NGO bemoans MDC’s underestimation of ZANU-PF


0

The leader of a non-governmental organisation who was described by the United States embassy as a long time political analyst in Zimbabwe bemoaned the Movement for Democratic Change’s clumsy political missteps, its underestimation of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, and lack of political forethought.

Tony Reeler, executive director of the Research and Advocacy Unit, said the MDC’s focus on parliament and regional heads of state to combat ZANU-PF policies demonstrated a lack of creativity.

Rather, he said, the MDC should take the struggle to communities across Zimbabwe, where it enjoyed wide support, and seek to undermine ZANU-PF politically.

Reeler said no one was able to effectively lead the party because all its leaders were in government.

“As the MDC is struggling to run government, ZANU-PF is sitting back and regrouping in preparation of upcoming political battles, including elections,” he said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE864, NGO DIRECTOR BEMOANS LACK OF PROGRESS IN ZIM

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

09HARARE864

2009-10-30 07:02

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4275

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0864/01 3030702

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 300702Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5084

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3134

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3246

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1673

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2507

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2876

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3294

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5742

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2426

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000864

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2019

TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PREL ZI

SUBJECT: NGO DIRECTOR BEMOANS LACK OF PROGRESS IN ZIM

 

Classified By: Charge d’affaires, a.i. Donald Petterson for reason 1.4

(b).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), a local NGO, is

joining with regional civil society organizations to pressure

southern African governments to re-focus attention on

Zimbabwe and the failures of the Global Political Agreement

(GPA). RAU Director Tony Reeler also shared with poloffs his

thoughts on how regional and grassroots mobilization could

help the MDC focus its efforts toward bringing things right

again in Zimbabwe. He warned donors to avoid directing too

much money to the constitution-making process, which he

believes is simply a ZANU-PF ploy to buy time before another

flawed election. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) On October 20, poloffs met with the Executive Director

of RAU and longtime political analyst Tony Reeler, who

presented a sobering, but thoughtful analysis of Zimbabwe’s

current situation. He began by explaining RAU’s programs,

some of which are funded by USAID and/or the Office of

Transition Initiatives (OTI). RAU runs three main programs:

(1) A transitional justice program that has included a

recent, thorough review of the voters’ role; (2) a campaign

to raise awareness of farm worker displacements, including

production of the film “House of Justice” and an upcoming

report on the issue; and (3) a campaign aimed at exposing

sexual violence against women, and providing social support

and counseling to victims of violence. As a part of this

third program, a documentary called “Hear Us” on sexual

violence during the 2008 election campaign will be shown at a

film festival in New York in the coming weeks. RAU also has

a non-publicized project on economic crimes, patronage, and

corruption in Zimbabwe and the region that has uncovered

evidence of money laundering and sanctions busting, but is in

need of roughly US$40,000 funding for further investigation.

 

—————————-

Political Advice for the MDC

—————————-

 

3. (C) Like many in civil society, Reeler bemoaned the MDC’s

clumsy political missteps, underestimation of ZANU-PF, and

lack of political forethought. He said that the MDC’s focus

on parliament and regional heads of state to combat ZANU-PF

policies demonstrates a lack of creativity. Rather, he said,

the MDC should take the struggle to communities across

Zimbabwe, where MDC enjoys wide support, and seek to

undermine ZANU-PF politically. Because so many of the MDC’s

leaders are in government, Reeler explained, no one has been

able to effectively lead the MDC as a party. The MDC

Secretary General, who should be lobbying regional political

parties to garner greater political support, is Minister of

Finance Tendai Biti, who is already overwhelmed by the task

of restoring order to Zimbabwe’s economy. As the MDC is

struggling to run government, ZANU-PF is sitting back and

regrouping in preparation of upcoming political battles,

including elections.

Qincluding elections.

 

4. (C) Reeler also explained that the MDC can and should do

more to launch an aggressive campaign to raise awareness of

the GOZ’s recent decision to pull out of the SADC tribunal

after it ruled in favor of 78 white farmers who faced

eviction from their farms. The MDC could capitalize on this

to point out ZANU-PF’s repeated disdain for international

bodies and treaties, but instead has remained relatively

silent.

 

———————————-

 

HARARE 00000864 002 OF 002

 

 

Donors: Spend More on Communities,

Less on the Constitution,

Hammer the Benchmarks,

and Add Sanctions

———————————-

 

5. (C) Reeler lamented the lack of coordination among civil

society organizations to effectively organize and lobby

regional civil society organizations to pressure their own

governments on the Zimbabwe issue. He also believed that

more should be done to empower local communities to prevent,

document, and stop violence in their own communities.

 

6. (C) Turning to the constitution-making process, Reeler

criticized donors (the USG included) for expending

significant funding and attention on what he described as

“nonsense politics.” Reeler believes that ZANU-PF will make

good on its repeated assertion that it will not give up

power, and that ZANU-PF’s hardliners will not allow the

constitution-making process to produce a democratic document.

Rather, he said, ZANU-PF was using the process as a

distraction to allow time to reconsolidate and to re-stock

coffers exhausted by the 2008 elections in order to prepare

for another election that it would win — through violence.

Reeler opined that if donors sought proposals on community

empowerment rather than a litany of civil society workshops

on the constitution, communities would be better equipped to

prevent a violent election campaign when the time comes.

Although ZANU-PF had become much weaker financially, it was

still strong enough to come back. “We cannot get rid of

ZANU-PF until we weaken it enough to bring it to its knees.”

 

7. (C) Reeler praised the so-called “benchmarks” that donors

had previously set forth as prerequisites for Zimbabwe to

re-engage with the West. However, he said, many in

government had forgotten or ignored the benchmarks. He

advised us and others to continue to reiterate the changes

Zimbabwe needs to make, particularly the need for media

freedom.

 

8. (C) On sanctions, Reeler encouraged us to add individuals

to the OFAC sanctions list. Significantly, Reeler agreed to

share with us a complete copy of the voters’ role of

Zimbabwe, which would provide us with birth dates of all

potential candidates for financial sanctions.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

9. (C) Reeler is a longtime civil society leader and he

presents a thoughtful, albeit critical, analysis of how the

MDC, donors, and civil society can work more effectively

towards bringing democracy to Zimbabwe. We agree with his

assessment that the MDC can and should do more to mobilize

its grassroots support, but such action may be more difficult

than Reeler implies. Communities remain traumatized by 2008

election violence, and many will not be willing to openly

identify themselves with the MDC as long as violence

perpetrators continue to enjoy impunity. END COMMENT.

 

DHANANI

 

(44 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 *