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How the US viewed the MDC victory in 2008

The United States embassy in Harare viewed the 2008 election victory by the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change as something that would have far-reaching implications as the two were going to control the House of Assembly.

“If Tsvangirai ultimately becomes president, and assuming support of Mutambara formation MPs, he will be able to gain legislative support for economic and political reform,” embassy officials said in a diplomatic cable dispatched after the results.

“If Mugabe remains in office, the opposition will halt ZANU-PF’s ability to pass repressive and confiscatory legislation. Additionally, with Constitutional Amendment 18 giving power to Parliament to sit as an electoral college should the president vacate the office for any reason, the ability of President Mugabe or his inner circle to manage a succession has been entirely compromised.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE273, HISTORIC RESULTS IN, OPPOSITION WINS MAJORITY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE273

2008-04-03 15:44

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO2518

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0273/01 0941544

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 031544Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2692

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1874

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1997

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0570

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1274

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1631

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2053

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4484

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1124

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUAEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000273

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

SES-O

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: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: HISTORIC RESULTS IN, OPPOSITION WINS MAJORITY

 

REF: HARARE 00245

 

1. (U) SUMMARY: For the first time in the country’s 28 year history,

ZANU-PF will not control the House of Assembly. After five days of

slowly releasing results, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)

finally announced the winners of the remaining seats. Of the 210

seats, MDC Tsvangirai formation won 99, ZANU-PF 97, MDC Mutambara

formation 10, and an independent one. The remaining three seats

will be filled with by-elections because contesting candidates on

the ballot died of natural causes before Election Day.

 

2. (U) The MDC Tsvangirai formation penetrated rural areas and

scored gains in Mashonaland – traditionally ruling party

strongholds. Maintaining strong support in Harare, Bulawayo and

Matabeleland, the swing provinces for MDC Tsvangirai proved to be

Manicaland and Masvingo where they picked up huge gains. Several

ZANU-PF bigwigs lost their seats, including Justice Minister Patrick

Chinamasa and Women’s Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri. END

SUMMARY.

 

———————————-

Opposition Scores Historic Victory

———————————-

 

3. (U) For the first time in the country’s 28 year history, the

ruling ZANU-PF party will not control the House of Assembly. After

five days of slowly releasing results, the ZEC finally announced the

winners of the remaining seats on April 3. Up until that point, the

ZEC had been announcing 10 – 15 seats at a time, alternating between

calling seats for the opposition and the ruling party.

 

4. (U) Of the 210 seats, the MDC Tsvangirai formation won 99,

ZANU-PF 97, MDC Mutambara formation 10, and an independent one. The

remaining three seats will be filled with by-elections because

contesting candidates on the ballot died of natural causes before

Election Day. No single party won the absolute majority of more

than 105 seats, but the two opposition parties together will control

at least 109 seats and the independent candidate, Jonathan Moyo, is

expected to ally himself with the opposition. The MDC is expected

to win the three by-election seats as well.

 

5. (U) According to official results published in the state-run

newspaper The Herald, there was a total of 2,405,147 million valid

votes cast, with ZANU-PF garnering 1,112,773 (46.3 percent), MDC

Tsvangirai 1,038,512 (43.2 percent), MDC Mutambara 203,146 (8.4

 

SIPDIS

percent), and independent and other minor parties 66,721 (2.8

percent). There were 10 races won by ZANU-PF in which the total

combined votes for the two MDC formations were more than the ZANU

votes. There was only one race in which two ZANU-PF candidates

split the vote and lost the seat to the MDC Tsvangirai candidate.

 

—————————–

Rural Areas & Swing Provinces

—————————–

 

6. (U) Beyond an almost total sweep of 28 seats in the Harare and 12

seats in the Bulawayo urban constituencies, MDC Tsvangirai also

managed to penetrate rural areas and Mashonaland provinces –

traditional ZANU-PF strongholds. Prior to this election, the

opposition held only one seat in Mashonaland provinces. In this

election, MDC Tsvangirai picked up six seats in Mashonaland West,

four in Mashonaland East and two in Mashonaland Central. These

provinces were previously considered “no-go” areas for the

opposition. This time around, however, the opposition was able to

conduct door-to-door campaigning in the rural areas, and even

managed to hold some small rallies.

 

7. (U) The MDC Tsvangirai formation also scored large gains in

Manicaland and Masvingo provinces where it previously held two seats

and one seat, respectively. This time around, however, it won 20

 

HARARE 00000273 002 OF 002

 

 

seats in Manicaland and 14 seats in Masvingo. The MDC Mutambara

formation managed to win three seats in Matabeleland North and seven

seats in Matabeleland South.

 

8. (U) Of interest was the number of votes and high turn-out for

some of the ZANU-PF victories in the rural areas. There were 13

constituencies in which ZANU-PF garnered more than 10,000 votes,

with 18,413 voters turning out for the ruling party in Chiredzi

North. Meanwhile, MDC Tsvangirai only had two constituencies in

which it attracted more than 10,000 votes.

 

—————–

Interesting Races

—————–

 

9. (U) On the ZANU-PF side, there were some interesting losses for

ruling party big wigs. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Women’s

Affairs Minister and head of ZANU-PF Women’s League Oppah

Muchinguri, Mines and Mining Development Minister Amos Midzi, Farm

Mechanization Minister Joseph Made, and Energy Minister Mike

Nyambuya all lost. Vice President Joice Mujuru, National Security,

Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa, Home

Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Industry and International Trade

Minister Obert Mpofu, and Economic Development Minister Sylvester

Nguni managed to win their races. As for the leaders of the MDC

Mutambara formation, Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube both lost.

 

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

10. (SBU) A combined MDC control of the House of Assembly has

far-reaching implications. If Tsvangirai ultimately becomes

president, and assuming support of Mutambara formation MPs, he will

be able to gain legislative support for economic and political

reform. If Mugabe remains in office, the opposition will halt

ZANU-PF’s ability to pass repressive and confiscatory legislation.

Additionally, with Constitutional Amendment 18 giving power to

Parliament to sit as an electoral college should the president

vacate the office for any reason, the ability of President Mugabe or

his inner circle to manage a succession has been entirely

compromised. END COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(18 VIEWS)

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