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MDC pull out in 2009 was all a façade

The Movement for Democratic Change’s pull out from the government in October 2009 was all a façade aimed at wringing concessions from the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front and getting the sympathy of the Southern African Development Community.

The party was not pulling of out of the government but simply disengaging from ZANU-PF.

Elton Mangoma, one of the MDC negotiators who was Economic Development and Planning Minister at the time, told United States embassy officials that although the MDC’s public position would be that resolution of all outstanding issue was necessary for reengagement, compromise was inevitable.

Mangoma said that the MDC had not even discussed internally which issues it would be willing to give on.

The embassy commented that neither ZANU-PF nor SADC responded to the MDC unless there was a crisis. The MDC had used Roy Bennett’s re-arrest to manufacture one.

The MDC pulled out of the government after Bennett was re-arrested. He was out on bail facing treason charges.

The embassy said despite the pull-out the MDC “will not leave government and will continue on the bumpy road to a constitution and elections”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE826, MDC TO DISENGAGE FROM ZANU-PF, BUT REMAIN IN

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE826

2009-10-15 15:43

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO1006

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0826/01 2881543

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 151543Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5023

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3089

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3201

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1630

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2464

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2833

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3249

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5696

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2383

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000826

 

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: MDC TO DISENGAGE FROM ZANU-PF, BUT REMAIN IN

GOVERNMENT

 

REF: HARARE 736

 

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

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Precipitated by the re-arrest of Roy Bennett, the MDC

has taken a decision to disengage from ZANU-PF, while

remaining in government. This means it will continue to head

ministries and participate in the process to draft a new

constitution, but will not attend meetings of the Cabinet and

Council of Ministers with ZANU-PF. Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai will attempt to meet with South African president

Jacob Zuma as well as with other SADC Troika representatives

to exert pressure on President Robert Mugabe to resolve

outstanding Global Political Agreement (GPA) issues. While

the MDC’s public position will be that reengagement is

dependent on resolution of all issues, a compromise is

likely. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) MDC treasurer and deputy minister of agriculture

designate Roy Bennett was rearrested yesterday after

prosecutors elected to indict him and try him in the High

Court rather than try him in the lower Magistrates’ Court.

(NOTE: Bennett returned to Zimbabwe from exile in South

Africa in January 2009. After being designated as deputy

minister of agriculture in the new government on February 10,

Bennett was arrested on February 13 and charged with treason.

He was released on bail on March 12. His trial in the

Magistrates’ Court was to have begun on October 13. END

NOTE.)

 

3. (SBU) In reaction to Bennett’s rearrest, and Mugabe’s

refusal yesterday to discuss Bennett with Tsvangirai, the MDC

Standing Committee (about 10 top MDC officials, including

Tsvangirai) met today and resolved to disengage from ZANU-PF

until GPA outstanding issues are resolved. The MDC Executive

Committee (about 50 individuals) will meet tomorrow to ratify

the decision. (The party appears solidly behind Tsvangirai.)

Tsvangirai will subsequently give a press conference and

diplomatic briefing.

 

4. (C) We spoke today with Elton Mangoma, Minister of

Economic Development and part of Tsvangirai’s inner circle,

who attended the Standing Committee meeting. Mangoma said

that Bennett’s arrest provided an “entry point” to address

outstanding issues, noting that beginning with Tsvangirai’s

address to the MDC’s 10th anniversary celebration in Bulawayo

on September 13, the MDC had begun ratcheting up the pressure

on ZANU-PF and Mugabe (Ref). He identified the outstanding

issues as the appointments of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana,

the appointments of governors, and the swearing-in of Bennett

as Deputy Minister of Agriculture. According to Mangoma,

Tsvangirai would attempt to meet soon with the leaders of the

SADC Organ on Defence, Politics, and Security; presidents

Zuma of South Africa, Guebuza of Mozambique, and Dos Santos

of Angola; to attempt to create pressure on Mugabe and

ZANU-PF. (NOTE: Tsvangirai is canceling visits to Finland

and to Sweden for European Development Days to focus on the

Qand to Sweden for European Development Days to focus on the

GPA. END NOTE.)

 

5. (C) Mangoma emphasized that the MDC was disengaing from

ZANU-PF and not the government. This means that the MDC will

not participate in meetings of the Cabinet or Council of

Ministers attended by ZANU-PF. It will continue to run its

ministries and will continue to participate in the

constitutional process to draft a new constitution. Mangoma

told us that although the MDC’s public position would be that

 

HARARE 00000826 002 OF 002

 

 

resolution of all outstanding issue was necessary for

reengagement, compromise was inevitable. The MDC had not yet

discussed internally which issues it would be willing to give

on. Mangoma was confident that the present impasse would

soon be resolved.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Neither ZANU-PF nor SADC respond to the MDC unless

there is a crisis. The MDC has used Bennett’s rearrest to

manufacture one. The result is likely to be some incremental

progress. The MDC will not leave government and will

continue on the bumpy road to a constitution and elections.

END COMMENT.

PETTERSON

(4 VIEWS)

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