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Biti said Mnangagwa and Mujuru were courting Tsvangirai

Movement for Democratic Change secretary general Tendai Biti told United States embassy officials that Emmerson Mnangagwa and Solomon Mujuru were each courting Morgan Tsvangirai with Mnangagwa even prepared to subordinate himself to Tsvangirai.

Biti said Mnangagwa wanted cabinet slots and protection guarantees for affiliated businesses.

Mujuru on the other hand was offering to take Tsvangirai as a junior partner.

Biti, however, said he was not involved in the talks but said the Unity Accord, by which ZANU-PF swallowed and neutralized its rival partner ZAPU during the 1980s, continued to make many wary of a deal.

But an “exhausted” populace could accept a deal as the only way to break a status quo that was destroying the country.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE683, BITI ON MDC PLANS, INTER-PARTY ENGAGEMENT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE683

2006-06-12 07:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5127

PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0683/01 1630730

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 120730Z JUN 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0186

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1228

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1064

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1234

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0492

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0858

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1285

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3657

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1057

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1696

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1443

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000683

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ASEC PREL ZI

SUBJECT: BITI ON MDC PLANS, INTER-PARTY ENGAGEMENT

 

REF: (A) HARARE 424 (B) HARARE 355 (C) HARARE 95 (D)

 

03 HARARE 1971

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz under Section 1

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) MDC anti-senate faction Secretary General Tendai Biti

on June 7 told poloff that resource constraints would

probably delay faction plans to get people on the streets.

He reported that ZANU-PF’s Mnangagwa and Mujuru factions each

were making pitches to faction President Morgan Tsvangirai,

with Mnangagwa even offering to subordinate himself in a

junior partnership. Biti stressed Tsvangirai’s continued

popularity and commitment to non-violence, and dismissed

rival faction MP David Coltart’s critique of intra-party

violence as overblown, naQve and self-serving. End summary.

 

——————————————— ———

Resource Constraints to Postpone Winter of Discontent?

——————————————— ———

 

2. (C) Biti advised that resource constraints would likely

prevent the anti-senate faction from proceeding with plans to

begin civil resistance plans before September. He said he

continued to advocate commencing actions by early July, but

he recognized that the party lacked key resources – i.e.

tranportation and salaried personnel – to pull anything off

successfully in the near term. He denied there was any

debate in the party over whether the people were ready to

participate in such an action. He said he would need

US$40,000 over a three month period to undertake a credible

national action plan.

 

———————————

Mnangagwa, Mujuru Come a-Courting

———————————

 

3. (C) The anti-senate faction’s Secretary-General confided

that faction president Morgan Tsvangirai was secretly

entertaining separate overtures from ZANU-PF’s Mnangagwa and

Mujuru factions. Each was seeking to have the anti-senate

faction join in some unspecified future power sharing

dispensation. According to Biti, Mnanagagwa was willing to

subordinate himself to Tsvangirai in exchange for cabinet

slots and protection guarantees for affiliated businesses.

Biti said Mujuru was only offering to take Tsvangirai in as a

junior partner, which he said reflected the Mujuru faction’s

continued primacy.

 

4. (C) Biti said he was not involved in the talks and could

not predict where they would end up. He acknowledged that

the “Unity Accords” experience, by which ZANU-PF swallowed

and neutralized its rival partner ZAPU during the 1980s,

would continue to make many wary of a deal. That said, an

“exhausted” populace might well accept a deal as the only way

to break a status quo that was destroying the country. He

said that until recently he would have been the last to

countenance a government of national unity but he was now

having second thoughts. In that regard, he said he and most

Zimbabweans would readily sacrifice accountability for Mugabe

and other ZANU-PF figures if that were the price of real

change.

 

——————————–

On Tsvangirai, Coltart, Violence

——————————–

 

HARARE 00000683 002 OF 003

 

 

 

5. (C) Biti emphasized the centrality of Morgan Tsvangirai

to the opposition’s political fortunes. Though not without

faults, Tsvangirai commanded more respect and enthusiasm from

the masses than any other figure in either faction of either

party. The tens of thousands he drew in rallies across the

country — and the overtures from ZANU-PFQ,s factions — were

testament to that. TsvangiraiQ,s commitment to non-violent

but open challenges to the regime reflected the desires of

the country.

 

6. (C) Biti was excoriating in his assessment of pro-senate

faction-aligned MP David Coltart’s recent missive (e-mailed

to AF/S) attacking the Tsvangirai faction for violence. He

asserted that the intra-party violence Coltart raised was

exaggerated and not encouraged or condoned by the party

leadership. He noted that those most reviled within the

anti-senate faction — Welshman Ncube and Gift Chimanakire,

for example — lived, worked and traveled openly in

vulnerable locations but suffered no harm. “If there wasn’t

a constant and convincing priority from the top on

non-violence, these people would have been attacked,” he

concluded.

 

7. (C) Biti he believed Coltart’s stated convictions were

genuine but naQve and played to his personal aggrandizement

at the expense of the party. Coltart was more concerned with

international audiences more than local ones. Biti said

Coltart “saw everything in black and white — in a literal

not a figurative sense.” Race and place colored all his

views. Biti compared Coltart unfavorably with Roy Bennett,

the nationally popular party treasurer who “speaks Shona

better than me.” Bennett was culturally Zimbabwean; Coltart,

who spoke not a word of local language, would always be an

outsider.

 

———

Bio Notes

———

 

8. (C) A polished and passionate speaker with a sharp sense

of humor, Biti is one of the party’s most intelligent and

versatile assets. He said Ncube had offered him the

presidency of the pro-senate faction but that he had no

regrets about remaining with Tsvangirai in spite of his

faults. At a social event that included the faction’s

vice-president and popular national spokesman, all deferred

to Biti. As he has in the past, Biti confided to poloff that

he was exhausted and that the party asked too much of him

because they always trusted he could do things better than

others could. He said he envied Arnold Tsunga, a fellow

lawyer who was to soon leave for a year on a Humphrey

Fellowship, and reiterated that he hoped to “take a year

abroad” in the coming years.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) Discreet inter-party communications and intrigue are

nothing new in Zimbabwe’s long polarized political

environment, and it would be premature to expect the latest

discussions will go any farther than in the past. Each group

involved in this kabuki so far seems still to be in a

probing, hedging posture rather than on the verge of doing

something bold to upset the status quo. That said, the talks

are symptomatic of the growing national frustration over

Mugabe’s lack of an exit strategy — a frustration that we

believe will continue to grow especially as the economy

 

HARARE 00000683 003 OF 003

 

 

continues to worsen. The apparent countenance of a

government of national unity, even in theory, by an

opposition hardliner such as Biti is a further testament to

the centrality in Zimbabwe today of the national “exhaustion”

to which Biti referred.

SCHULTZ

(12 VIEWS)

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