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Biti will fail if he tries to take over from Tsvangirai- researcher

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also the secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change, will fail just like Welshman Ncube, if he tries to take over the leadership of the party from Morgan Tsvangirai, a senior researcher with the Institute of Security Studies Takawira Musavengana told diplomats in Pretoria.

Musavengana said the MDC was adrift because Harvest House, the party headquarters, was empty since all senior party officials were now working for the government.

This had left the party without a leadership or a long-term strategy with the party leadership forgetting that the inclusive government was a temporary arrangement.

Musavengana praised Biti for his intelligence but said his downfall was that he was extremely impatient and condescending to those that he thought were intellectually inferior to him.

Biti has been touted as Tsvangirai’s number two.

Welshman Ncube was the first secretary-general of the MDC but left after the party split in 2005 and how heads the splinter faction though there is a dispute with former president Arthur Mutambara.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09PRETORIA1859, DIPLOMATS STILL WAITING TO SEE CHANGE IN SAG’S

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09PRETORIA1859

2009-09-11 12:27

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO3400

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1859/01 2541227

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 111227Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9574

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 7125

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 1216

RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 9490

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 001859

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2019

TAGS: PREL SF ZI

SUBJECT: DIPLOMATS STILL WAITING TO SEE CHANGE IN SAG’S

ZIMBABWE POLICY

 

PRETORIA 00001859 001.2 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: Acting Political Counselor Madeline Seidenstricker. Rea

sons 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. On 8 September, Institute for Security

Studies (ISS) Senior Researcher Takawira Musavengana spoke at

a roundtable with western diplomats, admonishing diplomats

for believing that Zimbabwe would be discussed during the 7-8

September SADC summit, downplayed Zuma’s willingness to take

on Mugabe, saying interested parties see what they want to

see, and outlined a number of upcoming events over the next

several months that could significantly affect the state of

the GNU. Nevertheless, South Africa may have relinquished

the SADC chairmanship to Congo, but still sits on the SADC

troika, along with Mozambique and Angola, which is now

charged with finding a solution or calling for an

extraordinary summit, giving many hope yet that South Africa

will still try to work behind the scenes for a lasting

solution. END SUMMARY.

 

————————

SADC SUMMIT: NO SURPRISE

————————

 

2. (C) On 8 September, ISS Senior Researcher Takawira

Musavengana, a Zimbabwean national who worked for SADC’s

Parliamentary Forum for a number of years before joining ISS,

shared his opinions about South Africa’s and SADC’s views of

the current state of Zimbabwean politics. Numerous diplomats

from like-minded countries expressed disappointment that

Zimbabwe was not on SADC’s agenda 7-8 September, adding that

South Africa’s Department of International Relations (DICO)

had assured them otherwise. Musavengana replied, “I’m

shocked you’re shocked,” and went on to rhetorically ask what

contentious issue a SADC summit has ever addressed.

Musavengana called SADC’s avoidance of the issue a “strategic

retreat” and was rather pessimistic about SADC’s future

interventions as well. He noted that current SADC Chair

President Kabila’s close relationship to Mugabe — he said

rumors have been circulating that Mugabe’s close personal

security is provided by the Congolese — is likely to result

in a softened stance. He also believes that if an

extraordinary summit is held on Zimbabwe sometime in the next

several months that it will be poorly attended as Namibia,

Mozambique, and Botswana leaders are focused right now on

upcoming elections.

 

3. (C) Nevertheless, Musavengana noted that there have been

some symbolic changes, including SADC’s official recognition

of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who was introduced

immediately after President Mugabe. He also believes that

even after the passing of former Zambian President Mwanawasa,

there remain deep divisions within SADC over Zimbabwe.

“You’re never going to hear someone refute that there is a

crisis in Zimbabwe as Mbeki did,” he said. He also told

diplomats that if he learned anything from working at SADC,

it is that there is as much to be learned by what SADC

members states do not say as much as what they do say,

specifically highlighting Tanzania which has remained silent

on the issue.

 

—————————————–

PRETORIA’S CHANGE IN ATTITUDE, NOT POLICY

—————————————–

 

4. (C) Musavengana spoke at length about Pretoria’s

relationship with Harare, emphasizing that Zuma and his

entourage desperately want to distinguish themselves from

Mbeki on every issue, not just Zimbabwe. So far, he believes

that Zuma has done a good job of appearing to do more on

Qthat Zuma has done a good job of appearing to do more on

Zimbabwe, adding that Zuma gives Tsvangirai an audience and

tells him how brave he is, but that South Africa’s position

on Zimbabwe has not fundamentally changed. Zuma will continue

Mbeki’s policy of “quiet diplomacy,” he said, noting that

Zuma, like other leaders in SADC, has been very diplomatic

when speaking about Harare publicly. The ANC also continues

to be more critical of Mugabe publicly than Zuma (as was the

case during Mbeki’s tenure as well), but behind closed doors

Musavengana said many in the ANC still believe that Zimbabwe

is the victim of a neocolonial conspiracy, with members of

the ANC and other liberation movements on the continent

wondering, “If ZANU-PF falls, which liberation movement is

next?” South Africa, as a result, continues to be most

concerned with internal ZANU-PF succession.

 

5. (C) Zuma and other officials are also acutely aware of the

 

PRETORIA 00001859 002.2 OF 003

 

 

need to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis because of the

spillover effect in South Africa. High unemployment rates

coupled with the casualization of labor (i.e., Zimbabweans

willingness to work for less than South African nationals)

are raising discontent among the masses and risking another

xenophobic outbreak. (NOTE: None of the diplomats present

could name who Zuma listens to when he needs advice on

Zimbabwe; DICO officials continue to tell diplomats that

Mbeki is still SADC’s official mediator, though there is no

evidence Mbeki remains involved. END NOTE)

 

——————————-

CHALLENGES OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS

——————————-

 

6. (C) Musavengana listed a number of upcoming milestones

over the next six months that could have a significant impact

on the GNU:

 

— The continual lack of progress over the Constitution: MPs

continue to bicker over the mechanics of the process, with

the Speaker of Parliament, Clerk of Parliament, and Minister

of Parliament all fighting over who is in charge of process.

He also noted that there is severe infighting within parties

over who will get per diems during the process and between

parties over who will chair which committees.

 

— Uncertainty over internal ZANU-PF succession: Though there

is a Mugabe for life campaign going on within some ZANU-PF

circles, he believes that Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa

will prevail since Mugabe could never trust Vice-President

Joyce Mujuru, who is viewed as too willing to work with the

MDC and “too clean” to be trusted not to try to bring Mugabe

to justice.

 

— Questions over the viability of MDC as a grassroots

organization and MDC-M: Harvest House, Musavengana said, is

empty, with all senior party officials now working for the

government. As a result, he believes the party is “adrift

without leadership or a long-term strategy,” with MDC

officials, namely Tsvangirai, forgetting that the GNU was

supposed to be a temporary arrangement. (NOTE: As an aside,

Musavengana praised Tendai Biti’s intelligence, but also

cautioned that he would fail, just like Welshman Ncube, if he

tried to take the MDC presidency from Tsvangirai. Biti’s

downfall, he said, is that he is extremely impatient and

condescending to those he thinks are intellectually inferior

to him. END NOTE) He also questioned the future of MDC-M,

noting that the top officials had all recently lost

by-elections.

 

— Outstanding Parliamentary vacancies, which could affect

balance of power: According to Musavengana, any seats left

open after 15 September will be able to be contested by all

parties.

 

— Court petition by independent MP Jonathan Moyo over the

validity of the election of Speaker of the National Assembly

Lovemore Moyo: Musavengana believes the High Court is likely

to rule in Jonathan Moyo’s favor and that the MDC is unlikely

to win the speakership again.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) Within diplomatic and think-tank circles, there were

high hopes that Zimbabwe would be discussed at the SADC

summit. Zuma’s recent granting of a one-on-one meeting with

Prime Minister Tsvangirai so he could spell out his concerns,

coupled with his comments in Harare last month that the

promotion of democracy, respect for human rights, and

improvement of governance are vital to Africa’s success, led

many to believe that Zuma was going to reverse Mbeki’s quiet

Qmany to believe that Zuma was going to reverse Mbeki’s quiet

diplomacy approach and be more vocal and critical of

President Mugabe and ZANU-PF’s intransigence when it comes to

fully implementing the Global Political Agreement. Instead,

at the end of the summit, both Zuma and Deputy President

Motlanthe (also ANC President and Deputy President) spoke

with one voice — that of SADC — praising all parties for

the progress done thus far and echoing calls for the

immediate removal of sanctions. South Africa has relinquished

the SADC chairmanship to Congo, but still sits on the troika,

along with Mozambique and Angola, which is now charged with

finding a solution or calling for an extraordinary summit,

 

PRETORIA 00001859 003.4 OF 003

 

 

giving many hope yet that South Africa will still try to work

behind the scenes for a lasting solution.

GIPS

(4 VIEWS)

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