MDC victory in 2000 could have been destabilising


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A South African legislator Ebrahim Ebrahim told United States embassy officials that the outcome of the 2000 Zimbabwe elections in which the Movement for Democratic Change narrowly lost to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was a welcome result because a ZANU-PF loss would have been destabilising.

Ebrahim who was planning to meet MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube said the results had brought about a true multi-party system because prior to this Zimbabwe had been virtually a one-party state.

He said the South African government was going to try to strengthen its ties with both ZANU-PF and the MDC and would encourage President Robert Mugabe to offer a few cabinet seats to the MDC.

Ebrahim said Mugabe was suspicious of the MDC’s supposed foreign financial backing, and implicitly expressed agreement with this suspicion by pointing out that a well-organised rally that he had attended included a slickly produced video that “could have been produced by Saatchi and Saatchi”.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 00HARARE3545, OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES WILL STRESS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

00HARARE3545

2000-06-29 09:14

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.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0436

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03545 01 OF 02 290913Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01  NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /009W

——————684F04 290913Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6467

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 003545

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR P/DAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN

AF/S FOR A. RENDER, D. BOOTH, AND T. FAULK

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA WJEFFERS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/10

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI SF

SUBJECT: OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES WILL STRESS

POST-ELECTION RECONCILIATION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03545 01 OF 02 290913Z

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR TOM MCDONALD.

REASONS: 1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: FOLLOWING ZIMBABWE’S JUNE 24-25

PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, REPRESENTATIVES OF OTHER

AFRICAN COUNTRIES HERE HAVE STATED THEIR INTENTION

TO REACH OUT TO BOTH ZANU-PF AND THE MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) AND URGE BOTH SIDES TO WORK

TOWARD NATIONAL RECONCILIATION. PARTICIPANTS IN A

JUNE 27 MEETING OF THE AFRICAN DIPLOMATIC CORPS

STRESSED THIS THEME, AS DID SENIOR SOUTH AFRICAN

PARLIAMENTARIAN EBRAHIM EBRAHIM IN A JUNE 28

CONVERSATION WITH US. EBRAHIM HAD MET THE PREVIOUS

EVENING WITH PRESIDENT MUGABE AND FOUND HIM TO BE IN

A CONCILIATORY FRAME OF MIND, ALTHOUGH STILL

PREOCCUPIED WITH PERCEIVED PLOTS AGAINST HIM. END

SUMMARY.

 

READOUT ON SOUTH AFRICAN MEETING WITH MUGABE

——————————————–

 

2. (C) IN A JUNE 28 CONVERSATION WITH CAPE TOWN-

BASED TDY POLOFF, SENIOR SOUTH AFRICAN

PARLIAMENTARIAN EBRAHIM EBRAHIM DISCUSSED SOUTH

AFRICA’S PLANS FOR NEXT STEPS REGARDING RELATIONS

WITH ZIMBABWE FOLLOWING THE JUNE 24-25 PARLIAMENTARY

ELECTION. EBRAHIM, WHO CHAIRS PARLIAMENT’S FOREIGN

AFFAIRS COMMITTEE AND SITS ON THE INTERNATIONAL

AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OF THE ANC’S NATIONAL EXECUTIVE

COUNCIL, HAD PARTICIPATED IN PRESIDENT MUGABE’S JUNE

27 MEETING WITH THREE MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03545 01 OF 02 290913Z

PARLIAMENTARY OBSERVER DELEGATION. EBRAHIM SAID

THAT HE HAD FOUND MUGABE TO BE IN A FAIRLY

CONCILIATORY FRAME OF MIND AND FOCUSED ON

RECONCILIATION IN THE WAKE OF THE VIOLENCE THAT TOOK

PLACE IN THE LEAD-UP TO THE ELECTIONS. MUGABE HAD

ACKNOWLEDGED, EBRAHIM SAID, THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO

MAKE SOME SORT OF GESTURE TO VICTIMS OF THE

VIOLENCE. HOWEVER, EBRAHIM ALSO FOUND THAT MUGABE

WAS STILL PREOCCUPIED WITH SUPPOSED CONSPIRACIES

AGAINST HIM BY THE BRITISH AND OTHERS.

 

3. (C) SOUTH AFRICA, EBRAHIM TOLD POLOFF, WILL

REMAIN CLOSELY ENGAGED WITH ZIMBABWE TO ENCOURAGE A

PROCESS OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND THE

REVITALIZATION OF ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY. HE SAID THAT

HE WAS PLEASED WITH THE USG’S ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE

SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT’S QUIET DIPLOMACY APPROACH,

AND TOLD POLOFF THAT A MAJOR PRIORITY FOR THE SOUTH

AFRICANS WILL BE ENCOURAGING THE HEALING OF

ZIMBABWE’S RIFT WITH BRITAIN.

 

4. (C) THE SAG, EBRAHIM SAID, WILL SEEK TO

STRENGTHEN ITS TIES WITH BOTH ZANU-PF AND THE MDC

AND WILL ENCOURAGE MUGABE TO OFFER A FEW CABINET

POSITIONS TO THE MDC. ASKED ABOUT STRAINS BETWEEN

THE MDC AND THE ANC, EBRAHIM, WHO WAS ABOUT TO MEET

WITH SENIOR MDC MEMBER WELSHMAN NCUBE BEFORE

DEPARTING FOR SOUTH AFRICA, ACKNOWLEDGED THE RIFT

AND SAID IT WAS TIME THAT IT WAS REPAIRED. EBRAHIM

NOTED THAT MUGABE REMAINED SUSPICIOUS OF THE MDC’S

SUPPOSED FOREIGN FINANCIAL BACKING, AND IMPLICITLY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 03545 01 OF 02 290913Z

EXPRESSED AGREEMENT WITH THIS SUSPICION BY POINTING

OUT THAT A WELL-ORGANIZED MDC RALLY EBRAHIM HAD

RECENTLY ATTENDED INCLUDED A SLICKLY PRODUCED VIDEO

THAT “COULD HAVE BEEN PRODUCED BY SAATCHI AND

SAATCHI.” (NOTE: AN MDC OFFICIAL HAS TOLD US THAT

THE PARTY MADE A MISTAKE IN REACHING OUT TO THE

DEMOCRATIC PARTY, SOUTH AFRICA’S OFFICIAL

OPPOSITION, BEFORE THE ANC. SHE THOUGHT THE MDC AND

ANC COULD IMPROVE THEIR RELATIONS, BUT OPINED THAT

THE ANC HAD LEGITIMATE CONCERNS ABOUT THE

POSSIBILITY THAT THE LABOR UNION COSATU, WHICH IS A

COALITION PARTNER OF THE ANC, WOULD TAKE A LESSON

FROM THE LABOR-BASED MDC AND CHALLENGE THE ANC FROM

WITHOUT. END NOTE.)

 

5. (C) EBRAHIM TOLD POLOFF THAT HE WAS PLEASED

WITH THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION. THERE WAS ONLY A

NARROW RANGE OF OUTCOMES IN WHICH PEACE WOULD BE

POSSIBLE, AND ZANU-PF’S NARROW VICTORY FELL WITHIN

THIS RANGE. IN PARTICULAR, A ZANU-PF LOSS COULD

HAVE BEEN DESTABILIZING. EBRAHIM NOTED THAT, UNLIKE

IN THE PAST, WHEN ZIMBABWE WAS ESSENTIALLY A ONE-

PARTY STATE, THERE IS NOW A MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM. HE

REJECTED THE VIEW OF THE EU MISSION AND OTHERS THAT

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0437

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 03545 02 OF 02 290913Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00 SMEC-00 DODE-00

SRPP-00 DS-00   FBIE-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00

IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02

OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00

SP-00   IRM-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /009W

——————684F0D 290913Z /38

P 290914Z JUN 00

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6468

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 003545

 

SIPDIS

 

AF FOR P/DAS POWELL AND DAS SCHNEIDMAN

AF/S FOR A. RENDER, D. BOOTH, AND T. FAULK

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR GAYLE SMITH

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA WJEFFERS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/01/10

TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI SF

SUBJECT: OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES WILL STRESS

POST-ELECTION RECONCILIATION

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 03545 02 OF 02 290913Z

PRE-ELECTION VIOLENCE MILITATED AGAINST A

DETERMINATION THAT THE JUNE 24-25 ELECTION WAS FREE

AND FAIR. WHILE NOT RULING OUT THE POSSIBILITY

THAT ZANU-PF HAD WON SOME SEATS UNFAIRLY, EBRAHIM

OPINED THAT THE ELECTION HAD SUBSTANTIALLY REFLECTED

THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. THE MDC, HE SAID, SHOULD

ACCEPT THE OUTCOME IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL

RECONCILIATION. HE RECALLED THAT THERE HAD BEEN

WIDESPREAD DOUBT WITHIN THE ANC ABOUT THE RIVAL

INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY’S VICTORY IN KWAZULU-NATAL

(EBRAHIM’S HOME AREA) IN SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST

DEMOCRATIC ELECTION IN 1994, BUT THE PARTY HAD

ACCEPTED THE INKATHA WIN IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL

RECONCILIATION.

 

OTHER AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS URGE “UNITY IN DIVERSITY”

——————————————— ——

 

6. (C) TANZANIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER ALEXANDER

MUGANDA TOLD THE AMBASSADOR JUNE 28 THAT THE AFRICAN

AMBASSADORS HERE HAD MET THE DAY BEFORE TO DISCUSS

POST-ELECTION ENGAGEMENT WITH THE GOZ. THE AFRICAN

AMBASSADORS AGREED THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO HELP

ZIMBABWE HEAL ITS WOUNDS; ACCEPTANCE OF THE ELECTION

RESULTS BY BOTH SIDES WOULD FOSTER THIS. THE

AMBASSADORS PLAN TO ENCOURAGE ZIMBABWEANS TO EMBRACE

“UNITY IN DIVERSITY” AS A REAL MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM

EMERGES HERE.

 

7. (C) THE AFRICAN AMBASSADOR AGREED AT THE

MEETING THAT THERE ARE REAL WOUNDS THAT MUST BE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 03545 02 OF 02 290913Z

HEALED. A VILLAGER WHOSE HOUSE HAS BEEN BURNED DOWN

NEEDS TO HEAR WORDS OF RECONCILIATION FROM THE

LEADERSHIP. THE AMBASSADORS PLAN TO ASK THEIR

CAPITALS FOR GUIDANCE ON NEXT STEPS; IN DOING SO

THEY WILL ENCOURAGE A POLICY OF QUIET COMMUNICATION

WITH BOTH ZANU-PF AND THE MDC. THE TANZANIAN HIGH

COMMISSIONER HAD TOLD AMBASSADOR MCDONALD SHORTLY

BEFORE THE ELECTION THAT MOST OF THE AFRICAN

AMBASSADORS HAD MET AS A GROUP WITH ZANU-PF NATIONAL

CHAIRMAN JOHN NKOMO TO SEND A MESSAGE THAT CONTINUED

VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION WOULD NOT BE TOLERATED.

 

8. (C) COMMENT: THE NON-CONFRONTATIONAL STANCE

SOUTH AFRICA AND OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES TOOK BEFORE

THE ELECTIONS MAY AFFORD THEM GREATER ENTREE TO

ZIMBABWE’S LEADERSHIP THAN THAT GRANTED TO OTHER

COUNTRIES. IT IS ENCOURAGING TO SEE THAT THEY PLAN

TO REACH OUT TO ALL SIDES AND THAT MESSAGE THEY

DELIVER IS LIKELY TO BE ONE OF RECONCILIATION. END

COMMENT.

 

MCDONALD

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

(2 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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