring about negotiations. Mudzingwa confirmed the church
leaders had been in touch with the party leadership on June 9
as reported septel but denied that there had been any contact
at all from the South Africans, although he conceded that the
SAG might well have been speaking to the GOZ. He criticized
the SAG approach, saying that they want to limit their
contacts to Mugabe and ZANU-PF and seem to think that the MDC
will simply agree to whatever ZANU wants as long as there is
some sort of transition.
In the meantime, MDC makes plans
5.(C) Mudzingwa said that the party was currently hard at
work trying to find candidates for all the contested district
elections scheduled for August. In some ZANU-PF strongholds
it was proving tough to find a candidate willing to risk
pressure and threats of violence. Finances were getting more
difficult and the party was considering sending a spokesman
to the US with the hope of raising funds. He hinted that he
would like USG support in such a venture. PolOff told him
that was impossible but said she was sure many human rights
and other US based organizations would be willing to help.
¶6. (C) Although the MDC remains cohesive, without
Tsvangirai’s leadership, it seems to lack a certain spark and
to be marking time rather than moving forward. All the more
reason why it is crucial that Tsvangirai receive his ‘get out
of jail” card ASAP.