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MDC promised to present a united front

The two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change promised to present a united front to decide whether to participate in the 2008 elections or to boycott them depending on their assessment of whether the elections would be fair or not.

Morgan Tsvangirai was confident that his faction and that of Arthur Mutambara would consensually arrive at this decision.

Mutambara had told United States embassy officials that he was willing to work with Tsvangirai in a united front.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 07HARARE1125, SADC TALKS CONTINUE; MDC TO PRESENT UNITED FRONT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07HARARE1125

2007-12-17 15:25

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO4074

RR RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1125/01 3511525

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 171525Z DEC 07 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2302

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1696

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1824

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0430

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1101

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1458

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1880

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4308

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0951

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001125

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL,

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: 11/08/2013

TAGS: PREL PGOV ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: SADC TALKS CONTINUE; MDC TO PRESENT UNITED FRONT

 

REF: HARARE 1107

 

Classified By: Pol/Econ Chief Glenn Warren. Reason: 1.4 (d)

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) SADC talks, stalemated over MDC demands for

implementation of a new constitution and electoral reforms

before elections and for an election date later than March,

are continuing. The MDC presented its case last weekend to

South African president Thabo Mbeki who promised to talk to

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and confer with SADC

colleagues. Meanwhile, the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC has

resolved that if it contests the elections, and does not

boycott, it will do so as a united front with the MDC

Mutambara faction, which in turn has indicated it will be

part of such a front.

 

——————-

Breaking the Logjam

——————-

 

2. (C) MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai briefed a HOM meeting

December 17 on the status of the SADC talks. He said the

talks were stalemated over MDC demands that an agreed-upon

constitution be implemented before elections; and that

electoral changes, including a reconstituted Zimbabwe

Electoral Commission, cleansing of the voters’ rolls, and

delimitation of constituencies under the new ZEC, take place

before elections. The MDC was also demanding an electoral

date, probably later than March, that would allow these

changes to be implemented and give time for an improved

political climate.

 

3. (C) Tsvangirai said the MDC and ZANU-PF negotiators met

with Mbeki last weekend. The MDC emphasized that Mbeki’s

SADC mandate was to foster a dialogue that would result in

free and fair–and uncontestable–elections. Mbeki promised

to talk with the principals (presumably Mugabe and

Tsvangirai) and then to consult with the SADC Organ of

 

SIPDIS

Politics and Defense. Tsvangirai though that Mugabe’s SADC

colleagues could be a source of pressure. Commenting on

Mbeki’s internal problems, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was not

now high on Mbeki’s radar. (Note. In his efforts to develop

pressure on Mugabe, Tsvangirai travels to Ghana this week to

meet with AU president Kufor. End Note.)

 

4. (C) Tsvangirai said talks would continue, as would the

MDC’s election preparations. At some point the MDC would

have to make a determination as to whether conditions would

permit a fair election, but Tsvangirai did not say when that

point would be reached.

 

————–

A United Front

————–

 

5. (C) Tsvangirai acknowledged that while over 70 percent of

Zimbabweans desire change, there was a sense of apathy due to

Mugabe’s failure to open up democratic space, and to common

perception of MDC disunity and consequent irrelevance. He

had recently visited Matabeleland where people said they

wanted a united MDC.

 

6. (C) The National Council of the MDC had responded,

according to Tsvangirai, by resolving to contest the

elections as a united front. The opposition would field one

candidate for each local and parliamentary position, and

there would be one candidate for president.

 

 

HARARE 00001125 002 OF 002

 

 

7. (C) The united front would make a decision as to whether

to participate in or boycott the elections depending on its

assessment as to whether the elections would be fair.

Tsvangirai was confident his faction and the Mutambara

 

SIPDIS

faction would consensually arrive at this decision. (Note.

In a call on the Ambassador on December 14, Arthur Mutambara

stated a continued willingness to work with Tsvangirai in a

united front. End Note.)

 

————————————

A Parenthetical Note on South Africa

————————————

 

8. (C) Tsvangirai said that a Jacob Zuma victory in South

Africa’s ANC contest would result in a change in style,

rather than policy. Ultimately, he thought Zimbabwe’s

opposition would benefit. Venturing into South African

politics, Tsvangirai opined that Mbeki had sullied his legacy

by competing against Zuma. He should have let Zuma run

uncontested, or backed another candidate.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) The MDC continues to threaten an election boycott if

constitutional and electoral changes are not implemented, if

there is not a change in the political atmosphere, and if

there is not a reasonable electoral date. It hopes that this

threat will cause Mbeki and SADC to lean hard enough on

Mugabe to produce the desired changes. We expect that Mugabe

will not budge on the election date, and that the MDC will

decide to contest the elections under less than ideal

conditions. Boycotting the elections would make a point, but

it would leave ZANU-PF in control, claiming the MDC had

boycotted because it knew it did not have the support to win.

 

MCGEE

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