in Stories

MDC and ZANU-PF remain poles apart

The presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi attempted to restart talks between the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change but both sides stuck to their original positions – Mugabe demanding that the MDC recognise his presidency, and the MDC refusing any preconditions to talks.

MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube explained the rationale behind the MDC’s court challenge, as a constitutional right, as a matter of as a bargaining chip.

He acknowledged that Mugabe was the de facto president, that he was sworn-in, and was performing the functions of president, but that the MDC had the right to challenge his de jure credentials.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE860, AFRICAN PRESIDENTIAL MEDIATION IMPORTANT – BUT NO

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

03HARARE860

2003-05-06 13:51

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000860

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2013

TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: AFRICAN PRESIDENTIAL MEDIATION IMPORTANT – BUT NO

QUICK-FIX

 

REF: A. HARARE 843

B. HARARE 780

 

Classified By: Political Officer Audu Besmer for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

Summary:

——–

 

1. (C) The presidents of South Africa, Nigeria and Malawi

attempted to restart talks between the GOZ and MDC in

separate meetings with both sides in Harare on May 5.

However, both sides stuck to their original positions –

Mugabe demanding that the MDC recognize his presidency, and

the MDC refusing any preconditions to talks – essentially

precluding the dialogue for now. While not yet particularly

fruitful, this effort should not be discounted since it

signals increasing African frustration with the threat of a

Zimbabwean meltdown and could produce important pressure on

the Mugabe regime if it is sustained. End Summary.

 

2. (C) Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Bakili Muluzi

of Malawi and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria met with President

Mugabe in Harare on May 5 in a mediation effort to discuss

the resumption of talks with the MDC. The delegation also

met MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC Secretary General

Welshman Ncube, MDC Deputy Secretary General Gift

Chimanikire, and MDC special assistant to the president Gandi

Mudzingwa in a separate meeting.

 

Muluzi Sympathetic, Mbeki’s Sentiments Improving

——————————————— —

 

3. (C) The delegation met first with Mugabe and later with

MDC officials. Mudzingwa reported that both sides

essentially stuck to their original positions, i.e. Mugabe

demanded that the MDC drop its court challenge of the March

2002 presidential election and recognize his legitimacy; and

the MDC maintained they would do no such thing and would

enter talks only with no preconditions. Mudzingwa reported

that Muluzi was sympathetic to the MDC’s position that they

had a constitutional right to bring a dispute to court.

While Mbeki spoke in very roundabout terms, he ultimately

seemed frustrated and acknowledged that the essential crisis

was of governance and nothing else. Mudzingwa noted that

Mbeki seemed more sympathetic to the MDC than on previous

occasions and could possibly be convinced further.

 

De Facto Recognition?

———————

 

4. (C) Ncube explained the rationale behind the MDC’s court

challenge, as a constitutional right, as a matter of

principle, and as a bargaining chip. Ncube also acknowledged

that Mugabe was the de facto president, that he was sworn-in,

and was performing the functions of president, but that the

MDC had the right to challenge his de jure credentials.

Mbeki seized on this as a potential MDC “recognition” or

“acknowledgment” of Mugabe’s presidency, but the MDC

officials were loathe to have these statements construed as

recognition of Mugabe’s presidency. They strongly disagree

with any preconditions to resuming talks, do not want to

engage in any capitulation, and believe that Mugabe’s demand

is a smokescreen designed to obstruct talks and in the end

ensure his and his party’s political future rather than a

resolution to Zimbabwe’s political crisis. The MDC officials

feel strongly about the principles they stand for and are not

willing to jeopardize those, and potentially Zimbabwe’s

future, by rushing into talks with Mugabe, who they perceive

to be insincere. The MDC officials believe the political

tide is turning in their direction and they have no reason to

capitulate now.

 

5. (U) Upon departure, President Obasanjo gave the press an

artfully constructed formulation about mutual recognition

that the election was conducted according to the

constitution. Government media claimed that the MDC had

recognized Mugabe’s legitimacy. We do not yet have an inside

GOZ read on the talks.

 

Tsvangirai to Go to Malawi

 

SIPDIS

————————–

 

6. (C) As a follow-up, Muluzi has invited Tsvangirai to

Blantyre for further consultations. According to Mudzingwa,

even though Tsvangirai’s passport was confiscated pending the

outcome of the treason trial against him, Mugabe has agreed

to allow Tsvangirai to travel to Malawi for this purpose.

 

Comment:

——–

7. (C) Two successful stayaways in as many months, and two

March by-election wins have bolstered the MDC’s confidence

that the political tide is moving in their direction. The

same stayaways, as well as African leaders’ increasing

frustration with Zimbabwe’s economic crisis and political

violence appear to be putting succession strategizing near

the forefront of Mugabe’s thinking. Unfortunately, neither

side has yet been willing to make any significant concessions

to ensure that talks begin. Mugabe in particular seems

unwilling to publicly admit recent political setbacks, and

the MDC correctly feels it would gain no advantage by

capitulating to Mugabe’s preconditions (especially with

another mass action of indefinite duration to begin May 13).

While not yet particularly fruitful, this effort should not

be discounted since it signals increasing African frustration

with the threat of a Zimbabwean meltdown and could produce

important pressure on the Mugabe regime if it is sustained.

End Comment.

SULLIVAN

 

(3 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