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Chamisa said US rhetoric on Mugabe was counterproductive

Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson Chamisa told United States embassy officials that the United States rhetoric that “Mugabe must go” was empty and counterproductive.

He said regime opponents had initially hoped that the rhetoric would be complemented by action instead US inaction was causing people to lose heart.

ZANU-PF was using US statements as a pretext to crack down on the MDC and civil society, both of which it was accusing of collaborating with the US to bring about regime change.

Asked what concrete actions the US and international community could take, Chamisa responded:

  • military intervention to remove the regime,
  • indictments of Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials in international courts,
  • and sanctioning of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE38, MDC SPOKESMAN CHAMISA ON MDC POSITION, U.S. POLICY

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE38

2009-01-14 12:31

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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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: 01/14/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC SPOKESMAN CHAMISA ON MDC POSITION, U.S. POLICY

 

REF: A. HARARE 06

B. PRETORIA 43

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told polecon chief on

January 14 that the MDC was resolved to condition entry into

government on satisfactory resolution of outstanding issues.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai would meet with Zimbabwean

president Mugabe in the next few days to either resolve these

issues or tell Mugabe to form a government without the MDC.

Chamisa also opined that U.S. rhetoric on Mugabe was empty

and counterproductive. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) Chamisa said that the MDC at its strategy meeting in

South Africa had affirmed the position of its National

Council to enter a transitional government of national unity

only if outstanding issues were resolved (Ref A). He said

that a meeting between Zimbabwean president Mugabe and MDC

leader Tsvangirai was tentatively scheduled for January 16,

although it could slip until next week depending on

scheduling conflicts. South African president Motlanthe

would preside over the meeting; mediator Thabo Mbeki would

likely also attend. Tsvangirai, according to Chamisa, would

use the meeting to present the MDC demands on outstanding

issues. If Mugabe failed to make concessions, Tsvangirai

would tell him he should form a government without the MDC.

 

3. (C) Chamisa said the MDC strategy was to put the ball in

ZANU-PF’s court by putting forth the MDC position for ZANU-PF

to accept or reject. Negotiations and talks about

negotiations had gone on too long, and it was time for a

decision as to whether or not there would be a government of

national unity. The MDC, according to Chamisa, doubted

Mugabe would agree to share governorships and reallocate

ministries. To concede half the governorships to the MDC,

which would involve removing five of the 10 newly-appointed

governors, would be viewed by ZANU-PF membership as a sign of

weakness. Perhaps more importantly, governors were important

to ZANU-PF electoral organizational efforts and party

patronage in their provinces, and ZANU-PF would lose this

advantage if some of its governors were replaced by MDC

members. As to ministries, Chamisa was doubtful that ZANU-PF

would agree to a reallocation that would weaken its position

in government.

 

4. (C) Assuming the collapse of the September 15 inter-party

agreement, Chamisa told us the MDC would pursue a

multi-faceted strategy of public and diplomatic outreach and,

in collaboration with civil society, mass mobilization. We

asked why such a strategy could now be successful when it had

failed in the past. Chamisa responded that the MDC had

learned from its many mistakes which would aid it in going

forward with new strategies.

 

5. (C) Turning to U.S. policy, Chamisa said rhetoric that

“Mugabe must go” was empty and counterproductive. Regime

opponents initially hoped that the rhetoric would be

complemented by action. Inaction on the part of the U.S. was

causing people to lose heart. Further, ZANU-PF was using

U.S. statements as a pretext to crack down on the MDC and

civil society, both of which it was accusing of collaborating

with the U.S. to bring about regime change. We asked Chamisa

what concrete actions the U.S. and international community

could take. He responded: military intervention to remove

the regime, indictments of Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials

in international courts, and sanctioning of the Reserve Bank

 

HARARE 00000038 002 OF 002

 

 

of Zimbabwe.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) While there are some in the MDC who would like to

enter into government with ZANU-PF and some who do not want

to be part of a government of national unity under any

circumstances, the position of the MDC appears clear: it

will enter into a power-sharing government –with or without

Mugabe– only if outstanding issues are resolved on MDC

terms. A Mugabe-Tsvangirai meeting, if it takes place, will

be critical in determining whether the differences between

the parties can be bridged. We agree with Chamisa that it is

unlikely ZANU-PF will make the concessions the MDC is

demanding. Regardless, there may be an end to the on-going

SADC-sponsored process within the next couple of weeks. END

COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(3 VIEWS)

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