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MDC lawyer said Mugabe will rule until he is the last man alive in Harare

A lawyer for the Movement for Democratic Change Innocent Chagonda said the party had decided to enter into an inclusive government with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front because it had now realised that President Robert Mugabe would find ways of maintaining power and would rule until he was “the last man alive in Harare”.

Chagonda said he and others like MDC secretary general Tendai Biti had been opposed to joining a government that included Mugabe but they now realised that joining the government would be the best way to achieve several salutary objectives:

  • The abductions and prosecutions of MDC members would cease;
  • the MDC would be able to end the politicisation of food assistance, and would be able to channel humanitarian assistance to the needy;
  • and the MDC could focus on the drafting of a new constitution and preparation for new elections.

On the outstanding issues, Chagonda said that MDC negotiators were pleased with the draft of Amendment 19 that has been gazetted.

He thought agreement could be achieved between the parties on division of governorships, appointment of ambassadors, and composition and functions of the national security council.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE1146, MDC CONSIDERING JOINING GOVERNMENT

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

08HARARE1146

2008-12-30 15:06

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7149

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1146/01 3651506

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 301506Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3866

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2520

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2643

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1136

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1912

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2267

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2692

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5120

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1799

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001146

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B.WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

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: 10/28/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: MDC CONSIDERING JOINING GOVERNMENT

 

REF: A) HARARE 1145 B) HARARE 1034 C) HARARE 1139

 

Classified By: CDA Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Despite indications it considered the September 15

power-sharing deal dead (Ref B), the MDC appears to be

reevaluating its position with an eye toward joining ZANU-PF

in a government of national unity. The MDC will meet in

South Africa January 5-7 to discuss next steps, including a

possible return to negotiations (Ref C). According to

confidantes of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC

leadership has become convinced it cannot effectively address

Zimbabwe’s problems from outside of government. While it

does not believe it can govern collaboratively with

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, it believes its

participation in government can begin the process of

political and economic stabilization and prepare the way for

new elections in which it can win the presidency. The MDC

also believes that as part of the government, and with

control of the House of Assembly, it can foment the

disintegration of ZANU-PF. To achieve a final deal, the MDC

believes it can work out compromises on the outstanding

issues of division of governorships, appointments of

ambassadors and permanent secretaries, and composition and

functions of the national security council. It is willing to

agree, as suggested by SADC, that it share the Home Affairs

ministry with ZANU-PF. Key to an agreement will be a

satisfactory division of other ministries. END SUMMARY

 

2. (C) MDC lawyer and Tsvangirai confidante Innocent

Chagonda told polecon chief December 29 that he and others,

including MDC secretary general Tendai Biti (Ref B), had

until recently opposed the entry of the MDC into a

power-sharing agreement with ZANU-PF. They believed the MDC

under an agreement could not achieve sufficient power, and

they loathed the prospect of attempting to work with

Zimbabwean president Mugabe and others they considered

reprehensible. Their expectation was that ZANU-PF could not

continue to govern on its own, and that the government would

collapse. Chagonda said he was now convinced that Mugabe

would find ways to maintain power and, with disregard for his

countrymen, would govern until he was “the last man alive in

Harare.”

 

3. (C) Therefore, Chagonda continued, his position, as well

as that of Biti and other hard-liners, had evolved. While

under no illusions about being able to govern collaboratively

with ZANU-PF, they believed their entry into government would

achieve several salutary objectives: the abductions and

prosecutions of MDC members would cease; the MDC would be

able to end the politicization of food assistance, and would

be able to channel humanitarian assistance to the needy; and

the MDC could focus on the drafting of a new constitution and

preparation for new elections.

 

4. (C) Chagonda said the MDC had no immediate expectation

that a new government that included ZANU-PF would undertake

the necessary political and economic reforms that would

result in U.S. and other western assistance. Rather, the

goals were to address Zimbabwe’s critical humanitarian needs

and set the stage for new elections that could lead to a real

democratic transition.

 

5. (C) With regard to the so-called outstanding issues left

to negotiate between the MDC and ZANU-PF, Chagonda first

noted that MDC negotiators were pleased with the draft of

Amendment 19 that has been gazetted (officially published for

 

HARARE 00001146 002 OF 002

 

 

pubic comment) and will be before Parliament in mid-Jnuary.

He though agreement could be achieved beween the parties on

division of governorships, apointment of ambassadors, and

composition and fuctions of the national security council.

The MDC as willing to take its cue from SADC and share

ladership of the Home Affairs ministry. The mostproblematic issue, according to Chagonda, would bean

equitable distribution of the remaining ministries.

 

6. (C) Tsvangirai advisor Jameson Timba, in a separate

meeting, concurred with Chagonda that the best option for the

MDC was a finalized power-sharing agreement. He added that

MDC participation in government, coupled with its majority in

Parliament, would allow it to establish contacts and

alliances with anti-Mugabe ZANU-PF members to weaken Mugabe

and his party.

 

7. (C) Both Timba and Chagonda expected Tsvangirai to return

to Zimbabwe in mid-January. Receipt of his passport had

removed one obstacle. There was concern, however, that as

leader of the MDC, Tsvangirai could be prosecuted, along with

lower-level MDC officials (Ref A), for the alleged

establishment of paramilitary training camps in Botswana.

Timba expected the MDC strategy conference in South Africa

(Ref C) to deal with the timing of Tsvangirai’s return.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) During the last several months, the MDC has blown hot

and cold on an agreement and we can’t be certain, despite the

comments of Chagonda and Timba, that the MDC will now push

for a finalized agreement. We may have a better idea after

the South African strategy conference January 5-7. We also

note that hard-line elements in ZANU-PF remain opposed to an

agreement and it is not clear ZANU-PF will make compromises

the MDC believes are necessary.

DHANANI

(15 VIEWS)

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