British Prime Minister Gordon Brown phoned Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai not to budge emphasising that there would not be any international engagement with Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe retained executive power.
Brown’s call was made on the very day Tsvangirai was meeting Mugabe and the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara, to iron out a political agreement.
The meeting took the whole day and ended at 2 am.
Tsvangirai told Brown that he would hold firm and insist that he had the executive power with Mugabe as ceremonial president.
Mugabe also held his position supported by the service chiefs and Zimbabwe African national Union- patriotic Front heavyweights such as central bank governor Gideon Gono and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Viewing cable 08HARARE676, ZANU-PF–MDC NEGOTIATIONS SITREP
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C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000676
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STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2013
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF–MDC NEGOTIATIONS SITREP
REF: HARARE 674
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) Negotiations between ZANU-PF and the MDC took place
all day Sunday and ended at 2:00 am Sunday morning after a
closed-door session facilitated by South African president
Thabo Mbeki with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and MDC
leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara as the only
participants. The major obstacle to an agreement is the
allocation of executive power. Although Tsvangirai had
believed that Mugabe would cede executive power to him and
assume the role of ceremonial president in order to achieve
an honorable exit (Ref), Mugabe has refused to do so and is
insisting on a power-sharing agreement. Reportedly, Mugabe
wants to have jurisdiction over defense and security, and
foreign affairs; under his proposal the MDC would have
control over finance and economic-related ministries.
¶2. (C) Other contentious issues are the size of cabinet and
the duration of the government. ZANU-PF wants a bloated
cabinet to accommodate its top level officials. It has
proposed a 36-member cabinet with ZANU-PF and the
MDC-Tsvangirai faction each holding 15 seats and the
MDC-Mutambara faction receiving 6 ministries. Tsvangirai’s
proposal calls for 22 ministries, plus positions of prime
minister and two deputies. ZANU-PF and MDC-Tsvangirai would
split the ministries; Mutambara would be given one or two.
Tsvangirai wants a transitional government with a maximum
term of 36 months; ZANU-PF is negotiating for a five year
¶3. (C) All signs are that Mutambara has swung to Mugabe’s
camp. He wrote an op-ed published on Sunday in the weekly
The Standard in which he praised the liberation struggle and
bashed Western interference in Zimbabwe. He also attended
the Heroes Day celebration on Monday at which Mugabe spoke
and made favorable references to him. (Tsvangirai did not
¶4. (C) The British Charge told us today that British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown called Tsvangirai on Sunday, urged him
to stay the course, and emphasized there would be no renewal
of international engagement if Mugabe retained executive
power. Tsvangirai told Brown, as he told us, that he would
hold firm and insist he hold all executive power; Mugabe
could become a ceremonial president. Mugabe has also
maintained his position, supported by the GOZ service chiefs,
as well as ZANU-PF heavyweights such as Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
¶4. COMMENT: Negotiations resumed this afternoon.
Tsvangirai is under intense pressure. Mugabe and Mutambara
are apparently negotiating from the same play book and Mbeki,
who has said he will stay until a deal is completed,
desperately wants an agreement before South Africa assumes
the SADC presidency on August 16. If Tsvangirai continues to
stand on principle, however, it is difficult to see how an
agreement will be reached. END COMMENT.