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MDC parallel voting centre were useless

The Movement for Democratic Change parallel voting centre which was set up to counter vote-rigging by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front in the 29 March elections did not have the intended impact because the party waited too late to get it going.

Two parallel voting centres were set up to monitor the elections and were supposed to announce their results before the official Zimbabwe Election Commission results to push the ZEC to announce its results and prevent the government body from rigging the elections.

One was set up by the MDC and the other by the Zimbabwe Election Supervisory Network. The ZESN centre was funded by the United States government while mobile network operator Econet was reportedly behind the MDC centre.

The MDC’s American adviser Kathi Walters told United States embassy officials in Pretoria that the MDC centre had about 80 percent of the votes captured, so it could not say party leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won definitively without having 100 percent of the votes unless Tsvangirai’s numbers were higher.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti insisted that Tsvangirai had won an outright majority and there was no need for a runoff.

Walters admitted that getting hold of individual polling agents was difficult because phone lines in Zimbabwe were unreliable. She feared that there might be little proof of MDC votes as most data came in through text messages but did not know if this information had been captured.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08PRETORIA812, MDC UNDECIDED ABOUT RUNOFF

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

08PRETORIA812

2008-04-16 15:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO9783

PP RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #0812/01 1071503

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 161503Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4187

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0659

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1498

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0619

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1338

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 5528

RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 9753

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 000812

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

PLEASE

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/15/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL KHUM KDEM SF ZI

SUBJECT: MDC UNDECIDED ABOUT RUNOFF

 

 

PRETORIA 00000812 001.2 OF 002

 

 

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(

b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. MDC advisor Kathi Walters (strictly protect)

told PolOff on 15 April that MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai is

still in Johannesburg, having received death threats. She

does not believe Tsvangirai is afraid to go back, but could

not say if or when he was going to return. Today, Tsvangirai

and other MDC leaders are in a workshop to decide on the

party’s strategy for moving forward, specifically whether

they should participate in a runoff or boycott. Personally,

she does not believe in participating because she does not

think voters will turn out for a “5th rigged election.”

Walters, who was deeply involved in the parallel voting

center, also admitted that it suffered from lack of

preparation and may not have the impact MDC hoped. END

SUMMARY.

 

———————————-

RUNOFF OR BOYCOTT? STILL UNDECIDED

———————————-

 

2. (C) MDC advisor Kathi Walters (strictly protect) told

PolOff on 15 April that MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai and

other officials were in a “workshop” in Johannesburg trying

to decide if they should boycott a runoff or participate, and

if so, under what conditions. (BIO NOTE: Walters, who

resides in South Africa, is a former IRI consultant and has

worked officially and unofficially with the MDC for the past

8 years. END NOTE) When asked why this is only being

discussed now, she said, “We never imagined a run-off would

be under these conditions.” However, not soon after, she

said she personally believes the MDC should not participate,

saying it would be “useless” because people would not come

out to vote. “A run-off would make the fifth election in

which Zimbabweans have voted and the election rigged,” she

said matter of factly.

 

3. (C) However, Walters said that if they do decide to

participate, the MDC would probably want to have an outside

observer, like SADC, actually run the election — from

printing and distributing the ballots to actually counting

them. As for uniting opposition forces for a runoff, she

said the two MDC camps are “virtually reunited” and that the

MDC does not need Makoni’s votes since he took most of his

votes away from MDC, not ZANU-PF, anyway. (COMMENT: She said

she was next to Tsvangirai on 2 April when he called Makoni

to ask if he wanted to make a joint statement with him; she

said Makoni flatly refused. END COMMENT)

 

————————————

WEAKNESSES OF PARALLEL VOTING CENTER

————————————

 

4. (C) PolOff also asked why the parallel voting center did

not have the intended impact. Walters admitted they waited

too late to get it going. She believes they had about 80

percent of votes captured, but could not say Tsvangirai won

definitively without having 100 percent of votes unless

Tsvangirai’s numbers were higher. She also admitted that

 

SIPDIS

getting ahold of individual polling agents was difficult,

especially with the phone lines in Zimbabwe being so

unreliable. She fears now that there may be little proof of

MDC votes as most data came in through text messages, but

does not know if this information was captured. She said she

Qdoes not know if this information was captured. She said she

hopes that MDC Headquarters gathered and kept copies of voter

results outside individual polling stations.

 

———————————

TSVANGIRAI RECEIVES DEATH THREATS

 

SIPDIS

———————————

 

5. (C) Asked about Tsvangirai’s busy travel schedule, Walters

said that Tsvangirai is still in Johannesburg and has been

receiving death threats. She said some MDC members believe

that Tsvangirai would be killed by the military once he steps

foot back in Harare, but that Tsvangirai feels comfortable

going back. When asked if/when he was returning to Harare,

she said she thinks he should go back, but then quoted MDC

spokesperson Tendai Biti, who apparently said “(Morgan) is

his own man,” implying he’ll return when he wants.

 

PRETORIA 00000812 002 OF 002

 

 

 

————————

ZERO CONFIDENCE IN MBEKI

————————

 

6. (U) Walters, who was in Lusaka for the SADC conference

with MDC leaders, said that MDC has now lost all confidence

in Mbeki, but that the MDC is pleased with recent ANC

comments, especially from ANC President Jacob Zuma. She

believes the ANC has given Mbeki his marching orders and

could threaten him with a vote of no confidence if Mbeki does

not synchronize his views on Zimbabwe with the ANC

leadership. (NOTE: Members of the ANC national working

committee announced on 15 April that contrary to Mbeki’s

statements at the SADC summit, Zimbabwe is in a crisis

(septel). END NOTE)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) It is no surprise MDC has finally lost all confidence

in Mbeki. After all, Mbeki’s statement during the SADC

conference that “there is no crisis in Zimbabwe” has

unleashed a flurry of editorials worldwide condemning Mbeki

for turning a blind eye. Mbeki’s rivals in the ANC, namely

the Zuma camp, seem to be taking advantage of the situation

while Mbeki is weak. However, whether their vocal support is

genuine or orchestrated, or more importantly, whether their

words can translate into action (i.e., moving Mbeki on

Zimbabwe policy) remains to be seen.

BOST

(17 VIEWS)

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