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Biti said Mugabe and ZANU-PF were stupid not to compromise

Movement for Democratic Change secretary general Tendai Biti said President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front were stupid not to offer any compromises to solve the Zimbabwean crisis.

He told this to United States embassy officials after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had met Mugabe on a one-on-one meeting on 22 January 2009.

Tsvangirai had requested the meeting to satisfy himself that he had exhausted all reasonable options to form a government of national unity.

The parties had failed to implement an agreement that they signed on 15 September 2009 with hardliners from each of the two parties refusing to concede any ground.

Biti was against joining ZANU-PF especially if the government included Mugabe and seemed to have the support of the party’s national council.

He said Tsvangirai “would have grabbed at any crumbs thrown by Mugabe” to finalise a deal and at one time said his idiocy was shocking.

Embassy officials seemed to be backing Biti’s position.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE55, MUGABE-TSVANGIRAI MEET PRIVATELY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE55

2009-01-26 12:54

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO5042

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0055/01 0261254

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 261254Z JAN 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3964

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2578

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2700

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1191

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1969

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2324

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2749

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5177

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1867

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000055

 

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

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MUGABE-TSVANGIRAI MEET PRIVATELY

 

REF: HARARE 48

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and MDC-T

president Morgan Tsvangirai met privately last week as

Tsvangirai attempted to salvage a deal by gaining concessions

from Mugabe on outstanding issues. Mugabe refused to budge

and ZANU-PF and MDC remain deadlocked. It is unlikely the

SADC Summit today in Pretoria will produce results. The MDC

will pursue a solution at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa but is

not hopeful. It is likely ZANU-PF will soon form a

government without the MDC either before or after the AU

Summit. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe held a one-on-one

meeting with MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai on January 22.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told polecon chief that

Tsvangirai requested the meeting to satisfy himself that he

had exhausted all reasonable options to form a government of

national unity. Biti, who is against joining ZANU-PF in a

government under any circumstances, said Tsvangirai would

have grabbed at any crumbs thrown by Mugabe, and would have

tried to convince MDC officials to finalize a deal. Mugabe

and ZANU-PF were stupid, according to Biti, in not offering

any compromises. The result was that the standoff remains.

 

3. (C) Biti opined that Tsvangirai, a number of his

advisors, and a good percentage of the MDC Executive were in

favor of joining government if ZANU-PF made some concessions.

Nevertheless, the National Council, which would ultimately

have to approve an agreement, was solidly against joining

ZANU-PF under any circumstances. He believed this was the

general sentiment of the MDC rank and file who blame

Zimbabwe’s economic miseries on Mugabe and his party.

 

4. (C) Biti saw no hope that the SADC Extraordinary Summit

taking place today in Pretoria would resolve the deadlock.

He said the MDC had dispatched emissaries to various African

countries in advance of the AU summit in Addis Ababa. The

MDC would make a push to have the AU take over from SADC and

oversee an intensive mediation process, but again he was not

hopeful.

 

5. (C) Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, writing his

weekly column under the pen name Nathaniel Manheru in The

Herald on January 24, publicly revealed the Mugabe-Tsvangirai

meeting for the first time. He said that Tsvangirai had

pleaded that MDC hardliners were obstructing a deal and asked

Mugabe for concessions that he could sell to his party.

Mugabe, according to Charamba, refused to offer concessions,

stating he had similar difficulties with hardliners.

 

6. (C) The Herald went into full spin mode in today’s

edition in attacking Tsvangirai. It claimed Tsvangirai had

sought the meeting after realizing he had “blundered” by

rejecting the SADC proposal (essentially the ZANU-PF

proposal) to form a government earlier in the week during the

SADC mediation (Reftel). The Herald went on to claim that

former A/S Jendayi Frazer late last year told South Africa’s

foreign minister Dlamini-Zuma that the U.S. would not allow

Tsvangirai to join the government because he was “too weak”

to deal with Mugabe.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

 

HARARE 00000055 002 OF 002

 

 

7. (C) It appears that Tsvangirai and some close advisors

would like to join the government if ZANU-PF would make some

concessions on the outstanding issues (Reftel). It is

doubtful ZANU-PF will give any ground. Even if it did, the

MDC National Council has been clear that absent satisfaction

of outstanding issues, the MDC will not agree to form a

government with ZANU-PF.

 

8. (C) We agree with Biti that the SADC Extraordinary Summit

today in Pretoria is unlikely to produce results. A ZANU-PF

negotiator publicly said last week that if the Summit fails,

he expected SADC to support the unilateral formation of a

government by Mugabe. Absent some unexpected turns in

negotiations, it is likely ZANU-PF will soon form a

government, either before or immediately after the AU Summit.

END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(7 VIEWS)

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