ZANU-PF wanted elections by March to capitalise on divided opposition


0

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front wanted elections by March to take advantage of the divided opposition according to the secretary-general of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change Welshman Ncube.

Ncube, who was also one of the chief negotiators, said ZANU-PF was convinced that because of the divided opposition it would win the elections because of its traditional control of patronage and election machinery.

But if the elections were postponed beyond March, the worsening economy would adversely affect its chances.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewi-ng cable 07HARARE821, CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM” ON SADC TALKS

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

07HARARE821

2007-09-10 15:42

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2967

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0821/01 2531542

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 101542Z SEP 07

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1866

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1692

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1564

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1696

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0337

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0962

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1325

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1753

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4171

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1524

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2186

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0817

RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1913

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000821

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S.HILL

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: 07/09/2012

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: “CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM” ON SADC TALKS

 

REF: HARARE 781

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren under 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) MDC pro-Senate secretary-general Welshman Ncube, one

of the MDC’s lead negotiators in the SADC mediation, told

polecon chief on September 10 he is “cautiously optimistic”

that an agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC on

constitutional and electoral reforms will be reached.

ZANU-PF is motivated to reach an agreement in order to

normalize international relations, which it sees as crucial

to righting the economy. Intense negotiations are continuing

on the electoral law, Access to Information and Protection of

Privacy Act (AIPPA), and the Public Order and Security Act

(POSA); these are all issues the MDC feels are critical to

free and fair elections. The focus will then shift to agenda

items proposed by ZANU-PF: land and sanctions. ZANU-PF

would like elections as currently scheduled in March; the MDC

is pushing for June or later to take advantage of presumed

reforms.   End Summary.

 

————————

Progress on Negotiations

————————

 

2. (C) Tracking what fellow-negotiator Tenday Biti told us

earlier (Ref), Ncube said tentative agreement had been

reached inter alia on establishment of a bill of rights, an

independent electoral commission, size of the parliament,

delimitation of new constituencies, parliamentary approval of

executive appointments, and simultaneous presidential,

parliamentary, and local elections. Negotiations would next

turn to an electoral law, and reform of AIPPA and POSA.

Lastly, negotiators would consider issues tabled by ZANU-PF:

the land question and sanctions.

 

3. (C) Both sides would continue negotiating this week in

Harare (without South African mediation), according to Ncube.

After a week’s break (while Biti is in the United Kingdom),

they would resume, also in Harare. Negotiators would then

report to the South African mediators on September 29 and

September 30. The South African would be prepared to assist

if there were still unresolved issues.

 

—————

The Way Forward

—————

 

4. (C) Ncube opined that ZANU-PF had made significant

concessions. This was partly because of SADC pressure and a

tough negotiating stance by the MDC. Most important in his

opinion, however, was the realization on the part of ZANU-PF

that the government would not be able to dig its way out of

its economic hole without international assistance.

Therefore, it needed the removal of “indirect” sanctions that

precluded bilateral donor assistance and aid from the

international financial institutions. ZANU-PF was hoping

that with agreement on constitutional and electoral reform,

the MDC would join in a request for the removal of sanctions

and the resumption of international assistance.

 

5. (C) Ncube said the MDC position was that an agreement on

reform was not sufficient for international

 

HARARE 00000821 002 OF 002

 

 

reengagement–actual free and fair elections were needed.

But to achieve an agreement permitting such elections, and

allowing the opposition to benefit from reforms would require

time. With the economy continuing its freefall, the poor

would suffer while conditions for fair elections were being

created.

 

6. (C) Ncube said the government favored holding elections

as currently scheduled in March. It was confident that with

a divided opposition and its traditional control of patronage

and election machinery, it would win. If elections were

postponed past March, the worsening economy would adversely

affect ZANU-PF’s electoral chances.

 

7. (C) Ultimately, Ncube expected that elections would be

held no earlier than June. He hoped for an agreement and,

while reforms were implemented, that the government would

take interim (unspecified) measures to deal with the economy

and get it back to where it was before the June 28 price

controls. Otherwise, he feared economically deprived voters

would become apathetic.

 

————————————-

A Note on Constitutional Amendment 18

————————————-

 

8. (C) According to Ncube, ZANU-PF proposed that Amendment

18, in addition to its original provisions, be a repository

for agreement reached by ZANU-PF and the MDC in the SADC

negotiations. The MDC, on principle opposed to piecemeal

reform, rejected this. Since its introduction, however,

Amendment 18 had been modified to reflect some agreements

reached in the negotiation apposite to the Amendment. These

included the size of Parliament, the transfer of electoral

responsibilities from the Registrar of Voters to an

independent electoral commission, and size of constituencies.

The 1994-1995 constitution (Ref), negotiated by Ncube and

ZANU-PF’s Chinimasa, would continue to be the basis of any

agreement.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) ZANU-PF, which early on appeared disinterested in the

talks, appears to now be taking them seriously. This is

driven in large part by the crumbling economy, devastated

even more by ZANU-PF’s colossal miscalculation in imposing

price rollbacks in June. Even with an agreement, however,

the devil is in the implementation. Will the government

adhere to a new constitution and related reforms to permit

democratic space? Finally, even if it is possible to create

a legal and regulatory environment conducive to free and fair

elections, can the country hold on long enough to achieve

this in light of the desperate economic situation?

DHANANI

 

(3 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
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.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *