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Goche, Chinamasa and Mnangagwa were prepared to ditch Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe’s top lieutenants, Nicholas Goche, Patrick Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa were at one time interested in a government of national unity with an interim leader who was not Mugabe, according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

 

It was, however, not very clear whether the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was serious about a government of national unity or not.

Goche, Chinamasa and Mnangagwa represented one power centre. Central bank governor Gideon Gono represented another while the military, particularly defence forces chief Constantine Chiwenga, represented a third.

However, no deal could be negotiated without the agreement of Mugabe.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE367, ZIMBABWE STATE OF PLAY–NO LIGHT AT THE END OF THE

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Reference ID 

Created 

Released 

Classification 

Origin 

08HARARE367

2008-04-24 12:30

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0304
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0367/01 1151230
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241230Z APR 08 ZDK NUM SVC
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2831
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1952
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2074
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0629
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1351
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1708
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2130
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4561
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1209
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000367 
 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ZDK NUM SVC) 
 
SIPDIS 
 
AF/S FOR S. HILL 
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU 
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS 
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS 
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE STATE OF PLAY--NO LIGHT AT THE END OF THE 
TUNNEL 
 
REF: HARARE 337 AND PREV. 
 
HARARE 00000367 001.2 OF 004 
 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 
 (d) 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) The exuberance that greeted election returns over 
three weeks ago has given way to despair and fear among many 
in the wake of a seemingly interminable delay in announcement 
of election results and ZANU-PF orchestrated and pervasive 
violence. While regional and international focus has been on 
recounting in 23 constituencies and the announcement of 
results, most important now is an end to violence. Without 
this, there is no clear path to either of the two most likely 
scenarios: a runoff election or a government of national 
unity (GNU). The MDC has indicated it will not contest 
elections when its supporters are being beaten and worse by 
ruling party gangs; neither can it be expected to negotiate a 
GNU with ZANU-PF while that party is orchestrating mayhem. 
While the idea of a GNU has been floated by ZANU-PF, 
negotiation of such an agreement would not be easy. ZANU-PF 
and Mugabe would want a GNU on their terms, maintaining power 
as the dominant partner. The MDC, having won the election, 
would understandably be adverse to allow Mugabe to remain in 
power and for ZANU-PF to play the dominant role in 
government. 
 
2. (C) The fact that ZANU-PF is even discussing a GNU is a 
reflection that many in the party do not see a way out of the 
current crisis; it is also due to increasing pressure from 
the region. It is crucial that the international community 
in general and the region in particular, continue to apply 
pressure for an end to violence and an adherence to 
constitutional processes. It is also important that MDC 
leaders, who have been outside of Zimbabwe for a considerable 
time, return to lead the party and provide focus on the 
events ahead. END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
The Election Aftermath and the ZANU-PF Calculus 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3. (C) ZANU-PF's apparent intent going into the March 29 
elections was to open up democratic space and allow an 
election that many would consider free and fair. ZANU-PF 
hoped in this way to secure legitimacy. Thus, it permitted 
the MDC to campaign with some access to media and allowed 
some international observers (primarily SADC). There was 
little to criticize on voting day itself which our observers 
and others said went relatively smoothly. ZANU-PF 
miscalculated, however, the degree of discontent in the 
country and the willingness of many of its former supporters 
to defy party and traditional leaders to vote for the MDC. 
Thus it was clear soon after March 29 voting that the party 
had lost its parliamentary majority and that MDC leader 
Morgan Tsvangirai had won more votes than President Robert 
Mugabe. (COMMENT: Although the MDC and Tsvangirai claim he 
won an outright majority, we have no hard evidence on this. 
END COMMENT.) 
 
4. (C) We understand from numerous conversations that in the 
10 days or so after the election ZANU-PF considered several 
options. First, was a declaration that Mugabe had won and a 
state of emergency if necessary, but this would have required 
an obvious falsification of electoral results and would have 
been unacceptable even to SADC. Second, was a negotiated 
exit for Mugabe and a GNU headed by Tsvangirai. Mugabe may 
have been amenable to this according to both ZANU-PF and MDC 
 
HARARE 00000367 002.2 OF 004 
 
 
sources, but some in his inner circle, including Defense 
Forces Chief Constantine Chiwenga, were insecure about their 
security and financial futures, and vetoed this approach. 
 
5. (C) The last option, ultimately adopted, was a runoff 
election, as mandated by the Electoral Act. ZANU-PF then, 
stung by the election results and determined that it would 
not lose again and give up power, apparently decided to 
create conditions that would make a victory inevitable. 
Military units were deployed to rural areas as a symbol of 
strength and as a means of intimidation. And the party 
structures in key provinces--Mashonaland East, Central, and 
West; Manicaland; and Masvingo--unleashed youth militia and 
war vets in an orchestrated and systematic reign of terror 
against opposition (mostly MDC) supporters. The goal was to 
create an atmosphere of fear so that in a runoff election, 
many of those who voted for Tsvangirai and the MDC on March 
29 would vote for ZANU-PF, or would not vote.   While the 
actual numbers of victims of abduction, beating, and rape are 
limited, the effect of course has been widespread. 
 
6. (C) We believe the original delay in announcing results 
was aimed at giving ZANU-PF time to consider options. After 
having apparently decided on a runoff election, further delay 
occasioned by recounting allowed ZANU-PF to initiate and 
continue its campaign of violence. The combination of the 
delay and violence has, in addition to fear, caused many 
Zimbabweans to doubt that there can be a fair electoral 
outcome. 
 
------------------ 
The MDC's Response 
------------------ 
 
7. (C) The MDC initially announced that, based on its 
electoral analysis, Tsvangirai had won and there was no need 
for a runoff election. MDC leaders added, however, that if 
official results showed Tsvangirai had not received a 
majority, he would contest a runoff under protest. 
 
8. (C) As violence escalated, the MDC national council voted 
to boycott the election and Tsvangirai told regional leaders 
that he would not participate as violence and intimidation 
made chances of a fair election impossible. In his talks 
with these leaders, Tsvangirai has urged UN and AU 
intervention to deal with the crisis. Tsvangirai also 
addressed the April 13 SADC Summit in Lusaka. 
 
9. (C) Tsvangirai is coming under increasing criticism from 
his supporters, allies, and from civil society, for remaining 
outside the country at a time of crisis and at a time when 
MDC supporters are being attacked. Momentum from the March 
29 results has dissipated. There is little internal 
leadership with Tsvangirai and secretary general Tendai Biti 
gone for the last two weeks; MDC supporters are unaware of 
the MDC's strategy and are becoming despondent. Apart from 
international intervention to end the violence, Tsvangirai 
and the MDC have not articulated what they see as the 
resolution of the crisis. Is it an internationally 
supervised election or a negotiated GNU? This is not clear. 
 
------------- 
Toward a GNU? 
------------- 
 
10. (C) With the crisis deepening, we understand some 
regional leaders have urged consideration of a GNU. The 
government newspaper The Herald carried an op-ed April 23 
suggesting a GNU, albeit with Mugabe remaining in power 
during a transitional period and a lifting of western 
sanctions. (NOTE: The Herald later in the day pulled the 
 
HARARE 00000367 003 OF 004 
 
 
op-ed from its website and a government spokesman denied the 
government was considering a GNU. END NOTE.) A business 
source with strong ties to the ruling party told us Mugabe 
insiders Nicholas Goche, Patrick Chinimasa, and Emmerson 
Mnangagwa were now interested in a GNU with an interim leader 
other than Mugabe. Last week, Simba Makoni suggested a GNU 
to the Ambassador (Reftel). And regional leaders have 
suggested a coalition government may be the best way out of 
the crisis, most recently yesterday the ANC's Jacob Zuma. 
 
11. (C) The ZANU-PF interest in a GNU appears to be the 
result of several factors. First, Mugabe and his party have 
always been able to shrug off western criticism by noting 
support from SADC and the region. Of late, however, SADC and 
the region have demonstrated their unease with the current 
situation. The fact that the April 13 Summit was called was 
a clear signal. The Summit implicitly criticized the 
electoral process by calling for enhanced participation by 
party agents and observers in future electoral processes. 
Despite South African president Thabo Mbeki's proclamation 
that there was no crisis, ANC president Jacob Zuma and COSATU 
pointedly said otherwise. Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa 
opined that the Chinese ship with armaments destined for 
Zimbabwe should not be allowed to dock and offload in 
neighboring countries. Secondly, ZANU-PF is now aware of its 
lack of support and party insiders realize the party could 
lose a runoff election. Thirdly, another election would be 
expensive and logistically difficult. Finally, many in 
ZANU-PF realize that under present circumstances it is 
incapable of governing and turning around the economy. 
 
12. (C) Whether ZANU-PF is serious about negotiating a GNU 
is as of now subject to serious question. Goche, Chinimasa, 
and Mnangagwa represent one power center, Reserve Bank 
Governor Gideon Gono another, and the military, particularly 
Defence Chief Chiwenga, a third. Finally, it is unlikely any 
deal can be negotiated without the assent of Mugabe, and his 
feelings on the matter are not known. 
 
13. (C) As highlighted in The Herald op-ed, ZANU-PF believes 
it should dominate a GNU.Q+l}QU~ppression and 
violence over the years. We expect a GNU to be a continuing 
subject of discussion both in Zimbabwe and among regional 
leaders, but as of now the concept should be viewed with at 
least a dose of skepticism. 
 
-------------- 
FINAL COMMENTS 
-------------- 
 
14. (C) Both apparent options are fraught with problems. A 
runoff election at this time cannot be free and fair. Yet if 
the MDC boycotts, ZANU-PF will proclaim victory and the MDC 
will be forced to attempt negotiations from a weaker position 
than it occupies now. A GNU appears difficult to achieve 
unless ZANU-PF and the MDC agree to make concessions they are 
not now willing to make. 
 
15. (C) Perhaps most important is for Tsvangirai to return 
to Zimbabwe and, with Simba Makoni, Arthur Mutambara, and 
others, establish a united front and coordinate strategy: 
Will they participate in elections and, if so, under what 
conditions? An immediate end to violence, space to campaign, 
and pre-electoral international observers? Or do they want 
to pursue a GNU, and if so, under what conditions? 
 
16. (C) Finally, the situation on the ground has 
dramatically changed. The March 29 elections went relatively 
 
HARARE 00000367 004 OF 004 
 
N

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