Madhuku had no funds to bus people for demonstrations


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National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that Zimbabweans were unwilling to participate in large anti-government demonstrations out of fear that the government would harshly suppress demonstrations with violence.

He had been organising regular protests but had not been able to mobilise people in the thousands because of lack of resources, specifically, his organisation could not provide people with bus fare to come to downtown Harare or Bulawayo, which was why demonstrations had not exceeded a few hundred at a time.

Madhuku, who met the ambassador together with Elton Mangoma one of the chief negotiators for the Movement for Democratic Change and Harare executive mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, said negotiations for a political solution between the MDC and ZANU-PF had dissipated much of the momentum to generate more public activism and organise large protests.

He said such a strategy would require a “grand political decision” from the MDC, but the party was focused on generating outside pressure on President Robert Mugabe and his government rather than mobilising grassroots support for building up internal pressure in Zimbabwe.

Both the negotiations and the external strategy had failed to generate sufficient pressure on Mugabe to force change, Madhuku said, adding that the pressure would have to come from the people.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1056, ZIMBABWEAN INSIDERS BRIEF AMBASSADORS MCGEE AND

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1056

2008-11-26 13:01

SECRET//NOFORN

Embassy Harare

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OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

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FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3751

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2460

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2585

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1078

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1854

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2209

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2634

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5062

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1726

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001056

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/26/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN INSIDERS BRIEF AMBASSADORS MCGEE AND

BOST ON POLITICAL STALEMATE AND ECONOMIC COLLAPSE

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) MDC-T negotiator and treasurer Elton Mangoma,

civil-society leader Lovemore Madhuku, and Harare Mayor

Muchadeyi Masunda on November 24 briefed Ambassador McGee and

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Bost on the political and

economic crises facing Zimbabwe. Friendly members of the

diplomatic corps joined the two U.S. Ambassadors for a

working lunch in which analytical assessments and policy

options were discussed. Topics of discussion included the

reaction by the MDC-T to the recently concluded emergency

SADC Summit in South Africa, the leverage South Africa could

apply in breaking the political impasse, President Mugabe’s

mindset, the need for public activism, and the state of what

remains of Zimbabwe’s formal economy. END SUMMARY.

 

————————————-

MDC-T Frustrated by African Neighbors

————————————-

 

2. (C) MDC-T negotiator and treasurer, Elton Mangoma,

reported that the MDC-T leadership was shocked at the lack of

support it received from African neighbors at the SADC Summit

on November 16. The MDC-T had expected that the majority of

SADC nations would see the equity in its proposals and in the

aftermath of the summit felt that SADC had not had the

courage to stand up to Mugabe. Particularly disappointing

was the passive role played by South African President

Motlanthe who, according to Mangoma, had come close to

apologizing after the summit and admitted that SADC had

“handled it badly.” This situation was leading to doubts

within the MDC-T leadership over whether a future South

African President Jacob Zuma would take a discernibly

stronger position in dealing with Mugabe than that of former

President Thabo Mbeki. Mangoma said that if South Africa put

real political and economic pressure on Zimbabwe the impasse

could be “resolved in a matter of days.”

 

3. (C) Mangoma’s post mortem explanation of events at the

SADC summit was that Southern African nations viewed giving

genuine power to the MDC-T as setting a dangerous precedent.

Nearly all of them remain one-party states that in many cases

sprung from national independence movements. The possibility

of an upstart party taking power in their own countries was

seen as threatening. He said discussion of democracy by

these leaders was merely paying lip-service to the U.S. and

others.

 

4. (C) When asked why Mugabe would not reach an

accommodation with his rivals * genuine or otherwise *

merely to receive international assistance, Mangoma described

his perception of Mugabe’s decision making. He said after

nearly three decades of rule Mugabe is completely immersed in

power games, and he “does not worry about how many people

perish along the way.” One thing he still cares about is the

perception by other African states of his legitimacy to rule

Zimbabwe based on his role in the liberation struggle. He

enjoys being seen as fighting for a cause, and standing up to

the West has become his cause.

 

——————————————-

Civil Society Trying to Get Out the Numbers

——————————————-

 

5. (C) Lovemore Madhuku, the president of the National

Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a prominent civil society

 

HARARE 00001056 002 OF 003

 

 

organization that has been an organizer of peaceful protests,

told us that the failure of the talks to make any progress

has led to a loss of hope for many ordinary Zimbabweans.

Additionally, ongoing negotiations have dissipated much of

the momentum to generate more public activism and organize

large protests. Madhuku said such a strategy would require a

“grand political decision” from the MDC, which for the moment

remains focused on generating outside pressure on the regime

(from SADC, the AU and the UN) rather than mobilizing

grassroots support for building up internal pressure in

Zimbabwe. In Madhuku’s view, both the negotiations and the

external strategy have failed to generate sufficient pressure

on the regime to force change. He said that such pressure

would have to come from the people.

 

6. (C) Madhuku explained many Zimbabweans are unwilling to

participate in large anti-government demonstrations out of

fear that the government will harshly suppress demonstrations

with violence. He has been organizing regular protests but

has not been able to mobilize people in the thousands because

of lack of resources. Specifically, his organization cannot

provide people with bus fare to come to downtown Harare or

Bulawayo, which was why demonstrations have not exceeded a

few hundred at a time. This week the NCA has scheduled

marches in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru. He

asked for our assistance in financing mass protests. He was

encouraged to build a coalition of like-minded Zimbabwean

organizations that were inclined to actively protest for an

end to the crisis situation.

 

————————————

Last Legs of Formal Economy Buckling

————————————

 

7. (SBU) Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, who sits on the

board of directors of several prominent Zimbabwean companies,

revealed that now even the largest Zimbabwean companies are

facing collapse. Masunda said that Bindura Nickel was being

forced to shut down, ZimPlats was dramatically scaling down

its operations despite its South African ownership, gold

miners were no longer being paid by the Reserve Bank to whom

they were obligated to sell their gold, and even financial

stalwart Old Mutual Zimbabwe was suffering as it had been

told to shift 35 percent of its stock market holdings to

government investments.

 

8. (U) Meanwhile, ordinary Zimbabweans and the informal

economy that has absorbed many people previously employed in

the formal sector are being sustained by remittances from the

diaspora.

 

9. (C) On politics, Masunda felt that cracks were widening

in ZANU-PF and party dissatisfaction was high. He

specifically cited the recent defection of some ZAPU leaders

as indicative of sentiment within ZANU-PF ranks. Masunda

said that Mugabe “knows that he’s screwed up and the only

thing that is keeping him going is that he cannot countenance

the thought of being tried internationally for crimes against

humanity.”

 

————————

Like-Mindeds Think Alike

————————

 

10. (C) Ambassador McGee hosted lunch with Ambassadors from

like-minded nations, specifically heads of mission from

Australia, Germany, the European Commission, and the UK. The

consensus was that South Africa wields the most external

leverage over Zimbabwe and needs to be pressured to use that

leverage to help deliver political reforms in Zimbabwe. The

 

HARARE 00001056 003 OF 003

 

 

argument most likely to resonate is that stability in

Zimbabwe is in South Africa’s own best interest.

 

11. (C) Domestically, the group felt that the MDC-T had not

done enough to build coalitions and present a unified front.

The MDC-T needs to mend fences with the MDC-M and reach out

to disaffected and former ZANU-PF members, including Simba

Makoni and Dumiso Dabengwa. The MDC also needs to join

forces with civil society to coordinate efforts to mobilize

large numbers that would signal domestically and

internationally that Zimbabweans have had enough.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) There was general agreement expressed by all

interlocutors that two kinds of pressure could enhance the

chances for democratic transition in Zimbabwe: pressure on

Mugabe from South Africa and a unified and forceful

opposition mobilization inside the country. Unfortunately,

neither appears imminent. On the one hand, South African

President Motlanthe reportedly blames Tsvangirai for the

stalemate in Zimbabwe. On the other, Tsvangirai’s return to

Zimbabwe does not appear imminent and there is no evidence

the MDC-T has learned to appreciate the usefulness of

outreach to rivals within Zimbabwe’s opposition movement.

END COMMENT.

 

McGee

(6 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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