President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front always wanted a five-year transitional government while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change wanted a maximum of three years.
It looks ZANU-PF is getting its way and it is the MDC that is back pedalling but at the same time fitting into ZANU-PF’s original plan.
According to a cable released by Wikileaks ZANU-PF wanted a bloated cabinet to accommodate its top officials. It wanted a cabinet of 36 with 15 from ZANU-PF and another 15 from MDC-T and six for the Arthur Mutambara faction of the MDC.
Tsvangirai’s proposal called for 22 ministries, plus positions of prime minister and two deputies. ZANU-PF and MDC-Tsvangirai were to split the ministries and Mutambara would be given one or two.
When the parties signed the Global Political Agreement, ZANU-PF ended up with 15 cabinet posts with Tsvangirai’s MDC having 13 and Mutambara’s faction 3.
But when the inclusive government was formed in February 2009, the cabinet had been increased to 41 and ZANU-PF had more seats than the MDC.
Viewing cable 08HARARE676, ZANU-PF–MDC NEGOTIATIONS SITREP
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0676 2241342
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O 111342Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3276
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2211
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2330
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0862
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1607
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RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2386
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4817
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1479
C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000676
AF/S FOR S. HILL
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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: 04/02/2013
SUBJECT: ZANU-PF–MDC NEGOTIATIONS SITREP
REF: HARARE 674
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) Negotiations between ZANU-PF and the MDC took place
all day Sunday and ended at 2:00 am Sunday morning after a
closed-door session facilitated by South African president
Thabo Mbeki with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and MDC
leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara as the only
participants. The major obstacle to an agreement is the
allocation of executive power. Although Tsvangirai had
believed that Mugabe would cede executive power to him and
assume the role of ceremonial president in order to achieve
an honorable exit (Ref), Mugabe has refused to do so and is
insisting on a power-sharing agreement. Reportedly, Mugabe
wants to have jurisdiction over defense and security, and
foreign affairs; under his proposal the MDC would have
control over finance and economic-related ministries.
¶2. (C) Other contentious issues are the size of cabinet and
the duration of the government. ZANU-PF wants a bloated
cabinet to accommodate its top level officials. It has
proposed a 36-member cabinet with ZANU-PF and the
MDC-Tsvangirai faction each holding 15 seats and the
MDC-Mutambara faction receiving 6 ministries. Tsvangirai’s
proposal calls for 22 ministries, plus positions of prime
minister and two deputies. ZANU-PF and MDC-Tsvangirai would
split the ministries; Mutambara would be given one or two.
Tsvangirai wants a transitional government with a maximum
term of 36 months; ZANU-PF is negotiating for a five year
¶3. (C) All signs are that Mutambara has swung to Mugabe’s
camp. He wrote an op-ed published on Sunday in the weekly
The Standard in which he praised the liberation struggle and
bashed Western interference in Zimbabwe. He also attended
the Heroes Day celebration on Monday at which Mugabe spoke
and made favorable references to him. (Tsvangirai did not
¶4. (C) The British Charge told us today that British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown called Tsvangirai on Sunday, urged him
to stay the course, and emphasized there would be no renewal
of international engagement if Mugabe retained executive
power. Tsvangirai told Brown, as he told us, that he would
hold firm and insist he hold all executive power; Mugabe
could become a ceremonial president. Mugabe has also
maintained his position, supported by the GOZ service chiefs,
as well as ZANU-PF heavyweights such as Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
¶4. COMMENT: Negotiations resumed this afternoon.
Tsvangirai is under intense pressure. Mugabe and Mutambara
are apparently negotiating from the same play book and Mbeki,
who has said he will stay until a deal is completed,
desperately wants an agreement before South Africa assumes
the SADC presidency on August 16. If Tsvangirai continues to
stand on principle, however, it is difficult to see how an
agreement will be reached. END COMMENT.