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MDC factions agreed to field Tsvangirai as president

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.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08PRETORIA152, MDC FORMATIONS AGREE ON ELECTORAL PACT,

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

08PRETORIA152

2008-01-24 05:44

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO9611

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

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L PRETORIA 000152

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S

HARARE FOR G. WARREN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2018

TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM ZI SF

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)

and (d).

 

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

 

SIPDIS

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.

BOST

(33 VIEWS)

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