in Stories

Mashakada accused of vote buying

Movement for Democratic Change shadow Minister of Finance Tapiwa Mashakada was accused by party president Morgan Tsvangirai of vote buying at the party’s 2003 annual conference together with then Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri.

Tsvangirai exposed the two because the MDC was committed to “not merely replacing the elites in ZANU-PF with new ones from MDC but to installing a completely new political culture”.

He said the party was committed to good government, a tolerant society, a multi-party political culture, and a place where human rights are observed and respected.

According to Innocent Chagonda, Tsvangirai’s lawyer in the treason trial, Shadow Finance Minister Tapiwa Mashakada and Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri were those involved in the vote-buying scheme publicly addressed by Tsvangirai.

Mashakada also passed around a pamphlet that attacked Renson Gasela, who ended up winning the seat, by accusing him of being responsible for Tsvangirai’s treason trial.

In the end, Mudzuri withdrew from the election and threw his support behind Mashakada but after Tsvangirai’s reprimand, however, Mashakada lost 7-4 to Gasela.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE2455, MDC CONSOLIDATES PLATFORM AT ANNUAL CONFERENCE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2455

2003-12-23 15:27

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 002455

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER & D. TITLEBAUM

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

SENSITIVE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV ECON PHUM SOCI ZI MDC

SUBJECT: MDC CONSOLIDATES PLATFORM AT ANNUAL CONFERENCE

 

 

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.

PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

 

1.   (SBU) SUMMARY: Under the firm leadership of Party

President Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC’s national conference

in Harare December 20-21 yielded a comprehensive policy

platform and “blueprint” for national recovery. The party

reiterated its commitment to unconditional talks with the

ruling party but confirmed plans to use mass action in 2004

even as the parties talked. Party statements were

supportive of South African President Mbeki’s efforts to

facilitate dialogue. The party and civil society groups

undertook to coordinate on shared objectives in their

contentious relations with the state. END SUMMARY

 

Party Exhibits Organizational Skills

————————————

 

2.   (SBU) Built on the theme “Courage and Hope Overcome

Fear”, the party conference brought together roughly 1,000

delegates from all over the country. Presiding over the

event were Chairman Isaac Matongo, President Morgan

Tsvangirai, Secretary-General Welshman Ncube, Deputy

Secretary General Gift Chimanakire, and Treasurer Fletcher

Dhulini Ncube (attending to his ill wife, Vice-President

Gibson Sibanda was the only of the party’s six senior

figures absent). According to Shadow Minister for Justice

and Constitutional Affairs David Coltart, the Harare event

was considerably more organized than the party’s last

national conference, held in Gweru in 2000. Aside from

audio problems that severely distorted the first five

minutes of the President’s keynote address, the event

proceeded with few hitches and wrapped up ahead of schedule

on Sunday afternoon in order to permit the early departure

of delegates with long distances to travel.

 

3.   (SBU) The party circulated a host of papers, including

a “National Council Report”, “Values, Goals and Policies of

the MDC”, “The Current Crisis in Zimbabwe and the MDC’s

Views on the Way Forward: The Blueprint”, and a working

draft of “From Crisis to Democratic Human-Centered

Development: Programs of the MDC” (including elaboration of

the party’s “RESTART” economic program, a final version of

which was not circulated). (The Embassy has e-mailed the

papers to AF/S.) Developed over the past year largely under

the direction of party’s Secretary for Policy and Research

Trudy Stevenson, the papers flesh out the party’s policies

on the economy, land reform, mining, industry/trade,

tourism, environment, infrastructure, energy, transport,

communications, water, labor, health/HIV/AIDS, education,

justice, local government, defense, youth, and international

affairs.

 

Land Reform

———–

 

4.   (SBU) Particularly noteworthy were the party statements

on land reform, the ruling party’s central issue. The party

reiterated that it would accept neither the status quo, nor

the status quo ante. Stressing the centrality of tenure

security and property rights, Tsvangirai pledged to “abolish

the dual agrarian structure” by extending the use of title

deeds in communal areas. In keeping with earlier

descriptions of the party’s approach to land reform, he

articulated an approach involving an audit by a Land

Commission, leading to rationalization of land allocation.

 

Anticipating Broad Alliance

—————————

 

5.   (SBU) Among the themes stressed by President

Tsvangirai’s keynote address (e-mailed to AF/S) was the need

for a broad alliance across organizations and communities to

undergird any future mass action. Civil society

representatives from the National Constitutional Assembly,

the Zimbabwe Conference of Trade Unions, and others issuing

statements to the gathering in open session played to this

theme, expressing solidarity with the party’s efforts to

restore the nation but stressing the need to coordinate and

consult with civil society. Tsvangirai reiterated the

importance of engagement and unity with “the people” in his

closing remarks. He and other speakers emphasized the

party’s commitment to unconditional dialogue with ZANU-PF

but reserved the option of mass action to press the ruling

party to the table. In his closing press conference,

Tsvangirai elaborated that the party would employ “civil

disobedience, demonstrations, stay always, and boycotts of

businesses.”

 

Encouragement of International Efforts

————————————–

 

6.   (SBU) Tsvangirai’s keynote address and several policy

papers highlighted the importance of international

engagement in effecting dialogue. Tsvangirai highlighted

events at the recent CHOGM in Abuja as vindicating the MDC.

He encouraged efforts by South African President Mbeki and

Nigerian President Obasanjo to bring ZANU-PF to the table.

Going beyond his printed text, Tsvangirai elaborated briefly

on Mugabe’s betrayal of Mbeki and stressed the party’s

willingness to work with Mbeki.

Transparency Showcased in Word, Deed

——————————————— ————

 

7.   (SBU) Speakers repeatedly stressed the party’s core

values and how they differed in concept and practice from

ZANU-PF’s. The delegates were constantly reminded that the

MDC was a party that stood on principle and the leadership

asserted that it would not tolerate within the party tactics

employed by the ruling party. Tsvangirai vowed to install a

culture that encouraged debate and discussion at every

level. He put these words into action when the national

council report was presented. Soon after it was read, one

of the delegates stood up to adopt it. Tsvangirai said,

“Not so fast. We are here to debate this and not to rubber

stamp it.” A four-hour discussion ensued as delegates went

from paragraph to paragraph through the entire report.

 

8.   (SBU) Tsvangirai told the conference that the MDC was

committed to “not merely replacing the elites in ZANU-PF

with new ones from MDC but to installing a completely new

political culture.” On many occasions he referred to the

party’s commitment to good government, a tolerant society, a

multi-party political culture, and a place where human

rights are observed and respected. When the time came for

the election of a new national executive, Tsvangirai

castigated the party at length about a rumored vote-buying

scheme and warned that anyone distributing money would be

disqualified.

 

9.   (SBU) According to suspended Harare councilor Maiamba

and Innocent Chigonda, Tsvangirai’s lawyer in the treason

trial, Shadow Finance Minister Tapiwa Mashakada and Harare

Mayor Elias Mudzuri were those involved in the the vote-

buying scheme publicly addressed by Tsvangirai. Mashakada

also passed around a pamphlet that attacked Renson Gasella,

who ended up winning the seat, by accusing him of being

responsible for Tsvangirai’s treason trial. In the end,

Mudzuri withdrew from the election and threw his support

behind Mashakada. After Tsvangirai’s reprimand, however,

Mashakada lost 7-4 (one vote per province) to Gasella. Mrs.

Chitsa and Kabela Macheba also ran but received no votes.

 

Gender Tension

————–

 

10. (SBU) Tsvangirai stressed the importance of equal

opportunity for women in the party on numerous occasions in

his opening speech and throughout deliberations. On the

last day, however, when voting took place for a vacant seat

on the national executive, the woman candidate received no

votes. Lucia Matabenga, the head of the women’s assembly,

declared to the conference “Come general elections it will

be the same thing. All men and no women. There is no place

in the MDC for gender equity. By block voting by province,

the women are disenfranchised. Shame on you, MDC.”

Tsvangirai responded that they would consider this in the

next election, and after the meeting indicated that the

party would have to develop a mechanism to include women

more meaningfully.

 

Comment

——-

 

11. (SBU) Like the ZANU-PF party conference that preceded

it by two weeks, the MDC event featured its share of

energetic presentations, singing, slogan-chanting, and

varying levels of enthusiasm among the membership. While

the MDC affair generally seemed more spontaneous than the

ZANU-PF exercise, both suffered from a palpable sense of

frustration and powerlessness in the face of the country’s

political stalemate. A question posed to poloff by one of

the party faithful at the conference’s conclusion testified

to an underlying drift from politics in Zimbabwe: “How can I

emigrate to the United States?”

 

12. (SBU) This conference’s inclusive debating process and

value-oriented voting process highlighted stark differences

in MDC and ZANU-PF political cultures — and therein lies

the rub. For all of its often impressive exposition of

issues and diagnoses for Zimbabwe’s myriad crises, the MDC

remains fundamentally challenged by the environment of

stalemate here. How does an opposition party committed to

non-violence and rule-of-law play ball with a ruling party

impervious to domestic and international opprobrium and the

increasing suffering of its populace? How can an opposition

party energize an intimidated or apathetic populace that is

increasingly absorbed with the daily challenge of making

ends meet? Going into 2004, the party’s response to these

questions appears to lie largely in enhanced coordination

with civil society and more sustained effort by the

international community.

SULLIVAN

 

(6 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment