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MDC had no plan B

The Movement for Democratic Change disengaged from the government in 2009 out of frustration with the Zimbabwe African National-Patriotic Front’s intransigence but it had no Plan B, according to the United States embassy officials.

Hardliners within ZANU-PF, Patrick Chinamasa, Jonathan Moyo, Didymus Mutasa, and the service chiefs appeared to be aware of this and were working for a collapse of the government

“Withdrawal from the government, which is its only leverage, is not an option as it is opposed by most MDC supporters, and would leave government control completely with ZANU-PF,” a cable released by Wikileaks says.

“For the moment, all the MDC can do is appeal to SADC and argue that a collapse of the government will have negative consequences on SADC and regional countries. Like Tsvangirai, we’re sceptical that SADC will act effectively,” it said.

President Robert Mugabe also dug in his heels. He insisted that his party would not allow him to appoint MDC governors and resolve other outstanding issues as long as sanctions were imposed, pirate radio stations continued to broadcast, U.S. congressional hearings provided platforms to supporters of regime change, and Western resources were used to support the MDC and civil society.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE853, TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS CHARGE ON STATE OF PLAY

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

09HARARE853

2009-10-28 05:42

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1963

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0853/01 3010542

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 280542Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5062

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3115

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3227

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1654

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2488

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2857

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3275

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5723

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2407

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000853

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/17/2019

TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: TSVANGIRAI BRIEFS CHARGE ON STATE OF PLAY

 

REF: A) HARARE 843 B) HARARE 832 C) HARARE 826

 

Classified By: CDA Donald Petterson for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) A somewhat dejected Morgan Tsvangirai told the Charge

on October 27 that a three-hour meeting with President Robert

Mugabe the previous day to discuss implementation of the

Global Political Agreement (GPA) and an end to the MDC’s

disengagement had ended in deadlock. Commenting on his

recent diplomatic visits to four Southern African countries,

Tsvangirai said he told leaders that the biggest threat to

the success of the Inclusive Government (IG) was the

securocrats and that the GPA should be implemented. The

leaders of those counties want the GPA to succeed, according

to Tsvangirai, but he expressed doubts about the efficacy of

SADC, and said the MDC would ultimately press for elections

if there was no progress on the GPA. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) The Charge met with Tsvangirai at Tsvangirai’s

residence on October 27. In contrast to his upbeat

determination when he briefed diplomats last week on the

MDC’s, Tsvangirai appeared tired and somewhat dejected. He

said he had just briefed the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade

Unionists and civil society representatives on the political

impasse, and would brief diplomats tomorrow.

 

————————-

Seeking Support from SADC

————————-

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai first briefed on his recent trip to

Southern Africa. He said he had told the leaders of the four

countries he visited–South Africa, Mozambique, DRC, and

Angola–that the MDC had not pulled out of government, but

that disengagement from ZANU-PF was a first step. SADC as

guarantor of the GPA had to work for its implementation. If

they could not rescue the GPA, the MDC’s only recourse would

be elections.

 

4. (C) Tsvangirai said he had also emphasized to the SADC

leaders that, in his opinion, the biggest threat to the

success of the government was the securocrats whose

continuing sponsorship of rule of law and human rights

violations was calculated to highlight the absence of

normalcy in Zimbabwe. He said there was an urgent need to

rein them in; otherwise the constitutional process and

efforts to achieve democracy would be imperiled, and Zimbabwe

could end up like Madagascar.

 

5. (C) All the SADC leaders with whom he met, according to

Tsvangirai, accepted that the GPA must be implemented. A

failure of the GPA, which was the result of a major SADC

initiative, would be a reflection on SADC. And, Tsvangirai

noted, nobody in SADC wanted the specter of new Zimbabwe

elections, particularly with the 2010 World Cup on the

horizon.

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai said he was continuing to reach out to

SADC. He had talked yesterday by phone to Swaziland’s King

Mswati, and had just sent an MDC delegation to Zambia to meet

with President Banda. Yet he was skeptical about SADC’s

ability to pressure ZANU-PF.

 

————————————

Meeting with Mugabe Ends in Deadlock

QMeeting with Mugabe Ends in Deadlock

————————————

 

7. (C) A three-hour meeting of the principals–Mugabe,

 

HARARE 00000853 002 OF 003

 

 

Tsvangirai, and Arthur Mutambara–ended last night in

deadlock, according to Tsvangirai. Mugabe, who was

“defiant,” claimed his party would not allow him to appoint

MDC governors and resolve other outstanding issues as long as

sanctions were imposed, pirate radio stations continued to

broadcast, U.S. congressional hearings provided platforms to

supporters of regime change, and Western resources were used

to support the MDC and civil society. When Tsvangirai

brought up the issues of rule of law, media hate speech, and

national healing, Mugabe had excuses as to why nothing was

being done.

 

8. (C) Referring to Tsvangirai’s comment at a diplomatic

briefing last week that a spirit of cooperation existed

between him and Mugabe (Ref B), the Charge asked Tsvangirai

if he still believed he could work with him. Tsvangirai

responded affirmatively, but admitted that ZANU-PF

institutions could not work without Mugabe. He told the

Charge he had confronted Mugabe and asserted that Mugabe was

more concerned about remaining in power than the well fare of

the Zimbabwean people.

 

———-

Next Steps

———-

 

9. (C) Tsvangirai confirmed that the foreign ministers of

the SADC Troika–Mozambique, Swaziland, and Angola–would

arrive in Harare on October 29 to mediate. He did not expect

progress and expected the matter would be referred to the

Troika heads of state. If they were unsuccessful in bringing

the parties together, the MDC would seek a SADC summit of all

heads of state.

 

10. (C) Tsvangirai noted that the MDC had canvassed its rank

and file and there was overwhelming sentiment that the MDC

not withdraw from the government. (COMMENT: Despite

continuing human rights violations and absence of rule of

law, Zimbabwe is significantly more peaceful that a year ago,

and there is greater access to food. People are afraid new

elections could bring a recurrence of violence. END

COMMENT.) But the MDC leadership would not budge on its

demand for resolution of outstanding issues; if this did not

occur, the MDC would take “appropriate actions.”

 

11. (C) Tsvangirai acknowledged that although the MDC had

not withdrawn from government, certain governmental actions

would have to await reengagement. This included announcement

of the formation of the Media Commission.

 

——————-

A Note on Sanctions

——————-

 

11. (C) Tsvangirai explained he distinguished between

targeted sanctions against individuals and “non-personal”

sanctions, such as those against banks. He was against

lifting of the former, but would not object to lifting of the

latter. He would not, however, publicly advocate the lifting

of any sanctions, nor would he privately advocate the lifting

of non-personal sanctions as a bargaining chip in discussions

with Mugabe.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

12. (C) Last week, there appeared to be a path for MDC

reengagement (Ref A), but Mugabe and ZANU-PF have dug in

their heels. In particular, hardliners such as Patrick

Qtheir heels. In particular, hardliners such as Patrick

Chinamasa, Jonathan Moyo, Didymus Mutasa, and the service

chiefs appear to be working for a collapse of the government

 

HARARE 00000853 003 OF 003

 

 

and an MDC withdrawal. Mugabe, who has the power to break

the stalemate with the MDC, is at least for now siding with

them.

 

13. (C) The MDC, which in disengaging acted out of

frustration with ZANU-PF’s intransigence, has no Plan B.

Withdrawal from the government, which is its only leverage,

is not an option as it is opposed by most MDC supporters, and

would leave government control completely with ZANU-PF. For

the moment, all the MDC can do is appeal to SADC and argue

that a collapse of the government will have negative

consequences on SADC and regional countries. Like

Tsvangirai, we’re skeptical that SADC will act effectively.

END COMMENT.

 

 

PETTERSON

(8 VIEWS)

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