Movement for Democratic Change special advisor Gandi Mudzingwa told United States embassy officials that local bishops who were trying to get the MDC and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to the negotiating table had told him that high ranking ZANU-PF leaders were committed to dialogue.
He mentioned leaders like Nathan Shamuyarira, a close ally of President Robert Mugabe, and national chairman John Nkomo.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who had been arrested on charges of treason had told the bishops that Mugabe should make a public commitment to dialogue.
Mudzingwa was sceptical that such a commitment would be forth coming in the near future.
Viewing cable 03HARARE1180, HIGH COURT TO HEAR TSVANGIRAI BAIL APPLICATION;
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 001180
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
BANGKOK FOR WIN DAYTON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2008
SUBJECT: HIGH COURT TO HEAR TSVANGIRAI BAIL APPLICATION;
BISHOPS CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR DIALOGUE
Classified By: POLITICAL OFFICER PEGGY BLACKFORD FOR REASONS 1.5B/D
TSVANGIRAI REMAINS IN CUSTODY: NCUBE EXPECTED TO BE RELEASED
¶1. (SBU) Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC President, arrived in
Magistrates Court this morning looking tired and dressed in a
track suit rather than his usual business attire. A large
contingent of his supporters were on hand outside the court
to cheer him on but they were outnumbered by Law and Order
Police who jammed the court room. At the hearing the
Magistrate placed Tsvangirai on remand until July 10.
(Remand is similar to arraignment and means that the judge
has found the State has sufficient evidence to hold the
suspect.) Normally the Magistrate would have entertained a
bail hearing at the same time; however, Magistrate’s Court
does not have the authority to set bail on treason charges.
Instead Tsvangirai’s attorney planned to ask for bail this
afternoon before the High Court which decided to hear the
case in camera. According to the attorney, the
Attorney-General requested a delay in the hearing which has
been rescheduled to tomorrow morning, June 11.
¶2. (SBU) Welshman Ncube, Secretary-General of the MDC, who
was also detained on new treason charges yesterday was being
held in Harare Central Prison. His attorney reported that he
believed Ncube would be released today.
BISHOPS BRIEF MDC ON DISCUSSIONS WITH ZANU-PF LEADERS
¶3. (C) Special Advisor to MDC President Tsvangirai, Gandi
Mudzingwa, told PolOff that the MDC leadership had been
briefed by the local bishops on their progress in getting
ZANU-PF to the negotiating table. According to the bishops,
high ranking ZANU-PF leaders including Nathan Shamuyarira and
John Nkomo have assured them that ZANU is committed to
dialogue and is looking to find a way forward rather than to
review old grievances. MDC leaders reminded the bishops that
MDC President, at their last briefing, had emphasized the
need for President Mugabe to make a public commitment to
dialogue. Mudzingwa remains skeptical that such a commitment
will be forth coming in the near future.
¶4. (C) Today’s “Daily News” editorial asks, “Could crackdown
herald peace talks?” and reviews Mugabe’s history of
negotiating only after doing everything possible to weaken
his opponent as he did in the eighties when he co-opted
Joshua Nkomo and his ZAPU party into the ZANU ranks. This
may,indeed, be Mugabe’s strategy. Even Mugabe must recognize
that while he may have won last week’s battle, it will only
gain him a little time unless the serious issues facing the
economy are resolved. It would explain why rumors of ZANU-PF
overtures to the MDC are rife at the same time the GOZ is
doing all within its power to undercut the MDC leadership in