Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and First Lady Grace Mugabe wanted to delay the inauguration of the inclusive government and marginalise Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
This emerged after Tsvangirai met President Robert Mugabe on 30 September, two weeks after signing the Global Political Agreement which was supposed to usher in the new government where Tsvangirai was going to be Prime Minister.
Tsvangirai said he had met Mugabe to discuss four outstanding ministries but had concentrated on Finance and Home Affairs and they had failed to agree.
Mugabe had told him that some elements within his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front wanted to throw out the GPA which was an indication that ZANU-PF was deeply divided.
The Joint Operations Command which included all the military and security chiefs, supported by Gono and Grace, had met to discuss delaying the inauguration of the new government and marginalising Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai , however, believed that Mugabe himself was committed to an agreement and was prepared to the extent possible to fight ZANU-PF elements opposed to a deal because he realised that the JOC and other opponents had no solutions to Zimbabwe’s problems.
Viewing cable 08HARARE889, TSVANGIRAI ON AGREEMENT STALEMATE
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2018
SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI ON AGREEMENT STALEMATE
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (SBU) MDC leader and prime minister designate Morgan
Tsvangirai briefed Western Heads of Mission (HOMS) October 1
on the stalemate in talks directed at concluding an agreement
to establish a power-sharing government. Tsvangirai said the
talks had stalled over Mugabe’s failure to cede the home
affairs and finance ministries to the MDC. He did not
believe that Mugabe wanted to scuttle the talks, but was
facing resistance from within ZANU-PF. Tsvangirai stated
that the process of establishing a power-sharing government
was irreversible; SADC assistance and international pressure
would be important in moving the process forward. END
¶2. (SBU) Tsvangirai informed diplomats he had met on
September 30 with Mugabe to follow up on outstanding issues,
principally the division of ministries between ZANU-PF and
the MDC. Although four ministries had not been decided
on–home affairs, finance, local government, and foreign
affairs–only home affairs and finance were discussed.
Mugabe insisted that ZANU-PF name the heads of these
ministries. Tsvangirai refused to cede what he considered to
be critical ministries to ZANU-PF. He told the HOMs that
talks had not broken off; he and Mugabe had agreed to
disagree and he expected a resumption of talks.
¶3. (SBU) According to Tsvangirai, Mugabe told him that some
in ZANU-PF wanted to throw out the September 11 agreement.
Tsvangirai opined that ZANU-PF was deeply divided. He
commented that the Joint Operational Command (JOC), supported
by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Grace Mugabe, had
met last week to discuss delaying the inauguration of the new
government and marginalizing Tsvangirai. Nevertheless,
Tsvangirai believed that Mugabe himself was committed to an
agreement and was prepared to the extent possible to fight
ZANU-PF elements opposed to a deal. Mugabe realized that the
JOC and other opponents had no solutions to Zimbabwe’s
problems. His refusal to agree with Tsvangirai on the issue
of ministries was a result, according to Tsvangirai, of
pressures from within ZANU-PF.
¶4. (C) Despite the stalemate, Tsvangirai argued that the
process which would include the MDC as a major player in
government was irreversible. This was due to significant
domestic momentum for change and continuing international
interest. The country was now being held hostage to 40 or 50
ZANU-PF insiders clinging to power and this should not and
would not continue.
¶5. (SBU) Tsvangirai said Mugabe had relied on Mbeki during
negotiations and was regretting his potential absence from
the process. Tsvangirai himself thought Mbeki could continue
to play a useful role and had spoken to him a couple of days
ago. Mbeki told Tsvangirai his continuing position as
mediator would be dependent on support from new South African
president Motlanthe. Tsvangirai said he subsequently
approached the South African ambassador to Zimbabwe to
suggest Motlanthe support Mbeki’s mediation role. Tsvangirai
HARARE 00000889 002 OF 002
also suggested to the HOMs that ANC president Jacob Zuma
could play an influential role. He said he had talked to
Zuma and urged him to make a statement in support of a
balanced power-sharing agreement. (COMMENT: Disconcertingly,
Tsvangirai said he had no timetable for concluding an
agreement, raising the possibility that negotiations could
drag on without a government being formed. END COMMENT.)
¶6. (SBU) Turning to the international community, Tsvangirai
urged the U.S. and EU to make statements supporting a process
ending in a government that reflected the will of the people.
It should also be made clear to ZANU-PF that any assistance
must be based on political and economic reform.
Mutambara on Board
¶7. (SBU) Tsvangirai said he had spoken with Arthur Mutambara
immediately before the diplomatic briefing. Despite
differences with the MDC-Mutambara faction during
negotiations and in the election of the House of Assembly
speaker, Tsvangirai believed Mutambara was fully behind
Tsvangirai’s efforts to achieve a fair division of ministries
and equitable power-sharing agreement.
¶8. (C) Tsvangirai in briefing the HOMs professed sympathy
for Mugabe in battling forces within ZANU-PF and seemed to
blame opponents of Mugabe within ZANU-PF rather than Mugabe
for the stalemate in talks. We’re not convinced. Mugabe
wrung significant concessions from Tsvangirai in the
September 11 agreement and convinced him to sign with the
promise that the division of ministries could be easily
worked out. Mugabe may well be using the ostensible
inflexibility of others within ZANU-PF in an effort to
continue securing concessions from Tsvangirai.
¶9. (C) With Mbeki at least partly out of the picture,
Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma are increasingly important in
mediating a final agreement. We suggest encouraging
Tsvangirai to meet with Motlanthe to explore continued South
African assistance in the mediation process. Tsvangirai
could suggest to Motlanthe that the SADC reference group–the
AU (Jean Ping) and UN (Haile Menkerios)–which has an
institutional memory of the process be brought in to support
SADC and its designated mediator, whether Mbeki or someone
else. END COMMENT.