Movement for Democratic Change negotiator and deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma argued that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe would have equal powers within the National Security Council because it would operate by consensus.
The council was expected to have 21 government officials two-thirds of whom were expected to be from the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
Mangoma said that while membership was in favour of ZANU-PF this was justified because some of the officials were responsible for executing NSC policies.
He argued that the NSC would operate by consensus rather than vote, therefore, ultimately the NSC would be dependent upon agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Further details, however, revealed that Mugabe would have an upper hand because he was going to chair the NSC.
Though the MDC had pressed for Tsvangirai to chair the NSC in the absence of Mugabe, ZANU-PF had rejected this.
The compromise produced was that there would be no chairman in Mugabe’s absence.
Viewing cable 09HARARE117, ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT PASSES NSC LEGISLATION
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0117/01 0440738
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 130738Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4038
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2627
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2749
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1226
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2018
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2374
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2798
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5226
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1919
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000117
AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
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
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2019
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN PARLIAMENT PASSES NSC LEGISLATION
Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Katherine S. Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d
MDC Intends NSC to be Safeguard Against Violence
¶1. (SBU) The Zimbabwean Parliament passed the Zimbabwe
National Security Council (NSC) bill on February 10, creating
a new executive entity charged with reviewing the country’s
national security policies and recommending or directing
strategic actions. The NSC legislation is currently awaiting
the signature of President Mugabe, before it will become law.
The MDC-T had made their entrance into a government of
national unity contingent upon the creation of a NSC. The
bill ostensibly eliminates the Joint Operations Command that
reported directly to President Robert Mugabe and had become a
vehicle for directing violence against the political
Membership Biased Towards ZANU-PF
¶2. (SBU) The NSC will be composed of 21 government
officials, approximately two-thirds of whom are members of
ZANU-PF with long-standing ties to Mugabe. The council
membership consists of the president, the two
vice-presidents, the prime minister, the two deputy prime
ministers, the minister of finance, the minister of defense,
the minister of home affairs, and three ministers of which
one will be designated by each of the three political parties
(ZANU-PF, MDC-T, and MDC-M).
¶3. (SBU) There are an additional nine members of the NSC
that are designated &ex officio8 members who are part of
the NSC by virtue of holding security specific positions.
These members are the president’s minister of national
security, the chief secretary to the president, the chief
secretary to the prime minister, the commander of the defense
forces, the commanders of the army and air force, the police
commissioner, the prison commissioner, and the director
general of the department of state for national security.
MDC-T Comfortable with Compromises
¶4. (C) Elton Mangoma, one of the two MDC-T negotiators of
the bill, told us that while the MDC had been forced to
compromise with ZANU-PF on the bill, overall his party was
very pleased with the legislation. He believed it would act
as a deterrent to abuse of the defense forces. (NOTE: The
MDC-T had produced a proposed draft of the bill which formed
the basis for negotiations between the parties. END NOTE.)
¶5. (C) One of the points of contention had been the addition
by ZANU-PF of the nine &ex officio8 members. While their
inclusion had tilted the overall balance of membership
strongly in ZANU-PF’s favor, Mangoma felt their presence was
justified as they would be responsible for executing NSC
policies. Also, Mangoma explained that the NSC would operate
by consensus rather than by vote. Therefore, ultimately the
Qby consensus rather than by vote. Therefore, ultimately the
NSC would be dependent upon agreement between Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The rest of the council
would fall in line behind them. Mangoma believed that the
NSC would effectively evolve into a Cabinet sub-committee,
whereby decisions already agreed upon in Cabinet would be
reviewed and implemented in the NSC.
¶6. (C) Another nuanced yet significant change that was
HARARE 00000117 002 OF 002
reached through negotiation involved the function of the NSC.
The MDC-T version made very clear that the NSC would be
responsible for “overseeing and directing the operations and
activities of the security services” and that the “commanders
of the security forces shall promptly carry out every lawful
order or direction the Council may give them.” In contrast,
the final version defined the NSC’s responsibility as that of
“reviewing national policies on security, defense and law and
order, and recommending or directing appropriate action.”
While it may be implicit, the final version made no reference
to the security services obligation to report to the NSC and
to promptly execute NSC orders. In general, it appears that
the negotiations resulted in the NSC assuming primarily
oversight versus operational responsibilities.
¶7. (C) The NSC will meet a minimum of once a month and will
be chaired by Mugabe. The MDC-T had pressed for Tsvangirai
to be chairman in the president’s absence, but this provision
had been stricken by ZANU-PF. The compromise produced was
that there would be no chairman in Mugabe’s absence.
¶8. (C) The MDC claims the NSC bill as a political victory as
it had insisted on the elimination of the Joint Operations
Command (JOC), composed of the service chiefs and senior
government officials, and its replacement with a security
policy entity that did not answer solely to Mugabe.
¶9. (C) However, the bill is watered down from the MDC draft.
We also note that as Mugabe will retain the personl loyalty
of the security chiefs, there exists te potential for abuse,
including the de facto operation of the JOC. As with the
rest of the new government, success will be contingent upon
good faith efforts by ZANU-PF, of which we have seen little
sign. END COMMENT.