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Bennett “over the moon” with Tsvangirai’s leadership

Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett was “over the moon” with Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership towards the end of 2007 saying after years of inaction Tsvangirai was finally “cleaning house.”

Bennett said Tsvangirai had made the right decision by replacing Lucia Matibenga as head of the MDC Women’s Assembly hinting strongly that Matibenga was on the payroll of ZANU-PF.

Bennett alleged that current MDC national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri and deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada were also “compromised” and would soon be replaced.

He also said that the MDC was finally putting systems in place to manage people and resources properly. He credited George Sibotshiwe, who was serving as Tsvangirai’s de facto chief of staff, for organising Harvest House and allowing Tsvangirai to focus on his key tasks.

United States embassy officials said Sibotshiwe formerly worked for Bennett at the MDC South Africa office. Bennett had also put a new security team around Tsvangirai, which was trained and “professional.”

He said recent press attacks on Tsvangirai claiming that he was dictatorial and disorganised were largely coming from the Trevor Ncube-owned newspapers The Standard and The Independent.

Ncube was even using the Mail & Guardian, which he owned, to publish “lies” about Tsvangirai and the MDC.

Bennett claimed that Ncube had a personal vendetta against Tsvangirai and was working with former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA3875, MDC’S BENNETT UPBEAT ON PARTY, ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA3875

2007-11-06 14:44

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO2921

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #3875/01 3101444

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 061444Z NOV 07 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2571

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0091

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0571

RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0500

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1354

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1213

RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0189

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0525

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5033

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9343

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 003875

 

SIPDIS

 

NOFORN

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2017

TAGS: PREL KDEM ZI SF

SUBJECT: MDC’S BENNETT UPBEAT ON PARTY, ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS

 

 

PRETORIA 00003875 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(

d).

 

1. (C/NF) SUMMARY. Despite harsh criticisms in the media,

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) President Morgan

Tsvangirai is doing the right thing by cleaning out the party

 

SIPDIS

leadership, according to MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett. Bennett

hinted that recently-deposed women’s leader Lucia Matibenga

is on the payroll of ZANU-PF, and that National Organizing

Secretary Elias Mudzuri and Deputy Secretary General Tapiwa

 

SIPDIS

Mashakada are “compromised.” Bennett believes exiled

Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube is orchestrating the press

attacks on Tsvangirai and the MDC through the newspapers he

owns. He is confident the MDC will win the 2008 elections,

even if the atmosphere is not “totally free and fair” because

of the dire economic situation and ZANU-PF divisions.

Bennett is putting together a campaign strategy focused on

extending the MDC’s transportation and communications

infrastructure into “all corners” of the country. He

believes he will be able to raise the necessary funds for the

campaign, estimated at USD 10 million. END SUMMARY.

 

————————————-

Tsvangirai Finally Showing Leadership

 

SIPDIS

————————————-

 

2. (C/NF) In a November 2 meeting with PolOff at the Movement

for Democratic Change (MDC) offices in Johannesburg, MDC

Treasurer Roy Bennett (strictly protect) said he was “over

the moon” with MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership

in recent weeks. After years of inaction, Tsvangirai was

finally “cleaning house.” Tsvangirai made the right decision

in replacing Lucia Matibenga as head of the MDC Women’s

Assembly Congress, Bennett said, hinting strongly that

Matibenga was on the payroll of ZANU-PF. Bennett alleged

that current MDC National Organizing Secretary Elias Mudzuri

and Deputy Secretary General Tapiwa Mashakada were also

“compromised” and would soon be replaced.

 

3. (C) Bennett also reported that the MDC is finally putting

systems in place to manage people and resources properly. He

credited George Sibetshiwe, who is serving as Tsvangirai’s de

facto chief of staff, for organizing Harvest House and

allowing Tsvangirai to focus on his key tasks. (NOTE:

Sibetshiwe formerly worked for Bennett at the MDC South

Africa office. END NOTE.) Bennett has also put a new

security team around Tsvangirai, which is trained and

“professional.”

 

4. (C) The recent press attacks on Tsvangirai claiming that

he is dictatorial and disorganized are largely coming from

the Trevor Ncube-owned newspapers The Standard and The

Independent, Bennett said. Ncube is even using the South

African weekly, the Mail & Guardian, which he owns to publish

“lies” about Tsvangirai and the MDC. Bennett claimed that

Ncube has a personal vendetta against Tsvangirai, and is

working with former GOZ Information Minister Jonathan Moyo in

his campaign.

 

—————–

SADC Facilitation

—————–

 

5. (C) The South African-sponsored talks between the MDC and

ZANU-PF are going well, Bennett said. The talks resumed in

South Africa October 30, but were put on hold due to the

QSouth Africa October 30, but were put on hold due to the

death of the son of Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa.

Bennett understands that one of the sticking points in the

talks is the text of the amendment to the Public Order and

Security Act (POSA). Initially skeptical of the SADC

facilitation, Bennett believes South African President Mbeki

is “genuine,” and the talks represent the best hope for free

and fair elections. ZANU-PF does not want the talks to

succeed, so will try to goad the MDC into pulling out. The

MDC understands the ZANU-PF strategy and will not fall into

their trap. Bennett said that MDC President Tsvangirai

recently sent a private letter to SADC, expressing concern

about the continuing violence against MDC supporters around

 

PRETORIA 00003875 002.2 OF 002

 

 

the country.

 

————-

Election Plan

————-

 

6. (C) Bennett is optimistic that the MDC will win elections

in 2008, even if the environment is “not completely free and

fair.” He claimed that the MDC has never been stronger, that

ZANU-PF is sharply divided, and that the ZANU-PF “rigging

machinery” is weaker than in past elections. As party

Treasurer, Bennett is putting together a plan to build the

party infrastructure in “every corner” of the country. He

wants to purchase MDC vehicles for each district, as well as

motorcycles and bicycles to reach every polling station. The

party would set up a national command center for the

elections, as well as provincial and district centers to

monitor closely the pre-election environment and conduct a

parallel vote count on election day. Bennett wants to use

satellite phones and VHS radios to communicate quickly and

safely between the MDC offices.

 

7. (C/NF) Bennett believes he will “probably” be able to

raise sufficient funds for his election strategy. Bennett

said he has not yet “costed out” the entire plan, but

estimated that USD 10 million would be sufficient. During

Tsvangirai’s and Bennett’s recent trip to the United States,

 

SIPDIS

several potential donors expressed interest in supporting the

party (NFI). Tsvangirai also met with actress Angelina

Jolie, former Clinton administration official James Harmon,

and the rock band Dispatch. Bennett is also in touch with

Zimbabwean businessmen living in South Africa (NFI), who are

interested in providing funding to the MDC, but want to see a

concrete spending plan.

BOST

(10 VIEWS)

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