Tsvangirai asked US to press South Africa for genuine dialogue


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Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai asked the United States to press South Africa for genuine dialogue including a fixed time and designated results such as President Robert Mugabe’s exit and the formation of a transitional government.

He made the request through United States ambassador Joseph Sullivan ahead of US President George Bush’s visit to Africa which included South Africa.

Tsvangirai said the United States should not be deflected from pressing for genuine dialogue by “idle reassurances” from the South Africans that meaningful dialogue was ongoing because there were no substantive talks taking place.

He said South African statements that dialogue was ongoing and that the solution must come from inside Zimbabwe were aimed at giving cover to Mugabe’s stalling and unwillingness or inability to confront ZANU-PF’s own succession crisis.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE1360, MDC LEADER TSVANGIRAI SAYS THAT NO CURRENT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1360

2003-07-04 11:59

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.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001360

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR S/S-O FOR POTUS BRIEFING BOOK, AF/FO AND AF/S

DELISI, NSC FOR AFRICA SR DIR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/04/2013

TAGS: PREL SF ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC LEADER TSVANGIRAI SAYS THAT NO CURRENT

MEDIATION EFFORTS, INCLUDING SOUTH AFRICA’S HAS PRODUCED

MORE THAN TALKS ABOUT TALKS; ASKS THAT US PRESS SOUTH

AFRICA FOR CONCRETE RESULTS WITHIN A SHORT TIMEFRAME

 

REF: HARARE 1351

 

Classified By: JOSEPH G. SULLIVAN FOR REASONS 1.5B/D

 

1. (U) MDC Delegations

—————–

 

(C) MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai outlined for the

Ambassador his party’s plans for upcoming meetings and

various mediation efforts underway. Tsvangirai said that the

MDC would be sending a small team to Pretoria next week

headed by spokesman Paul Themba Nyati to manage the press.

In addition, a political delegation headed by Deputy SecGen

Gift Chamanikire and including David Coltart, Sekai Holland

and Moses Ndlovu would travel to Pretoria and Maputo. He

reiterated the request that they be received by someone on

the delegation. When the Ambassador suggested that this

would be difficult, he indicated that even a meeting with a

junior member of the delegation would be helpful. Tsvangirai

apologized for the MDC having stated publicly its intent to

meet with the US delegation and recognized that this made

things more difficult. He also wanted to be sure that last

Saturday’s New York Times description of his reaction to US

public statements had not been misunderstood. Tsvangirai

said he welcomed US public statements and had only sought to

avoid conveying any impression that the MDC was orchestrating

US pressure.

 

2.(C) No Real Talks underway

————————–

 

(C) Tsvangirai sought to set the record straight about what

mediation efforts are underway and to underline that no

genuine substantive dialogue is ongoing between the political

parties, notwithstanding suggestions by President Mbeki to

the contrary. He was most worried that the US not be

deflected from pressing for genuine dialogue by “idle

reassurances” from the South Africans that meaningful

dialogue is ongoing. Tsvangirai said that, while periodic

conversations take place between the South African High

Commission and the MDC, no specific proposals have been put

on the table and no ZANU-PF agreement to dialogue has been

conveyed to the MDC. He said that neither have there been

substantive telephone discussions which could pass for

negotiations nor any South African emissaries with the

exception of a South African Deputy Director of Intelligence

who visited and met with the MDC over two months ago.

Tsvangirai expressed concern that the effect of repeated

 

SIPDIS

South African statements that dialogue is ongoing and that

the solution must come from inside Zimbabwe has been to give

cover to Mugabe’s stalling and unwillingness or inability to

confront ZANU-PF’s own succession crisis.

 

3.(C) Several Church efforts

—————————-

 

(C) Tsvangirai said that he had discouraged further efforts

by Father Fidelis to broker a meeting between Mugabe and him

because “this would not be meaningful after the man has

thrown me in jail.” With a bit of prodding, Tsvangirai

allowed that he would not reject such a summit meeting if it

was accompanied by a substantive ZANU-PF commitment to

serious negotiations. Tsvangirai said that the Zimbabwean

ecumenical Church delegation had held a second round of

separate talks with the MDC and a ZANU delegation including

Party Chairman John Nkomo and Information Secretary Nathan

Shamuyarira. To try to move these mediation efforts to

substance, the MDC had proposed that the agenda for dialogue

between MDC and ZANU be the same as that agreed between the

parties in May 2002 before Mugabe scuttled those talks.

 

4.(C) ZANU-PF and CIO Contacts with MDC

—————————————

 

Tsvangirai said that Justice Minister Chinamasa was

 

SIPDIS

maintaining periodic talks with MDC SecGen Welshman Ncube

over ways of the two sides agreeing on a revised

constitution. Tsvangirai said it was unclear with what

status Chinamasa was carrying out these talks and the MDC

would in any case insist that basic agreements on a return to

the rule of law and legitimacy and a transitional arrangement

would have to accompany a constitutional revision process.

Tsvangirai also said that the CIO had recently renewed

 

SIPDIS

contact with the party, but that it was not possible to

determine with what status or purpose.

 

5. (C) What MDC Expects Out of Dialogue

—————————————

(C) Tsvangirai said that any serious dialogue had to address

several key issues: the immediate return to a rule of law,

including dismantlement of youth militia; a discussion of

serious issues, including the nature and length of a

transitional arrangement; commitment to relatively early

elections under revised free and fair procedures; and, most

critically, Mugabe’s exit. Tsvangirai said that the MDC was

debating how long a transition period should be and

Tsvangirai stated his preference for not more than a year.

 

SIPDIS

But he thought that the length of a transition should be

dictated by the extent of commitment to serious reforms

during a transitional period.

 

6. (C) A Retrospective on Mass Action

————————————-

 

(C) While underlining the success of the stayaway,

Tsvangirai recognized the downsides of not having produced

 

SIPDIS

the mass demonstrations promised. He appeared reconciled to

a more patient path and more training and organization of

cadres in non-violence and other key areas.

 

7.(C) His request of the US

—————————

 

(c) Tsvangirai asked that we press the South Africans for

concrete results from their effort to foster dialogue,

including a fixed timetable of three or so months and a

designated result; i.e. Mugabe’s exit and a transitional

government.

SULLIVAN

(14 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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