Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray that progress on the implementation of the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement was slow because President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had adopted a new tactic in their agenda- reciprocity. What this meant, he said, was that Mugabe was asking: “What’s in this for us?
“If MDC gets governorships, Mugabe asks, why can’t the sanctions against ZANU-PF be lifted?”
Tsvangirai said that it seemed Mugabe planned to use the governors as a trade-off against sanctions.
He said he had repeatedly told Mugabe that MDC had no control over sanctions. But, he added, lack of any flexibility on the issue of sanctions posed a problem for him and his party.
Tsvangirai acknowledged that his public statements calling for easing of sanctions versus his private conversations saying they must be kept in place had caused problems.
He said that there had been tremendous progress in restoring confidence of the people in government but the principal challenge was how to quickly embark on reforms.
The implementation of the GPA had been too slow. ZANU-PF was using delay on the GPA to maintain control.
Negotiators had held 11 meetings. There had been some progress on issues of the media, land, and corruption, but none of this touched on the power tructure.
Viewing cable 09HARARE1004, TSVANGIRAI ASKS THE WEST FOR HELP ON CHANGING THE
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #1004/01 3580826
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240826Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5262
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3230
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3341
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1765
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2599
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2968
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0029
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0031
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2502
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001004
DEPT FOR ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON, DAS PAGE, AND AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/24/2019
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI ASKS THE WEST FOR HELP ON CHANGING THE
REF: HARARE 987
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. RAY FOR REASONS 1.4 B,D
¶1. (SBU) This cable includes an ACTION REQUEST, please see
¶2. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said that
while there was tremendous progress in 2009 as compared to
2008, Zimbabwe and its coalition government still faces
challenges. Reforms must be implemented quickly, and there
has been some progress, though none that affects the ZANU-PF
power structure. Implementation of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) has been slow and Mugabe has been using delay
to maintain control. In 2010 there must be some progress to
show the people, but it will require actions by all parties,
including the Western powers, to change the status quo. He
expects the recently announced commissions to be installed in
early 2010, and is satisfied with their makeup. ZANU-PF has
implemented a strategy of reciprocity in the negotiations,
using Western sanctions as a cudgel against MDC. He would
like to see some quiet moves, provided there are acceptable
benchmarks, to 'give' some modest reward for modest progress.
¶3. (C) Ambassadors of the U.S., UK, French, and the
Netherlands, and a representative of the EU were called to PM
Tsvangirai's residence at 0730 on December 24 for an update
briefing on the current discussions among the principals in
the coalition government and a request from him for some
flexibility on the part of the West on the issue of
sanctions. He said that there has been tremendous progress
in restoring confidence of the people in government in 2009
as compared to 2008. The people generally endorse the
government, but the future holds both opportunities and
challenges. The principal challenge is how to quickly embark
on reforms. There has been a little progress on that front,
but not what was expected. Implementation of the GPA has
been too slow, and he is not satisfied with it. ZANU-PF has
been using delay on the GPA to maintain control. The
negotiators have held 11 meetings up until the end of the
year. On the issues of media, land, and corruption, there
has been some progress, but none of it touches on the power
structure. On the three stickiest issues, Gono, Tomana, and
Bennett, there has been no progress. He is hopeful, however,
that if some progress can be made on other issues, these too
will be settled.
¶4. (C) ZANU-PF seems to have introduced a new tactic in its
agenda - reciprocity. What this means, he said, is that
Mugabe is asking, "What's in this for us?" If MDC gets
governorships, Mugabe asks, why can't the sanctions against
ZANU-PF be lifted? Tsvangirai said that it seems that Mugabe
plans to use the governors as a trade-off against sanctions.
He said he has repeatedly told Mugabe that MDC has no control
over sanctions. But, he added, lack of any flexibility on
the issue of sanctions poses a problem for him and his party.
In this he assured us that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Q In this he assured us that Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara is in full agreement with him. He also
acknowledged that his public statements calling for easing of
sanctions versus his private conversations saying they must
be kept in place have caused problems.
¶5. (C) Tsvangirai said the challenges for 2010 are:
- Get the reforms moving on the constitutional process.
- Open media space, national healing, and anti-corruption.
- Prepare for elections in 2011.
- Move from economic stability to growth.
- Deal with human rights violations.
He said the coalition government must expedite action in all
these areas because, not only are Western governments
watching, but the people of Zimbabwe will expect improvement.
He said Security Sector Reform will take center stage in
HARARE 00001004 002 OF 002
2010, using a multilateral approach involving all parties
here and SADC. In early 2010, Tsvangirai and Mutambara will
take the diplomatic lead on the sanctions issue. The
question before us, Tsvangirai said, is how to start moving
on rewarding progress without giving the impression we are
rewarding lack of progress or bad behavior. We need to
establish acceptable benchmarks of progress, and determine
what each involved party needs to do to change the status
quo. If necessary, he said, he and Mutambara can quietly
meet with Western leadership to develop a plan on the issue
of sanctions. He said that he and Mutambara have decided to
take this issue out of the hands of the negotiators and
handle it personally. What is needed is some kind of
concrete roadmap that all can agree on, linking easing of
sanctions with identifiable and quantifiable progress.
¶6. (C) Tsvangirai wants to go to Mugabe after the
negotiators deliver their final report on January 15, 2010,
with some idea of what the Western position is on sanctions.
He said that in order to change the status quo, all parties
might have to take some risks, because maintaining the status
quo only guarantees continued stalemate in the reform
process. Economic recovery and democratic reform are the
essential requirements in Zimbabwe right now. The 2011
elections are a critical goal as well. Winning the election,
he said, is not the problem, but a peaceful transfer of power
is. The recently announced commissions will be installed
early in 2010, he said, and he is satisfied with their
makeup. The heads of the Media and Electoral Commissions are
honest men who he believes will put the interests of the
country first. His goal is to have the Electoral Commission
hire its own staff and be independent. The key is to wrest
control from the Securocrats.
¶7. (C) On the subject of Mugabe himself, Tsvangirai said
that in his recent meetings, though Mugabe seems mentally
acute, he appears old and very tired. He comes to many
meetings unbriefed and unaware of the content. It appears
that he is being managed by hardliners. Tsvangirai said his
goal now is to find a way to 'manage' Mugabe himself. One
way, perhaps, would be to give him something to give his
hardliners. Precisely what that something is, he said, is
something he is still wrestling with.
¶8. (C) COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST. We are skeptical of
Mugabe's motives, and worried a bit at what appears to be
naivete on Tsvangirai's part. However, we believe that in
one area he is correct: changing the status quo here will
require some risk taking on everyone's part. As we've
previously discussed (reftel), we think it might be in USG
interests to consider some form of incremental easing of
non-personal sanctions, provided we see actual implementation
of some of these reforms. Post would appreciate Washington's
view on what would be acceptable benchmarks, and possible
moves on our part. We also request guidance on what to tell
Qmoves on our part. We also request guidance on what to tell
Tsvangirai at our next meeting, which is expected early in
the New Year. END COMMENT AND ACTION REQUEST.