Ncube said pressure from West working but Mugabe preferred African solution


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The secretary-general of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Welshman Ncube told United States embassy officials that pressure on President Robert Mugabe from the United States and the European Union was working but Mugabe preferred that any solution for the Zimbabwe crisis should come from Africa so that he could say he had stood up to the West and Africans had helped him to solve Zimbabwe’s problems.

Ncube was optimistic about the talks that were being brokered by the Southern African Development Community saying that contrary to reports in the media, the talks were progressing and the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front had not walked out.

He said as a sign of progress the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC had attended the opening of Parliament by President Mugabe for the first time, and Mugabe had not criticised the MDC.

Ncube said the opposition needed assistance from the United States but felt that at the time the assistance was skewed in favour of the Tsvangirai faction.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07HARARE685, WELSHMAN NCUBE ON SADC NEGOTIATIONS, MDC SPLIT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE685

2007-08-02 09:27

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 020927Z AUG 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1743

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1665

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1535

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1669

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0315

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0935

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1298

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1726

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4143

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1495

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2159

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0790

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1886

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000685

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

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: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: WELSHMAN NCUBE ON SADC NEGOTIATIONS, MDC SPLIT

 

REF: HARARE 552

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) Welshman Ncube, MDC pro-Senate faction

secretary-general and one of the MDC negotiators in the

 

SIPDIS

SADC-sponsored Zimbabwe talks, told us he was “cautiously

optimistic” about the talks. Contrary to news reports,

ZANU-PF was still engaged and discussions had taken place on

a new constitution. If a national election takes place as

scheduled, Ncube believed that only a united or coalition MDC

could prevail. Although several days earlier, Ncube’s MDC

faction had announced it would go it alone and field its own

candidates, Ncube said the pro-Senate faction was still

willing to negotiate a coalition agreement. Turning to

elections, Ncube said U.S. assistance was important. He

though U.S. assistance had been slanted toward the other

faction. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Visiting Staffdel Phelan and polecon chief met with

Ncube on July 31.

 

————-

Focus on SADC

————-

 

3. (C) Noting news reports that ZANU-PF was not seriously

engaged in the Mbeki-led SADC negotiations, Ncube said that

in fact substantial progress had been made on negotiating a

new constitution. Negotiators were using the 2002 draft

constitution negotiated by Ncube and ZANU-PF Minister of

Justice Patrick Chinimasa that was subsequently rejected by

their superiors.

 

4. (C) Acknowledging that President Mugabe, in his address

to Parliament last week and in other speeches had maintained

a new constitution was not required and that any necessary

changes could be made through Amendment 18 (Ref), Ncube

maintained that this was political posturing. South African

mediators had made clear in the talks that the proposals

contained in Amendment 18 should be considered in the context

of the negotiations, and that it would be bad faith for

Mugabe and ZANU-PF to move unilaterally in Parliament for its

adoption.

 

5. (C) Ncube was “cautiously optimistic” about the SADC

talks. ZANU-PF had not walked out and had made some

compromises. At the beginning of the talks, ZANU-PF had

promised to negotiate in good faith. He pointed out that at

the opening of Parliament, the Tsvangirai-led faction had

attended for the first time, and Mugabe in his remarks had

not criticized the MDC.

 

6. (C) Ncube credited continuous pressure by the U.S. and EU

for forcing Mugabe into the SADC negotiations. According to

Ncube, Mugabe knows that the West blames him for having

brought Zimbabwe to the brink of destruction, while he would

view his legacy as having stood up to imperialism. Any

solution to the Zimbabwean crisis, therefore, would have to

come from Africa so that Mugabe could say he had stood up to

the West and Africans had helped him solve Zimbabwe’s

problems.

 

 

HARARE 00000685 002 OF 003

 

 

7. (C) Finally, Ncube opined that if negotiations leading to

elections were successful, elections could not reasonably be

held in March. Additional time would be necessary to

implement constitutional and electoral changes to create a

level electoral playing field.

 

———————————-

Decision to Go It Alone Not Final

———————————-

 

8. (C) Ncube reviewed the history of the MDC split. He

argued that negotiators had signed a coalition agreement in

April under which sitting parliamentarians would keep their

seats in the next elections, and there would be a 50-50

allocation to each faction of candidacies for ZANU-PF-held

seats and proportional distribution of ministers under a new

government. Tsvangirai’s faction then insisted on a new

agreement that would provide for a nominating process for all

seats, including those currently held by the pro-Senate

faction.

 

9. (C) Ncube admitted that the Tsvingirai faction was

stronger. Nevertheless, to defeat Mugabe would require both

factions working together. He and faction president Arthur

Mutambara had said they were open to further negotiations;

Tsvingirai had not indicated, however, any interest. With

 

SIPDIS

time to elections running out, Ncube said his faction felt it

had no choice but to strike out on its own. Ncube stated his

faction, at this point in time, was still open to

negotiations to achieve a coalition. The ball was in

Tsvangirai’s court.

 

SIPDIS

 

10. (C) According to Ncube, the absence of an MDC coalition

would not directly affect the SADC negotiations. He and

anti-Senate secretary-general Tendai Biti would continue to

work well together. He believed the South Africans would

ignore the internal MDC problems for now and continue with

the negotiations.

 

———————-

U.S. Assistance Crucial

———————-

 

11. (C) Ncube was appreciative of U.S. assistance to

democratic forces in Zimbabwe. He thought the U.S. could

continue to play an important role through voter education

and strenthening election capability and suggested this could

be done through SADC. Ncube also commented that he thought

U.S. assistance in the past had been slanted toward the

anti-Senate faction.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

12. (C) We believe that Mugabe is not genuinely interested

in negotiations, currently intends to stand for election, and

intends to insure that he wins. Part of his reelection and

succession plan is Amendment 18 which, inter alia, would

increase the size of Parliament and gerrymander districts.

An acid test of ZANU-PF’s willingness to negotiate with the

MDC through SADC will be whether it tries to push the

amendment through the new session of Parliament, or whether

the substance of the amendment is revised as a consequence of

the South African talks.

 

13. (C) As to the MDC split, there is no question that the

 

HARARE 00000685 003 OF 003

 

 

Tsvangirai faction has the lion’s share of grass roots

 

SIPDIS

support. Nevertheless, a split MDC (especially one in whose

leaders engage in mutual mudslinging) will play into Mugabe’s

hands and foster voter apathy. The announced decision of the

pro-Senate faction to go it alone was an effort to force

Tsvingirai and company to negotiate and make concessions.

 

SIPDIS

Mutambara, Ncube, and their followers are hoping Tsvangirai

will conclude he needs them to have a good chance of winning.

However, although most MDC members and parliamentarians from

both sides would like to see a coalition, the personal animus

between Tsvangirai and Ncube does not augur well. End

Comment.

DHANANI

(21 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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