Movement for Democratic Change hardliners secretary general Tendai Biti and spokesman Nelson Chamisa did not want the agreement between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the MDC and were trying to scuttle the deal nearly a month after the signing of the Global Political Agreement.
This was said by one of the negotiators Welshman Ncube of the smaller faction of the MDC who said Biti had written to the Southern African Development Community executive secretary setting out five outstanding issues between the two key players.
- equitable allocation of all ministries,
- division of governorships,
- composition of the National Security Council,
- appointment of ambassadors and permanent secretaries,
- and Amendment 19.
Ncube believed both President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai wanted an agreement but he believed hawks in each party, for their own reasons, were doing everything possible to subvert a deal.
Viewing cable 08HARARE1002, WELSHMAN NCUBE ON THE STATE OF PLAY
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SUBJECT: WELSHMAN NCUBE ON THE STATE OF PLAY
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) According to MDC-Mutambara (MDC-M) secretary general
and negotiator Welshman Ncube, Zimbabwean president Robert
Mugabe and MDC-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) president Morgan Tsvangirai
are supposed to meet tomorrow in Harare to discuss resolution
of the political impasse. According to Ncube, Tsvangirai has
been pressured by hardliners in his party to demand
renegotiation on the allocation of all ministries and to seek
agreement on other issues such as allocation of governors,
Amendment 19, and ambassadorial appointments. Nevertheless,
Tsvangirai has previously indicated he is willing put these
issues aside for the time being and sign an agreement if he
is satisfied as to the disposition of the Ministry of Home
Affairs. Home Affairs will presumably be the focus of a
Mugabe Tsvangirai meeting if it takes place. Mugabe has
previously argued to SADC facilitator Thabo Mbeki and to the
SADC Troika that the MDC should not have exclusive control of
Home Affairs because it is operating paramilitary training
bases outside of Zimbabwe. END SUMMARY.
Mugabe-Tsvangirai Meeting and Extraordinary Summit
¶2. (C) Ncube told polecon chief November 6 that Tsvangirai
had met with Mbeki three days ago in South Africa and
requested a private meeting with Mugabe. Mbeki dispatched
Sidney Mufamadi to Harare to present the request to Mugabe.
Mugabe discussed it with several ZANU-PF insiders, including
Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Joseph Msika, and
Nicholas Goche. According to Ncube, all except Goche opposed
the idea. Nevertheless, Mugabe decided to go forward with a
meeting which is due to take place tomorrow in Harare.
(Comment: We will be surprised if a meeting comes off.
Among other considerations, it would require Tsvangirai to
return to Zimbabwe and then leave again for the November 9
Summit. End Comment.)
¶3. (C) Ncube opined that those opposed to the meeting are
trying to scuttle an agreement; they are concerned that a
deal will result for them in loss of power and patronage.
Mugabe, on the other hand, wants a deal because his position
is secure under an agreement, and he realizes the country is
now at a dead end.
¶4. (C) Ncube, who supports an agreement, said he would be
very surprised if the SADC Extraordinary Summit on November 9
accomplished anything since hardliners of each party would be
present and would support their own agendas. He thought the
only possibility of an agreement was direct Mugabe-Tsvangirai
SADC Troika Negotiations
¶5. (C) Ncube, who was present at the SADC Troika meeting in
Harare on October 27 and 28, said Tsvangirai initially told
the Troika that crucial issues to be resolved were an
equitable distribution of ministries, division of
governorships, and drafting of Amendment 19 to encapsulate
any agreement, Mugabe said the only outstanding issue was
control of Home Affairs.
¶6. (C) According to Ncube the Troika met privately with
Tsvangirai to discuss governors and Amendment 19. Tsvangirai
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agreed that, since governors are not part of cabinet, that
issue could be postponed until after the formation of a
government. Similarly, Tsvagirai agreed that Amendment 19
should be resolved by the new cabinet. (Note: Ncube said
that the procedure agreed to by the parties before the
September 15 signing of the agreement was for the Attorney
General to draft an amendment that would then be discussed
and ultimately adopted by the cabinet. End Note.)
Tsvangirai then told the Troika he would sign an agreement if
the MDC received control of Home Affairs and Finance.
¶7. (C) Ncube related that the Troika then met privately with
Mugabe to discuss Home Affairs and Finance. Mugabe said he
had already agreed to give Finance to the MDC. He refused,
however, to give up Home Affairs.
¶8. (C) Ncube told us that a round of discussions then began
on control of Home Affairs with Mugabe agreeing to
co-ministers and Tsvangirai suggesting the Home Affairs
minister be rotated between the parties. Both Mugabe and
Tsvangirai finally agreed to rotational control, buy they
could not agree on which party would have the first rotation.
It was that disagreement, said Ncube, that prevented a final
Hawks in Both Parties
¶9. (C) The SADC communique of October 28 noted only that
there was disagreement with regard to Home Affairs. Ncube
averred that this was a correct statement of the state of
¶10. (C) On October 30, MDC-T secretary general and
negotiator Tendai Biti wrote the SADC Executive Secretary and
asserted that there were five outstanding issues: equitable
allocation of all ministries, division of governorships,
composition of the National Security Council, appointment of
ambassadors and permanent secretaries, and Amendment 19.
Ncube said this letter was contrary to the position taken by
Tsvangirai in the Troika negotiations and represented an
attempt by Biti (and other hardliners such as MDC
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa), who did not want an agreement,
to scuttle the negotiations.
¶11. (C) Ncube told us he believes both Mugabe and Tsvangirai
want an agreement, and he himself said an agreement was the
only possible way out of the disastrous economic and
humanitarian situation. But he believed hawks in each party,
for their own reasons, would do everything possible to
subvert a deal.
Allegations of MDC Paramilitary Camps
¶12. (C) Ncube told us that MDC-M president and negotiator
Arthur Mutambara argued to Mbeki and the Troika that MDC-T
should receive Home Affairs. Mbeki responded that Mugabe
would not give up completely Home Affairs because he believed
the MDC was operating paramilitary training camps in Botswana
and South Africa. (Note: A November 5 article in The Herald
entitled “The Savimbi facto: Plot thickens” alleged an MDC
plot to use foce to remove Mugabe and said that a report was
pesented to the SADC Troika accusing Tsvangirai of either
directly facilitating or allowing people close to him to
facilitate the training of militias in a neighboring
country.” The article also said Mubabe’s position was that
Home Affairs should not be entrusted “to people who could be
training a militia.”
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¶13. (C) We asked Ncube whether he believed that MDC-T had
established paramilitary camps. He said he had no knowledge.
He also said that in February Mbeki confronted Biti and
fellow negotiator Elton Mangoma with reports that MDC-T was
sponsoring youth training camps in South Africa. Biti and
Mangoma did not deny the allegations; they said it was
possible that members of Tsvangirai’s kitchen cabinet such as
Ian Makone could be responsible.
¶14. (C) It is unlikely the November 9 Summit will discuss
issues other than Home Affairs. If there is an overall
agreement, then, it is likely to rest on resolution of the
Home Affairs issue only. Tsvangirai’s position is unclear.
He has given indications during the course of the
negotiations that Home Affairs is the sine qua non of an
agreement. More recently, pressured by Biti, he has stated
there needs to be renegotiation on all ministries. If he
takes the latter position, SADC will in all likelihood once
again declare a stalemate on Sunday.
¶15. (C) There appears to be a difference in philosophy
between Tsvangirai and others such as Biti. Tsvangirai tends
to believe that a power-sharing government, even if
imperfect, has the potential to work and address Zimbabwe’s
pressing problems. Biti believes that it cannot work and
would prefer to end the process now. With an agreement on
new elections unlikely, nobody, including Biti, has a
workable alternative to a power-sharing government.
¶16. (C) We have seen no credible evidence that the MDC is
operating paramilitary camps outside of Zimbabwe. Whether or
not this is true, and whether or not ZANU-PF actually
believes reports of MDC camps, it is using the issue to avoid
giving up Home Affairs.