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Bennett said Masiyiwa was a control freak

Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett was so frustrated by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s delay in returning to Zimbabwe that he complained that Tsvangirai’s concerns about security were “nonsense” because he could be assassinated in South Africa or elsewhere on the continent if the Mugabe regime wanted him dead.

Bennett said the major problem was that Tsvangirai was now firmly under the control of Econet boss Strive Masiyiwa who now told him what to do and when to return to Zimbabwe.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks Bennett told United States embassy officials that he had even volunteered to return with Tsvangirai and stand by his side.

He said Tsvangirai had a solid security team in Harare and could be assassinated in South Africa or elsewhere on the continent if the Mugabe regime really wanted him dead.

He also complained that MDC advisor Strive Masiyiwa was taking over the party, even though he was not an elected official and had no constituents to which to answer.

Masiyiwa was now controlling access to Tsvangirai “for his own purposes” and calling all the shots, including whether or not Tsvangirai returned to Zimbabwe.

“Strive is clever, rich, and a control freak, and Tsvangirai does what the last person tells him to do,” Bennett said.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08PRETORIA1074, MDC BENNETT CATALOGUES PARTY CHALLENGES

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

08PRETORIA1074

2008-05-21 12:29

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO9633

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1074/01 1421229

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 211229Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4511

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 3665

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5616

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9832

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001074

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2018

TAGS: PREL SF ZI

SUBJECT: MDC BENNETT CATALOGUES PARTY CHALLENGES

 

PRETORIA 00001074 001.2 OF 002

 

 

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

b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett (strictly protect)

on 19 May shared his frustrations about MDC Leader Morgan

Tsvangirai’s decision not to return to Harare, saying he does

not believe the threats are credible. He also said the

political violence in Zimbabwe is escalating and that the

current regime is conducting public executions. As for the

MDC’s leadership dynamics, Bennett complained about MDC

advisor Strive Masiyiwa, saying he is now controlling access

to Tsvangirai and making all party decisions. Looking ahead,

Bennett said the MDC has officially informed President Mbeki

that they no longer want him as mediator and are counting on

SADC holding another extraordinary meeting, presumably to

appoint someone else. END SUMMARY.

 

———————————-

BENNETT URGES TSVANGIRAI TO RETURN

———————————-

 

2. (C) PolOff met with MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett (strictly

protect) on 19 May to discuss MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s

last minute decision not to return to Harare on Saturday 17

May. Bennett said that Tsvangirai did not return because of

security concerns, which he dismissed as “nonsense.” Bennett

said he has been pushing Tsvangirai to return, and even

volunteered to return with him and stand by his side.

(COMMENT: Bennett was granted political asylum from South

Africa in 2007 on the basis that he fled political

persecution in Zimbabwe; his return to Zimbabwe would likely

put him in danger as well as jeopardize his asylum status.

END COMMENT)

 

3. (C) Bennett also emphasized that Tsvangirai has a solid

security team in Harare and that Tsvangirai could be

assassinated in South Africa or elsewhere on the continent if

the Mugabe regime really wanted him dead. Both Bennett and

IDASA analyst Sydney Masamvu separately told PolOff that

Tsvangirai is expected to return on 21 May, but MDC advisor

Kathi Walther told PolOff late on 19 May that she would not

count on it. (NOTE: On 19 May, MDC Secretary General Tendai

Biti publicly claimed that the Zimbabwean military

intelligence has a hit list of about 40 people, including

Tsvangirai, Biti, and MDC Spokesperson Nelson Chamisa. END

NOTE)

 

——————————–

POLITICAL VIOLENCE IS ESCALATING

——————————–

 

4. (C) Bennett was visibly upset by Tsvangirai’s reluctance

to return to Harare in light of the increasing political

violence. He said the official number of those killed in

post-election violence is around 35, but believes the number

is actually much higher. He has been hearing that the

military is now conducting “summary executions” in public in

business centers. (NOTE: Embassy Harare has not heard of any

public executions. END NOTE) He also gave the following

names as those perpetrating violence by “using youth aged

14-17 years old to carry out amputations, beatings, and

killings:”

 

— FNU Matemachani: Retired ZANU-PF politician and member of

JOC

 

— Never Ndemere: War Veteran

 

— Maxwell Hodze: War Veteran

 

— Colin Chitambalaza: ZANU-PF

 

— Rambi Nyabote: ZANU-PF Councillor

 

— Jacob Nyabote: Senator

 

—————————————–

TSVANGIRAI HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY MASIWIYA

—————————————–

 

5. (C) When asked how he was coping personally with all the

Q5. (C) When asked how he was coping personally with all the

ups and downs, Bennett admitted it has been difficult. He

also complained that MDC advisor Strive Masiyiwa is taking

over the party, even though he is not an elected official and

 

PRETORIA 00001074 002.2 OF 002

 

 

has no constituents to which to answer. Masiyiwa, he said,

is now controlling access to Tsvangirai “for his own

purposes” and calling all the shots, including whether or not

Tsvangirai returns. In fact, Bennett said that every time

Tsvangirai packs his bags and is ready to return to Harare,

Masiyiwa tells him not to go. As a countermeasure, Bennett

said he is trying to get Tsvangirai and Biti to maintain an

office and conduct meetings at MDC Headquarters in

Johannesburg, rather than having Masiwiya “hold court” at his

house. Bennett, however, expressed no surprise over

Masiyiwa’s behavior: “Strive is clever, rich, and a control

freak, and Tsvangirai does what the last person tells him to

do,” he said.

 

—————————-

MDC AXES MBEKI AS NEGOTIATOR

—————————-

 

6. (C) Looking ahead, Bennett said that Tsvangirai faxed a

letter to President Mbeki on 14 May officially informing him

that they do not trust him and that they no longer consider

him a credible mediator. He also said that the MDC has

copies of official state documents between South Africa

ForMin Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and ZANU-PF officials stating

the SAG will protect ZANU-PF. He confirmed diplomatic rumors

that there will be a SADC extraordinary meeting “soon” to

talk about mediation efforts. Bennett said that SADC

Chairperson Mwanawasa is waiting for other heads of state to

request the meeting first, presumably to discuss appointing a

new mediator.

 

7. (U) Embassy Harare cleared this message.

BOST

(31 VIEWS)

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