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