Tsholotsho legislator Jonathan Moyo said both the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had been significantly weakened since the March 2005 elections though ZANU-PF had won a two-thirds majority.
He said the MDC, which had lost 16 seats that it won in 2000, had missed an opportunity to take advantage of the public outcry over Operation Murambatsvina because it was inward looking.
The division over whether to participate in the senate elections or not could be disastrous for the party.
Moyo said ZANU-PF was “terminally rotten” and was increasingly being controlled by the security forces which remained loyal to Mugabe.
He said the party would attempt to put off the presidential elections until 2010 to give more time for Mugabe’s successor to settle into the job.
Moyo, however, rejected the argument that Mugabe was the main impediment to reform saying that this was a convenient excuse.
Mugabe “is not a machine”, he said. The real problem was the party itself.
Viewing cable 05HARARE1420, MOYO WEAVES TALE OF PARTIES IN DISARRAY
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001420
AF/S FOR B. NEULING
SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/18/2015
SUBJECT: MOYO WEAVES TALE OF PARTIES IN DISARRAY
REF: HARARE 001405
Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d
¶1. (C) In an October 13 meeting with the Charge, Independent
MP and former Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo said that
both the opposition MDC and ruling ZANU-PF were significantly
weakened since the March parliamentary elections. The MDC,
he said, had been focused inward since the elections and had
missed an opportunity to mobilize the public over Operation
Restore Order. Moyo added that the MDC,s current division
over whether to contest the Senate elections could be
disastrous for the party. Meanwhile, he said ZANU-PF was
&terminally rotten8 and increasingly controlled by the
security forces, which remained loyal to Mugabe. Moyo said
he agreed that a political transition was underway. He
predicted that the ruling party would attempt to put off the
presidential elections until 2010 to give more time for
Mugabe,s successor to settle into the job. They would use
as an excuse harmonizing the parliamentary and presidential
elections. Moyo was coy regarding the prospects for the
so-called Third Force that he is associated with, conceding
only that his nascent party was aggressively seeking
defectors from the two established parties and that it would
not contest the Senate elections. End Summary.
MDC Licking Wounds
¶2. (C) Moyo described the MDC as preoccupied with internal
upheaval and said its actions since the March parliamentary
elections had been ineffective. Saying that the MDC had
little future and no hope of making a recovery, Moyo assessed
that the main opposition party had missed an opportunity to
capitalize on public discontent over Operation Restore Order.
The public was ready to confront ZANU-PF but they needed
guidance, which had not been forthcoming from the MDC. Moyo
said the MDC leadership was courageous but overall lacked a
clear policy vision or strategy to confront the regime.
¶3. (C) Moyo pointed to the rift within the MDC surrounding
participation in the upcoming Senate elections as evidence
the party was in disarray (ref). Moyo said that
Tsvangirai,s opposition to participation was popular among
the party,s grass roots supporters, especially the youth and
women,s wings. Nonetheless, the other five of the MDC,s
top six leaders favored contesting the elections as had a
majority of the party,s Executive Council. Moyo claimed the
party elite,s support for participation had more to do with
self-interest and the desire for the perquisites of the
Senate than ideological or strategic justifications.
¶4. (C) Moyo conceded that the MDC was still strong in the
urban areas and in Matabeleland, its traditional strongholds,
and that those who favored participation were right that the
party should win the Senate seats in these areas regardless
of ZANU-PF election rigging. That said, it would be
disastrous for the party to compete in the elections in its
current state of disarray. Moyo predicted that a portion of
the party would participate regardless but without
Tsvangirai,s active involvement, MDC turnout would be poor
and the party would have the worst possible outcome: they
would legitimize the Senate while losing badly at the polls.
ZANU Struggling with Transition, Growing Unpopularity
¶5. (C) Moyo said he agreed with the view that the transition
was already underway within ZANU-PF. He said there were two
competing views within ZANU-PF about how to handle the
transition. The first was that President Mugabe would give
way to the new leader at some point in the next few years and
give that individual time to settle into the presidency.
Moyo predicted that under this scenario, ZANU-PF would use
its two-thirds majority in parliament to extend the current
presidential mandate until 2010, using as an excuse the need
to harmonize the presidential and parliamentary elections,
currently scheduled for 2008 and 2010 respectively. This
delay would allow Mugabe to step down sometime in the next
few years, likely 2008. The constitution would also be
amended to allow his successor to then step into the
presidency without an election and finish Mugabe,s term and
then run in 2010 as the incumbent.
¶6. (C) However, Moyo said the other view was gaining
currency, especially with the security forces, and he
suspected might carry the day. This view believed that the
founding leaders must not be removed but instead allowed to
die in office. A transition while they were still alive
would weaken the party and would be humiliating for the
leaders, who would die outside of office. Moyo said that
however the transition played out, it would not lead to
fundamental reform or to an economic turnaround. There were
no real moderates left within the ruling party. The
so-called young Turks only wanted the perquisites of power
for themselves. Moyo further rejected the argument that
Mugabe was the main impediment to reform, saying that it was
a convenient excuse and that Mugabe &is not a machine.8
The real problem was the party itself.
¶7. (C) Moyo added that ZANU-PF knew it was deeply unpopular.
ZANU wanted to be loved, not feared, but growing
unpopularity had forced the regime to rely increasingly on
the security forces. He contended that the party originally
launched the land reform policy to win the public,s hearts
and minds, but that the government ) a separate entity from
the party in Moyo,s eyes – had mismanaged the initiative and
fueled discontent. According to Moyo, ZANU-PF has responded
to growing discontent in &sinister ways8 such as the
security forces, manipulation of the state-owned Grain
Marketing Board and the distribution of food.
Moyo Tight-Lipped on Political Aspirations
¶8. (C) Moyo refused to be drawn into a discussion of his or
the third forces, political future, conceding only that he
was vigorously seeking defections from the other established
parties. Arguing that participation in the Senate elections
would only legitimize a corrupt institution and temporary
institution (its due to go out of existence in five year,s
time), he said his party would not participate in the
November poll. Nonetheless, he planned to exploit the
campaign season to advance his party,s agenda.
¶9. (C) Moyo presented a cerebral and articulate analysis of
the state of the two major political parties in Zimbabwe. In
fact, he may be the most astute politician in Zimbabwe today.
He is also a rank opportunist. Although he refused to be
drawn into discussions of &next steps8 for his nascent
political force, it is clear that the chameleon-like Moyo is
positioning himself as an alternative to the two main parties
that he believes are increasingly fragile.