Tsvangirai carries the day


Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai scored a major victory when the break-away faction from his party only managed to field 26 candidates out of the 50 required for the Senate elections in 2005.

Nineteen of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front candidates were unopposed.

Fifteen of the MDC candidates were from Matebeleland. The other 11 candidates were not nominated by MDC provincial structures.

Tsvangirai had called on his party to boycott the elections, overruling a decision by the party’s executive council which had voted 33 for and 31 against participating.

Most of the leaders from Matebeleland including vice-president Gibson Sibanda and secretary-general Welshman Ncube opposed Tsvangirai’s decision saying he was being dictatorial.


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Reference ID






2005-10-26 15:13

2011-08-30 01:44


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 001467







E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/26/2015




Classified By: Ambassador Christopher Dell for reasons 1.5 b/d






1. (C) At Monday’s nomination court hearings, 26 individuals

registered as MDC candidates for the Senate elections on

November 26. As expected, MDC leaders in the three

Matabeleland provinces went forward with contesting the

election, accounting for 15 of the candidates. However, the

other eleven candidates were not nominated by MDC provincial

structures and appear to be opportunists seeking a Senatorial

paycheck. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s call for a

boycott appears therefore to have largely carried the day.

ZANU-PF candidates were the sole nominees in 19 of the 50

districts and were thus declared victors by the Zimbabwean

Election Commission (ZEC). End Summary.


——————————————— ——–

&MDC Candidates8: Ndebeles and Has-Beens or Wanna Bes

——————————————— ——–


2. (C) The fierce intra-party debate over participation in

the Senate moved to another level on Monday when 26

individuals registered with the nomination court as MDC

candidates. As expected, the provincial leaders in Bulawayo

and Matabeleland North and South presented 5 candidates each.

The other eleven candidates appear to have nominated

themselves and represent a grab bag of minor party

functionaries, failed candidates for past parliamentary

elections, average Joes who appear to have come forward on a

lark, and even some (former?) ZANU-PF members. In one case,

the provincial chairman of Mashonaland East, his spokesman,

and another provincial member registered for seats in Harare,

undoubtedly hoping to capitalize on the party,s urban

strength and secure a Senatorial paycheck.


3. (C) An official with the Zimbabwe Election Support

Network (ZESN), a nonpartisan group that monitored the

nomination courts, told post on Tuesday that the process for

registering MDC candidates was confusing and subject to

abuse. The MDC party structures, which in the past had

vetted candidates, was absent in all but the Ndebele

provinces. Suggesting the ad hoc nature of the nomination

process, ZESN reported that one would-be MDC candidate was

disqualified when he failed to produce any identification.



Tsvangirai Winning the Intra-Party Debate





4. (C) Tsvangirai appears to have convinced nine of the

twelve MDC party structures not to participate in the

elections. Tsvangirai aide Ghandi Mudzingwa told us the MDC

President was undaunted by the emergence of the 26 MDC

candidates, including 11 outside of Mtabeleland, whom

Tsvangirai had dismissed as rogue elements. According to



Mudzingwa, the opposition leader,s strategy remained

unchanged: he continues to campaign against the Senate, while

telling his opponents within the party leadership that his

door remains open should they choose to talk. (N.B. Post

understands that respected academic Brian Raftopolous will

mediate a meeting of the MDC,s &top 68 as early as

Thursday, which would mark their first confirmed meeting

since October 12 when Tsvangirai overturned the Executive

Council decision in favor of contesting.)


5. (C) Laying the groundwork for a boycott campaign in

contested seats, Tsvangirai,s spokesman on Tuesday

distributed a statement from the MDC secretary for Harare

province (emailed by post to AF/S) denouncing &political

adventurers8 supporting the &ZANU-PF and CIO Senate

project.8 The statement also called on Harare voters to

reject &invaders8 who were &bussed in from Mashonaland

East,8 a reference to that province,s MDC chairman and

spokesman. Tsvangirai,s aides have also painted the 26

candidates as not being the “real MDC” fueling speculation

that they could be expelled.



ZANU-PF Expands Patronage Machine



6. (C) The ruling party put forward candidates in all 50

contested Senatorial seats (though without the usual party

primary ) a source of controversy within ZANU-PF that has

been largely overshadowed by the MDC in-fighting). In 19

districts, the ZANU-PF candidate was the sole nominee and was

duly declared Senator-elect by ZEC officials present at the

courts. ZANU-PF largely put forward a list of political

pensioners, many of whom are members of the &old guard8 who

lost in past elections. The ZANU-PF nominees confirm earlier

assessments that the ruling party reinvented the Senate as a

patronage machine. A variety of independents and third party

members, chiefly &also rans8 in past elections, also

stepped forward to contest seats.


Gutu North By-Election: The Forgotten Race



7. (C) Amidst the fervor surrounding the Senate debate, the

MDC and ZANU-PF nominated their candidates for the

parliamentary by-election in Gutu North to replace

late-Minister Tungamirai, who died in August. The opposition

candidate is Crispa Musoni, who lost to Tungamirai in the

last election. Meanwhile, the ruling party nominated

businessman Lovemore Matuke, who came in second to Tungamirai

in the ZANU-PF primary for the seat. Some war veterans have

apparently questioned Musoni,s credentials, but the ruling

party has a long track record of by-election successes,

largely the result of applying national resources to a local

campaign and thus tilting the playing field even more in its







8. (C) Tsvangirai appears to have largely carried the day.

The MDC structures in nine of the party,s 12 provinces sided

with his boycott stance. Even in the three Ndebele

provinces, it remains to be seen how deep the support for the

decision to participate runs. That said, the next few weeks

promise to be tricky for both Tsvangirai and his rivals in

the MDC. The challenge for Tsvangirai will be how to

campaign for a boycott without actually campaigning against

MDC candidates. For his rivals, the challenges are even

deeper. They need to demonstrate that they have a reason

beyond self-interest for contesting the elections and will

have to win without the support of the party or its

charismatic leader.




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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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