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Mai Mujuru tried to outmanoeuvre Mnangagwa during unity talks

Former Army commander Solomon Mujuru and his wife Vice-President Joice Mujuru supported a plan which would have seen President Robert Mugabe become ceremonial president, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai become executive Prime Minister with Joice Mujuru as the only Vice-President.

According to a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, this emerged during the negotiations between the three major parties, the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front and the two factions of the MDC, after the disputed elections of March 2008 and the presidential elections of June which the MDC had pulled out of.

At the time the three parties appeared not to be talking but the cable says they were actually in negotiations. It says some analysts believed that Mugabe’s team’s strategy was to use internationally supervised negotiations as a delaying tactic while violence and division destroyed the MDC as a future factor in Zimbabwe’s political life.

“These skeptics believe Mugabe and his inner circle are seeking to repeat their success against (Joshua) Nkomo and ZAPU following the Gukurahundi massacres. They may well be right. But it is important to remember that ZANU-PF is not monolithic.

“We have heard that General Solomon Mujuru and vice-president Joice Mujuru would support the so called Mbeki plan, a transitional government originally proposed by Tsvangirai, which would make Mugabe a ceremonial president, establish Tsvangirai as an executive prime minister, and leave Joice Mujuru as the only vice-president.

“From the Mujurus’ point of view, this would sideline Mnangagwa and allow the Mujurus to consolidate power within ZANU-PF and spearhead ZANU-PF in elections after the transition. Mujuru still wields influence over the military and top generals and could attempt to secure guarantees for their futures.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE605, STATE OF PLAY: AWAITING NEGOTIATIONS

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE605

2008-07-10 14:56

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3927

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0605/01 1921456

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 101456Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3163

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2135

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2255

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0791

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1532

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1890

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2311

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4742

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1401

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000605

 

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: 07/10/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: STATE OF PLAY: AWAITING NEGOTIATIONS

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The Zimbabwean political scene is quieter than it has

been for some time. Despite denials by MDC leaders of

current negotiations, preliminary talks are taking place this

week in South Africa. Harare awaits the arrival of Jean

Ping, Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, and

Jakaya Kikwete, head of the African Union and president of

Tanzania, who are expected to discuss an AU role alongside

SADC in negotiations between the two Zimbabwean parties.

Both sides are interested in a negotiated settlement, but on

their own terms; this may make an eventual agreement

difficult to achieve. Violence and intimidation continue,

although at an apparently lower level, at least in urban

areas, than before the June 27 election. ZANU-PF’s goal is

to assert its authority and weaken the MDC, both for

negotiations and in the new Parliament. Parliament will be

convened next week with the MDC expected to elect the Speaker

of the House of Assembly if a sufficient number of its

members attend. END SUMMARY.

 

——————-

Talking About Talks

——————-

 

2. (C) Despite contradictory statements from MDC leadership,

the SADC mediation process is in fact continuing. Mbeki

mediators Sydney Mufamadi and Mujanku Gumbi are meeting with

MDC Tsvangirai (MDC-T) negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton

Mangoma, MDC Mutambara (MDC-M) negotiators Welshman Ncube and

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, and ZANU-PF negotiators

Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche this week in South

Africa. These discussions were to have begun last week, but

Biti’s passport had not yet been returned, and Mangoma wanted

assurances that the GOZ would remove him from an arrest list.

Yesterday a judge (apparently with the GOZ’s acquiescence)

ordered Biti’s passport returned and Mangoma received his

requested assurances. We understand that the South African

talks will attempt to set an agenda and possibly agreement on

a memorandum of understanding for full-fledged negotiations.

The MDC will seek an agreement that the GOZ desist from the

arrest and prosecution of MDC parliamentarians so that all

MDC parliamentarians can participate in the opening of

Parliament.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai stands by his insistence that the MDC will

not participate in further full-fledged negotiations unless

the AU has a role in the mediation process. We understand

Kikwete and Ping were due to go directly from the G-8 Summit

in Tokyo to Harare, but Ping became ill and the trip was

delayed until later this week or the beginning of next week.

In addition to an AU role, the MDC has publicly insisted on,

as a prerequisite to negotiations, immediate cessation of

violence and intimidation, release of over 1500 MDC

detainees, and resumption of humanitarian assistance

(presumably lifting the NGO ban). Seeking to exploit

inconsistency and promote an image of MDC division, the main

headline in today’s The Herald trumpeted “Inter-party talks

resume,” and the accompanying article noted the apparent

contradiction with Tsvangirai’s public statements that there

were no ongoing talks.

 

4. (C) In another apparent contradiction to his insistence

that there would be no negotiations absent fulfillment of the

MDC’s conditions, Tsvangirai has for some time been seeking a

meeting with Mugabe as part of the SADC negotiation process.

Tsvangirai’s goal, however, has more to do with establishing

his equal status as a leader than with actual negotiations.

 

HARARE 00000605 002 OF 004

 

 

Last Saturday, Mbeki flew to Harare and he and the GOZ

invited Tsvangirai to a meeting at State House with Mugabe,

as well as with Mutambara, Ncube, and Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Tsvangirai perceived this as a staged photo opportunity to

demonstrate Mugabe’s purported openness to dialogue, and

Mbeki’s success as mediator, on the eve of the G8 Summit, in

bringing the parties together. He was also concerned that

meeting Mugabe in State House would confer MDC recognition of

Mugabe as president, something Tsvangirai has taken pains to

avoid. He therefore declined to attend. (Comment:

Tsvangirai was undoubtedly correct in his decision. What

emerged from the meeting, much to the consternation of MDC-M

supporters, was nothing of substance but a picture of a

smiling Mutambara shaking hands with Mugabe. End comment.)

 

————————–

What Prospect for Success?

————————–

 

5. (C) Given Zimbabwe’s recent history and the fact that

after 15 months of SADC-sponsored negotiation the parties are

still working to set an agenda and resume negotiations, there

is ample room for skepticism that negotiations will bear

fruit. Favoring optimism, each side has objectively good

reason to vigorously pursue a successful settlement. ZANU-PF

craves legitimacy and reengagement with the West in order to

regain political and economic stability. The MDC, having had

a presidential victory stolen and having witnessed ZANU-PF’s

vengeance after the March 29 election, realizes that it

cannot gain power electorally, but must do so through a

political process. However, it is not clear that either side

is ready to compromise on the critical issues. ZANU-PF wants

a government of national unity, which would be a continuation

of the current government, but with some MDC ministers.

ZANU-PF would maintain the power. The MDC wants a

transitional government, limited temporally and in terms of

powers, that would supplanted by a new government elected

under a new constitution. Tsvangirai has indicated that he

would be willing to accept Mugabe as a ceremonial president

in a transitional government, but he believes (rightly) that

he won the election and therefore should wield the power.

The mediators will seek to bridge this divide.

 

6. (C) The mediation faces an uphill battle convincing the

parties to yield. ZANU-PF’s leverage is that it holds de

facto power and continues to hold Zimbabwe in a vise of

violence and fear which continues to affect people throughout

the country. It has the power to relax this vise, and will

use this as a negotiating point. The MDC on the other hand

can simply break off negotiations, if it is unsatisfied, and

allow ZANU-PF to continue to run on its own what is becoming

an increasingly ungovernable country, particularly

economically.

 

7. (C) Some analysts believe the Mugabe team’s strategy is to

use internationally supervised negotiations as a delaying

tactic while violence and division destroy the MDC as a

future factor in Zimbabwe’s political life. These skeptics

believe Mugabe and his inner circle are seeking to repeat

their success against Nkomo and ZAPU following the

Gukurahundi massacres. They may well be right. But it is

important to remember that ZANU-PF is not monolithic. We

have heard that General Solomon Mujuru and vice-president

Joice Mujuru would support the so called Mbeki plan, a

transitional government originally proposed by Tsvangirai,

which would make Mugabe a ceremonial president, establish

Tsvangirai as an executive prime minister, and leave Joice

Mujuru as the only vice-president. From the Mujuru’s point

of view, this would sideline Mnangagwa and allow the Mujurus

to consolidate power within ZANU-PF and spearhead ZANU-PF in

elections after the transition. Mujuru still wields

influence over the military and top generals and could

 

HARARE 00000605 003 OF 004

 

 

attempt to secure guarantees for their futures. (NOTE:

ZANU-PF held a Politburo meeting on July 9 and agreed to

refer the Mbeki plan to the Presidium–Mugabe, Joice Mujuru,

vice-president Joseph Msika, and former House Speaker John

Nkomo. The Presidium will then make its recommendation to

the Politburo. END NOTE.)

 

——————

Violence Continues

——————

 

8. (SBU) Post will report on continuing violence Septel.

There are indications that violence is increasingly targeting

individual MDC activists and prominent supporters rather than

whole communities. While there are some reports of efforts

by the authorities to rein in the youth militia they

unleashed in April, the effort is not equally evident in all

areas or successful in every case. In rural areas,

particularly in the Mashonaland provinces, many of the

“reeducation camps” remain. In addition, we have received

reports of whole communities terrorized in Gokwe in

Mashonaland West and Mudzi in Mashonaland East.

 

———————-

The MDC and Parliament

———————-

 

9. (SBU) As a result of the March 29 elections and three

by-elections for vacant parliamentary seats on June 27, the

composition of the House of Assembly is as follows:

–MDC-T   100

–MDC-M     10

–ZANU-PF   99

–Ind.       1 (This is Jonathan Moyo. He is expected to

align with the MDC.)

 

10. (SBU) By law, Parliament must be called into session by

July 17. Assuming the MDC factions work as a coalition, the

MDC will, in theory, have a majority and will be able to

elect the Speaker. This is a powerful position; the Speaker

controls the business of the House. Additionally, the House

of Assembly formulates the budget and is responsible for

originating legislation. An MDC majority in the House of

Assembly could frustrate ZANU-PF and Mugabe legislatively.

 

11. (C) Not coincidentally, MDC parliamentarians have been

ZANU-PF targets. According to the MDC, two have been killed,

one has disappeared, several others are in custody, and six

or seven are in South African avoiding arrest. Others are

underground in Zimbabwe. There has also been violence

directed against MDC MPs’ families.

 

12. (C) Whether or not ZANU-PF has a longer term strategy to

emasculate the MDC, there is every reason to believe the

ruling party is attempting to ensure that when Parliament is

convened, ZANU MPs present on the floor outnumber their

opponents, thereby allowing it to elect the Speaker. The MDC

(MDC-T plus MDC-M) is cautiously optimistic it will have a

majority in the House of Assembly when it is convened next

week, although there are concerns that more arrests of MDC

parliamentarians will occur immediately before Parliament

convenes. (NOTE: The other parliamentary body, the Senate,

is far less important than the House of Assembly. In the

March 27 election, MDC-T won 24 seats, MDC-M won 6 votes, and

ZANU-PF won 30. There are a remaining 33 seats apportioned

as follows: 18 to Chiefs, 10 to provincial governors, and 5

appointed by the president. Since cabinet ministers must be

members of Parliament, Mugabe can use his five appointments

for ZANU-PF heavyweights, such as Patrick Chinimasa and Oppah

Muchinguri, who lost their parliamentary seats in the March

27 elections, and reappoint them as ministers. END NOTE.)

 

 

HARARE 00000605 004 OF 004

 

 

—————-

The MDC Alliance

—————-

 

13. (C) Crucial to an MDC majority in the House of Assembly

is a continuation of the agreement reached between the two

MDC factions before the June 27 election to work together as

an alliance. ZANU-PF has made overtures to MDC-M, but MDC-M

parliamentarians, despite disenchantment with MDC-T over what

they see as MDC-T arrogance and failure to adequately consult

with them, have so far indicated to us that they will work

with MDC-T as an alliance. (NOTE: Under Zimbabwean

parliamentary rules, an individual legislator who crosses the

aisle to another party automatically loses his or her seat.

Therefore, all 10 MDC-M members of the House of Assembly must

act in unison–either to form an alliance with ZANU-PF, to

remain in an alliance with MDC-T, or to act independently.

END NOTE.) To solidify this alliance, MDC-T is prepared to

make Gibson Sibanda the Speaker. Sibanda is a former trade

unionist who was Tsvangirai’s vice-president in the Zimbabwe

Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and later became MDC vice

president after the party was formed. In 2005, he joined

Welshman Ncube and Arthur Mutambara in splitting away from

the the MDC and forming a rival faction.

 

Dhanani

(36 VIEWS)

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