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Biti said GPA was doomed to fail

Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti said the Global Political Agreement was dead, just a month after its signing, adding that the only question was when to pronounce it dead.

Biti who was briefing United States embassy officials on a regular basis said even if a government was formed, the agreement would collapse because it would prove unworkable.

He said President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front were not ready for the inclusive government so it would be better for the MDC to let the negotiations collapse so that genuine dialogue could take place when ZANU-PF was ready to work with the MDC.

At the same time he said that ZANU-PF’s inflexibility was meant to frustrate the MDC to abandon negotiations, but the party would not fall for this trap.

“This thing is dead”, Biti said.  The only question was when to pronounce it dead.

He said Ian Smith had not been ready to make necessary concessions in 1978, and Mugabe and ZANU-PF were not ready now.

The parties were locked up over four ministries -Home Affairs, Finance, Local Government and Foreign Affairs.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE959, BITI: AGREEMENT IS DOOMED

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE959

2008-10-23 12:07

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2328

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0959/01 2971207

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 231207Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3606

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2371

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2491

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0997

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1767

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2122

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2547

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4975

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1640

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000959

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

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: 10/23/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: BITI: AGREEMENT IS DOOMED

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The MDC will attend the SADC Troika meeting on

October 27 in Harare, according to MDC secretary-general and

negotiator Tendai Biti. Because the MDC believes mediator

Thabo Mbeki has sided with ZANU-PF on critical issues, it

will push for full SADC and AU involvement, and ultimately UN

assistance. Regardless, Biti believes a ZANU-PF–MDC

agreement is doomed to failure; either the parties will fail

to conclude the allocation of positions or, if an agreement

is concluded, it will prove unworkable. END SUMMARY.

 

———————————-

MDC Questions Mbeki’s Impartiality

———————————-

 

2. (C) In an October 22 conversation with pol/econ chief and

visiting INR analyst, Biti questioned Mbeki’s impartiality

and ability to continue to function as a mediator. He

referred to a document prepared by Mbeki and presented to the

parties on October 17 which, he averred, adopted the ZANU-PF

position on the allocation of ministries. This document,

leaked to the media and now available on the Internet, awards

finance to the MDC and splits home affairs between the two

parties. It is silent as to defense, information, and

justice, but in general “commends the current allocation of

Ministerial Posts.” Biti told us that Mbeki in the document

had accepted ZANU-PF’s position that it should head these key

ministries.

 

3. (C) Biti provided us a copy of a document he had prepared

on behalf of the MDC, and in response to the Mbeki document,

to be given to SADC. In his document, Biti criticizes Mbeki

for adopting ZANU-PF’s position in the allocation of

ministries, for siding with ZANU-PF in negotiations on the

relative powers of the president and prime minister, and for

failing to stop or condemn Mugabe’s appointment of senators

and governors in violation of the September 15 agreement. He

concludes: “With the greatest respect to the Facilitator,

his role and thinking, as reflected in his document clearly

show that he is not ready to assist in resolving the crisis

in Zimbabwe. Quite clearly, this issue is now beyond the

Facilitator. The guarantors and underwriters of this

agreement, SADC and the AU, must be vested with this matter

as a matter of urgency.”

 

4. (C) Biti concluded his attack on Mbeki by telling us he

thought Mbeki had been totally discredited. The MDC would

seek full SADC involvement, through a SADC Extraordinary

Congress, and AU involvement. Biti was pessimistic, however,

that either of these organizations would be effective and he

hoped that ultimately the UN would focus on Zimbabwe.

 

———————————-

Obstacles to a Workable Government

———————————-

 

5. (C) Biti said Tsvangirai and the MDC negotiators would

meet with the SADC Troika on October 27 in Harare. In

addition to allocation of ministries, other important issues

were appointment of governors and discrepancies between the

document signed on September 15 and the actual agreement.

Mugabe had unilaterally appointed the 10 provincial

governors; Biti said this should have been done in

consultation with the MDC and would have to be rectified.

The signed September 15 agreement specified that the

president would appoint 5 senators and ZANU-PF, MDC-T, and

 

HARARE 00000959 002 OF 003

 

 

MDC-M would each be allotted three additional senators. But

Biti said that the original agreement called for, in addition

to ZANU-PF’s 5 senators appointed by Mugabe, MDC-T to be

given 4 senators and MDC-M to be given 2 senators. ZANU-PF

would receive no additional senators. The document

discrepancies would also have to be resolved to complete an

agreement.

 

6. (C) If an agreement was concluded, the next step,

according to Biti, would be to adopt constitutional Amendment

19 to incorporate the agreement. Biti opined that agreement

on the amendment would be difficult. Amendment 19 would have

to spell out, for example, procedures for the appointments of

ambassadors and permanent secretaries. Biti noted that

according to the agreement, presidential appointments were to

be made “in consultation” with the prime minister, but the

agreement did not define “consultations,” and Amendment 19

would have to deal with this.

 

7. (C) Beyond agreement on specific issues, Biti said the

primary obstacle to a workable power-sharing government was

the lack of sincerity on the part of ZANU-PF. He pointed to

continuing public statements by ZANU-PF officials attacking

the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the recent crackdown and

violence against students and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

as they attempted demonstrations, ZANU-PF’s unwillingness to

compromise in negotiations to arrive at an agreement, and the

refusal to give Tsvangirai a passport. ZANU-PF could not

bring itself to accept Tsvangirai. They were suspicious of

him, and many hated him, because they believed he did not

share their liberation war values.

 

————–

The Road Ahead

————–

 

8. (C) Referring to the ZANU-PF–MDC agreement, Biti

concluded “this thing is dead.” The only question was when

to pronounce it dead–now or after the formation of a

government that proved unworkable. Analogizing to the

Rhodesia situation, Biti said Ian Smith had not been ready to

make necessary concessions in 1978, and Mugabe and ZANU-PF

were not ready now. It would be better, he told us, for

negotiations to collapse now so that a genuine dialogue could

take place when ZANU-PF was ready to work together with the

MDC.

 

9. (C) Biti said ZANU-PF’s inflexibility was designed to

maintain power and attempt to capture the high ground by

impelling the MDC to abandon negotiations. The MDC would not

fall into this trap and would continue to negotiate.

Recognizing the difficulty of the situation, however, the MDC

would begin to press for new, internationally supervised

elections under the auspices of the UN.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (C) The MDC appears divided on the approach to

negotiations and a power-sharing government. Tsvangirai,

while maintaining a healthy skepticism of ZANU-PF and Mugabe,

is in favor of concluding an agreement with certain minimum

preconditions that include MDC leadership of the finance and

home affairs ministries. He believes that as part of

government the MDC can begin to generate changes and take

advantage of a divided and weak ZANU-PF. Biti and others are

skeptical that, even apart from possible compromises on

ministries, ZANU-PF is willing to actually share power in a

way that would allow a new government to function. They are

therefore seeking to open up the negotiating process to go

 

HARARE 00000959 003 OF 003

 

 

beyond securing home affairs for the MDC as a basis of an

agreement. Also, unlike Tsvangirai, Biti does not believe

that this agreement is ultimately viable.

 

11. (C) We continue to think it likely there will be an

agreement. But given the entrenched interests of Mugabe and

ZANU-PF, we share Biti’s skepticism that it will work. END

COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(17 VIEWS)

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