MDC-T’s dwindling majority


0

The Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai faction was fast losing its parliamentary majority, six months after the formation of the inclusive government, due deaths and the suspension of its sympathisers from the smaller faction of the MDC.

By August it was tied at 96 voting members each with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front following the suspension of four of its members following criminal convictions.

The United States embassy said there could be a total of 27 vacancies down the line broken down as follows:

  • vacant seats due to death (5),
  • suspension (3),
  • criminal conviction (4),
  • facing charges (10),
  • or reappointment (5).

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE679, MDC-T ATTEMPTS TO USE DWINDLING PARLIAMENTARY

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

09HARARE679

2009-08-20 15:34

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7317

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0679/01 2321534

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 201534Z AUG 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4843

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2998

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3113

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1542

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2376

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2743

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3161

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5606

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2289

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000679

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/20/2019

TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: MDC-T ATTEMPTS TO USE DWINDLING PARLIAMENTARY

ADVANTAGE TO PRESS FOR REFORM

 

REF: A. HARARE 402

B. HARARE 674

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) In the absence of leadership by Cabinet, Parliament

is moving forward with attempts to reform two pieces of

existing legislation that have been used by the State to

restrict civil liberties. The effort comes as the MDC-T’s

slim parliamentary advantage is under threat by ZANU-PF and

political bickering in the MDC-M faction. The suspension of

three Tsvangirai-aligned MDC-M MPs this week may have put

ZANU-PF and the MDC-T at voting strength parity in the

decisive lower house. Meanwhile, uncertainty surrounds

efforts to reform the media space as Mugabe has yet to

announce the composition of the new media commission from a

slate of nominees put forward by Parliament. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————-

Parliament May Make Legislative Reform Push

——————————————-

 

2. (C) Parliamentarian Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) met with

Embassy officers on August 14 and revealed that there is a

parliamentary initiative led by the MDC-T to amend the Access

to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the

Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that have been used by

the State to suppress dissent and curtail criticism and

protests targeted against the government. This will occur

through two separate “private member’s bills” sponsored by

unnamed parliamentary backbenchers. (NOTE: The

parliamentary convention has been for the relevant minister

to initiate legislation in Cabinet, put it to a parliamentary

vote, and then have the president sign it into law. An

oft-cited reason why legislation is rarely initiated by

Parliament is that individual MPs must bear the associated

printing costs. POSA and AIPPA fall under the authority of

ZANU-PF ministers. END NOTE.)

 

3. (C) Mwonzora said that the Speaker of Parliament,

Lovemore Moyo, had already agreed to pay for the printing

costs for the POSA private member’s bill. The process to

amend AIPPA will begin with a motion in Parliament debating

the need for change, and then will be followed by a private

member’s bill.

 

—————————————-

Suspensions Whittle Away MDC-T Advantage

—————————————-

 

4. (C) The Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, announced at a

press conference on August 18 that Speaker Lovemore Moyo had

written to President Mugabe declaring three MDC-M MPs

suspended from Parliament. The three MPs ) Abednico Bhebhe

(Nkayi South), Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East), and Njabuliso

Mguni (Lupane East) — have been outspoken critics of MDC-M

leadership (Ref A) and were expelled from the Party last

month on charges of misconduct. Xolani Zitha, the Director

of the Office of the Speaker, confirmed the letter of

suspension to poloff on August 19. Zitha said that while

Qsuspension to poloff on August 19. Zitha said that while

Moyo had thus far resisted suspending the trio (who have

voted along MDC-T lines), ultimately he was advised that he

had no legal basis to continue doing so. Welshman Ncube, the

Secretary General of the MDC-M, had warned Moyo that further

delays in suspending the MPs would result in the Party

leveling corruption charges against the Speaker. Welshman

 

HARARE 00000679 002 OF 002

 

 

had given Moyo an August 18 deadline.

 

5. (C) These suspensions, coupled with the four MDC-T MPs

who have been suspended from Parliament stemming from

criminal convictions, and the recent respiratory illness

induced death of a Bulawayo MDC-T MP, have threatened the

MDC-T’s slim voting advantage in Parliament. The MDC-T

currently has 96 voting members of Parliament. Their support

within MDC-M may have dropped from seven to four votes

following the suspensions of Bhebhe, Mpofu, and Mguni, giving

them a total of 100 votes. ZANU-PF in turn has lost four

votes to MP fatalities and stands at 96, including the vote

of independent Jonathan Moyo. Adding the four remaining

MDC-M votes to their total puts the two major parties at

parity.

 

————————————–

Uncertainty Surrounds Media Commission

————————————–

 

6. (C) The formation of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission

(ZMC) remains in limbo as Mugabe has yet to nominate a

chairperson and select eight of the twelve nominees put

forward by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Order Committee

last week. The State-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper ran an

article declaring that the commission selection process had

been suspended and the ZMC ought to be filled based on a

system of proportional representation by political parties.

Moyo immediately refuted the article and Zitha confirmed to

us that they have not received any notification of suspension

from the President’s Office.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) The MDC-T’s rapdly diminishing parliamentary

advantage puts the prospects for legislative reform at

tremendous risk. This is driving the MDC-T’s current push to

amend AIPPA and POSA, although even if a private member’s

bill were to succeed, it would be (like any legislation)

subject to a Mugabe veto. The selective prosecution of MDC-T

MPs also increases the importance of the upcoming August 27

of South African President Zuma visit at which we expect

Tsvangirai to press strongly for Attorney General Tomana’s

ouster (Ref B).

 

8. (C) Farther down the road lies the specter of up to 27

by-elections — the sum of all vacant seats due to death (5),

suspension (3), criminal conviction (4), facing charges (10),

or reappointment (5). This represents 13 percent of the 214

seats in the House of Assembly. This mini-election is a

large prize and could tempt ZANU-PF into engaging its

time-tested campaign tactics of violence and intimidation.

END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

(4 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *