The two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change agreed on 19-20 January 2008 to form an electoral pact and to support Morgan Tsvangirai as their joint presidential candidate.
The two agreed to this after two-day talks that were funded by the Institute for Democracy in Africa chaired by activist Brian Raftopolous.
They also agreed to reunify within 12 months.
The MDC delegations which had 10 members each were led by secretary generals Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube.
The two parties were also supposed to support common candidates for the parliamentary seats.
Viewing cable 08PRETORIA152, MDC FORMATIONS AGREE ON ELECTORAL PACT,
RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #0152 0240544
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 240544Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3256
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2167
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 5239
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 9509
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
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C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 000152
DEPT FOR AF/S
HARARE FOR G. WARREN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2018
SUBJECT: MDC FORMATIONS AGREE ON ELECTORAL PACT,
UNIFICATION WITHIN 12 MONTHS
REF: A. HARARE 0016
¶B. PRETORIA 100
¶C. HARARE 38
¶D. PRETORIA 139
¶E. 05 PRETORIA 1477
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Don Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(b)
¶1. (C) The two formations of the Zimbabwean opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, agreed to form an electoral
pact during January 19-20 meetings in Johannesburg. IDASA
Executive Director Paul Graham and Deputy Ivor Jenkins
briefed PolOff on January 22 on the IDASA-funded talks, which
were led by Secretaries General Tendai Biti and Welshman
Ncube. Each delegation had ten members, and the session was
chaired by civil society activist Brian Raftopolous.
¶3. (C) According to Graham and Jenkins, the two sides agreed
to support Morgan Tsvangirai as the joint presidential
candidate. They will support common candidates for
parliamentary seats. The two Secretaries General are “fine
tuning the modalities” of the agreement, which will include
some difficult political tradeoffs on parliamentary seats.
The two MDC formations also agreed to reunify within twelve
months. Once the details of the electoral pact are
finalized, the MDC will publicly announce the agreement.
¶4. (C) The atmospherics of the meeting were positive and
upbeat, said Jenkins, noting that this was the fifth such
effort to reunify and/or form a coalition. He was optimistic
that this agreement would stick. The two Secretaries General
have a positive working relationship, and the reality of the
upcoming election (ref A), failed SADC facilitation (refs B &
C), and rumored creation of a “third way” political force
(refs A & D) have “focused the minds” of the MDC leadership.
¶5. (C) Graham and Jenkins commented on the upcoming
Zimbabwean elections, which they understand are likely to
take place March 29:
— The MDC delegations are very unlikely to boycott the
elections, despite their threats and the uneven playing
field. Most senior MDC leaders believe the party would “fade
away” if they did not participate. In addition, MDC MPs want
to retain the salary and perks of a parliamentary seat.
— For the MDC, the logistical demands of putting forward 210
parliamentary candidates, 90 senate candidates, 5000 local
government candidates, and thousands of registered party
agents is impossible, given the time remaining.
— Despite their desire to participate, the MDC leadership
told IDASA they believe the election is already rigged (a
“fait accompli”). The “real battle for Zimbabwe’s democracy
will begin the day after the election,” Secretary General
Biti told Jenkins.
— Election day is likely to be chaotic, with the newly
demarcated constituencies, new polling places, and flawed
voting lists. This will create even more opportunity for
Mugabe to rig the election.
— During their recent visit to Zimbabwe, Jenkins and Graham
were “deeply discouraged” by civil society, which appeared
increasingly disengaged from politics. According to Jenkins
and Graham, most civil society groups view the election as
largely irrelevant, and relations between civil society and
the MDC have never been worse.
— IDASA is debating internally whether to mobilize a South
African civil society observer delegation for the March
elections, as they did in 2005 (led by the South African
Qelections, as they did in 2005 (led by the South African
Council of Churches and funded by USAID (ref E)). Graham and
Jenkins agree that there is no chance of a free and fair
election, but are considering whether their on-the-ground
voice as “informal observers” from South Africa might help
undermine the credibility of ZANU-PF’s victory.