Masamvu passed MDC document to US officials


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Idasa analyst Sydney Masamvu had a copy of the 10-page document on the concerns of the two Movement for Democratic Change formations sent to South African President Thabo Mbeki and handed it over to United States embassy officials in Pretoria who in turn emailed it to their embassy in Harare.

According to a cable just released by Wikileaks, Masamvu had obtained the document from sources in the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty democracy.

The IMD supported the Cape Town-based Zimbabwe Institute, which Masamvu believed helped draft the Document, entitled: MDC Submission to the South African President Thabo Mbeki: SADC appointed Mediator on Zimbabwe. Conditions for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. A pre-dialogue statement”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA1554, MDC WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO MBEKI DETAILS OBSTACLES

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA1554

2007-05-03 14:29

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO4599

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1554/01 1231429

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 031429Z MAY 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9535

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 0982

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2069

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1089

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0515

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1184

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0465

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1072

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0074

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4268

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 001554

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR P, AF, IO, DRL, AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/01/2017

TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM ZI SF

SUBJECT: MDC WRITTEN SUBMISSION TO MBEKI DETAILS OBSTACLES

TO FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS

 

REF: A. PRETORIA 1447

B. PRETORIA 1054

C. HARARE 344

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(b) and

(d).

 

1. (C) The Zimbabwe opposition party Movement for Democratic

Change (MDC) presented its concerns about upcoming elections

in a formal, 10-page written submission to South African

President Mbeki, dated 11 April 2007. Mbeki is serving as

the “facilitator” in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern

African Development Community (ref A), and has said that he

seeks to encourage dialogue between the MDC and ruling

ZANU-PF on the conditions for holding “free and fair”

elections in 2008. The SAG requested the MDC document during

two late March/early April meetings with MDC Secretaries

General Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube (ref B).

 

2. (C) Post obtained a copy of the MDC written submission,

presented jointly by both MDC “formations,” from IDASA

analyst Sydney Masamvu (protect), who received it from

unnamed sources in the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty

Democracy (IMD). IMD has supported the Cape Town-based

Zimbabwe Institute, which Masamvu believes helped draft the

document. The document is entitled “MDC Submission to the

South African President Thabo Mbeki: SADC appointed Mediator

on Zimbabwe. Conditions for free and fair elections in

Zimbabwe. A pre-dialogue statement” (full document emailed

to Embassy Harare and AF/S).

 

——————————————

Urges End to Violence and New Constitution

——————————————

 

3. (C) The MDC submission begins with an introduction and

general observation that “proper negotiations” cannot take

place in the midst of the GOZ’s current “campaign of violent

repression.” However, the document makes clear that ending

the violence is not a “precondition” to talks.

 

4. (C) The document briefly reiterates the MDC view that the

“present Constitution is the root cause of many of the

problems” in Zimbabwe, and says that “elections should only

take place after a new democratic national Constitution comes

into operation in Zimbabwe.” During upcoming negotiations,

the MDC promises to “table its proposals” on the process for

creating a “new democratic constitutional order in Zimbabwe”

and the “principles upon which the new Constitution should be

based.”

 

——————————————— ——-

MDC Describes “Obstacles” to Free and Fair Elections

——————————————— ——-

 

5. (C) The remainder of the submission, entitled “Creating

conditions for free and fair elections,” describes in varying

degrees of detail 17 “obstacles” to the holding of free and

fair elections in Zimbabwe. The presentation draws heavily

on the SADC Electoral Principles. The obstacles are

summarized below using the same heading titles as the MDC

submission:

 

1. “Eligibility to vote” (must allow Zimbabwean diaspora to

vote);

 

2. “Deficiencies in the voters’ rolls and voter registration”

(need an updated and accessible voters’ roll);

 

3. “Ensuring impartial management of elections” (must put in

place a “genuinely independent and impartial electoral

commission”);

 

4. “Resolution of electoral disputes and complaints” (system

must address disputes, compared to past experience when

courts have “delayed inordinately the resolution of electoral

disputes”);

 

PRETORIA 00001554 002 OF 003

 

 

 

5. “Delimitation commission” (need neutral commission that

does not gerrymander);

 

6. “Auditing the electoral process” (need independent audit,

especially of ballot papers);

 

7. “Voter education” (must allow civic organizations to

provide voter education);

 

8. “Ensuring impartial policing of election” (need

“professional and politically impartial policing of the

election”);

 

9. “Ensuring freedom of peaceful assembly and association”

(must “revise” Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to

“ensure that all political parties and voters are able to

enjoy to the full their constitutional rights of freedom of

expression and assembly, while ensuring that public order is

preserved”);

 

10. “Preventing political misuse of military forces” (must

ensure the military are “not politically misused” and are

“kept out of the management of elections”);

 

11. “Preventing political misuse of youth militia and war

veterans” (must be “prevented from engaging in activities

that will prevent the holding of free elections”);

 

12. “Preventing political misuse of powers of traditional

leaders” (must ensure chiefs are neutral; many abused

position in past elections by threatening villagers with

expulsion or withholding food);

 

13. “Preventing abuse of food aid” (must not use food as

“political weapon” during elections);

 

14. “Media access, media coverage of elections and freedom of

expression (must ensure that media coverage of campaign is

“fair” and that all parties have “equitable access to public

media;” state media is “propaganda tool” of ZANU-PF; the

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)

is used by the state to stifle independent media);

 

15. “Ensuring full observation of election” (all regional,

international and local observers “wishing to observe during

the situation should able (sic) to do so freely before,

during and after the election”);

 

16. “Election agents and monitors” (must allow opposition

party agents and monitors to “carry out their duties,”

including the opening and sealing of ballot boxes and the

counting of votes; and

 

17. “Stopping the use of state resources for political

campaigns.”

 

The submission concludes by reemphasizing that the SADC

Electoral Principles require “members states to foster an

atmosphere of political tolerance for the proper holding of

elections,” and thus “appropriate measures must be taken

immediately if the elections to be held in 2008 are to

conform with the SADC Principles.”

 

6. (C) COMMENT: As reported in Ref A, South African

President Mbeki is treating the Zimbabwe mediation as a

negotiation between the MDC and ZANU-PF. He likely views

this written submission as the MDC’s initial negotiating

position and will now attempt to find “common ground” with

ZANU-PF on the 17 electoral issues. That said, if the SAG

truly wants free and fair elections (and we have our

suspicions they may not, as described in Ref A), we believe

there is little to negotiate since the suggested reforms —

at least the overwhelming majority of them — strike us as

the basic conditions for holding credible elections in

Zimbabwe.

 

 

PRETORIA 00001554 003 OF 003

 

 

7. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: We found the MDC submission

generally well-written and well-argued. Referring to the

SADC Electoral Guidelines will play well with the SAG. We

were surprised, however, that the MDC downplayed the role of

the international community in supervising the elections,

considering the past experience with GOZ fraud. It also

would have been helpful if the party had provided some sense

of prioritization or categorization, instead of merely

supplying a long laundry list of issues. END COMMENT.

 

8. (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy Harare.

TEITELBAUM

(5 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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