Businessman Strive Masiyiwa told United States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee that the Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the March 2008 presidential elections so any run-off would not recognise this reality.
He said there were four possible scenarios from the MDC’s point of view:
- Capitulation by ZANU-PF and recognition that Tsvangirai had won;
- A government of national unity led by the MDC;
- A runoff election; and
- An MDC boycott of the runoff election.
He said since ZANU-PF would never give away power and would never accept the MDC as a senior partner in a government of national unity, only the latter two were realistic.
A boycott would make the point that Tsvangirai had won, and would also make a statement that the MDC would not participate in an election where pervasive violence and intimidation made that election unfair.
Masiyiwa ruled out a coalition with Simba Makoni because the MDC was piqued Makoni had shown up in Lusaka for the SADC summit, and because Makoni had raised the possibility of a government of national unity.
Viewing cable 08HARARE328, MDC WARNS OF BOYCOTT
OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0328/01 1061509
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 151509Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2777
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1920
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2043
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0606
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1320
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1677
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2099
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4530
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1175
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000328
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: 04/15/2018
SUBJECT: MDC WARNS OF BOYCOTT
Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)
¶1. (C) MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai told the Ambassador
on April 15 that the MDC leadership is meeting to consider
options but, given escalating levels of violence, an election
boycott is likely. Tsvangirai advisor and South African
businessman Strive Masiyiwa had also told the Ambassador the
previous day that an MDC boycott was likely. Masiyiwa said
the MDC was working out an agreement with Arthur Mutambara
and his supporters, but had decided not to work with Simba
Makoni. On SADC, Masiyiwa said the MDC was considering
asking that South African President Thabo Mbeki step down as
point person on Zimbabwe. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (C) The Ambassador talked by phone April 15 with
Tsvangirai who was in South Africa. Tsvangirai said that, in
light of increasing violence, the MDC was meeting to discuss
a boycott of a runoff election should the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) announce that neither Tsvangirai or Mugabe
received more than fifty percent of the vote.
¶3. (C) Masiyiwa in an April 14 phone conversation told the
Ambassador that at this point there were four possible
scenarios from the MDC’s point of view: 1) capitulation by
ZANU-PF and recognition that Tsvangirai had won; 2) a
government of national unity led by the MDC; 3) a runoff
election; and 4) an MDC boycott of the runoff election.
Since ZANU-PF would never give away power and would never
accept the MDC as a senior partner in a government of
national unity, only the latter two were realistic, according
to Masiyiwa. Masiyiwa said the MDC had in fact won the
election. A runoff election would not recognize this
reality. A boycott would make the point that Tsvangirai had
won, and would also make a statement that the MDC would not
participate in an election where pervasive violence and
intimidation made that election unfair.
¶4. (C) Masiyiwa also said that the MDC was in the process of
concluding a unification agreement with Arthur Mutambara and
his supporters. The MDC had decided not to work with Simba
Makoni. Masiyiwa said this was because the MDC was piqued
Makoni had shown up in Lusaka for the SADC summit, and
because Makoni had raised the possibility of a government of
national unity. He further told the Ambassador that the MDC
had reached its limits with Mbeki (presumably after Mbeki’s
photo-op with Mugabe before the Lusaka SADC Summit at which
he said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe) and was considering
asking SADC to replace Mbeki as point person for Zimbabwe.
¶5. (C) The MDC previously said it would contest a runoff
election under protest since it believed Tsvangirai had won
the requisite fifty-plus percent. Last week, its national
council voted to boycott and the leadership appears to be
taking this seriously. While the MDC threatened a boycott
before the March 29 election, in the end it participated,
buoyed by an opening of democratic space and an absence of
violence and intimidation during the campaign period.
Despite the fact that most Zimbabweans would like to see
Mugabe out, the MDC appears to be concluding that increasing
violence and intimidation, particularly in rural areas, may
make a Tsvangirai win not possible. A boycott would
therefore be preferable to participating and losing. If the
MDC does boycott, however, there appears to be no plan B
after Mugabe is reelected.
HARARE 00000328 002 OF 002
¶6. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: While an alliance with the
Mutambara faction is positive, we continue to believe that
Tsvangirai should reach out to Makoni. Makoni won about
eight percent of the vote and, in the event of a runoff,
could attract additional support from ZANU-PF. Apart from
whether or not there is a runoff, a public Tsvangirai-Makoni
alliance would send a powerful anti-Mugabe message. Lastly,
Makoni and his followers could provide important assistance
in strategizing a way forward to the MDC. END COMMENT.