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Dell told Mutambara to go for Mugabe and not Tsvangirai

Former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell told Movement for Democratic Change faction leader Arthur Mutambara to concentrate on attacking President Robert Mugabe rather than his rival Morgan Tsvangirai during his visit to the United States.

He was briefing Mutambara shortly before his visit to the US where together with legislator David Coltart he had been invited by the Aspen Institute.

Mutambara told the ambassador that he intended to use the trip to talk to United States officials in Washington as well as to Zimbabweans in the diaspora.

In response to Mutambara’s request for counsel on what his message to Washington should be, Dell said Mutambara should present a positive, forward-looking message explaining his faction’s objectives and how it intended to achieve them.

Dell said Washington was interested in how Mutambara’s faction intended to challenge Mugabe and his regime which he said was the root of Zimbabwe’s problems.

Washington was well aware of the MDC’s factional strife and was concerned that it had damaged the party’s ability to effectively oppose the Mugabe regime.

Mutambara would, therefore, be best served by avoiding criticism of Morgan Tsvangirai and instead focus on a positive message that change was possible and that the democratic opposition was working together to bring it about.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE772, A CHASTENED MUTAMBARA SEEKS ASSISTANCE AND TOUTS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE772

2006-06-29 14:24

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4715

PP RUEHMR

DE RUEHSB #0772/01 1801424

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 291424Z JUN 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0267

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1258

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1103

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1262

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0523

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0888

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1316

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3687

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1085

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1724

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC//DHO-7//

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1473

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK//DOOC/ECMO/CC/DAO/DOB/DOI//

RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ23-CH/ECJ5M//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000772

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

AFR/SA FOR E. LOKEN

COMMERCE FOR BECKY ERKUL

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2011

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: A CHASTENED MUTAMBARA SEEKS ASSISTANCE AND TOUTS

COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRATIC UNITY

 

REF: (A) HARARE 769 (B) HARARE 698

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell under Section 1.4 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) MDC pro-Senate faction President Arthur Mutambara on

June 27 sought the Ambassador’s assistance and advice in

connection with a planned U.S. visit. The Ambassador

responded that we would support the visit and added that we

would provide equitable assistance to Mutambara,s faction in

the same manner we supported other elements of the democratic

opposition. The Ambassador suggested that while in the U.S.

Mutambara concentrate his fire on the Mugabe regime rather

than attacking the other faction of the MDC led by Morgan

Tsvangirai. Mutambara agreed and said his message would

 

SIPDIS

revolve around the need for unity of purpose (and even a

potential coalition) among democratic forces, including with

the other MDC faction. Mutambara and the faction,s Deputy

Secretary-General, Priscilla Misihairabwa-Mushonga, agreed

 

SIPDIS

with the Ambassador that the regime was increasingly

desperate as the country,s economic decline worsened and the

succession struggle within ZANU-PF sharpened. Mutambara

argued that the opposition couldn’t afford to be just

observers to ZANU-PF,s implosion but needed to forge a

unified front and seize the agenda. End Summary.

 

———————————

U.S. Visit and Assistance Request

———————————

 

2. (C) Mutambara told the Ambassador that he and faction MP

David Coltart had been invited to visit the Aspen Institute

July 3-9. He said they planned to take advantage of the

invitation to subsequently conduct business in the United

States, including meeting with U.S. Government officials and

with the Zimbabwean diaspora. To that end he and Coltart

would be in Washington D.C. July 10-12. Mutambara said he

would then stay on in the U.S. alone to visit the diaspora

communities in Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago.

 

3. (C) Mutambara asked for the Ambassador,s help in

arranging meetings in Washington and also renewed his earlier

request for USG financial assistance to allow two to three

additional faction officials to accompany him to the U.S.

(ref B). The Ambassador responded that the State Department

was already working on meetings with appropriate executive

branch officials and was coordinating with the National

Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican

Institute (IRI) on other meetings. With regard to travel, we

would provide equitable assistance to Mutambara,s faction as

we did other parts of Zimbabwe,s democratic opposition.

However, resources were limited and funding travel to the

U.S. was expensive. We would nonetheless endeavor to find

funds to allow at least one additional official to

participate in the visit.

 

4. (C) The Ambassador added that we were also considering the

faction,s other assistance requests. We were prepared to

include the faction in training programs, including for the

faction,s fledgling information department.

Misihairabwa-Mushonga said their other top priority in that

regard was training in voter education. The Ambassador said

that should also be possible. However, he noted that the

faction,s request for assistance with equipment was more

 

HARARE 00000772 002 OF 003

 

 

problematic. The faction needed to first account for all

USG-provided material in its possession. Mutambara agreed to

inventory the faction’s possessions for any USG-provided

property and report back.

 

——————-

Faction “Messaging”

——————-

 

5. (C) In response to Mutambara’s request for counsel on

what his message should be in Washington, the Ambassador

urged the faction to present a positive, forward-looking

message, explaining its objectives and how it intended to

achieve them. He also stressed that Washington interlocutors

would be most interested in how the faction intended to

challenge Mugabe and the regime, the root of Zimbabwe’s

problems. Washington was well aware of the MDC’s factional

strife and was concerned that it had damaged the party,s

ability to effectively oppose the Mugabe regime. Mutambara

would be best served by avoiding criticism of Morgan

Tsvangirai and instead focusing on a positive message that

 

SIPDIS

change was possible and that the democratic opposition was

working together to bring it about.

 

6. (C) Mutambara asserted that a successful long-term effort

would require unity of purpose across the range of opposition

elements. Projecting a strong unified front and the ability

to govern was imperative, and he was prepared to work with

the other faction, perhaps in a coalition, “to defeat the

monster.” This was the message that he would take to

Washington and the U.S. Mutambara added that he had been

touring the country widely, working on party structures, and

consulting more closely with civil society. In the longer

run, forging and publicly projecting unified strength of

political actors and civil society were the keys to pressing

the regime into needed change. In that vein, he suggested

that rumored consultations between his “brothers” in the

anti-senate faction and ZANU-PF’s Mujuru faction, if true,

were premature and would be counterproductive. (N.B. The

same rumors are rife with respect to Mutambara and his

faction and in our view are equally possible.)

 

———————

On Regime Desperation

———————

 

7. (C) Asked by the Ambassador for his views on the regime’s

situation, Mutambara emphasized that the regime recognized

its fragility and that its latest outreach efforts, to the

churches and to some in the diplomatic community, were born

out of sheer desperation. The GOZ’s recent investment in a

clumsily engineered National Day of Prayer was evidence of

its perceived need to enlist credible allies. He noted that

he had declined a last minute invitation to attend and that

Daniel Shumba of the recently launched United People’s Party

was the only nominal opposition player to participate. He

also asserted that the Prayer Day ploy was undermined by

Mugabe’s attack on Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, which

exposed its political motive.

 

8. (C) Responding to the Ambassador’s inquiry whether

ZANU-PF had any surprises up its sleeve, Mushonga suggested a

superficially dramatic economic measure, perhaps another

devaluation or privatization push, could soon be announced.

However, the utility of such a development was open to

question given Mugabe’s refusal to chart any meaningful

policy changes. The Mujuru camp – the “hardliners” in her

 

HARARE 00000772 003 OF 003

 

 

view – saw Mugabe’s departure as the key to international

assistance and were growing impatient. She claimed that

another group had coalesced around RBZ Governor Gono, which

was to countenance Mugabe’s continuation as long as he

yielded policy to them and allow them to pursue needed

reforms.

 

9. (C) The Ambassador responded that either of those two

outcomes would be painful for Mugabe since they implied

significant change and reform. Either he would be forced

from office or he would remain as a figurehead, having ceded

real power to reformers. Moreover, Gono and the Mujurus had

recently been rumored to be allies. The shifting alliances

within ZANU-PF that Mushonga had described seemed to us

further evidence of a party in disarray whose leaders were

increasingly motivated by a toxic mixture of greed, fear and

ambition. Mutambara agreed and concluded by emphasizing that

the opposition couldn’t afford to be observers to this game

but needed to forge a unified front and seize the agenda.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

10. (C) Mutambara and his faction have cooled public

criticism of their “brothers” in the other faction and

quietly appear to be turning their attention to longer term

issues. More pragmatic and less antagonistic toward the

anti-senate faction than Mushonga and others in his faction’s

leadership, and perhaps humbled by his faction,s dismal

performance over the past few months, Mutambara may yet

contribute to a stronger and more unified opposition given

time. Nonetheless, as suggested in ref A, he is an unproven

and struggling figure who so far has failed to build a

significant following and we urge that the Department receive

Mutambara at a level lower than Tsvangirai.

 

11. (C) Mushonga’s characterization of Mujuru-Gono tension

as central within the ruling party is at odds with most

others’ assessment, including our own. The central fight is

still between the Mujurus and Emmerson Mnangagwa. It also

fails to account for the true &hardliners,8 individuals

like State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who oppose any

reform or concession. That said, we don,t rule out that

there are growing cleavages even among ZANU-PF,s relative

moderates. These days, it appears it’s everyone for

him/herself within ZANU-PF ) and it couldn,t happen to a

nicer, or more deserving bunch.

DELL

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