Three MDC power centres hampered progress


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Progress in the formation of an inclusive government following the singing of the Global Political Agreement was hampered by the fact that the Movement for Democratic Change now had three power centres.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks, the centres were: Harare, where most of the leadership was; Gaborone, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s temporary home; and South Africa, where businessman and advisor Strive Masiyiwa and MDC treasurer Roy Bennett lived.

“This has reduced the MDC’s ability to forcefully address Zimbabwe’s ongoing political, economic, and health crises; and to forge a common party position on issues,” the cable said.

“Many in the MDC believe, and we agree, that Tsvangirai should be seen in Zimbabwe leading his party, meeting with civil society leaders, and monitoring the health crisis–all things that a leader does.”

At the time Zimbabwe had been hit by the worst cholera outbreak in the country’s history. It claimed more than 4 000 lives.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1117, MDC MAPS STRATEGY

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

08HARARE1117

2008-12-12 10:56

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4669

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1117/01 3471056

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 121056Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3814

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2492

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2615

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1108

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1884

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2239

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2664

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5092

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1756

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 001117

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

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: 12/12/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC MAPS STRATEGY

 

REF: HARARE 1065

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Don Curtis for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Polecon chief met separately with MDC negotiators

Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma and talked by phone with

Tsvangirai advisor Strive Masiyiwa on December 12 about MDC

strategy. The MDC, which held a strategy meeting in Gaborone

this week, will continue to engage in negotiations with

ZANU-PF, but as a “Plan B” will attempt to mobilize internal

and international pressure on the Mugabe regime. The goal is

elections. Tsvangirai will remain in Botswana for the

indefinite future. Most MDC officials believe there is a

leadership void in the party because of his absence from

Zimbabwe which has prevented the MDC from more effectively

responding to increasing ZANU-PF violence. END SUMMARY.

 

————

MDC Strategy

————

 

2. (C) Biti told us that at an MDC strategy meeting in

Botswana earlier this week, the MDC discussed development of

a “Plan B” in the event negotiations with ZANU-PF break down

and the MDC does not participate in government. Elements

would include increased efforts at mass action within

Zimbabwe such as protests and demonstrations, increased

global pressure such as speeches and perhaps concerts to

dramatize Zimbabwe’s predicament, advocacy of more sanctions

(which he maintained had hit ZANU-PF “hard”), efforts at UN

involvement, and more engagement with non-state actors at the

regional and national level such as COSATU. Not concealing

his contempt for ZANU-PF–and also for the MDC-M formation–,

and repeating what he has told us on a number of occasions,

Biti said the MDC would not pull out of negotiations to avoid

being blamed for failure of the negotiations. Nevertheless,

he thought the September agreement was dead.

 

3. (C) The “Plan B” strategy, according to Biti, is aimed at

new, internationally-supervised elections. As a prelude to

elections, there could be a transitional authority. Either

scenario would be dependent on pressure on ZANU-PF to create

a level playing field.

 

4. (C) Mangoma presented a different and (we believe) a less

widely-held view within in the MDC. He opined Amendment 19

contained a significant circumscription of presidential

powers because it enumerates powers and requires agreement

with the prime minister or parliament on important

appointments. Therefore, he believed the MDC could achieve

major power as part of a government. We asked him about

continuing to negotiate with ZANU-PF while it was engaged in

abductions of MDC officials. He replied that the MDC should

not allow ZANU-PF to drive it from the negotiating process,

which it may be trying to do by its attacks on the MDC, and

should focus on achieving power.

 

—————————–

Negotiations and Amendment 19

—————————–

 

5. (C) Biti and Mangoma said that they had met with South

African facilitators Frank Chikane and Sydney Mufamadi in

Harare earlier this week. The MDC had previously told the

facilitators while negotiating the Amendment in South Africa

(Ref) that agreement was dependent on ZANU-PF acceptance of

language contained in the September 11 agreement rather than

 

HARARE 00001117 002 OF 003

 

 

the ZANU-PF changes contained in the September 15 document.

The facilitators, according to Biti and Mangoma, said they

had talked to Zimbabwean president Mugabe this week, and were

awaiting a decision from him.

 

6. (C) If Mugabe accepts the MDC position on Amendment 19,

according to Biti, it can then be gazetted (published

officially for public comment.) (NOTE: The Amendment could

be presented to Parliament for debate and vote 30 days after

gazetting. END NOTE.) Biti said that even if Amendment 19

is gazetted, the MDC would not vote for it unless and until

outstanding issues (Ref) were resolved.

 

7. (C) Apart from the meeting with the facilitators, Biti

and Mangoma said there had been no talks with either the

facilitators or ZANU-PF since the negotiations on Amendment

19 in South Africa. Biti said he was leaving Zimbabwe on

December 19 for holidays; it was therefore unlikely there

could be renewed talks until next year.

 

——————–

Tsvangirai’s Absence

——————–

 

8. (C) Biti and Mangoma both told us, consistent with the

views of other MDC officials, that Tsvangirai’s absence from

Zimbabwe since the SADC Extraordinary Summit in South Africa

on November 9 had created an MDC leadership void in Zimbabwe.

They both thought that there had been threats against

Tsvangirai’s life which should not readily be discounted, but

said there are always risks in Zimbabwe. At a critical time,

when ZANU-PF was abducting MDC officials and attempting to

destroy MDC party structures, it was important for Tsvangirai

to be in Zimbabwe.

 

9. (C) Taking a contrarian position, Masiyiwa said he did

not believe there were serious threats against Tsvangirai.

But he thought Tsvangirai could be more effective outside of

Zimbabwe. SADC had sided with ZANU-PF on November 9 when,

ignoring other issues, it urged the parties to resolve the

Home Affairs issue and form a government, and it was

important to reverse SADC’s position. It was therefore

necessary for Tsvangirai to meet with foreign leaders. Also,

it was easier for Tsvangirai to meet the international press

from outside Zimbabwe.

 

10. (C) On Tsvangirai’s ability to travel, Biti said South

Africa, piqued by Tsvangirai’s refusal to complete an

agreement with ZANU-PF, was refusing to allow him to enter

the country. Masiyiwa, on the other hand, said Tsvangirai

could enter South Africa on his current travel document. But

he had been harassed last time he came to South Africa

because he did not have a passport, and he now refuses to

travel again on the document for fear of being embarrassed by

South African immigration officials.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) The MDC now has three power centers: Harare, where

most of the leadership is; Gaborone, Tsvangirai’s temporary

home; and South Africa, where Masiyiwa and MDC treasurer Roy

Bennett live. This has reduced the MDC’s ability to

forcefully address Zimbabwe’s ongoing political, economic,

and health crises; and to forge a common party position on

issues. Many in the MDC believe, and we agree, that

Tsvangirai should be seen in Zimbabwe leading his party,

meeting with civil society leaders, and monitoring the health

crisis–all things that a leader does. END COMMENT.

 

 

HARARE 00001117 003 OF 003

 

 

CURTIS

(30 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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