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Ambassador described Mugabe as the ultimate hardliner

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Joseph Sullivan described President Robert Mugabe as the ultimate hardliner as dialogue which had opened between the Movement for Democratic Change and his Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front not only depended on his party but on him personally.

The dialogue was opened by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who asked the MDC to attend Mugabe’s opening of parliament.

The MDC agreed provided the government stopped arresting or harassing its parliamentarians and also allowed the party to campaign freely in the urban council and parliamentary by-elections.

At the opening the ambassador said Mugabe’s speech was unremarkable and had no inflammatory rhetoric, although it was filled “with delusions about the wonderful state of the Zimbabwean agriculture, tourism, etc”.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE1475, MDC RELATES MORE CONTACTS ABOUT DIALOGUE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1475

2003-07-22 14:33

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 HARARE 001475

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/FO A/S KANSTEINER AND AF/S

NSC FOR AFRICA SR DIR JENDAYII FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2008

TAGS: PREL PGOV ZI SF

SUBJECT: MDC RELATES MORE CONTACTS ABOUT DIALOGUE

 

 

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

 

1. (C) Contacts with ZANU-PF: MDC President Morgan

Tsvangirai and Secretary General Welshman Ncube told the

 

SIPDIS

Ambassador over lunch July 22 that Zanu-PF and the South

African Government(SAG) had reached out to them recently.

ZANU-PF Minister for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

Patrick Chinamasa had contacted Ncube to negotiate for the

MDC’s attendance/non-boycott of President Mugabe’s July 22

speech opening the parliamentary session. The MDC had

requested a number of concessions by ZANU-PF, including no

arrests or harassment of its parliamentarians and freedom to

campaign in late August urban council and parliamentary

bi-elections. MDC received sufficient assurances by late

July 21 to agree that its MP’s and even Tsvangirai (a non-MP)

would attend the session. The agreement came too late to

affect ZANU-PF from blockading and preventing MDC from

registering its local council candidates in a number of

traditional ZANU-PF strongholds, but Tsvangirai was told that

registration of candidates would be re-opened in these areas.

MDC is publicly characterizing its attendance at parliament

as a goodwill gesture intended to facilitate dialogue and

hopes privately that it can stimulate some positive steps

toward dialogue on both sides. How delicate and top-centered

ZANU is, however, was reflected when Speaker Mnangagwa had to

call President Mugabe personally a few minutes before the

parliamentary session to confirm that he should issue

invitations to Tsvangirai, even though it was Chinamasa who

had urged Tsvangirai to attend. Mugabe’s speech was

unremarkable and absent inflammatory rhetoric, although

filled with delusions about the wonderful state of the

Zimbabwean agriculture, tourism, etc.

 

2. (C) South African Outreach: According to Ncube, the South

African High Commissioner has also been pressing MDC and

ZANU-PF for more progress toward dialogue. The MDC told him

it was ready for dialogue now without conditions. SAG HC Ndou

also met with Minister for State Security Goche on this

subject and Goche told Ncube on July 22 that he would be

traveling to South Africa to meet with President Mbeki’s

people on the dialogue issue. Comment: The most encouraging

part of the South African contacts is Goche sharing with

Ncube about his upcoming meeting with the South Africans. End

comment.

 

3. (C) MDC Plans: The MDC issued a statement July 22 on his

openness to dialogue on issues of national emergency (text

being faxed to AF/S). The intent is to make clear that the

burden is on ZANU to address the national crisis by entering

into dialogue. MDC will also work hard in late August’s

elections to demonstrate its firm hold on urban areas. MDC

is working on for release in the next several months a

platform of policies in order to demonstrate that it has

economic and political proposals for a transition or

post-election period. The MDC will continue its

party-building activities and its training in non-violence,

but has no mass action activities planned for the near term.

 

4. (C) Comment: The MDC was clearly thrown off balance by

its failure to organize successful demonstrations in early

June, but it appears to have recovered its equilibrium and to

be pursuing a more patient course. ZANU-PF’s triumphalism

has begun to run itself out, as the country’s economic and

political crisis continues. Whether this is the sort of

mutually hurting stalemate that can lead to successful

dialogue/negotiations remains to be seen, since it requires

not only the assent of many in ZANU-PF, but also of the

ultimate hard-liner Robert Mugabe.

SULLIVAN

(3 VIEWS)

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