One of the Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers Innocent Chagonda said Tsvangirai signed the Global Political Agreement with President Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the smaller faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara without the approval of the party’s national council.
He told United Sates embassy officials that the national council had advised Tsvangirai not to sign the power-sharing deal until there was complete agreement, including on the allocation of ministries.
Tsvangirai apparently had false assurances from Mugabe that, following the signing, quick agreement could be reached on the division of ministries in a way acceptable to the MDC, Chagonda said.
This emerged after Tsvangirai began losing key ministries to ZANU-PF, a move that left the party’s secretary general Tendai Biti frustrated.
Chagonda also confirmed that there had been contacts between former army commander Solomon Mujuru’s advisor Tirivanhu Mudariki and members of the Mujuru faction in ZANU-PF and the MDC.
He believed that the Mujurus were sincerely interested in marginalising Mugabe.
Viewing cable 08HARARE895, STATE OF PLAY – ZIMBABWE
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SUBJECT: STATE OF PLAY – ZIMBABWE
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
Mugabe Confronts ZANU-PF Internal Opposition
¶1. (C) Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe appears eager to
conclude a power sharing deal–on his terms. The banner
headline in Wednesday’s The Herald was “Embrace power deal:
Chihuri.” Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri called for
Zimbabweans to “forego our minor differences.” Today’s
Herald headline pronounced “Tsvangirai’s office ready.” A
fair reading is that ZANU-PF is set to conclude the agreement
as long as it heads the home affairs ministry, which includes
the police, and one other ministry among those still in play,
presumably finance. (NOTE: We understand the MDC has
already conceded other important ministries to ZANU-PF,
including information, defense, security and justice. END
¶2. (C) Mugabe leads a fractured party and he is trying to
satisfy key individuals and groups. Rumors circulated last
week that he and Emmerson Mnangagwa were involved in a heated
argument over the possibility of ceding home affairs to the
MDC. According to these rumors, Mnangagwa grabbed Mugabe by
the lapels at which point Mugabe’s body guards forcibly
subdued Mnangagwa, injuring him to the point that he was
hospitalized. We have been unable to confirm the physical
altercation; nevertheless, there appears to have been a
serious rift between Mugabe and Mnangagwa over the allocation
of ministries. Mnangagwa is loathe to allow any of the
security apparatus to pass to the MDC. Sources have also
told us that defense forces chief Constantine Chiwenga and
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono are opposed to the MDC
assuming responsibility for home affairs. They fear the
ministry and police would investigate them for corrupt
activities. As for finance, the finance minister, in
consultation with the president, appoints the Reserve Bank
governor. ZANU-PF, Gono, and top military officials,
including Chiwenga, realize that loss of the finance ministry
would likely be an end to the corrupt patronage system.
¶3. (C) Tirivanhu Mudariki, a close business associate and
political advisor of General Solomon Mujuru, told us on
September 29 that the Mujuru faction strongly supports the
MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai and has been in regular contact
with the MDC. The Mujurus believe ZANU-PF cannot solve the
economic mess and they need a regularization of the business
environment so that they can continue to conduct their many
businesses. Innocent Chakonda, the MDC’s lawyer and an
advisor to Tsvangirai, confirmed to us the contacts with
Mudariki and the Mujuru faction. Chakonda believed the
Mujurus were sincerely interested in marginalizing Mugabe.
In addition to their interest in economic stabilization,
Chakonda thought that support of the MDC and weakening of
Mugabe was part of the succession struggle in which the
Mujuru faction sought to replace Mugabe within ZANU-PF.
¶4. (C) The Mujurus have not played an active role in the
ZANU-PF internecine conflict, but rather have observed from
the sidelines. Chakonda believes that once Parliament is in
session, Mujuru deputies will work collaboratively with the
MDC to support its legislative agenda and frustrate Mugabe
and his supporters.
MDC Draws a Line
¶5. (C) Chakonda related that Tsvangirai signed the
power-sharing agreement despite a vote of the MDC national
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council that he not do so until there was a complete
agreement, including on the allocation of ministries.
Tsvangirai apparently had false assurances from Mugabe that,
following the signing, quick agreement could be reached on
the division of ministries in a way acceptable to the MDC.
Tsvangirai, according to Chakonda, faced strong criticism
from his party for signing. Chakonda told us (as did Tendai
Biti today) that Tsvangirai had realized the error of his
ways and would now insist on the MDC heading the home affairs
and finance ministries before entering into the government.
¶6. (C) According to Chakonda, Tsvangirai had dispatched his
vice-president, Thokozani Khupe, to South Africa to talk with
President Motlanthe and ANC president Jacob Zuma. She may
also talk with King Mswati of Swaziland. Biti told us he
would meet tomorrow with Tanzanian president Kikwete. Based
on conversations the MDC had with Mbeki, Zuma, Kikwete, and
Motswati during the negotiation process, Chakonda believes
they are sympathetic to the MDC’s position on the ministries
and will pressure Mugabe.
¶7. (C) Although it is always wise to suspect Mugabe and his
motives, the MDC and others such as Mudariki believe Mugabe
wants an agreement, albeit on his terms. He has been
constrained until now by hardliners within ZANU-PF such as
Mnangagwa and the security chiefs, and by opportunists such
as Gono. Tsvangirai appears set to hold the line. If SADC
and the AU exert pressure on Mugabe he may have no choice but
to cede home affairs and finance to the MDC. What the
consequences would be within ZANU-PF if he does so are
unclear. END COMMENT.