Embassy says MDC lacks spark without Tsvangirai’s leadership


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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.


Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE1252, MDC MAKES PLANS WHILE WAITING FOR ITS LEADER TO BE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1252

2003-06-19 14:20

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

DS/OP/AF

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2008

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC MAKES PLANS WHILE WAITING FOR ITS LEADER TO BE

RELEASED

 

 

Classified By: Political Officer Peggy Blackford for reasons 1.5b/d

 

Summary

———

 

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.

 

SIPDIS

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.

 

Comment

——-

 

6. (C) Although the MDC remains cohesive, without

Tsvangirai’s leadership, it seems to lack a certain spark and

 

SIPDIS

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.

SULLIVAN

 

(25 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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